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The benefits of coaching for recreational runners

August 21st, 2011

Instead of a Jockology column this week, my editors at the Globe and Mail asked me to write about the phenomenon of recreational runners hiring elite distance runners to coach them. I spoke to a bunch of runners ranging from beginners to veterans road warriors, working with coaches like Marilyn Arsenault, Jerry Ziak and Brandon Laan, to find out why they decided to get coaching and what they’re learning from it:

As she recovered from a hysterectomy last year, Dee Ogden was eager to resume running but nervous about the post-surgical impact on her running form. So she did something that surprisingly few runners do: She hired a coach.

“When you learn tennis, you learn about your stroke and form,” says Ms. Ogden, 44, a registered nurse in Victoria. “Why wouldn’t you do that with running?” [READ ON…]


  1. August 22nd, 2011 at 04:02 | #1

    I think I’m somewhat indicative of the trend here, in that this latest “running boom” is largely populated by people who weren’t athletes in their educational years. Thus, having found fitness and put together some decent race times on their own, they’re looking for the foundation they never laid to begin with. That, and there’s something to be said for the comfort of having a routine. It removes the element of choice, which, as you’ve just written about, can make getting out the door much easier.

  2. Timiji
    August 25th, 2011 at 18:34 | #2

    I’m all for the trickle-down effect that comes from having an experienced runner as a coach or mentor to other runners. I do wonder whether being a high performance athlete is any reflection on coaching ability, though? That’s not to say that Brandon, Jerry or Marilyn aren’t good coaches – I don’t know any of them as coaches. That’s also not to say that coaching certification through the NCCP/CAC defines a good coach, either. What characteristics define good coaching to you?

    And for sure, “Surprisingly few runners” – indeed surprisingly few novice adult athletes across so many endurance sports – look for coaching help!

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