Finding the Right Running Coach For You

Updated: Oct 17



So, you’ve decided you want to start working with a running coach. There are a lot of coaches out there, which can make the choice far from easy. Finding a running coach can be quite a process - it is incredibly important that you find the right coach for YOU!


Below are some things I recommend you think about before finding a coach:


Figure out your “why”

Why do you want a running coach in the first place? Maybe you’ve hit a performance plateau, you no longer want to plan your training, you need some extra motivation, or you want to avoid some injury-causing practices in your training. This answer will look a little different for everyone, but it’s important you determine this so you can find a coach that will suit your needs.


Determine what it is you are looking for in a running coach

Do you prefer a strict- or enthusiastic-style coach? Do you want someone you can see in person? Do you want frequent feedback, or do you prefer a more hands-off approach? Some coaches offer “levels” - so depending on what plan you are on, the communication levels will vary. This comes down to personal preference for you, make sure you determine this ahead of time!


After deciding what it is you want, let the interviews begin! It is 100% okay to talk to multiple coaches to determine a good fit for you either via a video or phone call or in-person if you have the chance.


Here are some things to look out for when scouting and talking to potential coaches:


Coaching Style

Every coach is going to have their own style/philosophy, way of giving out training plans, communicating, and collaborating with you on your training. This is one of the coolest parts of the coaching world - there is someone out there for everyone! These are all things that should be discussed in your initial call.

Some related questions to ask:

  • What does coaching with you look like?

  • How often will we communicate?

  • How often will you look at and adjust my training plan?

Credentials/Qualifications

Not all coaches have certifications - there aren’t any requirements to be a running coach. Many of the greatest coaches in the world don’t necessarily have a “certification,” but certainly have other qualifications. Coaches should have a deep understanding of training science, and they can have this even if they do not have an advanced degree or certification. Do some research on your coach - these things will likely be listed on their website, but you can also ask about them in your interview.

Some additional questions to ask:

  • What do you do for continuing education?

  • How do you stay up-to-date with new training ideas/research?

Vibes

The chemistry/vibe you have with a coach matters - you want someone you can trust with your training and someone who you would feel comfortable confiding in with “life” if it impacts your training. This is something that you will probably be able to tell right away - if it doesn’t feel like it will be a good fit, it probably won’t be! This is why it is so important that you interview a coach ahead of time - ask them a lot of questions, and they should be willing to chat with you!

Some related questions to ask:

  • What is your philosophy and approach to training?

  • Do you have any expectations from your athletes?

Collaborations

I think this one often gets overlooked. Does the coach collaborate with any other individuals (other coaches, dietitians, etc.)? Collaboration is really important in the coaching world - if you come to your coach with a question that they don’t know the answer to, do they have other coaches they can turn to to get you an answer?

Some related questions to ask:

  • Do you have any coaching mentors?

  • Who do you turn to if you have questions?

Ultimately, do your research on coaches, but also go with your gut. A coach should be as invested in your training as they would be in their own training, if not more!

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