It’s now getting towards the point in the year where fall marathons are more than just a distant goal. Mileage has ramped up, paces might be dropping down and for some, the countdown is into single figures (Berlin is less than 10 weeks away) and things are starting to seem very real.

But it can feel like a daunting task to tackle 26.2 miles (or any race for that matter), even for the most seasoned of runners. Whether it’s your first marathon or you’ve run a few, there is a lot to think about. Training, recovery, nutrition, injury, race-plans… the list can go on, and despite all the resources available online and in books, it can be difficult to tackle these things alone and know what resources to trust and what might be best avoided.

Having an experienced and trustworthy coach is one way in which to help make sense of everything and take some of the guess-work out of the training process. Here’s how seeking out a coach can help you succeed in your training and racing.

A coach often will provide a long-term plan for your training. Working backwards from your planned race to build a training schedule to your goals, they will balance a lot of different elements of training, depending on your experience and aims, with each session having a specific purpose. 

But how can this help? Good coaches will be able to look at goals in an objective way and work with you to build a plan that fits your requirements, taking away a lot of the thinking from you so you can focus on simply training. With most of us balancing work, family and other commitments, simply having someone do the planning can go a long way.

A smart training plan will also be realistic, building gradually up to a level that is challenging yet suitable for you. This balance can be tricky to find, but good coaching ensures a strong middle-ground that maximizes results and reducing the risk of any injury issues from big jumps in volume and intensity. 

Accountability and Motivation
Some days running feels easy and effortless, motivation flowing and you could run forever. Other days, it is the opposite. On those days, it can be so easy to say “Not today” and skip your run; who’s to know you didn’t do the tempo session you’d thought about? 

Having a coach can help manage this mental toll, keeping you accountable to do what has been set. We often find that if something has been written in our training calendar, then we are much less likely to think of ways out, but instead just get out and get it done. 

Furthermore, developing good relationships with coaches enables them to understand what works to motivate you. Not only does this make training a whole lot more effective, but also more enjoyable!

Training is so rarely linear and simple. We’d challenge you to find a runner who’s had a completely smooth build up to any race. If you’re on your own and something comes up, like an injury or an illness, where can you turn? Or how do you approach your longest run? What about understanding the purpose of certain training sessions?

Most coaches have probably experienced situations similar to most that you’ll encounter, either as an athlete themselves or through coaching other people. This offers a wealth of experience to help guide you through any questions or concerns you may have. Any good coach will be able to explain the purpose of the training they have set, or offer advice on how best to tackle it. And if an injury does come up, then they can offer reassurance and guidance to manage it and avoid it in future.

Not only that, but coaches often have been around in the game for a long enough period of time to have other resources on hand if you should need them, like physical therapists, strength coaches or race directors.

Advice will also be valuable come race-day, particularly if you’re running a race for the first time, or are unsure of where your fitness lies. Most coaches will be able to provide a structured race plan for you based on what you’ve been able to do in training, giving you every chance of succeeding.

If you have a fall race on the cards but don’t know if it’s too late to get a coach, don’t worry! It’s not! Whilst there are many benefits to working with a coach in the long-term, as you can see above, there are many short-term advantages too that can elevate your training and racing this fall and beyond. 

NY Run Academy have a group of six highly experienced coaches that work with all levels of performance and experience, from new runners all the way to international elites. Our philosophy is to enable success whilst maximizing your wellbeing, health and enjoyment using scientifically proven training methods built around your personal goals. To enquire about coaching, please visit our Contact Us page!