By Marshall Pickard
Good question! I mean…come on, we all know how to run. Put one foot in front of the other, drive your arms, pick up your knees, increase your pace, and repeat. It’s so simple. Right?
The act of running, biking, and for some, swimming are relatively simple. We all know the how, but for most the why, when, and what are not so well defined. That’s where a personal coach comes into play and where I can make the difference.
A personal coach gives you the tools you need to succeed, improve, and meet your goals. And we are held accountable for your personalized training plan and progress.
Coaches aren’t just for experienced runners or athletes. They are meant to train newbies to the most experienced and everybody, no matter their fitness level, can gain something from an experienced coach.
Still not convinced, then let’s look at seven reasons why you should hire a coach.
1. A COACH PLANS JUST FOR YOU
There are a lot of plans and options out there. Just search Google running plans and you’ll see. But they are not created for the individual. They are generic and a one size fits all approach. So, yes you can use them, but they do not take into account for when you’re tired, sore, sick, miss a day or two, and much more. Instead, a good coach builds your plan based on your goals, fitness level, ability, and lifestyle. They listen to your feedback and adjust your plan accordingly. They modify and adjust based on injury, fatigue levels, and lifestyle changes. And, we do it all just for you! Thus, no hassle, no guesswork, and no fuss for you.
A coach holds you accountable. We make sure you are doing the workouts you are supposed to do. When you are your own coach it’s easy to cut a run short, hit the snooze alarm before an early morning swim, or say “I’ll just do that long ride tomorrow”. As a coach, it’s my job to hold you accountable for the training plan I created for you! Plus, when you pay someone to put together a long-term plan, you’re more likely to stick to it because you have a vested interest. Or as my father would say, “You have some skin in the game”.
A good coach is there to motivate and push you. For first-time or beginning athletes, a coach provides the necessary prodding to get you going and moving. For the more experienced, a coach will continue to push you to achieve and grow. Also, knowing that you have to report back to your coach and log workouts and tell them how it went provides incentive for you to complete the workout (plus this is what you’re paying for!). Harder workouts become manageable since your coach is essentially saying “I believe in you and I know you can do this”.
Goal are important. Without goals you have no plan. And, goals must be realistic. A coach communicates with you and helps you to set goals and push yourself to meet those goals. Plus, it is important to determine short-term and long-term goals. A new runner may want to someday run Boston — and that is a long-term goal that will be peppered with shorter goals such as finishing your first 5K and building from there. Finally, a coach will keep you on track to meet your goals and help you through setbacks so that you can continue to improve and grow.
5. MINIMIZE INJURIES
Injuries happen. There are many causes. Overtraining, improper form, poor strength foundation, upping mileage too quickly, and the list goes on. As a coach, I work with my athletes to make sure that injuries are kept to minimum or none at all. Proper coaching will not only minimize risks, but give you the feedback needed to help determine the cause of an injury and fix it. Some are as simple as changing sneakers and rotating shoes. Some are more complicated such as poor form. And if injuries do occur, your training needs to be modified and adjusted to prevent further damage while keeping you fit.
6. CHALLENGE YOU
Everyone needs to be challenged. Training can become stale and boring. This leads to discontentment and stagnation. A good coach will mix it up and stimulate you to push yourself to your limits. Challenges should be difficult, but not impossible. By challenging you to meet new goals and standards you will become better.
The first six reasons are incomplete without good feedback. Having a coach gives you someone to talk to and discuss your training. They can help you through the low points and celebrate the high points. Good feedback will also allow you and a coach to adjust your training plan as needed. Maybe the hard workout was too hard or you just had an off day. Talking to a coach will help you determine if it was the former or the latter and they can then alter future workouts based on an open and frank discussion. The key to any good relationship is communication and feedback. A good coach will provide both.