This post is long overdue, but I have been meaning to write about my decision to work with a running coach and how having a coach helped me to run a successful marathon last fall. When Charissa reached out to me with some questions about my experience, I realized I should share some of my thoughts on the blog!
Ever since completing the RRCA training in June, 2014 I knew that I wanted to eventually work with a coach to learn what it’s like to be on the other side of that relationship. However, for my fall 2014 marathon I was so full of ideas from my training that I wanted to create my own training plan. When I started thinking about training for a marathon in 2015, I was immediately overwhelmed with developing a schedule for myself and didn’t know where to begin. So that was when I started really considering finding a coach.
In the past I had been hesitant to make the financial investment of hiring a coach, but after about a year of doing my own coaching I felt like I deserved to put some of that money back into something for myself.
Here are the questions Charissa asked me, followed by my answers, with a few additional comments I thought were worth adding:
How did you pick someone to be your coach? I’m curious as to your thought process behind it when you knew so much already having run a few marathons.
I worked with Kristy from Run the Long Road Coaching. I had been reading her blog for years and followed her on Instagram. I also knew other runners who were coached by her and had heard nothing but great things. I also knew that she had run marathons in around the same time that my goal pace would be. I also considered working with someone locally, but just couldn’t find anyone in my area.
I wanted to have a coach who also had a personal training background, because I tend to get injured alot. I felt like I needed help with incorporating rehab exercises into my schedule. I was feeling overwhelmed because I had just recovered from an injury and was doing well with my strength training but didn’t know how I could keep up with it while also increasing my mileage.
How often did you have contact with your coach? Did you feel you needed communication daily/weekly/monthly?
We used a platform called Final Surge (which was amazing and I now use it for my own clients) so she was able to see my workouts every day and schedule my runs right on the calendar. I could usually see my runs for the next 3 weeks or so. We had 2 phone calls before training started but everything else was E-mail or via Final Surge (which has a way to comment and those comments get E-mailed to you).
When I was sick my first week of training we emailed just about every day. We also texted before and/or after races (like the day before my marathon she texted me to check in, and after I finished she would text me to congratulate me).
I thought it was a good amount of communication- when nothing big was going on we just commented on my tougher workouts once or twice a week, but some weeks when there was a lot going on we E-mailed daily. It was nice to have someone else to see how my runs went and help me analyze them!
Were you ever a little unsure about a workout you were given and how did you react? Did you decide to trust the process or talk to your coach about it?
All of my workouts were pretty basic, although some sounded overwhelming but I would just go out and try, and 95% of the time I was successful, so I began to trust that she knew what she was doing (and she also got to know me as a runner after the first few weeks). During one of my first speed work sessions I mentioned that it takes me longer than 1 mile to really warm up, so she started adjusting my warm ups to accommodate that.
How would you compare being a coach before having a coach yourself vs. afterwards? Did having a coach help you to better understand your own athletes?
I feel like I am wanting to incorporate similar workouts to what I was given, but I am also trying to remember not to lose focus of my own coaching style. It’s kind of like reading a new book about a running philosophy and figuring out if/how you want to incorporate it into your style.
The biggest benefit for me was removing the pressure off myself to come up with my own workouts. I think in my previous marathon training cycle I was doing too many hard runs at not enough miles at a slow, easy pace. Having a coach see those runs held me accountable to actually keep those runs slow and easy!
There are many things to consider when hiring a running coach, so I think it’s important to really know what you are looking for and what kind of a coach will be the best fit for you!
Thanks, Charissa, for asking these questions and giving me a starting point for this post! And of course, thanks to Kristy for being a great coach!
Have you ever worked with a running coach? If so, why did you make the decision to work with one?
What would be important to you when choosing a running coach?
Considering working with a running coach? Check out my coaching services here.