How to Choose the Perfect Running Coach for Your Fitness Goals

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Cross Training For Runners
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David Dack

Ready to lace up your shoes and hit the road? Running is undoubtedly one of the most convenient and liberating sports out there. All it takes is a pair of trusty running shoes, and you’re off to explore the world with every stride.

But let’s face it – as exciting as it may be, running isn’t always a smooth sprint. As you dive deeper into your training journey, you might encounter performance plateaus, nagging injuries, or those days when motivation seems to take an unexpected vacation.

But fear not! There’s a secret weapon to help you conquer these hurdles and unlock your full running potential – a running coach!

Whether you’re a beginner venturing into the running world or a seasoned marathoner chasing that elusive PR, a qualified running coach can be your guiding star.

Now, I know what you’re thinking – “Isn’t a running coach just for elite athletes?” Absolutely not! A running coach is your personal running guru, the expert who can fine-tune your technique, tailor a training plan to fit your unique needs, and keep you on track to crush your running goals.

Curious to know how to find the perfect running coach to join you on your journey? Well, you’re in luck! In today’s article, I’ll spill the beans on my best guidelines and tips for choosing the right running coach, no matter your fitness level or aspirations.

Ready to dive in? Let’s lace up and get started!

What is A Running Coach?

Alright, my fellow runners, let’s talk about the mysterious creature known as the “running coach.” You might be picturing some mythical figure reserved only for the elite athletes, but trust me, that couldn’t be further from the truth!

In reality, a running coach is your very own running Yoda, guiding you towards the path of running greatness. Think of them as your personalized GPS, helping you navigate through the twists and turns of your running journey.

Now, what exactly does a running coach do? Well, they’re not just your cheerleader on the sidelines. These coaches are bona fide experts, having aced exams on everything from the inner workings of human performance to the science of nutrition and biomechanics. Impressive, right

But here’s the exciting part – they’re not just here to spew out textbook knowledge. Oh no, they’re all about the personal touch! Whether it’s through face-to-face sessions or virtual catch-ups on Skype or email, these coaches provide customized workouts, expert advice, and even race strategies tailored just for you.

And guess what? Their level of support can be as diverse as your favorite running playlist! From basic training programs that match your fitness level to in-depth guidance on diet, cross-training, and stretching – they’ve got it all covered.

Oh, but there’s more! These running gurus even offer weekly check-ins to make sure you’re staying on course. It’s like having your very own running BFF, only one who’s armed with a wealth of knowledge!

Now, you might be wondering if a running coach is the right choice for you. Let me tell you, my running comrades, there are plenty of reasons to give it a shot! Working with a coach means having a mastermind behind your training plan, carefully tailored to your unique needs and goals.

Imagine the confidence that comes with having a plan designed just for you – one that considers your fitness level, dietary habits, and personal preferences. It’s like having a secret weapon to unleash your true running potential!

But hey, don’t just take my word for it. Stay with me, and I’ll share more reasons why a running coach can be a game-changer for your running journey. Plus, I’ll spill the beans on how to find the perfect coach who’ll take your running dreams to soaring heights.

Design A Proper Plan

Here’s the truth. Having a running coach is like having your very own running wizard crafting a special potion just for you!

Think about it: you wouldn’t tackle a treasure hunt without a map, right? Well, the same goes for your running journey. Having a coach by your side means having that personalized roadmap to help you reach those performance goals you’ve been dreaming of.

This plan is the key to unlocking your running potential in the safest, most systematic way possible. You won’t be flying blind like a rogue superhero, oh no! With your coach’s guidance, you’ll know exactly where each step takes you.

Personalized Plans

Now, let’s talk about those generic plans floating around the internet like old legends. Sure, they might work for some, but they’re as bland as a plain oatmeal cookie.

They don’t consider your unique fitness level, dietary preferences, and running history – all the juicy details that make you, well, YOU!

But when you enlist a coach, they become your running confidant. They’ll dive deep into your running life story, learning all about your hopes, dreams, and past conquests. Armed with this knowledge, they’ll brew up a training program tailored precisely to your needs.

Improved Performance

Improving your running performance is all about improving on a number of performance variables such as lactate threshold, maximum oxygen consumption, running speed, and running economy, running technique—just to mention a few.

That’s a lot to cover.

I know.

A coach can help you improve in these vital areas, speeding up your progress.

Hold You Accountable

Getting good at running takes time.

To see results, you’ll have to commit yourself for the long term.

Results don’t happen overnight, in weeks, or even in a few months.

Consistency makes running goals a reality, and a qualified coach can help be more consistent with your training as they’ll play a key role in keeping your spirit high, especially during low moments of training.

The Downsides of Having A Running Coach

Okay, let’s talk real talk, my fellow runners! Hiring a running coach can be a bit like splurging on a fancy feast when you’re on a tight budget.

It’s like having a delicious cake right in front of you, but your wallet’s crying out, “Hold up, buddy!”

You see, running coaches, like elite wizards of the track, can come with a price tag that might raise an eyebrow or two.

It’s not just a few coins we’re talking about here; it can be upwards of $200 a month! Now, that’s enough to make any runner’s heart skip a beat, isn’t it?

Sure, it’s hard to justify spending that much when you’re not earning a fortune from your love of running. It’s like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole – it just doesn’t quite add up!

But fear not, my fellow adventurers, for there’s light at the end of this budgetary tunnel.

You see, hiring a coach doesn’t have to be a “fairy godmother turns a pumpkin into a carriage” kind of situation.

It doesn’t mean your bank account will be screaming for help! It’s all about finding the coach who suits your financial kingdom.

Think of it like this – there are coaches out there for every kind of runner, just like different classes of heroes in an epic tale.

Some might ask for a princely sum, while others are more budget-friendly, like a trusty steed waiting for you to saddle up.

Now, I’ve got a piece of sage advice for you: do your research, just like a skilled detective on a thrilling case.

Find the coach whose style matches your needs and your treasure chest. Remember, this is your journey, and you’re the captain of your running ship!

How Much Does A Qualified Running Coach Cost?

Alright, my running comrades, let’s talk about the magic number that often leaves us scratching our heads: How much does a qualified running coach cost?

Now, brace yourselves, because there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this riddle. It’s like trying to solve a puzzle without all the pieces!

The cost of a running coach is as varied as the colors of a vibrant rainbow, and it all depends on the level of services and experience they bring to the table.

You see, there’s no secret formula or hidden treasure map that leads to a single answer. It’s like navigating through a maze without a compass!

The cost can range from around $70 to $100 USD a month, give or take. But wait, there’s more! Some coaches charge even higher, like a king’s ransom, while others are more budget-friendly, like a treasure trove just waiting to be discovered.

So, it’s a matter of what you’re willing to invest in your running journey and how much booty you’ve got in your treasure chest.

Remember, this isn’t just about money, but about finding the right level of support and guidance you need to conquer the running realm.

But wait, I’m not done yet!

Let me share my personal opinion, and yes, I’m a little biased, but hey, it’s worth shouting about!

I strongly recommend considering a running coach – believe me, their value is worth its weight in gold!

Now, let’s address the elephant on the track – what if you can’t afford a running coach?

Don’t let that deflate your running dreams! There’s still hope, my friends! There’s a whole virtual world out there, like a digital enchanted forest, filled with online resources and running apps that can lend you a helping hand!

How To Choose A Running Coach

Now let’s get to the nitty-gritty part: how you can actually pick the right running coach.

Know Your Needs

Now, before you embark on this journey, there’s one crucial thing to keep in mind – your fitness level and training goals.

It’s like plotting your course on a treasure map! Where you are now and where you want to reach is the X that marks the spot!

Forget about getting lost in the sea of details, my friends, because that’s just a foggy mist that can cloud your vision. Let’s be real – hiring an Olympic-level running coach might sound as tempting as finding the mythical pot of gold, but it’s not always the right path for everyone.

The truth is, you need a coach who not only boasts qualifications but also truly understands your needs and caters to your fitness level. It’s like seeking a wise mentor who knows the enchanted forest like the back of their hand!

So instead of aiming for the stars, let’s keep our feet grounded on the trail and look for someone who’s been there, done that, and knows the challenges beginners face.

Your coach should be like a trusty guide who can help you overcome those obstacles standing between you and your dreams.

As a fledgling runner, your coach will be your greatest ally, helping you with everything from setting those running goals – like marking an “X” on the map – to finding the perfect gear that suits you like a knight’s armor.  They’ll even show you the ropes of different runs, like a master swordsman teaching you various sword-fighting techniques!

But wait, there’s more! Your coach will lend you a magical hand in improving your running technique, like a wizard perfecting his spellcasting!

And they won’t stop there! They’ll even sprinkle fairy dust on your diet to make sure you’re fueling your adventures with the right potions.

So, don’t worry, my fellow adventurers! You’re not alone in this quest. There are plenty of running coaches out there who specialize in guiding newbies like you on the right path. You just have to set your compass in the right direction and be determined to find them!

Check Online

The best place to start your search for a running coach is online.

Here are a few online resources to check out:

  • The Road Runners Club of America website ( By clicking not the “Find A Coach” page and choosing your state, you can have instant access to certified running coaches in your area.
  • Road Runners Club of America – look through their database for RRCA accredited trainers.
  • USA Track and Field – The best source for USATF-certified coaches
  • Training Peak – a treasure trove database of certified coaches.

Ask The Right Questions

It’s key to invest enough time (before investing money) researching and identifying running coaches whose expertise matches your needs and goals.

Once you narrow down your list to a few candidates, reach out to them and start a conversation about their background and their training mindset to help you determine which one is more compatible.

To ensure you’re making the right decision, ask the following questions to potential candidates (remember, you’re the boss).

  • What’s your background as a coach?
  • What’s your coaching philosophy?
  • Can I meet you in person?
  • How do you motivate your runners?
  • How do you write training goals?
  • How do you set running goals?
  • What are your rates?
  • Do you offer packages?
  • What’s included and not included in the coaching packages?
  • What’s your schedule?
  • Do you have experience with cross-training?
  • Do you know how to pick the right shoes and gear?
  • Do you have a background in exercise science?

Check The Qualifications

If you’re on the hunt for a running coach, you want someone who’s got the expertise to truly take you to the next level. You wouldn’t want to end up with the wrong coach who might end up doing more harm than good, right?

Imagine this: hiring the wrong coach is like setting sail with a captain who’s never navigated the waters before. Not only would you waste your precious time and money, but you might also find yourself stranded on a deserted island of disappointment.

So, how do you avoid such a misadventure? Well, let’s chart a course to find the perfect running coach for you!

First up, the coach’s background. Picture this as the captain’s log of their running journey. You’ll want to delve into their history, check out their experience, and see if their expertise aligns with your personal needs and goals. It’s like finding a running buddy who knows all the best trails and shortcuts for your specific destination.

A good clue to a coach’s credibility is if they are accredited by reputable organizations like the RCCA and USA Track and Field (USATF). Think of these accreditations as endorsements from fellow adventurers, vouching for the captain’s sailing skills.

Ah, but wait! Don’t set sail just yet. We need some testimonials from past travelers who’ve embarked on this coaching journey. Testimonials are like postcards from the summit, proving that the coach has guided others to success. When you come across a coach whose testimonials mirror your aspirations, you’ve struck gold! It’s like finding a treasure map that leads straight to your goals.

Now, remember, this coaching voyage is a partnership, and trust is the North Star that guides you both. Without trust, it’s like trying to sail without a compass; you might end up lost at sea, unsure of which way to steer. So, ensure that you feel a strong connection with your coach, someone you can confide in and rely on.

Ahoy, style matters too! Picture this: You’re a seasoned sailor who knows the seas well, and your coach is like the navigator on your ship. If your coach insists on a six-day voyage, but you know you can only handle three, that’s a red flag. Your coach’s style should perfectly align with your sailing schedule, considering your experience and injury history.

Go Online

One option in case you couldn’t find a coach to work with one on one to embrace the digital age and find one online.

Sure, an online running coach won’t provide you with the same hands-on guidelines and supports as an in-person coach can, but it beats not having a coach at all.

How to find A Running Coach – The Conclusion

There you have it.

Today’s short article offers you the basic guidelines you need to help you understand why running coaches are important, as well as how to choose the right one for you.

Here’s the thing.

I believe that runners of all levels can benefit from the guidance, motivation, and accountability that comes with hiring a running coach.

Sure, not every runner NEEDS a coach, but having one is a great training tool.

Keep in mind that there are a lot of options out there, and you don’t have to feel married to any running coach.

Look at what you want to improve, your budget, and start sifting through for your ideal coach.

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