Online Running Coach – Positives and Negatives

Marcus Sladden

Marcus Sladden

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Debating whether you want a online running coach? Here is a guide on the positives and negatives of having a one. The reasoning behind why or why not you may want (or need) a running coach.

What is a Online Running Coach? 

A running coach isn’t just someone who tells you to put one foot in front of the other. A good running coach acts as a mentor and a friend. Someone in which you can trust with creating your running goals. Evaluating your training to see what works for you, to become a better runner overall no matter what the goal!

There are a lot of coaches out there. You have to figure out what type of coach you want before going on a searching spree. Do you want someone who is going to be a drill sergeant and really makes sure you are doing your training with no quarter given and no mercy shown?

Or would you prefer someone who is a bit more friendly? A more dynamic running coach that thinks about your week to fit around your life and is understandable that it can get in the way sometimes. They think on their feet to ensure you get the best out of your training plan.
Both coaches can work! It totally depends on the type of person that you are and how flexible the running coach is.

Benefits of a Online Running Coach. 

Finding the perfect running coach can be pretty difficult. It may take them a few weeks to get clued up on how to coach you as a runner. 

The first and foremost reason for hiring a running coach is for accountability and structure to your training. Knowing that you’ve got a run looming over you in the day, a coach waiting for you to complete that run to give you some feedback motivates you to get out of the door! 

Coaches are trained and experienced in helping runners figure out exactly how to meet their running goals. They’ll also help you set other goals by telling you what’s specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-related. Showing you the path to get there!

Once your goals have been set, a running coach can then set you a bespoke training plan. Full of sessions, drills, warm-ups, cool downs and strength/stretch sessions. (Depending on the qualification of the coach).

Post Training Plan

This will give you the perfect foundation to begin your running journey. If you have any questions of your coach do not hesitate to ask.

Developing on further into your coaching experience, a running coach will be able to act as your mentor.

Whether that be for injury management, sending you to the right physio or finding the best exercises after you have been prescribed with a given injury. They also making you accountable to complete these exercises.

They can also help you implement racing strategies. How to pace your next race, who to sit with, tune-up races. They will schedule your running season so that every race and session has a purpose leading to the overall goal. 


Think about these things when you do look out for a coach and how in-depth you want to be with them. They may decide that you aren’t the athlete for them and be able to direct you to someone who is more qualified or has more time so be prepared. 

Lastly, coaches can stop you from doing anything stupid. Whether that is a dramatic rise in your mileage or running too much, too fast and too soon after an injury. They can pull back the reins and tell you to think about what you are doing and why it may not be a good idea.

Sometimes we just need someone to tell us what we are doing is wrong!

To pick a good coach there are a couple of things you should look out for: 

– Training Experience – Arguably this is the king of all good traits a running coach should have. You want someone who has been through it all. The nitty-gritty of what runners have to face and figuring on what has worked for them. Ideally you also want a coach that is faster than you yourself so you can replicate what they have learnt to get to the level of running they are at.

– Coaching Experience – You want a coach that has had experience of training different athletes or at least been in a scenario of coaching runners maybe as an assistant coach. Not only is it important they have experience of coaching athletes but also coaching people as a whole. Running is a habit which we form because we enjoy it, it’s the coaches job to ensure we still enjoy it! 

Disadvantages of a Online Running Coach (Or Why You Don’t Need One)

Sometimes having a running coach can actually have a negative impact on your running and the way you look at your running as a whole. 

Perhaps you want a lot of flexibility in your schedule. You hire a running coach who schedules a 90-minute run or wants to jump on a call asap, when you have to work all day, pick up the kids and then take them to a club, supervise and get them ready for bed. Zero time for a session. Therefore, making the coaching absolute. This is the difference between a good coach and a bad one. 

Flexibility is one of the biggest things to get right as an athlete and coach, there has to be a good relationship between you both to know when schedules sit and the plan needs to fit around your life, not the other way around. 

One of the biggest mentions is obviously the cost of having a running coach. Coaching can range from anything between £40-£200 a month.

This is one of the biggest factors in getting the most bang for your buck. There may be coaches out there that charge very little but are brilliant at what they do then those that charge an arm and leg but aren’t very good coaches at all, so as said previously, do your research.

When you don’t need a running coach is if you have training support/group around you and you are clued up on what training you need to do and know exactly how to structure your week. 

There is little point in you investing money into something that you know you can do well yourself but you are a little lazy in your approach. 


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