Tag Archives: running coaching

Picking a Running Coach

So while I’m not going to “officially” start training for the NYC Marathon until July 1, I’m considering myself “pre-training” right now, which means I already can’t stop thinking about running.

Did you read Corey’s post about her relationship with running? It’s like that. Running is my new boyfriend I can’t stop thinking about right now.

I’ve loved reading Ali’s posts about working with Coach Cane and how she’s getting personalized feedback on her running speed and performance, and it made me really miss working out with Joel, the trainer who helped me lose 50 pounds and train for my first marathon.

I played with the idea of joining a marathon training group before deciding that I wanted to be on my own schedule.

I found Marc’s Tumblr a few months back, presumably through someone else I followed. While I wanted some personalized attention to help me meet my running goals, now’s not really the best time for me to shell out a few hundred bucks to do so. As I thought about running coaches and putting together my marathon training plan, Marc’s name stuck in the back of my head.

I e-mailed him last week, and we’re going to get started this week. He gave me a reduced rate in exchange for blogging about his services a few times a week. I think I’m going to learn a lot about running and myself as a runner, so I’m excited to share this with you. (I mean, already he’s having me play with things like VDOT calculators, which I don’t really understand yet.)


(If you want to train with him, visit here and e-mail him and tell him you found him through my blog and he’ll offer you a monthly rate of $40.)

He’ll be assigning me running workouts every week (just slightly more fun than homework) at certain paces and distances. As I tell him how they went, he’ll be working with me to modify them as need be. Which hopefully means, as I wow him with speed, he’ll adjust his estimates to be less conservative Winking smile 

When I read about Emily and Jen talking about their running coaches, I was curious how they picked them. In my typical stubborn way, I decided to figure out the process on my own rather than ask.

Of course, I started by Googling “running coach.” Because I hate SEO (I promise the post on that is coming soon), not much stood out in the results. I looked at some running store’s websites to see if they had any running coaches they worked with, and I looked up Ali’s coach. He’s expensive (but I’m sure totally worth it.)

I realized that a “virtual” coach (that is, someone you don’t meet with in person) is probably cheaper than someone you have face-to-face interaction with, so I started searching for “personal running coach online.” At this point, the results looked a bit better, but it was still overwhelming to consider working with these coaches I’d never heard of.

At this point, if I hadn’t heard of Marc, I probably would have started asking around for recommendations.

When I did e-mail Marc, I had a few criteria before deciding he was the one I wanted to work with:

  • could I only run 3-4 days a week? I’ve never run more than that in a training plan because I had the start of knee problems last year and I want to keep my legs happy and healthy
  • was there strength training designed for runners involved? I’m trying to keep my strength up, and I want to do strength workouts specifically targeted for runners so that I become faster
  • what were his credentials? He’s a high school track coach and has a number of his own very impressive personal records.

That’s really about it for me, but if there’s something about your running that you’re very particular about (running philosophy, number of times per week), make sure the coach you decide to work with has running values aligned with yours.

I’m really excited to work with Marc because I have big goals:

Half-marathon: sub-2:00 (I. WILL. DO. THIS.)

Marathon: 4:30. I know this one is super-ambitious, to take 29 minutes off my marathon, but I think that in better conditions than Chicago, this is possible with lots of hard work.