Is a running coach worth it? Image of the start of a 100m sprint track

Is a running coach worth it?

How a coach can help your running

In this post we address a question that comes up regularly from our customers: is a running coach worth it?

Knowing what you want to achieve is the first step.

  • Are you training for a specific event or distance?
  • Do you need to work on your form?
  • Are you coming back from injury?
  • Do you just need to get your running mojo back?

If you’re actively looking for, or considering a coach, then the chances are you already have a good idea of where you need to improve.

Whatever your reasons, there are two broad areas where a coach can help you achieve your running goals. These are:

  • motivation
  • performance

A coach is a great source of motivation

Boosting your motivation mojo is the most common reason to engage a running coach.

From a motivation prospective a coach is a guide who will personalise a training plan for you. They will take time to understand your development needs and adjust the plan to fit into your life.

Many have used couch to 5k with great successes, but the extra help from a coach can be the difference.

Knowing a few motivation coaches personally, they really do have the rare ability to truly motivate.

It’s their happiness with a “come on you’ll be fine” style, without being pushy, and a personality to encourage. It’s the “I’ll hold your hand” verbal support and presence, not physical. Your success is almost a gift to them which is why you should use a running coach to get you up and moving.

I call them motivation coaches, but in actual fact many people also see improved performance a result of increased running thanks to boosted motivation. Win win win!

Focusing on performance with your running coach

The performance side of coaching is more complex.

Pretty much any one can be given an “off the peg” training plan or advice from the internet to improve their running. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this and it’s a great starter. However, this isn’t going to cut it if you want to find your true best performance.

The science of coaching is about understanding the individual’s physiology. Since the 60’s and Arthur Lydiard the godfather of training for running, the science of running has moved on in leaps and bounds.

In a nutshell: training is about going out running, producing a stress response and recovering to give improvement.

The problem lies when the stress volume of running (frequency, intensity, and duration) doesn’t balance with the recovery time required. If the recovery required is too long to then train again once adaptation has occurred, you won’t see the performance benefits.

Most high performing elite runners will follow a rough 80/20 plan where 80% of their training is easy and 20% is hard. This format is based in the idea that the higher the volume of running, the better you perform.

However, to run fast you need to be running fast consistently. And if you’ve been running too much, too fast your body won’t have recovered. Which means you won’t be fresh enough to perform at speed in the hard training runs and thus won’t run fast. The phrase is of that is ‘junk miles’.

A knowledgeable running coach can help you with a performance plan that suits you and your physiology. Your coach will make sure your training and recovery is balanced for your body. Which means you’ll reach your own personal peak performance faster than you would with an off the peg plan.

Leicester running coaches

So if you’re looking to work on your running motivation and / or performance, here are five running coaches in Leicester which we hear about regularly.

Runday

Runday is based in Syston, Leicestershire and Michelle Findon is Mrs Runday.

If you’ve never run before, haven’t run in a while, or love to run but want some guidance, accountability and a plan to help you get to where you want to be, then Runday is for you.

Times available: 9 to 5 Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and evenings Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Website: www.runday.co.uk

Kickstart with Kristy

Kickstart with Kristy is a Leicester city based running coach who often trains in Victoria Park.

Kristy is a UKA qualified run leader, with a full DBS check and is regularly involved with Braunstone Park Run. If you’re looking for help to get moving and get confident then she’s your woman.

From 1st May she’s starting a get fit for summer couch to 5k.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kickstartwithkirsty

Email: kjhaywood1@sky.com

MH Health and Fitness

Martin is a both performance and motivation coach based in Wigston.

Motivation, support and education are needed to put all the pieces of health and fitness jigsaw together and Martin is here to help you reach your fitness goals.

Martin understands how to use the science of training to produce outstanding results.

Website: https://www.mhhealthandfitness.co.uk/

Buggyfit

Buggyfit is running coaching by Lizzy Jones and, as the name suggests, focuses on running mums. Lizzy is based at Manor Road, St Margret’s, or wherever you like!

Being a Buggyfit mum is a fantastic way to regain fitness as well as meet like-minded women.

Website: https://www.lizziejones-pt.com/buggyfit

Mark Perry Coaching

Mark Perry Coaching offers performance coaching to road-runners who are looking for improved performance at 5k, 10k, Half Marathon and Marathon race distances.

Website: https://www.trainingpeaks.com/coach/optimal-running

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Rob Pullen
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