Ultramarathon Coaches

You’re here because you’re looking for or considering working with an ultramarathon coach. Great news, we’ve pulled together a list of some of the best ultrarunning coaches out there. If you want, you can jump right to the list of coaches or you can keep reading and find out why an ultra coach might be right for you.

Why Work With An Ultramarathon Coach?
Ultramarathon coach Paul Dewitt left an insightful comment regarding the types of runners who would benefit most from an ultra coach. They are:

1. Somebody who has decided she wants to run an ultra, but really doesn’t have a built-in support system of other local runners to run with and learn from. Many of these runners mistakenly believe that, “If I ran 45 miles a week for that marathon last year, I probably need to run 100 miles a week to do a 50 mile.” For this runner, it is really a mentoring situation and giving reassurance that the amount of running they are doing is fine; they just need to work on some of the logistics and strategy aspects of longer running, such as fueling.

2. A good runner who is already putting in plenty of effort and getting good results, but has never had a structured training program (never ran in high school or college) and feels like he isn’t getting the most out of his efforts.

3. Somebody who has had a really bad first ultra experience and is very apprehensive about giving another one a shot unless they feel like they have a better chance of finishing, etc.

To those, I would add a fourth type of ultrarunner who benefits from coaching:

4. Somebody who, for whatever reason, desires to be held accountable in their training. This is little different from the many individuals who hire personal trainers for years on end. The possible reasons behind this desire for accountability are too numerous to name.

Ultramarathon Coaches
What follows is a list of ultramarathoners who provide ultrarunning coaching services. While this list is not exhaustive, it is also not meant as an endorsement of any particular coach. A good coach is one who provides the services you need when you need them, motivates you to train and achieve your goals, has a system you can believe in, and, most importantly, has a personality that works with your own.

If you’ve worked with an ultramarathon coach, please leave a comment sharing your thoughts, (but please be respectful.) Coaches should also feel free to add their voices to the comments. Coaches, a few words about your training philosophy or unique aspects of your coaching services would be particularly welcome.

Matt Hart
Matt Hart ultrarunning coaching servicesMatt Hart is an extremely versatile coach. While he’s currently a very strong mountain ultramarathoner, he comes from adventure racing and mountain biking backgrounds. (Matt’s bio and race resume) Matt’s been coaching full-time since late 2005 and this former Microsoft software test engineer knows running theory and data frontwards and backwards. That said, Matt can do something even more impressive – that is reduce all the heady stuff to workouts and a plan anyone can understand. As a bonus, Matt’s knowledge of gear is encyclopedic.

Matt Hart’s coaching services – Matt charges $205 per four weeks of coaching while requiring a three month commitment. He’s also available as a consultant at $70 per hour.

Karl Meltzer
Karl Meltzer ultrarunning coaching servicesWhile some youngsters have burst onto the ultramarathon scene of late, Karl is the dominant mountain 100 miler of the decade and has won more 100 milers than anyone else. (Karl’s bio) If only a small portion of Karl’s training and racing skills (not to mention toughness) rub off on his students, they’re bound to improve greatly. He’s been coaching since 2007. For a glimpse of Mr. Meltzer, take a peak at his entertaining blog.

Karl Meltzer’s coaching services – Karl offers continuing online coaching that runs $175 per month with bi-weekly schedule updates. He will also provide a 3-month schedule for $300.

Lisa Smith-Batchen
Lisa Smith-Batchen ultramarathon coaching servicesLisa Smith-Batchen has the most ultramarathon coaching experience of any of the featured coaches listed here. (Lisa’s bio) She’s is a great person who’s current and former students often sing her praise. Lisa undoubtedly knows how to coach runners from the back-of-pack to ultramarathon champions. Lisa also puts on races and running camps along with her husband, Jay. You can get a better sense of Lisa on her blog. You can also read Lisa’s students’ testimonials.

Lisa Smith-Batchen’s coaching services – Lisa coaches runners for $300 per month with a three month commitment. She provides bi-weekly training schedules. She is available for consultation at the rates of $50 for half an hour and $90 for an hour.

[Featured coach information last revised March 25, 2013.]

Additional Ultramarathon Coaches
If none of the coaches above strike your fancy, you are looking for a more local coach, or perhaps a less costly one, take a look at these additional ultrarunning coaching options.

If you found this article useful, consider subscribing to iRunFar via RSS or via email. Whether or not you decide to training without a coach, you might want to pickup a copy of my book Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons.

[Coaches list fully updated March 25, 2013. Last updated February 21, 2017.]

There are 66 comments

  1. KenZ

    Hey Brian,

    Now finished that 100 (Javelina). Since this is apparently the place to rave about one's coach (or complain about them…), I'll throw another "Go Paul!' in into the mix. His training schedule for me was flexible, and geared towards where I was, my goals, and what I wanted to do. When work would come up, he'd modify the schedule around it and we'd get through the tough training periods.

    For the races (now three 50s and one 100, no DNFs) we'd talk strategy, pacing, how to handle in-race strategy changes if required, basic feeding/hydration/electrolytes, etc. His repeated wisdom on the slower paces to start my races based upon training ability really paid off.

    He took me from a guy who started running now less than two years ago, have never run a marathon, through my first 100. Could I have finished a 100 without a coach? Probably. Could I have done as well as I did (broke 19 hours and came in fourth)? Not a chance. And again, it wasn't just about the pace or the place, it was that I'd look around me during the last six hours or so, and everyone else seemed to be suffering way too much (due mainly IMO to poor initial pacing and really bad aid station eating/hydration habits). I'm darn glad I got to get through that sucker with a minimal suck factor. Having a coach definitely played a part.

  2. Brandon Dey

    Andy (AJW) has been training me for a while now. Very happy with the results. Very no nonsense program, you do need to be a self starter/motivator but if you are, the results will be there.

  3. Corrinne Wallace

    Bryon,

    My training partner and I have been coaching beginners from 5 miles up to 50 miles on the trails now, and have a website. Please check it out. Is there a way to get on this list? We are also coaches for A Snails Pace in Laguna Hills. We are currently training a group for the Peters Canyon Series, and just finished a group for the Leona Divide 50 miler. They all did Awesome! :) Btw, i think i met you for one of Baz's races when you came out last year, or the year before?? :)

    Thank you

    Corrinne Wallace

  4. Phillip Senter

    Bryon, I've just started running. I'm 54, reasonably good physical condition. I haven't run any races yet, but do plan to run my first 5K in August. My long term goal is trail races, but for now just want to get a good base. Do you think a coach would benefit me at this time or should I wait until I can at least run a 5K without stopping.

  5. Marc Krejci

    I'm on the hunt for a coach (virtual is fine) that can provide some good workouts to help me get over a plantar fasciitis issue, as well as help develop a good training plan for my upcoming expedition where I'll be running 30-40mi per day for 300mi straight. I've done this distance before, but not while combatting PF issues.

    Not looking to get plugged into an out-of-the-box 50m/100m training program, but something more specialized to my running style, injurys and goals.

    Any idea what coach/trainer listed above (or not) might fit these requirements best? Thanks for any connections or resources you can point me towards!

  6. KenZ

    I'd start with Bryon himself, since he has battled PF. Next up is Andy Jones Wilkens, who's also battled it. Next up would be (the list goes on…) Joe Uhan, who while not on the list, does coach and is a PT as well; he's written a lot of the PT articles here so you can get a sense of his style. He'd obviously also be able to help you through that.

    And, I'd wager there are many more on this list that have had PF…

    I still use Paul Dewitt, who I think is great, and definitely works with me through injuries so he'd be good as well, but in your case I'd start with the list above.

  7. Jeremy

    Are there any coaches in particular with whom I may be able to consult regarding training with runner's knee (three months into a six month training plan leading up to a 125k ultra)?

    Jeremy

  8. Nick B

    Hi there, I know this is a somewhat old post but I'm looking for a coach and it'd be great to get a couple of recommendations based on my current ability and what I'm aiming to achieve. Thanks in advance.

    Quick bio: Been running consistently since 2010; 4-5 half marathons and 2-3 marathons per year – PB's of 1hr30 and 3hr45 … would love to get faster!; have run three 50-mile trail races, plus Comrades (around 11hrs); I've got two more 50-milers coming up this year and I'm keen to do my first 100-miler in 2014.

    Luckily I've finished all the races I've entered so far … but I'm not happy with my pacing or general performance, especially in the second half. I've never followed a structured training programme hence my interest in proper coaching for both the insight and discipline.

    In terms of personality/training philosophy: I like to be pushed … but I also like an holistic approach to training – the stuff that Phil Maffetone talks about in relation to training and nutrition is of interest. I like structure and a bit of science to back things up. I'm motivated by progress and an pretty dogged at sticking with something that I know is working. Most of all, I want to be right up there in the races I choose to compete in – I'm finishing in the top third of the ultras I've entered so far but I'm sure I can do better.

    Final thing – I'm based in the UK but more than happy with online interaction etc. The most important thing is working with the right coach that can help me get to where I'd like to be.

    Thanks all!

    Nick

  9. Dr Adrian Mulholland

    My coach is Hanny Allston who has a coaching business Find Your Feet. She specialises in the TNF100 here in Australia but will coach elite to beginners. She is magnificent. Does camps/worshops/net coaching and in person if you live near by.

    She has form on her feet and in the classroom. (World champ orienteering and real degrees from real universities). I have found her very very helpful in all the ways you would want a coach to be and also in others. She has taught me to rest, recover and also balance my training to get more out of it.

    A professional coach is a must for me and I think anyone doing this for fun. The internet allows us to look all over the world for a coach, I am lucky enough to hit the right one for me first stop.
    http://www.findyourfeet.com.au

  10. runtrailsrun

    WARNING – Terri Schneider should not be hired as a coach. She has scammed people out of $112,000 on Kickstarter! The money was supposed to be used to make a documentary about a trekking trip she did. Now 3 years later no film or transparency to where our money went. However, she has managed to take multiple extensive long trips to far off places and buy loads of camera equipment for her new quest to become the next Ansel Adams, since she is no longer capable of being any type of athlete (although she will tell you all day long how great she was!) She should be deleted as a reputable coach!!

  11. 2015 Bryce 100 Race Report | meetjohngray

    […] I knew that there was no reason physically that I would not be able to complete the distance. I worked with a coach and was in the best running shape I have ever been in. If properly prepared physically, running 100 […]

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