What to look for in a Running Coach
We want to start this blog off by just mentioning that we are in no way taking a dig at, or being disrespectful to other coaches out there. Nor are we trying to claim that we are better than any other coach. Our main priority as a coaching business is to help runners make an informed choice that is right for them, and this is what we're attempting to do with this post...
As a runner, you're constantly looking for improvements. Looking towards the best shoes, the best compression gear, maximising your nutrition, sleep & recovery. For some, this pursuit can lead them to working with a running coach. Someone who can develop a plan, get the most out of their training, see things from a calm & balanced point of view, and guide them towards the success they're after. But it can be difficult to decide which direction to go in. Which coach do you go with? Do I want to be a part of that team or another one? Whats different about them?
We sat down with our brilliant partners Coopah Running (@coopahrunning) to discuss what things people should look for in a running coach.
#1 - Experience
The first question you can ask yourself is "Are they are runner themselves?"
Now, we're not saying at all that you can't be a good coach if you aren't a runner. If you're a good coach, you're a good coach. An important aspect of a coach's job is to make key decisions at critical moments in a training plan or during race preparation. From our experience, it helps if the coach knows exactly how the athlete is feeling at that moment. It helps if the coach knows what the athlete will be going through during an interval session, how a tempo run feels, how the legs feel after a long run and how nervous you get leading into a race. We believe this is a huge benefit to both parties, you can never have too much experience and being able to call on that experience helps massively when designing a training plan and making key decisions.
#2 - Qualifications
This is quite an important one. Is the coach a qualified coach? Again, there will be great coaches out there who don't have an official qualification, but as with any profession, we think it's important that the qualification is there if people will be paying for a coaching service. Things to look for are UK Athletics (UKA) qualifications (or the relevant organisation in another country) as either a levelled athletics coach or a run leader - both involve passing a course where coaching knowledge and skills (specific to running) are developed and assessed. By having this qualification, you can be confident that the coach has been assessed on his or her ability to develop a training plan to target various fitness components, as well as their ability to deliver it to people competently.
#3 - Are they Athlete-Centred?
A coaching business is about the athletes, not the coach. In the current days of social media, there is a need to display a certain level of competence. Social media is available to highlight any success that the team has with its members, as well as inform people of the benefits of that particular team and provide content to help people - quick side note: we dislike the fact that social media plays such an important role, but recognise its need in order to connect with the running community. However a coach should always keep in mind that ultimately, the most important thing about their team is the athletes they coach. The coach is never bigger than the team and the ultimate goal is to help other people improve, not big themselves up. This is something we continually self-assess at NewEra. We never want it to be about us, but rather about the brilliant team we coach.
#4 - Current members
There is no better way to find out about a coach, than by asking current or previous members what its like. At NewEra, of course we like it when our current members recommend us to other people. However, we never want them to lie or sugarcoat anything. We want our members to be honest, to us and to other people. We want people to have as much information as possible so that they can make the best deci