Each month going forward, UESCA will highlight one of its coaches in a Q & A format. This month, we profile David Ayer. He’s the founder of RunRelated and is both a UESCA Running and Triathlon Coach. David has grown RunRelated to five coaches and as you’ll see below, his success as both a coach and owner is based on a singular factor – the client comes first.
While I could write a blog post on the most important factors to be successful as a coach, David saved me the trouble as both his coaching philosophy and the way he runs his business says it all!
Keep up the great work David and thank you for sharing your wisdom with us!
What led you to start coaching and to turn it into a business?
I ran so much and didn’t improve. One day a friend recommended a coach to me. He was extremely knowledgeable and I learned so much from him. I soaked up everything I could and figured out what I would do differently. I surrounded myself with some of the smartest people I could find and RunRelated was born. RunRelated was created to reach the runner or triathlete that had no idea that coaching existed or that thought coaching would be too expensive.
What do you enjoy the most about coaching?
I think I enjoy getting the after race phone call or text from a client. When I see a new PR, a BQ or a first of a distance, I am always so excited for my client and proud to be a part of their journey.
Do you have a personal coaching philosophy?
At RunRelated, we try to keep it simple and make it fun. We want our athletes to learn the proper way to train, actually enjoy it, have success in racing, and feel the overwhelming desire to continue. Since we specialize in working with the novice to intermediate athlete, we want to make it as easy as possible on the client. V02 max, steady state, thresholds, tempo runs and wattage can all be things that may be intimidating or confusing to an athlete. We strive to make it so easy on them that all they have to do is put shoes on and go. We are happy to teach our clients as much as they want to know, but they usually are interested in hitting their goals and not so much in the data. That’s what we do…We take care of the difficult stuff so the client just has to put in the work.
We strive to make it so easy on them that all they have to do is put shoes on and go. We are happy to teach our clients as much as they want to know, but they usually are interested in hitting their goals and not so much in the data. That’s what we do…We take care of the difficult stuff so the client just has to put in the work.
As someone that works a team of coaches, what is the most valuable piece of coaching information you’ve learned from your colleagues?
My team always challenges me and keeps me on my toes. Just recently in a meeting with three of our coaches we discussed bringing on new clients. One of our coaches brought up what he thought was the most important aspect of attracting new clients. He said that you “have to be knowledgeable about running but more importantly, you have to be interested in the person.” Sounds so simple but it’s so true.
Most runners don’t care about how many Ironman you completed or marathons you’ve run, they want to know if their coach cares about them personally and if their coach cares about their goals. Taking a few minutes to learn about your athlete’s family, career and hobbies will lead to a more successful relationship, then talking about your training methods or own personal accomplishments.
What advice would you give to someone that is looking to start coaching?
My biggest piece of advice is to listen to your clients. Listen for injuries, listen for burn out, listen for excuses…but listen. Listening to the client gives you access to vital information about the athlete and shows you really care about them and their goals. If I could give an additional piece of advice it would be to have confidence in what you know. You are going to come across a faster athlete or one that questions your methods. Show true confidence and your athletes will surely follow your lead.
Taper weeks. Love em’ or hate em’?
Personally, I love em…
I work hard and I enjoy a down week and I use the time to recover mentally and physically. It also gives me more time to work on schedules. haha