Why Train With a Coach?

Chances are good that, if you’re here, you’re looking to improve your running.  Maybe you’re just getting started and are looking for more information.  Maybe you’re tired of following “cookie-cutter” programs found online and want to try something more advanced.  Whatever the reason, a personal coach may just be the answer you’re looking for.  For many athletes, working with a coach helps make the difference between just “training” and doing a focused workout with a specific goal in mind.  Here are seven aspects of coaching that athletes find to be most helpful for their training and keep them signing up for more.

1. Structure

This is often very difficult for most athletes.  Establishing a structured program that fits your needs and goals can be  confusing as there are many components to factor in.  Doing it alone can often leave you worrying if you’re doing something right or training too hard/not enough.  Having a coach figure out the intricate details takes away the stress and allows you to focus on your workout.

2. Accountability

A coach provides you one-on-one accountability.  Going it alone can sometimes lead athletes to miss key workouts or make poor decisions that don’t properly set them up to have a successful training session (happy hour anyone??)  Doing some of your training with a friend or group can also help hold you accountable.  Having a coach that’s following your progress and checking up on you can be highly effective.

3. Time Management

This is probably the most helpful aspect of having a personal coach.  Most athletes lead busy lives with work, family, and social obligations.  Adding in training can be difficult, so each session needs to count.  Having a coach set up a plan that’s personalized to your schedule, strengths, weaknesses, and goals ensures that no time is wasted at each session.

4. Lower the Chance of Overtraining/Injury

As an athlete progresses with their training, it can become hard for the athlete to learn to take needed rest days.  Athletes also have a biased perception of their overall health and well-being (either positive or negative).  Sometimes an athlete needs be “pulled back” in order to allow the body to rest and prevent an injury.  Coaches can do just that.  The also offer an outside perspective and monitor how much you’re training and how your body is responding.  A good coach will emphasize the importance of rest days and cross training to prevent injury.

5. Motivation

This goes back to having that accountability and someone to report back to. It doesn’t matter how you classify yourself as an athlete- it can be hard to be motivated sometimes! Daily training, from tempo runs to long endurance runs, can be extremely daunting. The mental side of endurance training is also often viewed as more difficult to work through.  Having a coach by your side to cheer you on can make all the difference to power through a bad day or tough session.

6. Provide Wisdom/Smarts

Nowadays there is a plethora of information out there- on the internet, in books, and from word of mouth.  All of this information can be overwhelming for an athlete, not to mention time consuming and confusing.  A coach who understands where you’re starting from, your background, and your goals can establish a clear path for you to follow and get the job done.  Coaches also share their experiences, provide impartial advice, and offer critical analysis of your training progress.

7. Coaches do the Thinking for You

A well-designed training plan takes a lot of things into consideration (power, fatigue, pace; overall training volume; weaknesses; etc)  This can be very overwhelming for an athlete to wade through, not to mention time consuming and confusing.  Leave the hard work and analyzing to your coach- that’s what we are here for!  This will not only save you time, but frustration too, and allow you to focus solely on your training sessions.

Dream big this year!  I encourage you to seriously consider working with a coach for your next event.  You will find so many more advantages than just the few listed above and will prove to be the smartest step you can make towards your next big goal!

Author: VaCarter

physical therapist, coach, runner, and coffee lover!

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