Many runners, seasoned or new, will ask themselves this question. There are many reasons an individual may consider investing in a coach. Maybe they are looking for accountability, chasing a PR or just looking to learn more about the sport. Regardless of the reason there certainly are pros and cons to hiring a coach.
While I do not have professional experience as a coach, I have had experience working with coaches in the past. I have had good experiences and bad experiences. Ultimately the decision to hire a coach is up to you as an individual; I hope that this little bit of knowledge can help you make a decision that is best for you.
Arguably your coach can make or break your coaching experience. Personally, I have had good and bad experiences. Recently a poor experience left me canceling a coaching service. One would expect as prestigious (and well known) coaching service to offer a solid coaching experience. So it came as a shock to me when that was not the case.
Since modifying my workouts on my own I have been having much more success. But, don’t let that single experience steer you from hiring a coach. I only include it only to help bring awareness to the poor coaching methods out there. And I cannot caution enough how important it is to be an advocate for yourself.
Listed above are a few of my favorite running books. These books are packed full of useful information. Whether you hire a coach or not, these books will be beneficial to your training and success as a runner. (Note: clicking links will take you to the Amazon website)
There are different options for hiring a coach. Coaches can be hired online or in person. There is a plethora of online coaches and seem to be the most common coaching as of late. Online coaching is convenient since you don’t need to live in an area close to your coach. Generally online coaches are (a little) more affordable that having a coach in person. Prices for coaches range anywhere from $50 to $200 depending upon their experience, services offered, or if they are online or not.
The Pros of Hiring a Coach
- You will learn proper running methods: Coaches can help you learn proper training methods. Sure you can certainly do research on your own regarding training, but there is something that is nice about an experienced coach guiding you through a training program.
- Guide you through training to meet new goals: Sure you can certainly do research on your own regarding training, but there is something that is nice about an experienced individual guiding you. Often times they will know the best way to approach a new goal, resulting in greater success of reaching that goal.
- Avoid a the dreaded plateau: When training the plateau is all too real. It often can leave runners feeling helpless with little evidence of improvements. This can be discouraging especially when chasing a PR. A coach can help runners navigate this plateau and overcome it.
- Preparation for race day: Being properly prepared for race day will both increase chances of success as well as have you feeling more confident heading into the race. This can mean all the difference between a personal best and a did not finish.
The Cons of Hiring a Coach
- It is Costly: Even the affordable options can be really pricey. Coaching on average is anywhere from $50 to $200 per month, with the average being roughly $125/130. Often there is a contract that obligates you to at least 4 months to a year depending upon the coaching service. This adds up. 12 months worth of coaching for $120 adds up to $1,400. Which is a lot of money.
- You may not always benefit from one: All too often coaches teach us things that we are fully capable of learning on our own. There are many reputable sources out there to learn all things related to running. If you are an individual who is self motivated and disciplined you may not need to hire anyone to teach you what you can already learn on your own. This is especially true when training for a distance that is familiar to you.
- Time commitment: Hiring a coach can be a huge time commitment. Assigned workouts may not fit into your schedule easily and if your coach lacks understanding of your other obligations then forget it. It can be overwhelming. If you do end up deciding to hire a coach make sure you find one that is understanding and willing to work with your schedule.
- You might actually be more successful on your own: This ties into a point I made earlier, but with a slightly different spin. There are just some people out there that thrive going solo. They are fully capable to taking charge of their own training and for them having a coach can result in more harm than good.
Hopefully this will help you make the best possible decision regarding coaching. Ultimately this is YOUR decision, so I encourage you to spend time doing the research. Ask fellow runners, read reviews and compare coaching options.
Feel free to reach out if you have any questions. Happy running everyone!
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