Why a Coach?

Today's guest post is from Lesley @ Racing it Off! Lesley is an amazing blogger, runner & new coach! Every time I read her blog, she is doing another half marathon or completing an amazing marathon training run, and has kicked butt picking up the pace, and losing weight along the way. She is so inspirational, and I'm so happy to share her blog with you! Check out Lesley's blog HERE!

Lesley on the right

Do You Need a Coach?

If you’ve been reading blogs for awhile, you often hear people speak of their coaches.  If you’re like me, your first reaction was “uh, yeah, I’m not winning any awards, no need for a coach.”  And yes, I know many competitive runners and triathletes employ top-notch coaches to help them train smart.  But what about the average Joe and Jane?  I mean 99% of us fall into the category of “we like to see improvement, but have no dreams of winning anything”. 

So why consider a coach?

1.       Personalized Plan – Sure you can find a million training plans out there online that are perfectly suitable for you.  But what about that interim race you want to run that doesn’t fit in with the plan?  Oh and that day you missed due to being sick?  If you schedule vacation and need a work around?  It’s nice to have someone who can schedule with your personal life in mind.  It’s also great to have someone who knows the purpose of each workout and whether one can be skipped or which ones it’s ok to move back-to-back.  Can you get to your goal with a textbook training plan – absolutely… but a personalized plan might suit you better.
2.       Accountability – Let’s face it… the piece of paper with the printed plan from your favorite website isn’t going to call or e-mail or text you to see how your workouts are going.  But no one wants to e-mail coach to say “I didn’t do my workouts.”  There is a great accountability factor to having someone personally concerned with whether or not you’re on track to meet your goals.
3.       Motivation - The paper plan can’t share in your excitement when you’ve had a breakthrough, and it can’t encourage you when you’ve had a particularly rough workout.  A personal coach wants you to succeed!  He/She can be a great motivator and remind you why you started your journey and keep your mind on the goals you set. 

But who needs a coach?

If you have a goal, then you could benefit from a coach. Maybe you want to run your first 5k and just can’t seem to stick to the plan.  Perhaps you’re wanting to make the jump from half marathon to a full marathon and have concerns that you want personally addressed.  Maybe you just want to get faster or improve your endurance.  A coach can be for anyone…  and I think you might be surprised all the wonderful benefits you will receive by having your personal cheerleader to your goals.

How to choose a coach?

There are a lot of coaches out there.  The price ranges are pretty big.  I hate to give hard and fast rules for choosing a coach because there are always people that don’t fit the rules.  You want to find a price that is affordable to you, obviously.  So you may or may not be able to afford the coach with 40 years of experience and degrees in every form of kinesiology, nutrition, etc.  You might look for certifications – RRCA is one (this is what I have), USATF is another.  If the coach is a blogger or active on facebook, follow them for awhile, see if his/her personality jives with yours.  If they already coach someone, you can ask for a reference.  If you like to incorporate other fields – like swimming and cycling – you might consider someone qualified in multiple areas.  But most important is coaching style – some are a little more regimented and structured, and that might work for you.  Others, slightly looser and more flexible.  How often are they willing to update your schedule and communicate with you?  Does this work with your lifestyle?  Do they have more of an authoritarian approach?  Or more of a teamwork approach?  Some of this you might not find out until after you’ve worked with them for a month or two… so you cannot be afraid to tell the coach if they aren’t right for you.  It’s almost as complex as choosing your mate. 

For me, I’m fairly relaxed, in constant communication, but definitely try to push my girls to set high, yet realistic goals.  Sometimes they ask for a 10k and get a half marathon (never without their approval, but if I think they have enough time to train, I want them to reset their expectations of themselves).  And yes, I also have a coach.  His purpose for me is mostly to keep me on track with speedwork – something I really struggle with.  I tend to underestimate my own capabilities, and I also dread speedwork.  With his help, I get it done and complete workouts that I was sure I couldn’t.  Even a coach needs a coach sometimes.  I cannot tell you how invaluable that accountability is.  It’s almost silly how hard I’ll push to not disappoint my coach.  And I love hearing similar stories from my girls.  It’s really interesting getting to see from both perspectives.  Whatever your goals are, if you occasionally struggle with them, a coach might be just what you need.


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1 comment:

Wells L said...

What a great post!!! I've been blessed to have a running mentor (or at least that's what I call him) and am currently in a half marathon class. In my class I'm able to see those advantages of personalization, motivation, and accountability - I like that . . . my training partner is looking to do a full marathon in January 2013 - we might need a coach for that next level. Thanks for the info - never considered "lil ol' me" needing a coach - but I definitely can see the value now :)
p.s. Completely thinking about you Stephanie and hoping you are safe in your travels!!!!!