A blog by runners. For runners.

Training with a running coach

signing-up-for-a-running-coachWhen I left off, I was looking up training plans and trying to figure out what method might work best for my big half marathon PR goal. As luck would have it, I got an email that very day from our local running shop about a 16 week training program offered by a local coach. At first, I dismissed it because I thought it was for beginners (16 weeks is a long plan if you’re already running the distance!). But when I read the fine print, I realized it was also intended for more seasoned runners looking to achieve faster times.


You see, I was never in athletics growing up. I signed up for track my senior year of high school, but theater and music festivals (not like Bonaroo, think more PA Regional Chorus) took over and I never made it to a single practice. I’ve never been coached in, well, anything related to running or any other sport. Ever. I even pride myself on being a completely self-made athlete.

Still, I’ve always wondered if coaching could be a secret weapon of sorts. All the training schedules I’ve completed in the past have been generalized free plans. I did the workouts to the best of my ability, not really knowing if what I was doing was right or wrong. And nothing has ever been catered specifically to my background or goals — so all my workout paces were just best guesstimates. Most of all, I’ve never talked to a real life professional about my aspirations, form, or nutrition.

So, I went to the info meeting to find out more. The group I discovered was a varied bunch of absolute beginners and more experienced half marathoners. After some Q and As, I decided to sign on and see if coaching might help take me to the next level. If coaching might help me cross the finish line faster. If coaching might teach me something about myself as a runner. I’m all for growth.

We were instructed to fill out a form about our running history, our goals, strengths and weaknesses, medical conditions, and training preferences (like days per week, mileage, cross-training focus, etc.). From there, we met again. Now? We are all going to start a few weeks of ramping up base mileage before we receive our tailored 12-week plans. Already I’m intrigued because we’re focusing on minutes versus miles, which is something I haven’t done before.

I’m looking forward to sharing more with you about my experiences and progress with this program. I’m hoping at very least it will help me with motivation. We’ll be submitting daily training logs, so I’m going to be held accountable for each and every run on my schedule. As a runner who struggles with completing all workouts, this should be interesting!

Have you ever tried a coaching program? What was your experience?

Written by  Ashley Marcin.