So much coaching information can now be found online. A simple Google search is all one needs to find a training plan for any race distance. As someone who has gone through the accreditation process, it’s not difficult to become a running coach. Everyone can have coaching credentials these days. It makes you wonder—are coaches even worth it?
Sure, athletes can find their own information online. However the difference is that the information found online is not tailored to the specific needs of an individual athlete. It’s not a personalized program that has been created to fit your goals.
If your training is going well without a coach, now might not be the time to invest. But if your training has plateaued and you would like to get to another level, getting some help is always a good investment.
If you are in the market for a coach, here are some ways to get the most bang for your buck:
A local coach is your best bet. While any personalized attention is better than a cookie cutter training plan, having someone to meet with locally can help many runners. There are different ways to find a local coach. Visit a local running store or stalk a track. Ask around at races because coaches could have athletes running or run themselves.
Your coach should be certified. With so much information available on the internet, it is important to find a coach that has the credentials to give you a training plan. Without credentials, you could end up injured or running personal worsts.
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Interview possible coaches
If you cannot meet face-to-face with coaching candidates due to distance, then Skype or talk on the telephone. If you are paying someone, it is a job. So treat meeting with a potential coaching candidate as an interview. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask about their training philosophy and don’t be afraid to say no to anything that doesn’t fit your lifestyle. If you aren’t comfortable with a coach at first, it won’t be magically better the next time. Instead, it will end up as a waste of money.
Similar to dating, don’t assume every coach is the same. Each coach is going to have a different style, philosophy and training program. Some coaches focus on increasing mileage, while others on increasing pace. Some integrate a lot of cross-training. Coaches all charge different costs, so don’t be afraid to ask about pricing.
At the end of the day ask yourself, “Why do you want a coach?” People hire coaches for multiple reasons. Do you want to PR at a race, get into shape, or stay consistent with their training? If you think a coach can you help, hopefully these methods can help you locate the perfect one for you.
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