Coach-How did you feel about Snow Canyon? I’m guessing you wanted to go a little faster.
Me: It was a PR.
Coach: Oh, I don’t know why I thought you wanted to run it faster.
Me: Because I can’t yet, please help me.
Coach as defined by Merriam-Webster:
- a person who teaches or trains an athlete or performer
- a person who teaches and trains the members of a sports team and makes decisions about how the team plays during the game
- a private teacher who gives someone private lessons in a particular subject
Check. Check. Check. I wanted someone to help me do all of those things, so I hired a coach. Finding a coach was surprisingly easy. I asked some friends and received two great recommendations and after talking to each of them, I chose the best fit for me. Here are the five reasons why I decided to get a coach:
- Your Coach Will Help You Obtain Your Goals: For a long time, I thought coaches were only for the pros or the elites, but they’re not. Coaches are there to help anyone train for and obtain specific goals. Health and fitness related goals are tough things to do on your own. I am a huge believer in experience being a great teacher, but sometimes we need a great trainer. I have known many people who finally achieved specific qualifying times with the help of a coach.
- A Fresh Perspective-Have you ever had a race or a training run that was just off and wanted to ask someone, “What do you think that was all about?” A coach is that person. After the St. George Marathon this year I was ready to have another go at it as soon as possible. I didn’t want to lose any of the fitness gains I had made. But after talking with my coach he assured me that rest was the best thing I could do, especially if I was going to focus on a May marathon. As the experts, coaches are there to provide counsel, wisdom, and support, both physical and mental.
- A Customized Training Plan-My coach took all of me into account. Not just my goals, but my job, my day, my life. The training is customized to suit my specific needs and can be altered or adjusted for any bumps in the road. He knows that Sunday is my rest day, I like to spin at least once a week, and I strength train 3-4 times a week. A customized training plan will help you find balance, which in turn can help you avoid injuries.
- Don’t Think, Just Run-It’s really nice to have someone else who is looking at the big picture. I don’t have to wake up and think, “What am I going to do today?” There are no more days or weeks even filled with “junk miles.” Every run is specific, meaningful, and has a targeted goal, even the easy days. When my job is to just stick to the plan and do the fun part (running!), it lightens the load of a long training session.
- Motivation-I like assignments. When a teacher assigned a book report, I was the kid who crafted all the characters for my diorama out of clay. So knowing that I have someone to report back to each week motivates me to do my best. Yesterday, I had an easy 15 miles with 4 miles at tempo. I wasn’t feeling the energy, but I had my assignment. I started in with a 7:05, then got a little downhill momentum and had a 6:19, followed by a 6:32, and a 6:28. Without a coach and a plan I wouldn’t have been as motivated to get those critical tempo miles in.
No matter your goals or abilities, a coach can help you improve. Remember, the best way to find someone is to ask around. Your local running center, friends, or even RRCA.ORG can help you find a coach that will work best for you. Happy running friends!