Athletics weekly have written a great article about 'Fitness leaders' and 'Personal trainers' offering marathon training schedules to runners. It highlights a great number of points that i'm extrmely passionate about.
They asked if the trainers have run any marathons before or have coached any previous athletes over the distance, I feel it is very important as a coach to have experienced the kind of training involved with running a certain event or distance as it gives you a better understanding of whats involved and what does or doesnt work. Then comes the big question, are they actually qualified to write a plan or deliver the appropriate training, having spent a large sums of money over the years gaining qualifications through governing bodies such as UK Athletics and Run England to provide me with the relevant knowledge and detail its frustrating to see athletes being duped into thinking they will develop or progress and achieve their goals. I have over 2 and half decades of experience racing and training and have competed at World Championships, i'm also fortunate that I work alongside some incredible people so if I dont know the answer or am unsure I can direct my athletes to get the relevant support. You can check out or list of 'Affiliates' on our 'About' page.
The other reason for gaining proffesional qualifications is so you have the correct insurance should something ever go wrong, not only do I have the adequate insurances from governing bodies, my company has it's own Public Liability insurance to cover us for 2 million pound.
In order to 'Develop' an athlete you have to have some key ingredients. First off you need consistency, they need to be consistent in their training and commitment to the goal. If you have different coaches running ad-hoc sessions with no knowledge of the athletes level of fitness or pacing etc, how can they run a specific and detailed session to support the athlete towards their goal?
It's important to progress each session, either add Reps or reduce recovery is a simple way of progressing a session along, it's also important to have a base line session that you can do once a month or so to see how the athlete has improved. This can be a Mile time trial for example.
It's very highly likely that if you arent following a proper plan that you will end up injured or over trained as a result, and guess who will get the blame, the running industry. Of course Injuries happen, however if it is the accountability of all those involved to make sure things are dont right.
As you can imagine, after so many years in an world I love you can see why I get extremely passionate about such things. It's really bad for the industry to have unqualified and inexperienced people running and advising others. It also means the good coaches that do a good job get tarred with the same brush which is a real shame. Some think my coaching services are expensive, however you get a great deal of experience and knowledge of not only coaching but racing and training at such a high level and with the added qualifications and insurance to cover me it really is worth the extra money. Also our results from working with athletes show we are doing something right.
Please take a read of the article itself published by Athletics Weekly.