Why I hired a running coach (and you should too)

I’m probably not your typical candidate for needing a coach. I brought my half marathon time from 2:13 in 2012 down to 1:36 in 2016 all by myself. I cut 29 minutes off between my first and second marathons sans assistance. I really enjoy reading about training strategies, researching training plans, and listening to running podcasts. I’m fairly type-A and I thrive off of being busy–accountability is not a problem for me. That all said, after coming frustratingly close to a BQ in Chicago, I knew a few things had to change. I could pinpoint specific components of training that could have gone better, but I had an inkling that an outside perspective would be the thing that pushed it over the edge for me.

I honestly didn’t do a ton of research into different coaches. Coach Laura had been on my radar for a long time because of her fantastic blog. I really liked that she and I are similar runners–a lot of coaches are super speedsters and probably can’t even remember a time when they were gunning for a 3:30 marathon. I also knew, as a blog reader, that she was thoughtful, methodical, and eager to learn new things–all important aspects of coaching.

I actually entered a giveaway for a free month of coaching from Laura and when I didn’t win, she reached out anyway and offered a free two week trial of her services. From then on, I was 100% in. After starting with an in-depth evaluation of my background and goals, Laura and I got on the phone to hash out a plan of how to get me to my BQ. In case you’re curious, here’s what came with my one-on-one coaching package:

  1. Detailed daily workouts with specific goal paces based on both time and effort delivered daily to your inbox and via the Final Surge app (see a sample to the right)
  2. Built-in plans for fueling, nutrition, recovery, and dynamic warm-ups
  3. Individualized feedback on every workout (sent on a weekly basis)
  4. Bi-weekly 30 minute phone calls
  5. Unlimited online communication via Slack
  6. Specific strength training routines utilizing whatever equipment you have available (I ended up buying a set of resistance bands but otherwise everything was at-home and equipment-free)
  7. Incredible flexibility in terms of switching long-run days, tailoring the plan due to travel or work commitments, or change-ups due to weather

I’m planning to put together a full post on the specific training tweaks that I think made the difference for me, but for now I’ll just say that I had the race of my life and blew my goals out of the water, thanks in no small part to Laura’s guidance and support.

Also! Just so it’s out in the open, coaching isn’t cheap. I saw this as a major investment in my running goals–for me, it was worth it to pay for coaching instead of a gym or yoga studio membership. Coach Laura is more affordable than many other coaches out there, luckily, but this isn’t a financial decision to be taken lightly. Think and do your background research before you sign on the dotted line. Full disclosure: if you end up signing up for Coach Laura’s services and tell her I referred you, you get my undying love + you earn me a discount on future services I get from her as well. It’s a win-win 😀

Please feel free to comment below or reach out directly if you have ANY questions about coaching! This was a big decision for me and I’m more than happy to do what I can to help.

Linking up with Amanda for Thinking out Loud Thursday!

9 thoughts on “Why I hired a running coach (and you should too)

  1. Once again, congrats on your BQ and PR! I loved reading your coaching recap too. I read Laura’s blog and totally understand your decision to hire a coach and hire her. I agree with you that she seems more like a friend than a coach and love that she’s relatable, she has improved her own running over the last few years and it’s neat to see someone coaching who is a regular runner like us and not elite. She knows the struggle of us regular runners :).

  2. Julia Elizabeth

    Your title was definitely intriguing! I have never thought of a running coach since I feel running is my “me” time and I like to be in control of that, but I see the advantages. May I ask which running podcasts you like listening to or have listened to in the past? I am currently training for my first marathon and have just gotten into podcasts so I would love to pair the two 🙂 Thank you and congrats on your recent BQ!!

    1. Hey Julia! Thanks for stopping by–I totally understand your take on “me time”–running is the best therapy!! You are inspiring me to final write a post I’ve been planning on my favorite podcasts (so stay tuned) but to start, I would highly recommend The Running for Real podcast, Marathon Training Academy, the Ali on the Run Show, Running on Om, and the Runner’s World show. Happy trails and best of luck with your training!

      1. Julia Elizabeth

        Hi Leah, Oh yay – I can’t wait!! Thank you for the recommendations, that definitely gives me a great place to start 🙂 I will keep an eye out for your post ❤

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