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5 tips on finding the right running coach

Hire a coach to take your running to the next level and achieve your summer running goals

find the right coach Photo by: Kevin Morris

This time of year is the most popular for running, and challenging yourself to sign up for summer and fall races is a fantastic way to achieve personal goals. If you’re new to the sport or looking to take your running to the next level, working with a running coach can be a game-changer. Finding the right coach can be tough, but it can provide guidance, structure and expertise to help you reach your full potential. But how do you find the right running coach for your specific needs? Here are five essential tips to help you in your search.

Align your goals

Before you begin your search for a running coach, take some time to write down your running goals. Are you aiming to complete a marathon, improve your speed in a 5K, or simply learn to run? Understanding your goals can help you find a coach best suited for your objectives, since different coaches specialize in various areas of running, such as the marathon, track and field, or recreational running. If you know what you’re looking to accomplish, it can help you narrow down your options and find a coach who can best assist you in reaching your goals.

Marley Dickinson running coach
Photo: Parm Khosa

Do your research

When finding a running coach, it’s crucial to research their experience and ask for referrals from other runners. You should also consider their track record of coaching success, including testimonials from some of their athletes or former clients, to gauge their satisfaction and the effectiveness of their training approaches. The last thing you want is to have someone who doesn’t know what they are doing or crosses personal boundaries. The internet can be an incredible resource when trying to find the right coach-a quick Google search of their name to see accomplishments or reviews can go a long way.

The two C’s

The two Cs might be the most crucial tip of the four. Compatibility and good communication are essential factors in finding a great coach. You want to make sure you find a running coach who understands you as a person and your running goals. The purpose of a running coach is not only to enhance your performance, but also to provide you with motivation, accountability, and valuable insights to help you become a better runner.

It is good to arrange an initial meeting or consultation with a few coaches to discuss your goals, training preferences, and expectations. This meeting will help determine if their personality and coaching styles align. An open line of communication, where you feel comfortable asking questions and providing feedback, is crucial for a coach to understand your needs and tailor their guidance accordingly.

Consider your schedule

Unless you’re a professional runner, odds are you will be training while managing school or a full-time job, so finding time to squeeze in training sessions isn’t always easy. Before hiring a coach, make sure their approach and plan work with your schedule. A good coach should be able to adapt to each individual’s circumstances, considering factors like work, sleep, family commitments, and personal limitations.

Many coaches will offer an initial trial or assessment session to evaluate your running form and fitness level, determining where you’re at in your training. This trial period will allow you to experience the coach’s training approach and assess if their style suits your needs.

Find your budget

It’s important to find a coach who fits your budget. Be sure to ask yourself how much you are willing to spend on a coach. Running coaches may have varying rates, but they usually charge annually, monthly, or per training plan. When inquiring, always ask about their pricing structure and what is included in their coaching services. Some coaches offer different tiers or options, such as one-on-one coaching, online training plans, or group sessions, each with different price points. Consider the level of support and guidance you require and find a coach whose fees align.

We wish you happy running as you chase your goals this summer!

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