The point is that magazines, websites and apps all have plans for runners to use and generally for free. There are then local coaches at running clubs, I've never been a member of a running club (preferring the lone wolf approach to my running) but there's coaching available on a group basis.
There are then online coaches, the ones I am referring to here are from the ultra running community, offering packages of programme development, calls and emails etc etc. these services can be expensive with, from what I have seen, pricing from £100-£150 per month. But if you want to be coached by one of the worlds leading ultra runners then I guess that's a fair price...
I have been toying with extending my passion for running by moving into this arena and taking some very baby steps. Offering the service to friends and colleagues by word of mouth. I have had a couple of 'clients' coaching one runner seeking a sub 2 hour half marathon to a 1:57 finish and another seeking a sub 2:30 half marathon finish to a 2:21 finish where he ran the whole way (the training strategy had been to factor in walk breaks but come race day they weren't needed).
That same runner is now doing his first triathlon, a sprint, in early May. I have helped develop the training programme that he's following for this. After his half marathon performance we were talking and he said to me "the training programme and advice were ace, you're a really good coach!" The compliment somewhat tempered by the surprise in his voice.
I now have two additional clients training for marathons with very different goals. One, a woman, seeking to build the fitness and get around. The get around being done in New York in November this year. The other, a man, seeking a sub 3:30 first marathon at the inaugural Bristol to Bath marathon.
In all instances the clients are far from stupid and could find, tweak and develop any plan that they could find on the internet. What they don't have is perhaps the confidence that it is the right thing to do. By having someone adopt the coach role they have a sounding board and someone telling them what they should be doing and giving the confidence that what they are doing is right. There's also the opportunity to tweak the plans as the runner develops.
The get around marathon might develop into a 4:30 runner over time and the sub 3:30 target may move to sub 3:15... Spotting this improvement through having a sounding board, the coach, and then having someone help to switch the training around is a valuable service. One size doesn't fit all.
I have developed the marathon training plans for both the new clients. As they are quite far off there's a base phase building to the specific training. I've put these together using online resources available and tuned them based on conversations. I will monitor the actuals against plan and then manage it as necessary.
It will be exciting and for me really interesting to have two clients doing the same distance with two very different goals.
If you think I can help you or would like to figure out if I can then why not email me (email@example.com) as the first step?
Whatever your goal I'm sure you can get there....