Should I Get A Running Coach?

Back in June, I stared at my computer screen, took a deep breath and quickly clicked before it really registered what I was doing. Yep, I gave away my money to put myself through the pain and joy of running my first marathon.

Ever since that fateful day, April 28, 2012 has danced a little jig in the back of my mind (are you picturing that in your head? I am). Every time a workout gets tough, I tell myself to suck it up because it’s going to be a lot more difficult down the road. Every time I feel a twinge in my knee, I launch into panic-mode because I cannot get injured before the marathon. After all, who wants to spend all that money and get all hyped up, only to not be able to run because of a reckless injury? Not. Me.

I don't want this to happen again.

Along with these thoughts comes the concept of a running coach. Someone to give me scheduled workouts, push me when I need it, and tell me when to rein it in. Because let’s face it, sometimes it’s just too damn difficult to listen to what your body is telling you. Sometimes you just need a real, live person telling you to chill out and get a little extra sleep because it will, in fact, help you on race day.

With the New York City Marathon coming up in just a few short days, and everyone talking about the famous race, my own marathon hasn’t been far from my mind. My training officially begins the day after Christmas (greeeeeat) and for the past few weeks I’ve been contemplating getting a running coach. Theodora recommended hers and if any of you read Ali’s blog, then you know Jon Cane is phenomenal.

Source

Today I stumbled upon this gem from the good ole’ New York Times, detailing the pros and cons of a running coach, from the perspective of the  author. I think it does a great job of showing both perspectives and it’s really made me start thinking more about getting one. Although I wish I could, I can’t justify shelling out the money to pay for Coach Cane’s expertise because well, I just don’t have that kind of extra money floating around. But I can possibly afford Theodora’s coach, or a few others that I’m considering.

When I really think about whether or not I should get one, I lean toward yes because I’m terrified of injuring myself. I’ve already gone through ACL and meniscus surgery once and that simply isn’t fun. I don’t want to do it again. And I’ve had this lingering hip pain for the last few weeks that makes me nervous. So if I had a coach, I’d like to think he or she would be able to give me advice about whether or not I’m being a wimp, and how to proceed. I also think I’d like a coach because well, I’m type-A and I really like having a schedule. If I have one that an expert made for me (eliminating the possibility of self-doubt in the development of say, my own plan), then I’m much more likely to stick with it because there’s no way I could report to that person without completing all that is required of me.

"I have this uncontrollable need to please people!"

Source

But on the other hand, there are a ton of resources available online and in books now. Are those good enough? What if I use Hal Higdon’s Novice training plan — is that personal enough? Will it get me to the finish line injury-free and in the best shape I can be to run my first 26.2? These are only a few of the questions bouncing around up there.

So now I’m asking you – read the NYT article, then jump back to the comments section and let me know what you think. Please weigh in! Would you get a running coach? Why or why not? Have you gotten a coach? Do you think it was a wise decision? Worth the money? What should I look for in a coach (other than expertise/education)? 

And if you’re in NYC and have used a coach that you like, please tell me who and where I can find their info!

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Posted on October 26, 2011, in Exercise, Goals, Racing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I actually had a similar thought the other day about a running coach. I think at the end of the day, I’ve ultimately decided not to do it. My work schedule can be extremely hectic and I think scheduling time with a coach would cause more stress than necessary. Also, (knock on wood), I have been injury free for some time. On the other hand, I haven’t done my research and my assumption is that a coach is pricey. I would love to hear what you decide!

  2. Having a running coach would make me feel more accountable and committed, if that makes sense. But I think I am a little cheap and wouldn’t want to shell out the money. I’ve done 3 marathons and know what works and what doesn’t work so I don’t think I, personally, would pay money for a coach. But that’s just me.

  3. I just came across your blog and catching up on the reads. I too have contemplated getting a coach but, I don’t have the money. I’m going to run solo and when I don’t feel like it or I’m babying and injury I’ll just fake it til I make it. Something about doing it yourself and succeeding really appeals to me.

  4. Samantha, I think you’d respond well to a coach, primarily because you are an excellent student. I also think you’d be able to clearly convey your objectives and find a good personality match. Preventing an injury alone seems worth it, especially given your history. Also, because money is a consideration, you could plan on having a coach for a set period of time — a year, say. If it works out, great. If not, you have something to write about 🙂

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