Quiz: Do You Need a Running Coach?

Effective running coaches provide individualized workouts, structure, balance, advice, and race strategy and analysis—they do the thinking so you can focus on running. With the myriad of training programs out there, from online plans to coached charity running programs to iPhone apps, how do you know which option is right for you? Take this quiz to find out if a running coach is the best option to help you achieve your running goals.

1. Your running goals this year include:

a) Run a PR at a fall marathon and complete that half marathon racing series

b) Stay healthy, enjoy my runs, and maybe run a few 5Ks and 10Ks

c) Complete my first marathon in the next year

d) I don't really have any goals or plans

2. It's Saturday. What's your run plan?

a) I'm about to warm up for a five-mile tempo, and I'm pumped for my 10K next weekend

b) I'm feeling a little sore and tired after yesterday's hill repeats. I'm just going to jog easy for 30 minutes

c) I'm meeting the group in the park and will see what everyone feels like doing

d) The same run I do every Saturday

3. Your training log is:

a) A detailed spreadsheet that tracks mileage, specific workouts, food and fluids consumed, race performances, and gear/shoes, as well as how all of these factors impacted performance

b) A handwritten notebook that lists daily and weekly mileage, workouts and races

c) Whatever my Nike+ or Garmin software says I ran

d) I don't have time for that; I'd rather spend my time training

4. The last time you achieved a personal best was __________________.

a) Last week

b) In the past few months

c) Last year

d) 1988

5. The last time you were injured was ________________________.

a) Five years ago, and ever since then, I've incorporated strength work, stretching and foam rolling into my routine. I take days off when I feel really sore or worn out, and I get a sports massage regularly

b) Six months ago, but I went to physical therapy. I only feel slight pain every once in a while

c) I have tightness in my hips and hamstrings a lot, but other than that, I feel OK

d) I get injured a lot

6. You cross-train, complete strength training and/or perform drills?

a) Two to three times a week

b) I try to squeeze in a bike ride or weight lifting once a week

c) I do crunches three times a week

d) All I do is run

7. Core training is one of the best things runners can do.

a) True. I complete core workouts, including planks and hip exercises, at least twice a week

b) True. I work my abs and back as much as three times a week

c) True, that's what I've read. But I'm not sure which exercises to do

d) False. I think the best thing runners can do is run

More: 3 Best Core Exercises for Runners

8. How did your last race go?

a) I came within 30 seconds of my PR, so I was pretty happy

b) I don't remember that well because it's been a while

c) I had a lot of fun with my friends, and it was the first time I ran the whole way without walk breaks

d) I didn't run as fast as I'd hoped

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