The Importance of Life Coaching for runners


This is a guest blog post from my dear friend Carlos Patterson, who is an Ultra Marathoner, Writer and Life Coach in New York City. I invited him to share his thoughts on a topic that is oftentimes not discussed too much in the running scene. Mental Health, mindset and the importance of habit change as an athlete.

A life coach like Carlos helps you with specific professional projects, personal goals, and life transitions. So bare with me for an interesting article about life coaching for runners and how you can benefit from it:

Life Coaching for runners and how it affects your performance long term

It is never easy starting over. As an 8 times triathlete before taking 10 years off, I was both excited and nervous about my return to running. I knew that even though I had experience running, I would be starting from the painful beginning. And today, 10 years later, 7 marathons, 1 ultra-marathon, 2 Spartan trifectas, and a life coach certification later, I can’t help but think that it would have been so much easier if I had had a life coach to help me through it instead of having to figure it all out on my own.

I’m writing this article as a runner and life coach to express the benefits of runners having a life coach in their corner to guide and support them on their journey. I know you are thinking: what the heck is a life coach?

What is a life coach?

Life coaches are masters of habit change. We replace undesirable habits with those that serve your new best self. Life coaching thrives on creating systems of accountability. Life coaches help your mind, body, and soul locate their path of totality. They are not only your biggest cheerleaders but also designers of the blueprint to get you from the start to the finish.

What’s the main difference between a running coach and a life coach for runners?

A running coach will give you a customized training plan and a life coach for runners helps you insert this running plan into your busy life. Life coaches are masters of habit formation. So what are the benefits of life coaching for the beginner runner?

  • Motivation to get started. Most people struggle to find the motivation to start running. Life coaches teach you techniques that you can use to get motivated. Life coaching helps you get rid of the limiting beliefs that have been holding you back.
    Life coaches help you build the scaffolding to get you from your couch to the running.
  • Time organization\management. A life coach helps you manage your time so you can insert running into your daily routine until running becomes part of your daily habits.
  • Accountability. Most people have a hard time following through with their goals. Your life coach will create systems of accountability to help you reach your goal. Life coaches follow up with you and make sure you are sticking to the plan you came up with together.
  • Habit formation. Every 90 days habits are formed whether consciously or unconsciously, whether good or bad habits. A life coach helps you replace negative/undesirable habits with positive habits that support your end goal. Making running a good habit.

What are the benefits of life coaching for the experienced runner?

  • Motivation. Experienced runner’s motivation often fizzles out because after a while running becomes just a routine for them. Like waking up Monday to go to work. After they’ve completed their first goal, they often fail to follow it with incrementally bigger, more exciting goals to continue to grow and become better runners. We only grow when we are uncomfortable.
  • Time management. More experienced runners neglect to allocate time for rest and recovery which at the same time makes them more prone to more injuries and more illness. A life coach will show you how to manage your time and insert good, relaxing activities for more rest and peace.
  • Accountability. A Life coach helps you make a seamless transition from your current goal to your new goals. New goals require new plans and new habits. Your life coach customizes the blueprint on how to fit this new goal into your daily life.
  • Habit formation. The old habits served the old goals. Now you need new goals to serve your new goals. Your life coach tailors new habits to accomplish your new goals.

We all agree running is the best most natural medicine for our mind, body, and soul. But with such busy lives we all lead, we sometimes need a little help getting started and/or staying motivated afterward. This is where a good life coach, especially one with a running experience like myself, is indispensable. Runners of all levels face different challenges.

They all, thankfully, can reap the benefits of life coaching. A life coach like myself who is also an experienced runner knows exactly what you are going through because we have lived it ourselves and made it past these challenges.

We have a wealth of information and know-how to help you; from getting you organized and inserting the running routine into your life, to keep you accountable, to refer you to other professionals according to your needs such as nutritionists, orthopedic doctors, personal trainers, physical therapists, etc.