Sooner or later, many people discover that running is a healthy free time activity. We have had this natural movement since early childhood. In the beginning, our parents were proud of the first steps that we took. Sometimes, you’d encounter difficulties while trying to walk alone, you’re not always coordinated etc., but every day you get better. It is a long process but one that we all eventually master. Why then, are there people who work as running coaches? This is a legitimate question that can be answered fairly quickly. Most people actually (unconsciously) do their best to suppress this natural movement – or in other words unlearn it. For example, they will exercise less, eat fast food or become fat. These are things that are meant to make our lives more convenient but they actually have a negative impact on our natural movements. There often comes a point where you start to think that there has to be more than a life without movement. The easiest way to start exercising is to go running, and it’s at this point that a running coach can be the right choice if you want long-term fun and enjoy your running.  

What do running coaches actually do?

Each coach has their own approach. Basically, every person is regarded as independent with individual requirements. No one just falls into any one category. Running coaches motivate and outline the ways in which it is possible to stay healthy in the long run whilst enjoying yourself. They obviously address any physical or health conditions as well as your running targets. From the outset it’s important to avoid typical rookie mistakes. For example
  • Running much too fast at the beginning and becoming frustrated when you fatigue early.
  • Increasing your running load too quickly.
  • Monotonous training without being regularly stimulated by new training methods.
  • The lack of alternative training.
  • No strength training elements that allow more efficient running
  Over the years, many people develop movements and postures that aren’t ideal for running. Of course, running styles are talked about a lot, just looking at the runners in open races shows that every runner has their own style. They’re not always aesthetic but that doesn’t mean that the athlete is slow. Of course you have to ask yourself what would you be able to achieve if you gradually improved your running style. A good runner could perhaps become a very good runner. Problems are often found in trunk stability, length of your steps, or the lack of a powerful push off. Therefore, aspects which are analysed by a running coach are improved through carefully planned training. Running coaches also offer mental support in addition to your training as well as  in the form of being a motivator and friend.  

What are a running coach’s tasks?

The responsibilities of a running coach are massive in range and also depend on the individual skills of the coach:
  • Supporting running training with various methods to improve speed, coordination, stability, endurance and strength.
  • Identifying the strengths of an athlete and how to improve them.
  • Planning training in order to achieve athletic goals.
  • Monitoring and analysing the current abilities of a runner and continuous adjustments to the training stimuli.

How do you become a running coach?

Basically, like with most professions you have to have an interest and passion for running. I think you have to have a burning desire to do what you do. You only perform well if you believe in your cause. So the best way to become a running coach is by joining an athletics club and taking the appropriate courses from within. Others obtain a lot of technical knowledge from a sports degree which they can later use successfully as a running coach. Often there are people who have years of running experience and are constantly trying to decide whether or not to pass on this knowledge to others. Positive and negative experiences that you have collected over the years are a fundamental building block. Ultimately, you learn from your mistakes. In addition, your desire can increase with books or various training techniques. Curiosity and unknown things are important building blocks for running coaches.  

It’s also alright without a coach or trainer

Of course, you can still perform well without a running coach and very few athletes actually indulge in the luxury of a trainer coach or professional training plan. The crucial question is in my opinion: How important is your desired goal in sport? What reasons are there and how can you achieve this goal? A running coach motivates you shows you strategies and helps you with their knowledge. That means that they are responsible for supporting you during training. However, a running coach is not as important as your effort and actual running. It is the responsibility of the athlete to determine whether the goal is achieved or not but a running coach can help with the training process and show you the best way to reach a goal. Running techniques are optimised during personal training and the strengths and weaknesses of athletes are selectively processed. It is very important to motivate runners during hard workouts because ambitious athletes need to constantly work harder and harder during training. A coach gives it all a structure.  

From experience…

I have personally been a passionate runner for many years. For me, the hunt for faster times and higher places was often secondary. In my view running is much more than that. It enriches our lives in different ways and this is true for everyone. This motivates me as a running coach and personal trainer. For me it’s important that everyone realizes what is important for them. Objectives are therefore a major issue. Unfortunately, too much is spoken about marathons even though running is more than just that. The marathon distance is not to be taken lightly even though some reports suggest that it is like a children’s birthday party! The 42.195 km (!) really are hard work. Everyone should carefully consider whether finishing this distance really is a priority. You can be a very happy runner without ever finishing a marathon or competing in a race. Therefore understanding what your aims are is very important for training. Deciding your targets takes time. Some people do not know what is and isn’t good for them thanks to the strains of everyday life, work, family and exercise.  After a lengthy initial interview, a medical history and the setting of objectives it is time to actually train. It is vital to set small goals to keep your motivation high. All in all the recognition and experience of success is an important part of my work, be it in 1 on 1 training or online training support. My training plans are not rigid plans but individually designed and tailored to the strengths and requirements of the individual. In my view this is another step in the long term successful supervision of an athlete.