In this article we’re digging into the question “Is it worth it to hire an online running coach?” Our quick answer is a resounding Yes! We'll share some snippets from our client reviews with the intent being to capture the essence of what makes online coaching so valuable. But first, we’ll discuss what you get for your money when hiring an online running coach, what you give up in working with a coach, and the cost. We clearly are biased and there is no hiding that! We think online running coaching is awesome and that the relationships built between athletes and coaches can be so valuable that saying “life changing” is often not an understatement! But we’ll aim for some objectivity here so you can weigh for yourself if trying out working with an online running coach is for you. 

What do you get? 

  • A Training plan built custom for you, with unlimited changes because we know life gets busy and complicated! 
  • Unlimited communication with your coach. The mode can vary from coach to coach - email, text, phone calls - you can choose a coach whose communication matches your preference. 
  • An expert to answer your questions - this one is more valuable than it first appears. In the end, a massive amount of feedback left by runners about their coaches ends up being about how they ask their coach everything, and how quick their coach is to respond. 
  • Accountability. One should not underestimate the power in knowing that someone is paying attention to what you’re doing (or not doing!) 
  • A Team building camaraderie and support for you. Team RunRun has lots of ways to engage and connect with athletes around the world. 
  • Discounts. Given our team’s size, we continue to get great perks for our team. 

What do you give up in having a running coach?

  • You’re largely handing over the reins of the day to day decision making about what runs you do each day. Your coach will tell you what to do. And while that’s convenient most of the time - believe me, it’s great to not have to debate how far you’ll run, or if you’re going to do a workout today! But you have to be ready to relinquish some control if you’re thinking about hiring a coach. 
  • Along these lines, while it’s possible for a coach/athlete to keep things flexible for an athlete, it’s likely to be a bit more rigid than a running plan that is a “fly by the seat of your pants” kind of plan where you decide as you’re walking out the door what you’re going to do. It can be great to have a plan, but it can also be a challenge in some ways to have something you “have” to do each day. It’s not something to be taken lightly, and it’s a reason why we have a system for “pausing” training for our athletes. Often at the end of a season, a runner may pause for a month or more to enjoy some unstructured training time and to recover from a big season. 
  • And of course there is the element of cost. Prices range widely for coaches - you can read more about that in our article, “How much does an Online Running Coach Cost?”. Coaching doesn't have to be expensive - as little as $35 per month. But we understand that cost is definitely a big part of the decision making. Bottom line here is that because the coaching is all online, prices can be much lower than a typical trainer at a gym or an in person coach. "And the cost – while not free – is not expensive, either. In fact, running coaches can be a great value considering the amount of improvement you’re likely to see." - Ben Drew from The Wired Runner. 
salt lake city running coach
Coach Noah Brautigam - Photo: Mary KcIntyre

What do our runners say about the value in coaching? 

“I’ve made an immense amount of progress in both my running ability and running knowledge. This is my first time working with a running coach; and to say the least, the experience has been well worth it.”

“Hiring CJ was hands down the best decision I have made with my running. He has been very quick to respond to questions or comments and has made great adjustments to my training plan when needed. You can tell he puts a lot of time into each plan.”

“I love that he takes into consideration my work/family schedule and provides a training plan that is reasonable.”

“It wasn’t a cookie-cutter plan, but one tailored towards me.”

“As a lover of running, I can’t emphasize enough that having Mark as a coach has been the best running investment I’ve ever made.”

“She gets the busy lifestyle that comes with work and kids, and has been a huge help at working my schedule around them.”

“Ashley is very responsive and I feel like she truly cares about me and all her clients.”

“I’ve loved every minute. I can’t remember what it was like training alone…this experience has blown my mind and the results speak for themselves.”

“I have been running for 18 years – working with Team RunRun has been one of the most transformative experiences I have had in that time.”

“I hesitated so long to hire a running coach. Can someone who is an average runner benefit from coaching? Does e-coaching work.. and am I worth it? was the best decision I could have made! Matt has been fantastic to deal with..FAST response time , smart, encouraging, TOUGH ( which I asked for lol) and able to adjust plans on the fly when life gets in the way.”

What Next? 

If you’ve made it this far, it’s likely you’re at least thinking that it might be worth it to hire an online running coach. Our recommendations for the next steps are: 

  • Scan our list of coaches. We have over 90 of them to choose from, with different philosophies, backgrounds, and areas of expertise. 
  • Read Reviews. We value our Review system a lot. Only paying athletes are able to leave reviews, and only after they’ve worked with their coach for two months. There are hundreds to read - dig in a bit to see if online running coaching is for you. 
  • Call us and we’ll talk you through the decision process and help you find a coach. A Team Experience Expert is waiting for you! (800) 669-3726. 
  • Hire a coach, join the Team, and get started! We’d love to see you taking your running to a new level with us!
seattle running coach
Coach Jack Bolas - Photo: Courtesy of Grandma’s Marathon