Someone asked me recently what they might get out of training with me as a running coach. As a teacher, I often answer a question with a question and told them it would depend: what did they want to get out of it? I wasn’t intending to be difficult, but if they want dramatic weight loss (for instance), I am not the coach for them…

I’ve not heard from that person again, so they’re either thinking about that question or they’ve moved on to different coach. Some business gurus would encourage me to follow it up, but that’s just not my style. I strongly believe that if they’re interested, they’ll come back and if they don’t, then we’re not right for each other.

Anyone can download a plan from the internet and, if they’ve the self-discipline, follow it and potentially get what they want. What you get from coaching though is absolutely more personalised, nuanced and (hopefully!) more sustainable.

I see coaching running as an opportunity for any level of runner to find out more about themselves, what running means to them and what they want to get out of it. Whatever they decide they want is their choice and I will coach them according to that decision.

Any good coach will listen to what you really want and help you adjust your training to help get you there, taking into account the children being on school holiday, the cake-fuelled birthday weekend, those days when you just don’t feel like it. They will mop your tears (metaphorically, at least) when a run went badly or you trip over a stone and end up convalescing for a week. They will celebrate your successes and ask you difficult questions to help you learn from all of your experiences.

Mostly though the value in coaching comes from honesty. That honesty (from both sides) allows the relationship to flourish and the coach to know what to say when. For me, there’s value in those ad-hoc conversations about why your knee hurts sometimes but not others, simple reminders to ‘put your head on straight’ and planting that little voice you’ll hear when you’re out running on your own: it tells you to ‘look at the top of the hill, drive with your elbows and KEEP GOING when you get to the top’ (sorry/not sorry about that…).

Find your right fit and, if you haven’t found them yet, why not give Coach Katie a whirl?!

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