Sometime in 2009, I made a blog post about running coaches. What they do, who enlists for their services and who really needs one if ever. In the light of my running-comeback, I have resumed my training with one of my former coaches: licensed and certified running coach, member of Rio dela Cruz’s coaching staff, national athelete and a former SEA Games Gold Medalist and RP Record holder for the 800m run, John Lozada.
With more than a week’s worth of training, I couldn’t help but remember about this post about running coaches. As many for sure are still new into recreational running but would really like to take running into a higher level, I would like to repost this to help everyone decide if they need a coach or not. By “COACH”, I am referring to the licensed and certified coaches whom you will need to pay for their services. So enough said, here was my post in it’s slightly unedited form:
RUNNING COACHES – DO WE REALLY NEED THEM?
posted at kulitrunner.wordpress.com on 8/21/2009
In one of my casual conversations with my non-running friends, I was asked these questions that up to now occasionally plays back on my mind. “Why are you hiring a coach to train you in running?”, ” Are you really hell bent to be a true-blue runner?”. Oh maybe, what they meant is that if I wanted to eventually become an elite runner out of the coaching I am getting.
I could have answered this question with a smile. But then it will not serve good justice to all my running coach friends. And besides, I have also heard the same nature of questioning asked to me by some runner acquaintances. Some will even go far as saying that running is a simple sport, you just have to lace up your running shoes and go. You don’t have to have anybody else to tell you how to run. You just well yeah, “run” and that’s it.
And there are on the other hand, others who see that running coaches are meant only for professional runner athletes or the elite athletes. I again remember when I and a number of running friends first signed up for running training – we kept it under wraps. We were not very vocal about it simply because we don’t want others to think that we have grand plans on being competitive elite runners that’s why we are training under a coach.
For me, I firmly believe that anybody can have the benefit of training with a running coach. It just boils down to a matter of choice. Here are some of my personal reasons why i opted to sign up for running coaching:
1. They help me understand running more. As I have come to like/love the sport. I realized that there is more to running that I really know of. As I immerse myself more into the sport, I want to be able to make informed decisions. And to be able to do this, I need to be able to have a full grasp of running as a sport, as a science. What is pronation? Why does it matter? Is there really a correct running form? Why do i have to be conscious of this when running? What is a pace and heart rate, do i really have to know these stuff? And a slew of a lot of things that will seem trivial to experienced runners but are overwhelming to beginner runners just as I was.
2. They help me reach my goal via a personalized training program. With the advent of internet technology, there are a lot of available running training programs available on the web for us to choose from. But then again, a customized program, designed based on my fitness and current abilities is still a whole lot better than a standard program designed to be followed by anyone.
3. They help me reach my running goals. Aside from the improvements brought about by the running program. They also see to it that the wrong habits or things that I have learned to do in running should be “unlearned”. As for me, I have been subjected (and still is) to various drills that help me correct my foot work and form. There are no cheats here, everything will go through the coach’s keen eye. In correcting my running habits and form together with the right program, they are making sure that I will be able to reach the goals i have set at the right time without the risk of injury.
4. They provide me enough amount of push and motivation. I have usually have downtimes. And when I do, I really will find ways, good alibis not to run or not to train. If I am doing this alone, I can just very well play into my sluggish feeling and loaf around. In other days, my running confidence will either be so low that I am on the verge of giving up or so high that my sights or targets are not practical or totally unwise. The coach helps me put things into proper perspective. They help me see the wisdom of things and provide just the right amount of encouragement, pat in the back and at times will also try to pull you and put you in your proper place.
5. They are a teacher and friend in one. Running coaches are like teachers for me. They never tire of answering my endless questions. At times inserting stories or personal experiences into the answer. Like teachers, they provide me the student also the right amount of discipline and play whenever it is needed. Best of all, I have earned myself another friend in running. Since we share the same interest and love of the sport (albeit on a different level), running is all the more fun with them around. With all the experiences on their sleeves, they share with me different things in running that I never knew before. It makes me appreciate running and training more.
I can go on and on with reasons for coaching that you might think that this is a marketing pitch. But since this is not, I will end it all from here and just say that you really have to experience it to believe me and appreciate them also.
For now, I always try to be diligent in training, always striving hard to attend each session faithfully because each one provides a different learning experience and running high.
As a final note, let me just also say that although what I have said may all be true, it still is not always exactly the same for everyone. Hiring a running coach is a matter of choice and financial certainty. You have to be ready financially (another running expense added to the budget), physically and surely, you need to be certain that you have the time and interest for it. When you do, I can tell you honestly that you will not regret it.