You Need a Coach!

Posted by Filed Under: Training

running coachNo, i’m not talking to that elite, speedy group over there bouncing on their tip-toes or the genetically predisposed lining up at the front of every race i’ve ever been to. No, I’m talking to you, the mid-packers, the back-of-packers and the i’d-rather-be-watching-the-greenbay-packers. Yes you. You need a coach.

But forget the traditional coach/client model and step outside the box with me. I’m talking about coaches from a partner perspective, and in that vein, coaches can take many shapes, sizes and forms. But there is one common thread among the type of coach that I’m talking about: Accountability.

Your Coach, Your Accountability Partner
Your coach can be the leader of your local running group, that friend that joins you each and every day at zero-dark-thirty in the morning for pre-dawn workouts or that grizzled running veteran that gives you tips every time you stretch together after a tough workout. In a more formal sense, it can be the guy you found in the local paper advertising bootcamp workouts or the gal you met online who sends you your weekly training plan. The key is, though, that you’re partnering with someone.

That partner relationship with your “coach” can be a vital component of your motivation. Not only are you running for yourself, but now you have another person’s eyes on your training. It is easy to make excuses, skip workouts and skimp on harder training when you go about your training plan solo. You’ll find that often times, the days that you just don’t want to lace up the shoes or hop on the bike, you’ll hear the voice of your coach, mentor or partner gently (or not so gently in the case of Hans und Franz) in the back of your mind, coaxing you on. And in some cases, that will be the tipping point; the accountability to that partnership.

So, identify your coach, step into that partner relationship and get the rewards that additional accountability for your fitness will bring. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll be able to do when other people have their eyes on your training.

About Jeff Smith

Initially running to escape his two younger sisters, Jeff has been running as far back as he can remember. Through high school, the Marines and Super Hero Training School, Jeff kept at the left-right-left right but without focus. In 1999 he stepped up to the challenge of organizing a running group, began informal coaching and applied some goals to his own running. Now with several respectable distances and times under his belt, he spends most of his time running for the pure joy of it, encouraging other runners to tap into their potential, saving kittens stranded in trees and helping the elderly cross the street.

  1. A Passion for Running » the amazing hip in an amazing new role on August 30th at 6:05 am

    […] Go check out Jeff’s debut CRN article. Do you need a coach? […]

  2. 21stCenturyMom on August 30th at 7:23 am

    Truer words were never spoken. When I first started running I ran with a group of women and by trying to keep up with them got faster and could handle more distance a lot faster than I could have done on my own. I joined the masters team I swim with specifically so that if I started skipping practice people would wonder where I was and I would have to account for not showing up. I would NEVER have signed up for a metric century on my bike were it not for my biking buds. Coach, training partner, team, whatever… everybody needs one. Word up!

  3. Jessica on August 30th at 7:42 am

    I couldn’t agree more since I recently got a coach too 🙂 I also think it has helped my running tremendously to coach new runners who are training for their first Half Marathon.

  4. bex on August 30th at 11:34 am

    I’ve been a volunteer coach for my local running club’s 10K training program. Had both good and not-so-good experiences. I’m in a marathon-training program now, but my coach is persona non grata, pretty much.

    So I would love to have someone really coach me.

  5. waddler26.2 on September 1st at 4:41 am

    I never thought as slow as I run about a coach. I see how a coach makes a huge difference in accountability.

  6. jank on September 1st at 12:07 pm

    The other takeaway here is to BE a coach. Much like 90% of life is being there, think of how much of a difference you can make in someone else’s running simply by holding them accountable.

  7. david on September 10th at 10:29 am

    I coach myself using a studied training program. I bet another person could prod me to do better, harder and faster but then I’d be elite and not have time to blog.
    btw – when did you discover upper cases?

  8. thodarumm on September 28th at 10:42 am

    When I was in school, I never worried about missing classes or not paying attention to the teacher because I always felt that I could read from the text book and I had no problem with that approach. But when it comes to running, it is a whole another ball game. I realized what a difference it made when I ran with my long-distance coach in my ear and since then running is such a joy to me. I would not even be reading this blog but for the passion this coach provided me ( and now I am here every day. Thanks guys! 🙂