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When to Hire a Coach

June 29, 2015

When to Hire a Coach

Running-CoachMy decision to pay for a customized training plan was not made lightly. Given that the cost was roughly a race entry fee and then some, I wanted to make sure it was absolutely necessary. Most importantly, I had to make sure I found a person I trusted to create the plan.

My spring races consisted of a 40-mile ultra and six weeks later, a flat road marathon. How could I successfully pull off both? After struggling with this thought early on in training (while using a training plan that was pulled from a book written by a well-respected ultra runner), I figured I should tap my local resources. So I emailed Max.

Living in Bend, Oregon is a beautiful thing, especially if you’re a runner. Advice from professionals like Max King and Stephanie Howe runneth over – whether it’s weekly running groups, talks at local running stores, or hiring one of them as a personal coach – yes, we runners in Bend have a lot of perks when it comes to living here.

Max ended up designing a training plan that helped me get in the miles for my first 40-mile race (my longest distance to date), while simultaneously preparing me for the speed of a road marathon. In addition, I felt reassured knowing that I was being coached by a professional and not just jumping head-first into a couple of very different races, which were just weeks apart from one another.

While Max could have created a more custom week-by-week plan, I felt a three-month “package” worked better for my busy schedule. With a full-time job, two kids and limited hours to train during the work week, I wanted something flexible. I didn’t need a coach to analyze my workouts each week – but what might not work for me, might be necessary for others. Coaches can get very detailed by analyzing your diet, heart rate and other ways your body might gain more efficiency.

Both races went amazingly well, and I even threw in a 50K ultra as a training run. For future races I plan on changing my training regimen accordingly, whether that means adding more strength training or joining a weekly performance group, it never hurts to take a step back and re-evaluate before training for that next race. And a coach can be the perfect tool to help determine what changes need to be made.

-Amy Clark

Amy is a runner, writer, mama of twins and founder of the website, RunningBend.com. Living (and running) in Bend for over 14 years, she takes advantage of all the trails Central Oregon has to offer.