Ultramarathon Coaches

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.

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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: is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of iRunFar.com. Having spent nearly 20 years as an ultrarunner and three decades as a trail runner, he's also written Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons and co-wrote Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running. He calls Silverton, Colorado and Moab, Utah home.

View Comments (67)

  • Hello my name is George Velasco.I am a ultrarunner always in the back of the pack. Under Lisa Smith Batchens coaching in 2007 I finished 24 ultras.I completed 4 100s to include Western States 100,Grand Teton 100. Angeles Crest 100 and Javelina 100. In 2008 I completed The marathon Des Sables.Follow the program and you will suceed. GPV

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  • GPVI am with you. Lisa coached me for 5 total years and at over 60 now I have never had any injury and getting up each day to workout was never a drag.Lisa is on top of it all the time.My vote is she is hands down the best coach.Stu

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  • Hi,Just a comment about Lisa. She has been my coach since 2004- I have trained with her for a wide variety of events and expeditions. I've done 4 stage races, including the Marathon of Sands in Morocco, numerous marathons, some climbing, including Elbrus in Russia and Aconcagua in Argentina as well as biking events- including a trans-continental ride from L.A. to Boston this year. Lisa has helped me train for all of these- and considering that my goal is only to survive these events- she has helped me far surpass my dreams. She is not onle my good friend, but an excellent coach who I would highly recommend no matter your goal or athletic level.Jim Simone

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  • I'll continue the pro-Lisa comments here. She's coached me for the past year, and I can't believe what it's done for me. In three months, I went from struggling with injuries during 5-8 mile runs, to WINNING my first-ever ultra, the 50-mile Rocky Raccoon. Then, while my original goal had been just to finish the Marathon Des Sables two months later, and I did better than I ever could have imagined.I'm not sure what it is, but she's got it. And she's a pretty darn nice and inspiring person, too.Ted ArcherSan Jose, CA

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  • Another Lisa student here :) She has been my coach for three years and I LOVE HER AND HER COACHING! I have benefited so greatly from her training plans, her race plans, nutritional information, cross training, pep talks and so much more.

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  • Well, I can also comment on Lisa, who I've been training with for several years now. I can't even begin to detail the tremendous benefits I've derived from having Lisa as a coach. One I can mention for sure - she also coaches my wife, which gets her out of the house, giving me some piece and quiet.

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  • Hi, my name is Frank Fumich and Lisa has been my trainer for a number of years now. She has gotten me to the finish lines of many races..from Marathon des Sables to Badwater...from Ironmans to the tops of the highest mountains on multiple continents. She not only knows how to get me to top physical form, but knows how to train me when I'm injured, and get me healed. She's even in tuned with me enough to tell me to take some time off. So whether you're trying to run swim through Ironman challenges, run through deserts, or climb over mountains, Lisa has the knowledge and personal experience to guide anyone to their goals!!!!

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  • Another ultrarunning coach is Howard Nippert: <a href="http://www.howardnippert.com/http://www.howardnippert.com/<br />I don't have any personal experience, but he is definitely an elite ultra runner.

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  • Lisa's students, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Peter,Thanks for the reminder re Howard. I was just on his website the other day and embarrassed that I left him off the list.

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  • Lisa Smith-Batchen is great. I went to her with the thoughts of trying my first marathon. She coached me through it and now I am aiming at a 50 mile run. I never thought I'd even consider that. Lisa is such a great motivator. She has an enormous amount of expertise and is always quick to respond to all of my questions or concerns. It is well worth it to work with Lisa.

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  • Lisa smith is an amazing coach whotrains the soul as well as the body!

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  • I met Lisa a year ago, when I was training for a half marathon and that was the height of my running goal. Since then, she has given me the courage and physical stamina to raise the bar and I have done 2 marathons and I'm one of her 5 clients headed to IMAZ in a couple weeks. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd do any of these. She improved my fitness while at the same time allowing me to recover from an injury I did to myself. I have been injury-free since then. She has an amazing ability to inspire people to dream big and she's remarkably intuitive about when you need to be pushed and when you need a break. She's my biggest support and my biggest fan (next to mom!). She is a gifted coach.Annemarie

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  • I have been a client of Lisa Smith-Batchen since 2005. My original goal was to run the 2006 Marathon Des Sables - which I did. Then I did it again in 2008. I now focus on Ultras. Her training, insight and support is sensational. She has changed my life and I am so very grateful to have found such a talented coach and dear friend. Ed Kelly

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  • Hey Goat,Just thought I'd mention about a coach up here in Canada too. Me.I coach runners of all ability levels and all distances. I’ve been running since 1982 and coaching since 1990. I started coaching at the high school track level and have moved up in distance since then. Having a number of years of ultras under my belt, I am now offering my coaching services to ultra runners as well.For more information, please visit http://www.HealthandAdventure.com Take care,Derrick

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  • I've been training with Howard Nippert for almost a year, and have seen an incredible improvement in my running and not an injury in sight. Not only is he a world-class athlete, as are the other coaches you listed, but I'm confident in his physiological knowledge. He's always available, always responsive, and willing to help in any way. Dude is awesome. Can't wait to see what he and his teammates do this weekend.

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  • Hey Goat,Just thought I'd throw this out there: I would be happy to coach anybody who wants to finish a 100 mile race (I've done 20 since 2000). I don't charge any money but I do like beer. Interested people can email me at:awilkins@communityschool.orgUnless they live within an hour of Ketchum, ID my coaching services are only available over the phone or the computer.AJW

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  • Lisa Batchen-Smith has coached me for two years through the MDS, the 100km del Passatore in Tuscany, Italy and most recently the 8-day Gore-Tex Transalpine Race. She is inspirational and I would recommend her to anyone who is looking to achieve their best.Ian ColesBermuda

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  • Signature wrestling move... I use to use it often and its known as "The Solid Slam." Ah the good ole days... Then I started running... what a combination!Happy to help at low cost!SJ

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  • Jamie Donaldson has been coaching me for over 6 months. I was able to complete my 1st 100K this year and plan to conquer my 1st 100 miler in the spring. Jamie has helped me go from go from a couch potato to almost an ultra runner:)

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  • I've been working with Carmichael Training Systems Senior Coach Scot Van Asten and have had great success. As a multi-sport athlete he has helped me continue to balance cycling, long distance running,adventure racing, and keep me healthy.http://www.trainright.com/coaches.asp?uid=1227 CV

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