The Benefits of Having a Physical Therapist as a Running Coach
Updated: Mar 28
Whether you’re training for your next running race or multisport adventure, having a running coach at your side is invaluable. But when it comes to choosing a coach, the vast number of options can be overwhelming. Here’s a pro tip: Your running coach should not only understand your discipline—they should also understand you. And there’s one type of coach who can do this especially well: a running coach who’s also a physical therapist.
Here are just a few of the benefits of having a physical therapist as a running coach.
Recognize injuries before they become issues
Physical therapists go through rigorous training to identify, treat, and prevent movement-related injuries. These are unique to each individual and can happen for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s a tight muscle, poor movement pattern, or weakness, there’s usually more than one problem at play. Often, injuries stem from training error, meaning an athlete did too much too soon or didn’t incorporate enough variety in their training plan.
A physical therapist can give you specific medical advice on what could be going on, when to back off, and when to push through. Moreover, with expertise in injury-prevention movements such as foam rolling, stretching, balance, motor control, and strength exercises, a physical therapist can prevent injuries before they derail your routine.
Understand your unique stressors
Your daily habits can have a huge impact on your training. Your work life, stress levels, and sleep quality all play a factor in your body's ability to perform. Physical therapists are trained to know how these stressors affect athletes. And they’re also good listeners. In fact, 90% of what they do centers around listening! By understanding what you’re going through each day, a physical therapist can accurately assess your performance and modify your training plan if needed.
Meet your needs with a customized training plan
Most running coaches look at objective performance data (e.g., heart rate, pace, cadence) to build your training plan. While these stats are vital, they only get you so far. A physical therapist also leverages subjective data, such as how your body is responding to certain movements and personalized pain assessments, to create a just-for-you plan for reaching your goals.
Find the right running coach for you
No matter what your goals are for this year or beyond, a coach can help you meet them. Having a physical therapist as a coach allows you to minimize injury disruptions, account for your daily habits, and train in a way that makes sense for your body. At Trail Transformation, we see this as key to maximizing your potential while protecting your long-term health. And it’s why all of our running coaches are also physical therapists.