Hi Friends! As I said on Monday, my grandpa passed away last weekend, just before his 83rd birthday. Today I’m up in Washington for his funeral so I asked my friend Laura to step in and share a little bit about what she does. I’m so happy she put together this awesome post for you today so make sure you give her some love! She has some great tips and points that I would definitely add to what I wish I would have known before I started running.
4 Reasons to Work with a Running Coach
Have you considered working with a running coach? For years, I think we all used to assume that running coaches were only for elite athletes, or those with really big running goals. But that is no longer true. Every athlete, from beginner to professional, can benefit from the guidance of a coach.
1) Individualized training
Anyone can go online and search for a half marathon training plan or Boston qualifying training plan, but the more you search, the more you realize how many varying opinions there are on training. Some plans require 5-6 days of running while others claim you can run faster with only 3 days. Some include cross training while others focus only on running. Some incorporate tempo or interval runs, others include hill training. For all the variance in training plans, there is even more in each person training. Some thrive on higher mileage, others get injured and need more cross training or need to strengthen muscle imbalances to run stronger. A coach can help tailor a plan specifically to your fitness level, strengths and weaknesses and can give you feedback on racing strategies and realistic goals and pacing.
2) Train Smarter
Ideally, your training plan will include cycles that build intensity and cycles of rest. Within each training cycle, you also want to work difference systems for maximum results: your aerobic capacity, VO2 max, lactate threshold and endurance. A coach can ensure that you are training hard enough to see improvements but also getting enough rest and “easy” recovery paces to benefit from the hard training. A plan specific to you can incorporate race specific workouts based on your goals. You should train very differently for a 5k than for a half marathon as you focus on making your goal race pace comfortable and familiar.
3) Injury Prevention
I used to run 3-4 times per week, always about the same distance and the same pace and would add longer runs to train for a half marathon or other distance event. I also got injured frequently as I didn’t understand varying workout intensity over the course of the week or over the course of the year. Working with a coach can minimize injuries as you will have built in cut back weeks. A coach will ensure that you recover well after a race, rather than getting back out there as soon as you feel like you are ready. You also get a second opinion on any aches you may have so you can determine when to run through the discomfort and when it may be a pain that is going to turn into a larger problem if you don’t back off.
One of the best aspects of working with a coach is the accountability to your plan. You have to report back to someone other than yourself on what you did or didn’t do, what paces you held, and how you incorporated rest days or cross training. Everyone will improve when they are training consistently and a coach can give you the extra push you need to make sure the workouts happen. Even as a coach myself, I recognize the value in getting outside feedback on my training. There are many affordable options and it’s definitely worth looking into if you want to run your best!
Laura Peifer, MSW, is a Holistic Health Coach and Certified Running Coach who specializes in nutrition for runners, especially metabolic efficiency and the reasons that many women gain weight with endurance training. She blogs at www.mommyrunfast.com and offers nutritional guidance at www.laurapeifer.com.