On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Friday, October 7, 2011

I am seriously considering a running coach.

I'm of two minds:

-Part of me says, why on earth would I hire someone to do something I basically already know how to do? No, I'm not a coach, nor do I have the expertise that comes along with coaching experience. But I do have some idea of what works for my body, and I know how to construct a basic training plan. What I need is willpower, not another line item in my budget.

-The other part of me says, I pay doctors to tell me what's going on with my body. I even pay someone to make me ridiculous $4 pumpkin spice lattes, because I can't do that on my own. So obviously I'm comfortable paying people who can help me. Some of the best runners I know - in fact, many of the best runners I know - have running coaches.

And just like that, this became one of those blogs.
Plus, I'm in a running rut (yes, again - have I even been out of it?). I need someone to tell me what to do and when to do it, and I figure if that person knows what they're talking about and provides me with accountability, maybe I might actually listen to them. And then maybe I might become a better runner.

Does anyone have any advice or experience or anecdotes or suggestions on running coaches?


  1. I fully believe in running coaches. Especially if you have a specific goal in mind. I used one to train for my first marathon after failing miserable a couple of times before. She took a different approach from all the online stuff I got and I ran a great race, hit my goal, and - per my mom - looked like I had been on a jog through the park.

    She took me from back of the back to mid pack. I hired her for this year and things didn't work out due to this year just SUCKING, but when I'm better I fully intend to lay down some goals and rehire her.

    I say go for it.

  2. I've been hearing a lot of one coach who is a blogger (Adam, I think?) that people seem to be liking it. Email Lesley @ http://racingitoff.blogspot.com/ and ask for her opinion on her coach -- she has definitely gotten faster since (she was my pace way back when).

  3. I have a coach - it's the team coach and I do the team speed training sessions. ($50 for 10 weeks) Even though I can't make it every week, just having him as a coach has made me much faster. He's very quiet and mellow, not the kind of coach to yell or strongly urge, but if you don't try your best he just looks quietly disappointed, almost like he's keeping himself from shaking his head, and the fear of that disappointed helps me get faster.

    Want numbers? I have had a bunch of PR's this year - two of them on the 5k. THIS YEAR. The last of them - as broadcasted on twitter - over two minutes! And stay tuned this weekend for a ginormous half marathon PR. I'm going to shave about 15min off that sucker!

  4. I've considered getting a tri coach for next year, but I can't afford it :p With that being said, I think it could totally liven up your regimen and probably learn ya a couple things. I say go for it!

  5. I have a coach, she's a woman who runs a lot 100 milers) and knows a lot about physiology/anatomy etc. so it's a whole body endeavor with her. It has been amazing for me - I was very, very, very unfit when I met her and ran the NYC marathon last year. I can answer any other question you have.


  6. I would love to have a coach. I was also going to recommend Adam, the boring runner (http://www.theboringrunner.com/, adam.ricklefs@gmail.com). I love his blog and he seems like a really nice guy!

  7. I loved having a coach because I know NOTHING about running. I'm pretty stupid about it. Having someone give me very specific daily workouts was really helpful. It was also nice to have someone constantly looking out for me, because I do a bad job of looking out for myself.

    I trained with Coach Cane, who runs City Coach in NYC. I definitely preferred having a "real" Coach I could meet with and run with often as opposed to an online-only coach. There's certainly nothing wrong with just getting a plan from a coach online, but I had a lot of questions about my form and it helped having someone who could advise me in person.

    That being said, coaches are (well, can be) expensive. If it's something you're willing to pay for, I don't think it can HURT, that's for sure.

  8. I agree with most of these comments...if you have a specific goal in mind, a coach is a great. Also, I like to be able to have someone to vent/rant/complain/whine/blame for grueling workouts. Also great for asking questions or "why does this hurt?"

    Remember, you can always come and run with Sasquatch without being "member" or being coached by him. I think I ran with them for about 6 months before I became official! I will bug you next Monday. And Tuesday. And Wednesday. etc!!

  9. This is all AWESOME advice. I'm kind of impressed, actually - I expected the answer I would get would be more like, "eh, why would you need a running coach?" I'm going to have to give this more thought...

  10. I started using a coach almost 2 yes ago & while I felt I knew & had read enough about running, it was a real eye opener. Having an objective party telling you what to do & helping to set expectations is awesome. I loved using my coach as a resource for nutrition & general fitness questions too. I'd def give it a shot if I were you