Name: Dave Troman

Job title: Running coach

Employer: Love to Run Coaching

Age: 51

Where are you from? Originally from The Midlands but moved to The Lake District in 1993.

Where do you live now? Keswick

Where do you work? Most of my time is spent working from home; sending training plans to athletes. Although I coach runners all around the world, I do get to meet face to face with some runners, which I enjoy, and I also occasionally travel to support individuals when they are racing.

How long have you done this job? I had been coaching a few individuals for a number of years but actually launched Love to Run Coaching as a new business in 2017.

Take us through a typical day: The primary task each day is to look at the training data (time, distance, heart rate, elevation, cadence, etc) and feedback left by athletes from their previous training sessions.

From this point, I’ll be adapting their plans to keep them on target for their goal races. Long-term year plans also need to be updated for each athlete as the months unfold.

I might make some time to film and edit instructional videos (technique, core conditioning, etc) for my athletes. There are also often video chats to carry out with athletes, perhaps to discuss an upcoming race, nutrition advice, race season plans etc.

There needs to be some time spent on the usual business admin tasks like keeping accounts up to date. Finally, I will always allocate a period of time to carry out research into the latest training theories, looking for any ideas that might apply to a particular athlete. This is a field that is constantly evolving with regard to methods, techniques, technology, nutrition and the ever expanding range of running events; I need to keep abreast of the latest ideas.

What do you like most about the job? I get a huge buzz from helping a runner progress towards their targets; whether that be making the move up from a 5k ParkRun, competing on the international stage in an ultra-marathon or running across Europe and on to Mongolia (yes, I’ve got an athlete doing that at the moment!)

Seeing a runner’s aspirations grow as they develop as an athlete is wonderful to behold and being a part of that is incredibly satisfying.

I also enjoy the analytical side of the job; getting to know how each athlete responds to training, looking at the training data, what type of training appeals to them, how to get the most out of their training time and still trying to fit all that around their lifestyle.

What do you like least? Persuading a runner that this is not a quick fix and does, inevitably, take time.

Why did you want to do this job? It was a natural progression of my own long running career and then following the “casual” coaching I’ve been doing for a number of years.

I’ve spent my whole life training and racing; I was a GB international orienteer for many years and have also raced on the roads, cross country, fells, mountain marathons and ultra-marathons.

It’s incredibly satisfying to be able to turn your passion into your job and to then watch another runner benefit from your experience.

What jobs have you done previously? I have been a physical education teacher (Keswick School) for all my professional career, though I am now part-time as I continue to build the business.

There is a significant cross-over between the two jobs; acting as a motivator, a listener and having empathy for the athlete. I definitely bring skills from teaching over into coaching.

What qualifications or experience do you need? I have a sports science degree and coaching qualifications from UK Athletics. There are a number of qualifications from various agencies which will help you become a better coach; I am currently doing a qualification with an American college (they seem to be at the cutting edge of training theories in the US).

Alongside this, you need experience, partly as a runner so you know how the training will impact on the human body but also as a coach; I spent a few years coaching just a couple of athletes to develop my own style and to work out the logistics of coaching runners remotely.

What is a typical salary for this job? Coaches will charge by the month per athlete and base their costs on the “depth of coaching contact”. Prices range from £20/month for very light touch (minimal contact and little adaptation of the plan) up to £100/month or more for far greater contact and stronger athlete-coach relationship. Every coach will set their own charges.

Any advice for people wanting to get into your profession? The days of a coach working on “gut instinct” are long gone; a coach needs to be able to work with data, understand the mechanisms of the human body, be a psychologist, a planner and be confident when working with others.

To this end, you do need the grounding provided by a number of qualifications. Once you have this background, you need to approach a few athletes (friends?) and offer your services for free, giving you the chance to develop your own style.