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Six Valuable Lessons I Learned From Working With A Running Coach

  • Aug 30, 2023
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Six Valuable Lessons I Learned From Working With A Running Coach


Just over five years ago I started working with running coach Andy Hobdell. This was my first taste of individual run coaching and my first time working with a long-distance coach. Pretty much each and every week since then Andy has texted me a plan and I’ve followed it religiously.

In that time I’ve become a lot quicker. Marathons are my main distance, and my marathon PR has gone from 2hr 53min to 2hr 28min, and I’ve also knocked minutes off my previous best times for every other standard distance as well.

running form for no good reason—if Andy were not there to gently dissuade me.

5. Consistency Is Key

This is a cliché, but that doesn’t stop it being true. To get quicker you need to bank training miles week in, week out, building up to a few select races each year. And if you want to stick with running, you make sure you’re enjoying the process as much as the results. A coach helps you do all of the above.

The biggest improvements I made as a runner came throughout the period of COVID-19 lockdowns in the UK. I had no races to look forward to but was still loving running every day thanks to my plan from Andy. Once races did return I ran my first sub-2hr 30min marathon off the back of the fitness I’d built up from many months of consistent training.

6. You Can Run Faster Than You Think You Can

Andy has set me ambitious targets from the off and early on I doubted them. Right up until he predicted the time I’d run in a mile race to the second, when I thought I’d be at least five seconds slower (that’s a long time in a mile race).

I didn’t think I could run a sub-2hr 30min marathon before I worked with Andy. I was aiming for a sub-17min 5K when I first started within him, and have now run 15min 30sec. When he sets me targets, I now know I can commit to the distance and trust that it’s an achievable goal. 

I believe that, with the help of a running coach, most runners can run faster times than they realize they are capable of. That is, if they want to, of course. The times come from enjoying the training, and I acknowledge that not everyone loves running as much as I do!

How To Choose A Running Coach

There are qualifications to look out for when picking a running coach. In the USA the Road Runners Club of America has level 1 and 2 certifications that indicate someone is well prepared to coach road runners, and there are qualifications from other bodies like USA Track and Field as well. In the UK look for the Coach in Running Fitness (CiRF) qualification and/or a UK Athletics (UKA) license.

The qualifications are useful indicators that someone is trained to coach safely, but they don’t always say a huge amount about a coach beyond that. Testimonials from other clients will give insight into the coach’s approach and whether it will work for you, and it’s always worth having a chat with a coach before you start to see if you’re likely to get on.


Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by menshealthfits.
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