Frequently Asked Questions

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What is a “Chaski?” How is it pronounced? What does it mean?


“Chaski” was the title given to the messenger-runners whose duties were essential in operating the Incan Empire, the ancestors of Chaski Coaching Director Fredy Moposita. Revered for their endurance, a Chaski would run over and across the Andes Mountains and through deserts along the ancient Qhapaq Ñan, the network of Inca trails, delivering coded messages. The word “Chaski” comes from Quechua, the language of the indigenous people of the Andes and descendants of the Incas. It is pronounced “cha” (as in “cha-cha slide”) and “ski” as in what you do when you slide down a mountain with boards on your feet. The emphasis is on the first syllable: CHA-ski. As for the spelling, the Quechua writing system was lost with the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century and so any Quechua word that you see written with this alphabet has simply been translated phonetically. So you might sometimes see Chaski written “chasqui” or even “chasqi;” we have chosen “Chaski” to avoid confusion about how to pronounce the second syllable. In a very cool linguistic feature, “Chaski” is also a verb meaning to exchange or share (derived from the responsibilities of the messengers). Chaski Endurance Collective hopes to embody every sense of the original Quechua meaning. We seek to embody the messenger-runners’ formidable skills at covering ground and live the act of exchanging and sharing ideas and experiences with athletes and coaches




What makes Chaski different from the other online coaching programs out there?


Short answer: (1) Our collective model. (2) Our elite-athlete coaches, who all have an elite performance background in addition to their coaching training and experience. Longer answer: Chaski provides its members much more than online training plans. When you join Chaski, you become part of a community of athletes of all levels. Yes, Chaski provides adaptive, human-to-human training programs, but what makes the Chaski approach special is our unique organization that has everyone in the Collective rooting for and connected to each other. Coaches want to be better athletes and coaches themselves, which motivates them to provide unique insight from the upper echelons of the sport. Chaski Endurance Collective derives its power from the diverse knowledge and experience of our members, elite athletes and experienced coaches in a variety of endurance sports. That diversity gives us the ability to match you with the best coach for your specific needs, style, and goals. It also allows coaches to learn from and support each other as they empower the athletes they coach. This entire community of athletes can connect, share, and inspire one another. Our hope is that by building this community, we’ll be able to increase engagement in the sport at all levels and improve overall athlete health, happiness, and performance.




I get that Chaski coaches have all competed at a high level, but does that make them good coaches?


Not necessarily! Being a good athlete doesn’t make you a good coach. But a good athlete has the potential to use their experience to become a great coach. Almost all Chaski coaches have experience competing in their sport at an elite level (the few exceptions coming with tremendous coaching expertise). In addition, some of our coaches come to Chaski with decades of coaching experience, while some are relatively new to coaching. Before any Chaski coach interacts with an athlete, they must complete a certification course through USATF (USA Track & Field), along with a rigorous Chaski curriculum designed to impart our core training principles (see below), while allowing coaches to also have input based on their own experiences. Further, new coaches are paired with more experienced mentor-coaches, all of whom are encouraged to continue learning both in and outside their specialty over the course of their coaching career. Our coaching is based on principles, values, and objectives, rather than on specific “cookie cutter” training plans.




Do Chaski Coaches have any kind of certification?


Yes. At a minimum, all Chaski Coaches are certified by USATF (USA Track & Field) and by Chaski by completing our own rigorous in-house coaching education curriculum. Many Chaski coaches hold additional higher-level certifications from USATF and/or RRCA (Road Runners Club of America), as well as having experience coaching at different levels. Some of our coaches also hold other specialty degrees and certifications such as degrees in nutrition, physical therapy, etc. When you join Chaski, we will match you with a coach whose certification and expertise are the perfect match for your needs and goals.




I’m not sure this whole online coaching thing is for me. Do I really need a coach?


Not everyone does, or at least, not everyone is looking for what a coach can provide. If you’re on this website and reading this, it means you’re looking for something. Maybe you’re relatively new to the sport and need a lot of guidance to get started, or maybe you’re relatively experienced but you’ve hit a plateau in performance or motivation, or maybe you’d benefit from having a trusted coach who can inspire you to believe you’re capable of achieving much more, or maybe you want to understand elite-level training from an elite athlete. All these are good reasons to look for a coach, but we also know that finding a great coach is daunting -- it has to be a good fit, and a relationship in which the coach understands you as an individual athlete, with unique strengths and motivation. No problem. Because we're a collective of coaches, you're not married to any individual coach's style or personality and if the vibe isn't right, you can always switch to someone else in the group -- no hard feelings will be held! Lastly, if you really decide it's not for you in the first two weeks, we’ll refund your first month’s coaching fee and you’ll be off the hook for the remainder of what you signed up for.




I’m [really slow/really fast/unsure of myself]. Is Chaski for me?


Short answer: If you are serious about improving your health, happiness, and performance, then we think Chaski is for you. Longer answer: Chaski is for everyone who cares about endurance sports and wants to learn directly from elite athletes, while being part of an amazing community of athletes and coaches. We pride ourselves on being able to help guide athletes of all levels. Our coaches have worked with athletes from the back of the back of the pack to some of the highest level competitors in endurance sport (and everything in between). In other words, we don’t think your level -- whether high or low -- will be an issue if you’re looking for guidance in your endurance training. Now, if your name begins with “E” and ends in “liud Kipchoge”, we’ll admit to being a little bit nervous about taking you on -- I mean, come on, you seem to have figured things out pretty well already -- but we’d still do our best.




How does “online coaching” actually work?


Note - this is based on the Chaski Flagship Coaching Program. For a detailed description of our various coaching programs, visit Coaching & More There are many online coaching products out there, and the term “online coaching” means many things -- everything from cookie-cutter programs, to programs generated by algorithm, to connecting with a coach via email. At Chaski, “Online Coaching” refers to a one-on-one relationship between a coach and an athlete. Your coach will begin by getting to know you, including your background as an athlete and your goals. From there, the most usual next step is for your coach to provide you with a custom training program that is built out week-by-week based on your progress and specific short- and long-term goals. This plan will map out your specific training on a day-by-day basis including how long/fast training sessions should be and what your total volume for the week should look like. Each week, you’ll have a scheduled call with your coach to review the previous week’s training, go over any questions you might have, and then discuss the plan for the upcoming week. We want you to understand both what you’re doing and why you’re doing it! In addition, you’ll be able to contact your coach as much as you want during the week by text or email with quick questions that you need answered. You’ll be provided with an account to use our online coaching software (an online platform for logging your training) which will allow your coach to monitor your training on a daily basis and provide constant feedback.




What else does Chaski provide for me?


Here’s an itemized list of what you’ll get with your monthly coaching payment.

Note - this is based on the Chaski Flagship Coaching Program. For a detailed description of our various coaching programs, visit Coaching & More
  • Elite athlete-coach pairing
    • Initial intake and goal-setting call
    • Weekly training update call
    • Race-day planning for pacing, goals, fueling, strategy, logistics, gear, etc
    • Post-race recovery advisory
    • End-of-season review and planning for next steps
    • Unlimited text/email communication

  • Adaptive training schedule based on your actual progression
    • A custom daily training plan updated weekly
    • Professional analysis and feedback on workout data
    • Macro-cycle planning including base phase, sharpening, and tapering (when applicable)
    • Online Training Log account set-up and support

  • Chaski Community Access
    • Access to private Chaski coach and athlete Facebook group
    • Bi-weekly Chaski Training Email
    • Opportunity to be featured on Chaski blog and social media
    • Optional connection with “virtual training partner”
    • First access to contests, giveaways, and special events
    • Discounts on additional Chaski products - gear, nutrition coaching, yoga, biomechanical analysis, etc.
    • Additional Chaski premium content such as live (and archived) workout videos, strength plans, etc.




Who will my coach be? Do I get to pick my coach?


The short answer: It depends, and most of the time. The long answer: Once you sign up, you’ll speak with our athlete on-boarding director who will review your history and goals. This person will explain which coaches we have available that match your needs. Of course, if you’re coming on board because you really want to work with a specific coach, we’ll try our best to match you with them, but we can’t guarantee that they’ll have openings at the time. That said, one of the benefits of the Collective model is that even if your first-choice coach is full, we guarantee we’ll be able to connect you with another coach who will take fantastic care of you and help guide you towards your endurance dreams.




What’s your training philosophy?


In one sentence? Our coaching objective is to improve an athlete’s health, performance, and love for their sport by formulating an individualized, adaptive, process-oriented approach that harnesses scientific principles and human-to-human connection. In everyday language? We want our athletes to be happier, healthier, and higher-performing humans. We believe that there is no one methodology that’s perfect for all athletes, but that training must be individualized. We believe in training that is catered to an individual’s strengths, background, and goals and is adapted to how the athlete is progressing (and other events in his or her life). We believe in focusing on developing a love for the process of self-improvement and setting process-oriented goals. We believe in science and believe that data can be useful (though too much data can also be overwhelming and distracting). And we believe in the power of personal connection between humans for motivation and inspiration. For more details, visit our Coaching Philosophy page




How much do I need to train?


Short answer: As much as makes sense for you. Longer answer: How much you’re going to train mostly depends on how much time you have and how much your body is used to training. If you’re training 2 hours per week or running 10 miles per week, you’re not going to suddenly start running every day and putting in 20 hours of exercise. Similarly, if you’ve been running 100 miles per week for years, we’re going to base your future training on that history (along with what your real life looks like). As mentioned above, we believe that training must be individualized and the amount of training that you’ll do is one of the important parts of that. One of the benefits of working with your own personal coach is having someone examine not only your training history but also your current lifestyle to help you determine the optimal amount of training to help you meet your goals. Maybe you’ve got tons of free time (does anyone?); maybe you’re a busy parent who only has 30 minutes a day to squeeze in their workout. Your coach will help you figure out this balance so that you can make the most of whatever time you do have.




Do I need a fancy watch or heart-rate monitor?


Short answer: No. Longer answer: You don’t need any particular equipment to be an endurance athlete, especially a runner. We’d recommend shoes (and probably shorts) as a good starting point. And even a basic watch will definitely help. In reality, yes, having a GPS watch and a heart-rate monitor will help make your coach’s job easier. Why? Because these data will allow a coach to see exactly what you did during your workout and how your body responded to it. Maybe you forgot if it was the 4th or 5th rep that felt really hard; your HR data will usually tell that story for you. HR and pace data also tell us about how you’re responding to the overall training load, when it’s time to back off or when it’s time to push through. Now, all of this can be achieved through a simple question like “how did you feel?” But that relies on you, the athlete, keeping track of your effort level on each run. Establishing goals and racing strategies will also be trickier (if those goals are based on time and pace) if you and your coach don’t have an accurate sense of how far/fast you're going during training. That’s not to say it’s impossible! We’ve had plenty of clients who prefer the “old school” methodology of a simple watch and effort (and have had success). We’re not here to tell you there’s one correct way to train, so at the end of the day, it’s up to you.




Do you offer a trial period or refund if I decide it’s not for me?


Yes. As mentioned above, we’ll give you two weeks to figure things out. If you feel like you and your coach aren’t clicking, we can try moving you to a new coach. If you decide that the whole online coaching thing just isn’t for you, that’s okay; we promise not to be offended. You’ll have the first two weeks as a trial period, during which time we’ll refund your first month’s coaching fee and you’ll be off the hook for the remainder of what you signed up for. Note that the one-time set-up fee is the only truly non-refundable thing you’ll pay.




How do I get started?


Go to chaski.run/join-team and follow the instructions on-screen. You’ll need to fill out a form with some basic information and then we’ll be in touch to help you get started.




I don’t think I need a full-time coach; I just want a training plan or I have a few questions I want answered.


Fair enough. For some people, full-time one-on-one coaching isn’t the right fit. Maybe you have a bunch of questions and want to build your own plan. Maybe you just want a long-term plan that you feel comfortable adapting yourself. Chaski offers both of these options. You can schedule a 1-time call with one of our professional athlete-coaches to ask whatever training or racing questions you might have. You can also sign up for our Chaski Select Coaching Program, which gives you more independence and is available at a lower cost. See our Coaching and More Page for details.




What happens if I get injured or can’t train anymore?


Injuries suck but they happen. We don’t want to add another layer of suckiness, so we won't bill you while you're injured and unable to train for up to 2 months (if you want) while dealing with your injury. During the time you’re injured you’ll still be communicating with your coach, though you won’t be billed, because, again, injuries suck. And we don’t want to abandon our athletes. Now, if you can still work out (e.g. maybe you can bike or swim but can’t run), we’d still recommend continuing to train with your coach. But if you really can’t train, we get it. Non-injury related issues will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. We’ll be nice.




Are there any age or experience requirements? Do you coach youth/High School/College athletes?


Short Answer: No, there are no set age requirements. Longer Answer: We believe that online coaching is not meant to supersede you or your child’s current coach or put your place on a team or your relationship with another coach in jeopardy. In other words, if you’re part of another team, whether that’s a youth/HS team or college/club team, and want to be coached, we’re happy to do it as long as all involved parties are aware of the situation and on board. What we don’t want is for your high school coach to be giving you one set of workouts, your Chaski Coach giving you a different set, and you doing both or some random combination of the two. If your coach is open to having you work with a Chaski coach to provide guidance, especially during the summer or during other non-competitive seasons, we’re happy to help out. We just want to make sure you, your team coach, and your Chaski coach all understand exactly what everyone else’s role is in the coaching relationship.




Can Chaski coach my entire team/club/group/family?


You bet we can! While our normal model for online coaching is one-on-one, some of our Chaski Coaches are able to work with groups of people of relatively similar abilities with relatively similar goals. Contact us with specific inquiries.