So you’re interested in becoming a running coach? For those who love running, the thought of turning to a coach to share that love with others is pretty common.
But becoming a successful run coach requires more than just being an avid lover of the sport. (Although that’s certainly something you should have.) So whether you want your coaching to be a side-gig or a booked-out business, there’s a lot you need to know about how to be a running coach before you start taking on clients.
To get you started, we’re sharing 6 of the best hacks for becoming a running coach who has lots of clients that love working with you!
Consider Your Experience And Know How To Convey It
Many successful coaches out there haven’t themselves competed at a professional running level. You don’t need a fancy personal running resume to be a great running coach, but you should have enough experience with running that you’ll be able to give good running advice and create effective training programs.
You need experience with running training and skill development. And you need to be able to convey that experience to potential clients. For example, maybe you were mentored by your coach or assisted a team as a volunteer in the past. This type of experience proves that you know your craft.
As a running coach, your job probably isn’t going to be just about writing workouts. The odds are high that you will get asked questions about training, racing, and the mindset of being around the sport for a while. Do you have personal experience pushing yourself to work hard and overcome race fears? Are you good at motivating others in running or other life situations?
Turn your experience and motivations into an elevator pitch that stands out. Let your passion for making others better shine, and runners will be dying to work with you!
Many coaches and athletes develop deep relationships. After all, coaching requires a good deal of time, focus, and patience. Coaches are passionate about helping others become the best version of themselves—but it’s essential to establish clear upfront boundaries to maintain healthy relationships.
Boundaries help you become—and stay—a booked-out run coach by reducing the risk of stress and overwhelm. Any business owner or entrepreneur has to create structure and deal with burning out! You want to be there for your athletes, but it’s wise to establish rules about:
● when they can contact you
● how long training sessions are, and
● the intentions of the coaching program
While you’re there to help, offering training tips and advice outside of scheduled sessions walks a fine line between assisting your athletes and doing your job for free. So get a good idea of what you want to include in your rates, and make sure your clients understand it.
Another common running coach boundaries example occurs when high school athletes seek personal training coaches outside their school programs. Not all high school coaches love that idea, especially if the runner is already following a training program. Guidelines should be set to keep everyone safe (ex: the athlete could become overworked) and happy.
What role is your program intending to play in runner’s training? Make sure that is communicated to every party so that people are happy with your service.
Create A Running Community
Some running coaches work with clients one-on-one for a more personalized approach. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that, but one way to grow your running coach business is by making it a group activity.
Here are a few ways that becoming a running coach of a run community can help your business expand:
● The amount you charge for group sessions might be less, but you’ll be able to work with multiple clients at once.
● Coaching a running community can help you recruit more runners. Maybe your current athletes pull their friends into the group after giving you a glowing recommendation!
● Many runners enjoy running for a sense of community. Therefore, a training group can be a significant selling point for runners who want to train with others.
Always keep the goals you have for your running coach business in mind. A social running community can quickly turn into something quite different from a group training for competitions. Know what you want your coaching set up to be and use that to guide how you build a community.
Get A Running Coach Certification
There is no official required certification to become a running coach. However, if you’re serious about growing your coaching business, it’s recommended to look into how to become a certified running coach. Certification will give both you and your clients confidence that you can get the job done.
Here are some popular running coach certification courses to consider:
Each certification offers a slightly different curriculum, so it’s wise to review what to expect from each course before you pick. In general, you might wish to learn running biomechanics, rules of the sport, how to create training programs, and basic knowledge about nutrition and injury prevention.
Most certifications take a few days (many hours) to complete and end with testing. This extra step can be highly worth it in the long run! Runners are more likely to trust a coach with certifications, no matter how much personal running experience.
Again, figure out the goals of your running coach business and who you want to work with as a coach. If you plan on taking a coaching position with a high school or college now or in the future, certifications might be a requirement.
Obtain Liability Insurance
Don’t forget about the legal side of running a business! Any issues that come up could threaten your ability to keep being a coach and even cost you a lot of money. As much as you do to stick to your expertise and coach a safe environment, plenty of unforeseen circumstances can arise, and it’s better to prepare for them.
It would be best if you covered yourself from liability. Ask your athletes to sign a liability waiver and make sure you obtain professional insurance.
You can do this yourself by finding a general liability waiver online and buying professional insurance. However, it’s wise to get advice from a lawyer to ensure you protect your business in the right ways.
Not all coaching liability insurance is the same! You need to make sure your policy is specifically for being a running coach—if something happens and you find out your policy doesn’t cover the exact sport you’re coaching, you would be out of luck.
Have A Business Marketing Plan
Just because you have a few athletes to coach right now doesn’t mean they’ll always need your services. If you want to make this a serious business, you need to treat it like one and take advantage of the many marketing strategies.
Working in a client-based business—no matter the field—means that you need to be constantly thinking about bringing in new paying customers. So here are a few places that work well for running coaches:
Social Media: Whether it’s your personal account or an account you start specifically for coaching, keep it updated (and professional) to show that you’re an active run coach.
Apps: Many athletes look for coaches on trusted platforms, such as CoachUp.
Referrals & Networking: Nothing convinces people to try something new like a positive recommendation. Always put your best foot forward with clients and in conversations!
Business Management: If you’re looking for ways to manage your business as a running coach, Ruoom offers a free tier for solopreneurs just starting out. With customized website branding, CRM implementation, and a seamless customer-facing experience, Ruoom products might be a great option to support you as you’re starting a coaching business.
Becoming A Running Coach
The running community is filled with eager runners ready to work hard and learn. There will always be a space for run coaches! But you still need to stand out as a professional and trustworthy run coach if you want to make your coaching business successful.
Remember these hacks that have helped others find success, and soon you’ll be booking plenty of running coach jobs!