5 Reasons You Should Hire A Running Coach

I’m back! I was in South Carolina for 9 days (Myrtle Beach) and it was great. Although I was working throughout the trip, I took time off from blogging…I wouldn’t have had time anyway. Most days were spent on the beach, and evenings were spent exploring, dining, etc. It was really fun!

Anyway, being back means getting back into the grind of marathon training. Unfortunately, I only ran 3 times (total of 10 miles) while away. The humidity killed me and on one run I could barely even finish 2.5 miles. I just ended up giving up and enjoying the break.

Now I need to get back into it ASAP…Chicago isn’t as far off anymore! As some of you know, I’ve been working with a running coach, and wanted to talk about why it may be beneficial to work with a running coach yourself. I’ve touched upon the topic in the past, and wanted to add in some new insight.

5 Reasons You Should Hire A Running Coach

Workouts Aren’t Set In Stone

When you follow a plan found online or in a book, it lays out every workout for you which is great. But what if you can’t do that workout that week or want to change things around? Sure you can just pick another workout from a different week of training in the book, but how do you know if it is really beneficial for you and where you are in your training?

While I was away, I tweeted at Marc saying that I didn’t want to do the tempo run workout he had listed for me because of the heat. I knew I wouldn’t be able to hit those paces so I asked him if there was another workout I could do.

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He responded quickly with a new worokout I could do and we were able to move around the training plan. He knows what my goals are and prescribes workouts based on those goals.

Tough Love

I wrote about running by effort a few weeks ago, and a Twitter exchange with Coach Marc. He basically told me I need to stop worrying about pace while running and go by effort. When you have a running coach, you have someone who will (hopefully) tell it to you like it is. 

When I used to complain about running in the rain, he’d always respond with “Are you going to melt in the rain?” Ha! I don’t mind it as much anymore. The only real thing I actually didn’t like about it is the sopping wet shoes and socks but whatever.

A running coach should be able to “be real” with you, whether it’s you complaining about weather conditions, you having doubts about a workout, or you not wanting to run, etc. I’ve heard it all! Whenever I want to skip a run, I immediately think of what I would tell Marc…I can’t just say “I didn’t feel like running today” so I just suck it up and go for a run.

Working Through Problems Together

Marc and I have gone back and forth for years (literally since 2010) about my shin problems. I have consistent shin pain that never goes away no matter what I do. So it has become an issue of just managing the pain and trying to avoid it. He always sends me helpful information or links he might find online, and whenever I can’t do a workout or run, I am able to tell him it’s because of my shin pain. He will tell me to take it easy or go cross-train instead, or offer different options depending on when in training we are (such as don’t run the planned 5K race this weekend or take a few days off to ice and stretch).

A good coach will help you work through your issues, whether it’s injury related or something else. I would do this with my clients when I was a personal trainer as well. If they had some recurring issue, I’d always think of them when I came across articles that could potentially help them. Plus, if nothing else, you have someone to vent to about your running problems! I’m pretty sure my friends could care less about my shin pain/don’t understand why I keep running if my shins hurt :)

Piecing A Training Plan Together

Marathon training (or any training) isn’t just about the running. A running coach will help you put all the pieces of the puzzle together, that includes cross training, strength training, core, drills, etc. Marc has sent me videos of warm-up drills to do before runs, and schedules in XT and lifting into my schedule so I know when to do what. It’s not just a guessing game.

Answers Your Questions

If you have a question about a training plan in a book, who are you going to ask? You can try to tweet the author (The coaches who wrote Hansons Marathon Method actually do a good job of replying) or searching online or contacting other people who have done the plan, but you might not get the answer you’re looking for.

When I have a question about something, I usually just tweet to Marc and he responds in a timely manner. Such as yesterday:

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If you have a random question, it might not be found in your training book or it will be hard to determine the right answer. Having a running coach means you  have someone who you can ask anything related to running, and they should be able to help OR they will work to find you the answer.

All in all, it’s been great to have someone to help me create my training plan and someone to talk about running with. You know you’re in good hands with Coach Marc since he has been running forever. He ran in high scool (and recently was inducted into the South Jersey Track Coaches Hall of Fame) and ran collegiately at Villanova as well. He also currently coaches high school and track & field. So yeah…you know he’s pretty knowledgeable about running and training!

If you want to learn more about his coaching services, head on over to his website! He also offers other services such as video gait analysis and training logs (which are great).

Do you have a running coach? Would you ever consider hiring one?


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  1. I’ve thought about hiring a coach, but never actually did. I enjoy making my own plans, but everyone I know that has worked with a coach has loved it and has seen great results!
    Nicole @ Fitful Focus recently posted…Fit, Focused & Fun Finds (from around the web!) #38My Profile

  2. I don’t have a running coach, my coach is a CrossFit coach, which works really well for me. She’s all about endurance through interval training. She has no problem handing out the tough love. Her no-nonsense approach has been perfect for me!
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…Product Review and a GIVEAWAY!: SLS3 HiP ZiPPMy Profile

  3. As a running coach I love this and agree! Coaching goes way beyond making a plan, which is what you get if you download something from the internet. Coaching is encouragement, accountability, common sense, kicks in the butt when you need it, as well as holding you back when you need it.
    Debbie @ Coach Debbie Runs recently posted…Starting a Blog: What’s Next? Own Your DomainMy Profile

  4. Thanks for sharing this. Having a coach can be very helpful for the time you are working with them and in the future.
    Ivanna recently posted…Tips for Staying Refreshed and Revitalized All Day LongMy Profile

  5. I just hired a coach to train me through 3 marathons and Dopey, and while I’m only in my second full week of working with her, I’m really enjoying it so far.
    I like not needing to think, I just do, and she challenges me in ways I’d be too nervous to challenge myself.
    Ange @ Cowgirl Runs recently posted…Why I Run for OiselleMy Profile

  6. There certainly are many benefits to hiring a coach. For those who are competitive or are looking to become competitive, it looks like it would be money well spent.
    Kathryn @ Dancing to Running recently posted…Four Years Ago TodayMy Profile

  7. no coach over here but i wouldn’t rule it out some day!
    Courtney @ Eat Pray Run DC recently posted…June Stats and Income ReportMy Profile

  8. I’m glad you’re enjoying being coached! There truly are many benefits. I’ve loved the coaches I’ve had and as a coach, I hope my coaching clients feel that way as well.
    Marcia recently posted…A Perfect Antidote to Flagging MotivationMy Profile

  9. Great post! For all the reasons listed I have a coach. I have been running for 19 years and I could certainly make a plan for myself, but having someone else do it for me is 100% better! I don’t have to think about my workouts because someone else is creating them and I am accountable to someone other than me. No excuses. I am with you on the running with the rain, I hate wet feet :(. Sorry about your shins, I suffer from the same problem and even had multiple stress fractures, I find shoes and starting a training plan slow helps.
    Toni recently posted…3 Tips On When To Replace Your Running ShoesMy Profile

  10. Yes, fabulous post. All great reasons. My coach can talk me off a ledge. I was freaking out last week because all of my friends are up to 17 mile runs in their marathon training and I haven’t even hit 10. I was totally freaking out. He calmed me down, explained why and it made total sense. They are really priceless if you ask me!
    Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes recently posted…Lilytrotters Compression Sock Review: Where fashion meets function!My Profile

  11. Great reasons! I have hired a running coach once… and had a GREAT experience. I think it is the way to go if you need accountability (*like me) ;)
    Rachel recently posted…Clean First for the Best Finish with Puracyn®My Profile

  12. I went and got certified to coach – primarily so I could make up my own plans and feel like I knew enough to do it.

    Glad having a coach is working for you!
    MCM Mama Runs recently posted…Beers of Summer – DuClaw Morgazm and FunkMy Profile

  13. While I haven’t had a running coach, I did use a nutrition and weight lifting coach for 12 weeks and it changed my life! Thanks for sharing about your experience with your coach.
    Becki S recently posted…Fluffly Friday: Meet ShilohMy Profile


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