Updated: Apr 18
Guest Post by Coach Tim, Running Coach with We Run: The UK’s Local Running Coach
Isn’t coaching just for the pros? What do you actually get for your money?
There comes a time in every recreational runner’s career where you find yourself wondering why you keep picking up the same injuries, why you can’t shake an injury, why your times aren’t improving, why some runs go better than others, or how on earth you can train yourself to run 26.2 miles! Perhaps you’ve considered hiring a Running Coach. That can feel like a big step. How would they help you? What do they do? Are they all really scary? Is it worth the money?
This last question is especially important to me. I couldn’t actually be a We Run Coach if I didn’t think my clients were getting value for money. If I thought the job wasn’t a valid use of my clients’ time and my time, I wouldn’t do it. We believe that runners of all abilities can benefit from working with a qualified Running Coach. Here we look at some reasons why you might consider one.
Unless you spend your time running towards and past mirrors, the only feedback you get about your running technique will be small glimpses in race-day photographs. A good Running Coach will observe you running from all angles, and provide a easy-to-understand breakdown of your personal running technique. They will also give you guidance on how you can improve your technique, where often relatively simple tweaks can translate into improved speed and efficiency. Perhaps more importantly, their technical advice will help with injury prevention – and prevention is always better than The Cure (apart from ‘Friday I’m In Love’, which is a modern classic!)
It’s awful when your car or boiler breaks down isn’t it? Imagine how much easier it would have been if an expert had looked it over and fixed the things that were likely to cause it problems. It can be quite difficult for an adult runner to correct their technique, but a qualified Coach can help you do this by suggesting specific drills and exercises to help improve your form.
They don’t just give out Running Coaching qualifications – you have to study quite hard for it! And the coaching award is really just the start of the journey. I don’t know any Running Coach that doesn’t constantly want to learn new things. We tend to read a lot, pause TV coverage of top athletes, watch them in slow motion and try new ideas out ourselves. Most Coaches have a lot of personal running experience to pass on too. This is particularly important if you’re new to the sport or training for an event you’ve not tackled before, like your first marathon.
There’s a guy called Mo Farah currently training for his second marathon (you might have heard of him!) On completing his first marathon he realised that, despite his two decades in the sport, he didn’t know anywhere near enough to compete at the front of the field over 26.2 miles. He knew his outstanding track running technique would need to be adapted for the longer distance. He hired a new Coach to help him with this.
Motivation and Accountability
If you’ve booked a session with a Coach on the weekend, and they’ve advised you to do two runs during the week; you will do those runs. For many people, signing up with a Coach is a way of truly making a commitment. This time, they are going to stick to their new hobby or achieve their goal. Imagine if there had been no teachers taking lessons and setting homework in school – how many pupils would turn up to the classroom at the set time? How many of them would research and arrange their homework themselves? What would the exam pass rate be like?! Your Coach is your teacher, and they will guide you through your running journey, and help to keep you on track.
More Than Just An Hour
The majority of coaching sessions tend to be about an hour long, but the coaching doesn’t stop there. Your Running Coach will let you know what sessions to do during the week and what pace to do them at, they will tell you what to eat before and after running, what cross training to do, how to recover and which races to enter. The money you pay will support you way beyond the hour-long sessions.
They Are Your Personal Coach
A great Running Coach should have great personal skills. I know some runners need a strict talking to – they need someone to challenge their objections of why they don’t have time to run that week. Other runners need a softer approach, with lots of encouragement. Some people need stats thrown at them. A good Running Coach should be able to tailor their approach to help you achieve your goals and enjoy your running and your training with them. So no, a good Running Coach isn’t at all scary (unless that’s what you need!)
Who Are We Run?
We Run are the UK’s largest and favourite Running Coaching provider. Founded in 2014 by NHS Nurse and lifelong recreational runner John White, We Run has grown from a passion project to a Nationwide network of qualified, friendly and experienced Running Coaches, helping runners in all areas of the UK.
We Run have helped thousands of runners, from complete beginners to competitive athletes, and every session is tailor-made to match the needs, abilities and goals of the client. Their Running Analysis service, which provides a head-to-toe running technique analysis and tune-up, is a popular way for runners to dip their toes in the water. Interested in learning more? Head to their website and drop them a line, or connect with We Run on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.