The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Best Running Coach For You

Finding the right running coach can be a game-changer for most runners. The best coaches bring not only a solid, science-backed training program to the table but also an invaluable guiding voice throughout the process. With the rise in private coaches, it can also be overwhelming to decide which coach is the right fit. Read on for our tips on what to look for in a coach!

What is the Role of a Running Coach?

Let’s start with the basics of what a coach does. Put simply, a coach’s role is to support and guide their athletes. The training plan created and implemented by the coach is just a piece of the puzzle. There is a lot more to coaching than writing training plans. This goes for long distance running, short distance running, and everything in between.

According to the RRCA’s “Coach’s Code of Ethics”, coaches must also remain competent, act with integrity, and uphold professional standards of conduct. The way a coach executes their role can vary but having respect for the athlete is a non-negotiable attribute.

We believe the best coaches are active listeners too. Giving honest feedback in a caring way is a skill. Anyone can learn the science of training, but the best athlete outcomes need a healthy dose of both the science and art of coaching.

Running in the St. Louis Area: In-person & Virtual

We live in a day and age where, due to technology, coaching is super accessible to our runner community. Some of our athletes do well being coached virtually in locations other than St. Louis,
Missouri. Others are local to us and thrive training with a distance running coach local to them.

What to Look for in a Running Coach

We encourage athletes to talk to any/all coaches they’re considering working with. The goal is to find the best fit for the individual.

Here are 4 questions we advise asking along the way:

1. Qualifications, education, and experience

What organization(s) are they certified to coach through? Any formal education in exercise science or other related fields? How long have they been running? How long have they been coaching runners?

2. People and leadership skills

How do they motivate their athletes? Are they going to give honest feedback? Who are their coaching

3. Coaching philosophy

What’s their coaching philosophy and style?

4. Accessibility

How many athletes do they coach? How often will you discuss your training via email, phone, or text?
What are their coaching hours? How long have they been coaching runners?

What are the Advantages of a Running Coach?

Believe it or not, you don’t have to be an elite or even serious runner to benefit from a coach. A solid coach can help athletes balance training volume with work/life, address and break through performance plateaus, or simply help athletes train without getting injured.

Qualified coaches have an understanding of physiology that allows them to apply what will work best for the individual. Everyone is a bit different.

There is also an art to the coaching conversations themselves. Coaches can provide a sounding board,
honest feedback in a compassionate way, and motivation when needed.

How to Choose a Customized Training Program

We have a tiered plan structure in hopes of providing anyone interested in working with us as much or as little support as they need. All levels and abilities benefit from each package.

Gold Package

This is the most comprehensive plan. The gold package allows our coaches to deliver weekly custom training schedules via VDOT, add a tangible amount of runner-specific strength training each week, and meet regularly via Zoom for productive coaching conversations. Communication is encouraged and unlimited.

Silver Package

This is the right plan for anyone who is looking for coaching support in running only. Athletes receive unlimited communication with their coach and week-by-week custom training via the VDOT app. Zoom meetings are included as well!

Plan Only

Plan only athletes receive a full individualized training plan without the additional coaching support. This is a good option for experienced athletes who do not want an in-depth coaching experience.

Strength Only

This is our monthly strength plan for athletes who are not running, running on their own, or working through another plan. Athletes receive unlimited email communication.


Athlete Success Stories with Filla

“Running a Marathon was something I’ve always wanted to accomplish and I knew that I needed help to get to the finish line! After seeing Laura’s running journey online, I knew she would be the best coach to get me there. She was really open to my non-existent (ha!) running background, my hectic schedule as a retail Store Manager and my commitments as a Mother. She was really helpful in making me understand running fundamentals and the importance of CONSISTENCY! I always knew that she would hold me accountable, which is exactly what I needed!”  

Jayrin R.
“I have been writing my own training plans for years. I did my research, found some generic plans, tweaked them for me and went with it. I had success in finishing races as well as some strong PRs. I hadn’t run a marathon in 7 years and wanted to get that sub-4. I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to come up with a schedule, so I reached out to Laura, who I had followed on Instagram for a few years. She chatted and felt like we clicked. Laura is great to work with; we came up with a great plan for a hilly course and I nailed it. After that race, I realized why people liked the marathon so we are going for another BIG goal this spring. She tweaks my plan when I have a long day at work or the weather isn’t cooperating. She is supportive and always responds quickly. I really enjoy the monthly check-ins to see how training is going. I am so glad I took this leap to work with her. Takes planning stress away from me, I just gotta show up!” 

Theresa Y.
“Partnering with coach Laura from Filla Endurance has been my first time with a running coach and it has surpassed my expectations. I looked into a coach to help me gain speed and train smarter. My goal was to PR a half then roll into marathon training. Her plan has pushed me but not too much. I have done work outs I have never done before. She helped me improve my form to help avoid injury. I am grateful for the open communication about progress or struggles. Coach Laura has so much knowledge I feel like I barely scratched the surface. I also love that she has quarterly zoom events for clients to gain more knowledge pertaining to running.” 
Morgan B.

FAQ on Running Coaching

1. How can a running coach help?
Imagine having an expert create a plan that makes your performance trajectory more efficient, meets with you to educate and build you up, and helps you pivot when life inevitably happens. That’s what a running coach does!

2. How does online running coaching work?

We are so lucky to live in an age where technology allows us to effectively coach remotely. Our coaches monitor athlete running data through our partnered app “VDOT”. They also deliver weekly emails to set goals and facilitate dialogue. Gold and silver package athletes have the advantage of monthly “face-to-face” conversations with coaches via Zoom as well.

Crossing the Finish Line with a Coach

Coaches play a crucial role in supporting and guiding athletes, beyond just creating training plans. We hope that asking the right questions, understanding the role, and considering what leadership qualities matter most equip anyone reading this to find the best fit.

Interested in working with us? Email to set up a free consultation.

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