Being a Run Coach is one of my favorite things ever. I love helping people crush goals, get faster, PR, and in some cases, go from walking to running. It’s super inspiring on my end but it takes a lot of trust (and hard work) on the athlete’s end. They have to believe me when I say to run “truly, truly easy” and they have to trust that they can indeed run the paces I am prescribing for those 800s or mile repeats.
While I try to get my athletes to slow the heck down on the easy days and push really, really hard in their speed sessions, I need someone to get me to do the same. I need someone to devise a plan for me that is both ambitious and also realistic. I need someone to lay the hammer down and make me work but also tell me to chill the eff out when I am going too hard, too often.
So I did it. I pulled the trigger and got myself my own coach. I decided I still want to run a fast fall marathon and the 50k in December. Overzealous? Or ideal? A 26.2 mile race 3 weeks prior to a 50k is kind of the ultimate final long run. But I will need some guidance. I think I found the perfect coaching situation for me.
My Tips for Finding the Right Coach
- Do your research. Ask for testimonials, read reviews, or if the coach happens to be a blogger you will likely already know everything there is to know about them. 🙂 Ask for recommendations from other runners you know or on message boards. Referrals are usually the best.
- Interview them. Ask questions like “what is your training philosophy?” and “how often will we be communicating?” to get a feel for their style and their availability. I personally try to make myself available to my clients whenever they need me. I keep my client load small so this is possible. We text, email, snapchat, you name it. I am truly invested in my clients and their success and I think everyone needs to find a coach who feels that way about them. When one of my runners has a bad day, I feel for them. I get excited for them and I feel crazy amounts of pride when they PR or achieve a goal. Everyone deserves that from their coach so be sure to ask a lot of questions.
- Go with your gut. This is a kind of obvious one but it’s worth mentioning. You should have a good feeling in your gut about the person you hire on as your coach regardless of how awesome their track record is.You know how people say “you’ll just know” when you meet “the one?” It’s kind of like that. You should have some sort of chemistry and you absolutely need to trust them. You have to believe that whatever seemingly crazy thing they have you doing is for good reason. It’s important that you feel comfortable being honest with them because honesty is key.
How I Found My Coach
I’ve followed Tina Muir (2:37 marathoner and elite runner for Saucony) for a few years now and I also listen to the Runners Connect podcast regularly. Tina and I share a very similar training philosophy and I feel myself saying “YES, YES, YES” to basically everything she says. I truly believe MOST people run too fast MOST of the time and I see it around me all the time. Tina is constantly reminding people that most elites actually run quite slow on recovery runs. She herself does a lot of running at around 8:00-9:00/mile pace. Yes. Truly.
Tina actually emailed me after I ran Boston this year to congratulate me even though I didn’t run the race I thought I would. It was so incredible to get a personal email from an elite runner like her. So when I was looking for a run coach, I started with Tina. I wanted to get her thoughts and learn more about Runners Connect since she is the host of their podcast and one of the experts. She highly recommended signing up for their monthly coaching services where I would get lots of love from all the coaches and also have the online community aspect.
Knowing all I know about Tina and that whole crew, I knew this was the best possible fit for me. It’s all online which is how I do most of my coaching, as well, so I am super comfortable and familiar with this way of communication.
I now have a couple weeks of training set before me. I’m not going to lie, it’s a bit daunting to have specific paces to hit again. I did my first set of tempo intervals in many months and WOW! It was tough. But I needed it. Seeing my first few weeks of training laid out before me is also excellent confirmation that I am coaching my clients much like elites are coaching their clients. Our methods are very similar and I highly recommend using Runners Connect if you can’t afford the direct one-on-one coaching that other coaches, including myself, provide.
I have a team of coaches who will be working with me and while I don’t have the ability to text or email them on a whim, it’s ok because I don’t feel I really need that at this time. Plus, I’m too busy connecting with my own clients for that kind of constant contact anyway. 😉
I’m excited to be coached. I’m excited to have someone do the thinking and planning for me. And more than anything, I’m excited to get fast again! It’s been a little while…