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Meet Andrea Williams of Virtual Runner Coach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Andrea Williams.

Hi Andrea, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I have coached runners of all ages for over two decades now. My first coaching job was as an assistant junior high track coach in Laramie, Wyoming while I was in my junior year of college at the University of Wyoming. That was in the year 2000 and I was 20 years old.

Every year since I have been a cross country, track & field, or club coach in some capacity whether it be kids, high school, or adults. I was ahead of high school cross country and track & field coach from 2006 to 2018 but in recent years, I have become an assistant after having my own children.

I started my virtual coaching business, Virtual Runner Coach, LLC during the pandemic days of teaching at home (I’m a PE teacher). I posted a video for PE teachers about teaching kids to like running on my TikTok account (@virtualrunnercoach) and the video somehow went viral outside of my group of teachers with that I had been networking for teaching.

People from all over of all ages started asking me questions about running and how to get started. There were comments such as “I wish you had been my teacher”, “maybe I would’ve liked running if I had been taught with your mindset” and “I used to be good in high school but now I’m out of shape and maybe you can help me.”

Many of my initial clients were teachers from around the country that had really been hit hard mentally by the challenges and stress of teaching at home during quarantine and subsequently the next year of the pandemic. Never would I have imagined teaching online let alone coaching a runner that is not running right next to me. However, it has been amazing. I have met some extraordinary people from all over through my virtual business.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
My own life journey to finding a balanced lifestyle has given me insight into the many challenges one encounters at different stages of life. I dealt with personal mental health struggles a few years prior to the pandemic which helped equip me to handle the pandemic situation better. I was able to help people from the mental health angle whether it was students, family, runners, friends, and people I met networking for online teaching.

I am constantly learning and this enables me to bring a high level of empathy, respect, and understanding to differing situations. I met a lot of coaches and other small virtual business owners that gave me some excellent guidance as I got my own business up and running a year and a half ago.

As you know, we’re big fans of Virtual Runner Coach, LLC. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
I typically do 1:1 coaching with my runners. However, the way I do this varies from individual to individual after I meet with them for an initial (free) consultation via zoom. I have a prospective client questionnaire linked to my website and my social media which is the first step in getting started.

Here is my mission and philosophy for coaching:

  • I teach my passion for running, hiking, and walking in order to help others improve physical, mental, and social health as well as develop lifelong appreciation and enjoyment.
  • I don’t believe in a “one size fits all” approach to coaching. Traditional coaching formats are based on starting mile pace, goal race distance, and exact training days. I take multiple factors into consideration such as starting fitness level, goals of all types, previous injuries, and life schedules that can vary from week to week.
  • Running is unpredictable so I use an “adjust as we go” approach in order to tailor a plan specific to your needs as they arise along the way.

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
Being respectful of differences and diversity among others. This is always important but to me, it’s extra important with exercise and physical activity. When people are respectful, all other important character qualities seem to come naturally. Like I say to my PE students every day “to be nice to someone today.”

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