Have you ever thought about getting a personal running coach? It’s not a really common or popular idea. In this blog I go over why a personal running coach may just be what you need to keep making great strides towards your running goals.
Walk into most fitness gyms and you will find “personal trainers”. These are highly knowledgeable experts who are available to give you individual attention so that you can meet your fitness goals. They can lead you through specific workouts while also helping you stay safe by making sure you are doing all of the exercises with proper form and technique. If you spend enough time around a personal trainer you’ll realize that there is a lot that goes into getting into shape and staying there. Unfortunately, I see a lot of people in the gym doing strange, improper, and even dangerous things around the weight lifting and exercise equipment. Yet, even these things are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to why a lot of people don’t achieve great physical results.
I went to a fairly large school in high school. However, we had one head coach and one assistant coach for our entire cross-country team. That’s two coaches for about 80 runners! Our coaches had to deal with boy and girl runners from 7th grade through 12th grade. It would be easy to get lost in this sea of bodies as a runner. There is no way for high school coaches to give all of their runners great individual attention. Workouts were in groups but there were not enough coaches to give instruction and hold runners accountable. I had a lot of teammates take short cuts on routes or slow down when not in sight of the coach. Coaches were not always near by to instruct, correct, and answer questions. The result? A lot of runners could have achieved so much more if they would have had the individual attention.
Do you realize how many different body types, personalities and temperaments are out there on a cross-country team of 80 people? Yet, all of the guys are lumped into doing the same workout and all of the girls run basically a shorter version of what the guys do. Coaches don’t have the time to evaluate and observe every runner and then come up with a strategic plan to help him or her accomplish their best over the course of a season. Obviously it would be a logistical nightmare if most of the 80 runners were off doing different workouts. Therefore, it’s easier to break up in a few groups and have everyone run together.
What have I learned over the year? Everyone responds to training differently. Some of us can push harder on more days of the week. Others of us need a longer recovery time or more recovery days. Some of us do well with higher mileage while others tend to thrive on less with maybe more speed work. Everyone is also different psychologically. Understanding how each runner ticks can change training and race day. Individual coaches can learn how someone is motivated and encouraged and use this to help them stay on training course.
Let’s be honest. Most of the teens I ran with in high school could have trained harder. They could have been way more consistent over the rest of the year in running and especially over the summer. Many of these teens I ran with were drinking pop multiple times a day and snacking on things that weren’t optimal to fuel and heal their body. Today we have all of those easily accessible energy drinks like Red Bull and Monster. In fact, in some places these are being handed out to runners in high school! What am I trying to say? There is little “education” and “accountability” for our runners. So where do the coaches spend most of their time? Yep, working with the best of the group and the runners who are already highly motivated.
A lot of runners today never ran in high school. In fact, a lot of people pick up running later in life. That’s fantastic! Many people run just to stay healthy and active. They will enter the occasional road race for fun. Some runners though discover that they are capable of pushing themselves and being semi-competitive. There are those who are Personal Record seekers and who want to finish high in their age group. I get asked a lot of questions because people known I am an accomplished runner. I sometimes forget how little a lot of people know about running. For example, a lot of people do not even know that there are different foot types and shoes made specifically for different feet and how they land and move in a running cycle. Other questions I get asked a lot about is mileage and what type of workouts should I run?
It has taken me years to learn what I know now and to understand my body and the training it needs. I can both read my body well and analyze the running data I get back from workouts. Yet, this is still only the beginning when it comes to all the other things that are important in becoming a faster and more fit runner. If you have serious ambitions as a runner weather you are in jr. high, high school, college, middle aged, or even in your 70’s; look into getting a personal running coach. As a coach myself, I love helping others. Personal running coaches are passionate about running and they tend to know how to encourage and spur runners on best. They can analyze your workouts and progress and push you on when your body and mind naturally wants to quit. Running coaches are going to help educate you and give you guidance in areas such as running science, training, injury prevention, recovery, nutrition, strength training, race strategy, and so much more. If you are looking for a great “edge” over the competition, a personal running coach may just be the answer you’ve been looking for.