Should You Have a Running Coach?

My Bariatric Life Health Guide
  • Read part 1 of this series, "Five Minutes of Running Can Add Years to Your Life," 

    A little help is a good thing. It is useful in managing a situation that seems a bit bigger than we are, and it is a drop of emotional glue that binds us to another person in a meaningful way. If a person needs some help he or she should ask for it. The story is of course different if a person does not have a need. So then, do you have a need? Could you use some help? Perhaps a coach? 


    The need  for help is independent of a crisis. A person does not have to be in dire straits to reach out. He or she simply must have a need that he or she cannot fill alone and once that need is filled he or she is better for it. Some instuction and comaraderie can make a difference. 

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    A Running Coach

    There are certainly benefits to having a running coach. They can improve your form and technique and show you how to train properly. They can also design a personal program just for you to help you reach your goals, prepare for a race, and avoid injury. They are your personal cheerleader and can help you get through those rough spots that come with training.


    Coaches keep us motivated and consistent. They help us to warm up and cool down and draft programs that include training runs, warm-up drills, recovery activities, nutrition guidance, strength training, and race preparation. More than six million people work out with personal trainers.  


    Where to Find a Running Coach

    There are more than 700 certified running coaches nationwide, and the Road Runners Club of America is an excellent source for finding a certified running coach in your area. Local running specialty stores often offer clinic and workshops for distance runners, although the classes may not be conducted by certified coaches. 


    Your coach should be experienced and certified and a good match for your personality. The cost of a good coach varies regionally and by level of expertise. Online training can be more affordable. The apps Run Coach, Couch-to-5K, and Personal Running Trainer can provide help at little or no cost in finding affordable or free alternatives. 


    What to Look For

    Your coach should be credentialed by the Road Runners Club of America or the U.S. Track and Field Association and be certified in first aid as well.  A degree in physical education or some equivalent is preferred.


    They should have available references and a reasonable number of years as a coach. You should ask if he or she is a runner herself and what competitions has he or she entered. You should inquire about what services provided and the cost of those services. You should know by what means you will communicate with one another.  


    Find out if there is liability insurance and if there will be a signed contract involved. Finally, ask about coaching style to determine if there is a good match in personalities.   


    My final post in this series will address, The Biomechanics of Running: Improving Your Form. As always, check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program. 


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Published On: August 19, 2014