The best way to train is with a team. This is one of the reasons high school and collegiate runners are so successful. The structure that a team provides cannot be replaced. The day to day interaction and monitoring is priceless to each athlete striving to achieve their full potential. Unfortunately, not many runners have this option because many of us are beyond our high school and college days.
So, what can you do to improve? You can hire a running coach to meet you three to four times a week. If you’re gonna hire a qualified and reputable coach, expect to pay a lot for this sort of individual attention. You can join a local running club which may help get you out the door, but may not offer the specific feedback you are looking for.
Have you considered an online running coach? The name alone sounds so impersonal and distant but if you find the right coach, this can really help to get you in top form. Go ahead and type in “online running coach” in a google search and you’re sure to find hundreds of people. So, where do you start? How do you know who’s best for you? Here are a few tips to help you sift through the coaches out there?
- Local or global – Decide if you want to work with a coach in your area or perhaps a nationally renowned running coach.
- Communication style – Whoever you choose, make sure they are effective communicators. Specifically, are they responsive to your questions? A great way to measure this is when you first contact a coach take notice of how long it takes for them to get back to you. Since this is going to be an online relationship, I would suggest sending an email letting them know your intent. If it takes four or five days for them to get back to you, expect this sort of delay when you have questions as their athlete. Is this what you want?
- Depth of communication – Some coaches only allow one email per week and one phone call per month while others may allow unlimited calls and emails. Inquire about what the monthly coaching fee would inlcude.
- Reputation – Google the name of your potential online running coach. What do the search results say? You can learn a lot about a potential coach by doing a little independent research.
- Connection – If you don’t feel a connection with your online coach during your first conversation, hang up the phone and scratch them off of your list.
- Results – What level of runners has this coach worked with? Ask. If they have only worked with elite runners and you’re a middle of the pack age grouper, then they may not be the right fit. Look for variety in the level of runners they have worked with.
Choosing an online running coach is not something you should rush into. Take the time to talk to a number of potential caoches before making your decision.