Ultramarathon Coaches

A guide to ultramarathon coaches and why a runner might want one.

By on November 6, 2008 | 67 comments

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.

* * * * *

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.

Bryon Powell

Bryon Powell is the Editor-in-Chief of iRunFar. He’s been writing about trail running, ultrarunning, and running gear for 15 years. Aside from iRunFar, he’s authored the books Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons and Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running, been a contributing editor at Trail Runner magazine, written for publications including Outside, Sierra, and Running Times, and coached ultrarunners of all abilities. Based in Silverton, Colorado, Bryon is an avid trail runner and ultrarunner who competes in events from the Hardrock 100 Mile just out his front door to races long and short around the world, that is, when he’s not fly fishing or tending to his garden.