Confessions of a Run Coach: We Wish You Knew Before Starting

Every time I take a strengths and skills test, “teacher” comes back as a result.

Which makes complete sense, it’s part of why I love writing about running to share tips!

I get to dig in to new topics, do research and then hopefully spit it back out as ACTIONABLE information to make your running more fun or injury free or faster or farther or you know more uphill.

I’m like Google for running…just not as fast or with daily fun graphics to celebrate every holiday.

What Running Coaches Wish You Knew

Coaching is just a more personalized version of what you see here!

In fact, I realized that to ensure everyone was getting the BEST online running coach possible I needed to add more people to the team.

Now there are 8 Coaches for Run To The Finish who are all specialized in different areas and helping hundreds of runners hit their goals.

Even with 8 of us…we don’t work with all runners.

It’s not about pace.

It’s not about distance.

It’s about being a good fit and knowing your personality to ensure we coaches don’t spend time pulling out hair out. Mostly because our job is to get you results, but to that we need you fully on board.

1. Stop Being a Plan Hopper

You want a plan because you know you need one…then you proceed to hop around in classes or change days or switch up the routine.

Funny story, a marathon training plan works because you allow it to build each day and week on the results of the previous week.

It’s hard to know if you’re progressing correctly when things are being done willy nilly.

Willy nilly sounds funny, but it’s not funny to the person attempting to help you hit your goals.

We understand moving days around because life happens, but if we write a half marathon training plan that includes 2 days a week of full body strength training with the Beach Body program you swore you LOVED and then you end up doing a cycling class and yoga class, your runs need to change.

2. Don’t be a Workout Skipper

Feel like strength training just isn’t that important?

So you skip it even though you probably had a very detailed conversation about why it’s so much more than just a cross training tool, it really will help you reach that next level of speed and keep you running injury free.

  • Work got busy, so you skipped your Tuesday run.
  • You had a birthday dinner, so you skipped your Wednesday run.
  • You take it upon yourself to then make the Thursday run exceptionally long and hard.

Please don’t ask us to make you a plan if you don’t want to follow it.

It doesn’t hurt our feelings, but we know you’re heading down a slippery slope to injury. And that just breaks our little running coach hearts.Cross Training

3. Embrace Base Building

When I returned to strength training, I had to go back to basics. Letting go of EGO and doing the little pieces to learn everything the right way for maximum benefits.

I wanted to dive in to learning pull ups, but needed to do bird dogs, lunges and other basic stabilizing moves to ensure I wouldn’t injure myself.

Running plans are exactly the same.

We don’t start you out with track speed workouts because we want to get your body built up to handle more intense workouts.

Trust that those weeks of easy runs have a very good purpose.

Oh yes, that TRUST word is big. We know we may be asking you to change what you’ve done and we are almost always asking you to learn how to go easier…but there’s a method to our requests!

We want to help you stay consistent because that’s where the results happen.Why we need to be consistent not crazy with our workouts

4. Everyone Can Use a Run Coach

Think coaches are just for the elites like Shalane and Kara?

Think again!

They’re perfect for those who find themselves continually injured, those trying to shave time off a favorite race distance and those attempting a new distance.

Basically any runner with a goal and drive to make it happen that needs just a little more guidance or accountability is going to love the results.

5. But Not Everyone Should Have a Run Coach

Just because everyone can have a coach doesn’t mean they should!

I’m a prime example of this!

While I needed a coach to improve my strength training program and provide accountability because I just don’t love it, a running coach is a no go for me right now.

Over 19 years, I’ve learned how to read my body, how to adjust my training plans day by day to have the most effective workouts for me.

There are TONS of running coaches with their own coaches, so it’s not that. It’s that a coach makes it feel like a job and while I talk about running for a living, the actual run is just for me.

Ever wondered what your running coach or #personaltrainer are thinking….confessions!! What we wish you knew #fitness #running Click To Tweet

6. It’s Good that Coaches Come in All Varieties

You’re officially in a relationship with your coach once things begin…make sure it’s one that you enjoy.

  • Do you need Jillian in your face pushing you to hit that next lap on the track?
  • Do you need someone who is going to commiserate with your daily family drama and then gently push you to make it happen?
  • Do you need someone who is flexible if you decide to change goals?

Just because they worked for your friend doesn’t guarantee they’ll work for you. I mean you probably wouldn’t marry their spouse either…right?!

7. There is NO BEST Way to Run

You’ve heard you need to do HIIT for weight loss or you’ve started to feel like you must run a marathon to be a real runner or you’ve heard about the fat burning zone so you need to run there.


There’s is not best way to run.

There are lots of ways to run and they’re all great depending on the goals that really light you up (not the one’s you feel like you must do).

Which leads to the biggest thing..pick ONE goal at a time.

  • It’s extremely hard to lose weight and marathon train without being underfueled
  • It’s extremely hard to put on muscle mass and marathon train due to the calories needed
  • It’s extremely hard to aim for a 5K speed goal and your first ultramarthon

You can have it all…just not all at once.

8. Eat the Freaking Carbs

You’re on a weight loss mission and high fat for endurance is THE thing right?!

So you cut your carbs, you’re a few weeks in to our new training plan and you’re exhausted all the time, but can’t figure out why. So we start lowering your mileage and scratching or heads, until you also start to mention you’re cranky and it just seems like you can’t recover.

That’s because you need carbohydrates for fuel.

You don’t need cookies, donuts, candy and pie, but you can make room for those along side oatmeal, sweet potatoes and other carbs.

  • Women don’t react to KETO the way men do, it messes up our hormones
  • Carbs are the primary fuel source for your brain, without them you get foggy and moody
  • Most folks are doing KETO wrong and thus just gaining weight after the first few months

Carbs are what provide the energy for you to run longwhy runners need to eat carbs

We Don’t Always Know the Answer

A recent text exchange with one runner lead to me to preface my answers with “I’m not the expert, but here’s how I would handle it…

Your run coach should be able to guide you through all kinds of things, but remember technically unless they have a nutrition certification they are NOT experts in that area and unless they have a MD they aren’t experts in injuries either.

We try, but you should really appreciate it when your coach says “I don’t know, let me see if I can find out,” or “I think you need to see a Physical Therapist” or “I really would like you to talk to a Registered Dietitian.”

Have you ever worked with a coach or trainer?

Other ways to connect with Amanda
Instagram Daily Run Fun: RunToTheFinish

Facebook Community Chatter: RunToTheFinishRunning_motivation_thumb

Get more running tips: Pinterest

Confessions of a Run Coach: We Wish You Knew Before Starting is written by amanda for

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