Achieve Your Goals with a Running Coach + Coaching Services Giveaway

How a Running Coach Helps You Achieve Your Goals

Firstly, I want to express my gratitude and appreciation for all of the supportive and kind comments on yesterday’s post! I am genuinely excited to see what all of you will achieve in 2016 and eager to share my own pursuit of my goals with you.

Nearly all of us aspire towards certain running goals in 2016, whether we articulate them or not. Today, I intend to outline how hiring a running coach will help you achieve your goals, particularly specific goals common amongst many runners.

I am also giving away one customized training plan (10-16 weeks in duration, depending on your goal distance) to one reader to start her/him on the journey to running her/his personal best in 2016. This plan is a $65 value, so you don’t want to miss out on your chance to win! The giveaway is open today through Sunday, December 27.

We tend to conceptualize goals as lofty aspirations, and such a mindset certainly bears virtue. Yet goals can also be what appear to be most ordinary of things, but really are the most extraordinary for your life: running another 5K this year, foster and maintain a consistent habit of running, and finding confidence and relaxation in your daily miles. I ran for six years without racing, as my goal was to stay fit, relieve the stress of college and grad school, and healthfully enjoy the gift that is running. When I say I want to help you achieve your goals in running, I mean it, no matter what your goal may be.

How a Running Coach Helps You Achieve Your Goals

Whatever your goals in 2016 may be, hiring a running coach can help you achieve those goals through building your confidence and mental strength, fostering sustainable training, and providing you with a smart and deliberate plan of action and specific and effective workouts to help you reach your goals while staying healthy, happy, and injury-free. This list below addresses just how a running coach can help you reach a few popular goals.

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Goal: Run Your First Race

How a Running Coach Can Help:

Running coaches are not reserved for an exclusive elite. Runners who want to start running and cross their first finish line will significantly benefit from the guidance, motivation, and consistency with which a running coach will provide them. A running coach will help them foster the confidence and mental strength to achieve their goals while also building a progression of workouts that will not only cultivate the habit of running, but also the love of running.

Goal: Break the Cycle of Injury and Overtraining

How A Running Coach Can Help:

A majority of injuries arise from the same few causes: doing too much too soon, not recovering well, and not training in a healthy and sustainable manner. All of these causes, of course, are intertwined; sustainable training occurs when you smartly progress your training load and appropriately balance stress and recovery. Many runners endure injuries and some runners even believe that injuries are an inevitable consequence of the sport, but that could not be further from the truth. A coach will help you change the way you train to make you a more durable runner and increase your likelihood of lifelong participation in the sport. 

If you are prone to running-related injuries, a coach will closely monitor your training and your body’s responses and provide you with feedback on how to alter workouts if your experience the usual warning signs of injury. A coach will also schedule in rest days, especially if you tend to neglect recovery or do not heed to your body’s signals.

Goal: PR in Your Favorite Distance

How a Running Coach Can Help:

Experienced runners rarely need a coach to motivate them to train and race; rather, PR-hungry runners benefit most from a coach who will rein in their enthusiasm and guide them in prudently progressing their training towards their big goal. A coach will outline a gradual yet steady progression to successfully and safely advance you from where you are to becoming the athlete you strive to be.

If you tried yet did not succeed to PR in recent races despite training, a running coach can help you break out of your plateau by creating an individual plan to strengthen your weaknesses while still improving in your areas of strength. For example, if you continually missed a PR in the half despite numerous attempts, a coach might determine that you need to build speed and provide you with a plan that includes weekly speed workouts along with medium and long runs to enhance your strength of endurance.

Goal: Run Your First Marathon

How a Running Coach Can Help:

The process of selecting a training plan for your first marathon can be overwhelming. Options range from the Hansons program, which caps your long run at 16 miles, to the Run Less Run Faster program, which emphasizes cross-training. How do you know which one to choose? While the mass market marathon training plans certainly  have merit, a running coach will assess where your current fitness is and build a customized plan that will get you across the finish line injury free and with an enjoyable marathon experience.

Several unknowns can emerge during marathon training, as can doubts about the race and aches from training. E-coaching allows you to consult with your coach on a weekly or monthly basis to adapt the plan to your schedule and personal response to training. Additionally, a running coach will help you build your mental strength, determine an effective fueling and hydration strategy, and guide you through all of the little aspects of marathon training so you can focus on the race itself.

Goal: Shift Your Focus to a Different Distance

How a Running Coach Can Help:

Particularly if you have devoted numerous training cycles to the grueling marathon, you will experience progress and become a faster and stronger runner if you focus on a different distance for a while. Too much time spent training for just 26.2 miles will decrease your speed, so even marathon devotees seeking to PR will benefit from shifting their focus. Likewise, 5K and 10K runners will increase their endurance by focusing on a different event.  However, if you’ve spent the past several years training for only one particular race distance, training for a different distance can seem foreign and intimidating.

A coach can help you transition from your current distance of speciality to a new distance in a manner that will foster your success while preventing injury. If you haven’t run speed work at anything faster than your 10K pace in years and watch to train specifically for a 5K, then a coach will outline a progression of workouts to prepare your mind and body for the near-maximum pace of a 5K race. Likewise, if you are returning from short races to long distance events, a coach will know how to improve your endurance without sacrificing your hard-earned speed.

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My coaching services emphasize sustainability, lifelong running, goal setting and achievement, and individualized training plans to foster you both mentally and physically as a runner. No matter what your running goal is, I want to help you achieve it. I firmly believe there is no goal too big or too small and that by running your personal best, whatever that may be, your accomplishment will positively impact all other areas of your life.

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I’ll be linking up with Jill for Fitness Friday! 

Have you worked with a running coach before?
Where do you see the need for improvement in your running? 

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48 Responses

  1. I definitely agree that there are so many benefits to working with a coach! The biggest thing for me was having someone else manage my training and make many of the decisions that I usually find myself stressing out over. I think sometimes we can get so wrapped up in our training that it can be difficult to see the big picture or recognize when something needs to change.

    1. That definitely is another great reason to hire a coach! It helps so much to have someone else look at our training. I’m trying out self-coaching right now (almost using myself as a client study) and can already see how valuable that feedback and conversation must be.

    1. That’s a great goal to have! I ran my first marathon this year and it is an incredible experience and amazing sense of accomplishment. I have a whole “Marathon Monday” series on the blog if you need tips!

    1. A first race is so exciting! You’re so smart to begin with the 5K and work your way to a half – that’s a definite plan for success! I’m going to be posting tips in January on preparing for your first 5K and half, so be sure to check back whether you win or not 🙂

  2. I would like to run my first marathon in 2016! When I started running, I always said I would never run a marathon, but I’ve progressed from the 5K to the 10K to the half and now it doesn’t seem like such a crazy idea.

    1. A first marathon is a great goal to have! I said the same thing when I started running, that I would never run one, and I ran my first last year! It is a truly life-changing experience and if you’ve done a half, you can certainly train for and run a marathon!

  3. I have never worked with a running coach before but I can definitely see the value in doing so! I would like to get faster (doesn’t every runner? Ha!). My pace has increased a lot since I first started running 2 years ago but I would like to get faster for sure!

    1. A coach is a great way to get faster! I definitely do think every runner wants that, to some extent or another – it’s always one of my goals. I know you can increase your pace a lot – you have lots of faster miles coming for you after your base building!

  4. Loving this post, Laura! With so many free training plans floating around, I think most runners don’t see why they should hire a running coach. Thanks for this awesome detailed explanation! Hopefully more runners will heed your advice!

    1. Thank you so much, Beth! I agree – I really think that the free training plans, while good, can lead a lot of runners to not enjoy the sport or get injured because running requires so much personalization!

  5. I want to PR in either the half or the full (or both!) and I think I could definitely use some guidance to help me set an efficient schedule! My overall goal is to build strength and speed.

    1. Those are great goals – PRing in the half and full are my goals for the year as well 🙂 A coach will definitely set you up with an efficient schedule and help you build both your strength and speed!

  6. Love your post. My first goal in working with a coach would be to break my year-long cycle of injury and overtraining. A nice added bonus of a PR would be great too 🙂

    1. Thank you, Brooke! A coach will definitely help you with that goal – part of my training philosophy (and many certified coaches) is sustainable and smart training. And a PR is always nice as well 🙂

    1. Oh, that’s so cool that you’re doing Lake Sammamish half! Have you run it before? This is my first year running it. A coach is great for adding variety to training 🙂

  7. I have never really thought about all a running coach could do for me. I really thought it was for the elite athletes and not some girl who decides to run a few miles. Thanks for the great article!

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