As a coach/owner of an online run coaching company, you might expect my answer to be an automatic enthusiastic,
I’ll admit, when I first started Hanson’s Coaching Services, I probably would be a lot more likely to say yes, because as any business owner understands, it’s scary to think of turning away business! However, then you really have to start thinking about what we are all about as a coaching business. Are we here just to make internet money, or are we really only concerned with educating runners and helping them perform their best? As a young man, it was hard to differentiate the two, but 10 years later, it’s pretty clear cut that the latter is the most important and takes care of the first. The point of all this is, that online coaching is seemingly a pretty lucrative gig. There’s pages of them on any internet word search. A few I know personally, and they are great people with great philosophies. Others, I have no idea, but assume it’s like anything- there’s a whole spectrum. Since Hanson’s Coaching Services was started in 2006, we’ve learned a lot and still have making the athlete’s experience as good as it can be. However, what we’ve also learned is that not every person wants what we offer. Some want more, and some want less. Still others feel that just paying the money is going to make them a better runner. What I really want to discuss with this post is a few ideas that will help you decide if an online coach is right for you, and if not, what options are right for you?
Will you take advantage of the services provided? Indirectly, I am clearing the elephant from the room, right away. I understand that coaching is expensive, but ultimately what you are paying for is services and availability. What do I mean? Well, for coaching, we typically write your schedules in 1-4 week blocks, look over training logs, answer emails, and communicate with athletes on a regular basis. That is essentially what the monthly fees are for, along with covering our actual expenses. Now, the schedule writing is a given and I think we are all on the same page for that. However, here’s where things can murky for some athletes. This is really where the athlete has to ask themselves things like,
“Will I fill out my training log?” “Will I ask questions?” “Will I talk to coach about why I am doing certain things or provide my input?”
If you find yourself thinking that you might not, then maybe paying specifically for an individual coach is a poor investment for you. Others will take advantage of what’s available to them and hiring a coach can be a great running investment.
The biggest mistake that an athlete can make is not communicating with the coach (and the coach with the athlete).
Both parties can fall into this and could be easy to do since there is little face to face communication. If you hire a coach, don’t think you are bugging them if you have an issue that you need addressed. I always tell people, I’m not mad unless I find out about it after the fact. For example, I’ve had athletes in the past not doing very well with the workouts, but they think they just are going through an adjustment or something and nothing is said. I just assume everything is peachy keen (which is my fault) and then, boom! I’m sucker punched with the phrase
“I’m hurt and need a break.”
That’s when we both get frustrated. Now, I know a lot of people will just not respond well to a coach. They are fine in solidarity or, more likely, just want to know what to do and go do it. I totally get it. In these cases, an online running coach will probably not help you much at all. If you are this person, you would probably benefit more from something like a custom schedule or one of our downloadable schedules along with access to all the information we provide in the form of blogs, podcasts, videos, etc. Just point you in the right direction and you are good to go. There is certainly nothing bad about that if it fits the person!
At the end of the day, when you are contemplating getting an online running coach (or even a real live one!), evaluate what your wants and needs are before signing that dotted line. Figuring that out first could mean the difference between a rock solid investment and a money pit. If you can’t find a coach that will discuss those things with you, it might be time to go another route. I hope you all find the success you are looking for. We’ll see you down the road, hopefully with a tailwind.