At the end of April, I attended the RRCA Coaching Certification Program.
RRCA, stands for Road Runners Club of America. It’s basically a club of runners, coaches, running clubs and maybe a few other things all with an overall goal of promoting distance running. You can read the history more on their website.
RRCA is one of several running coach certifications and I’ve wanted to become a running coach for a while now. Taking this course was threefold:
- Hearing from the experts in the field and having something else to qualify me as a running coach beyond the USTAF Level I Certification, only makes me mo’ betta.
- I love running and I wanted to learn a bit more to self coach myself.
- Over the past year, I’ve had an increasing number of readers and friends asking me for coaching advice, so now I have a more structured way of advising and helping potential clients and friends.
The course was a two day course that touched the surface of conventional running and how it relates to psychological and physical training for those just starting out on their running journey to the more advanced and experienced runner.
Before I go any farther describing the class, I need to take a moment to appreciate Steve Mullaney, yes the same Steve that coached me from Dec 2014-April 2015. He was our hostess for the weekend, having made the arrangements for the class, which was held at Midlands Technical College in Columbia. SC. Steve went above and beyond, feeding us a continental breakfast of fruit, yogurt, and bagels on both mornings. For lunch we had sandwiches the first day and pizza the next (plenty of veggie options) with plenty of sweet treats to get us through the lecture. Thanks Steve!
The goal of the RRCA Coaching Certification program is to provide trained individuals to work as coaching professionals for the sport of distance running at all levels, from beginner to advanced runners.
The course was 16 hours long, split into two 8 hour days of instruction. The RRCA includes a handbook/workbook in the registration fee that extensively covers the topics of the two days:
- Principles of coaching
- Understanding exercise physiology for coaching
- Principles of building a training program
- Understanding running form
- Basic sports nutrition
- The business of coaching
- Sports psychology for coaching
- Recognizing injuries and injury prevention
- Environmental factors that effect running performance
- Building training programs as a group activity
We were even given a book…..
This course covered creating training plans for 5Ks to marathons, as well as runners safety, injury prevention, and the business of coaching.
Things I learned and focused on:
RRCA stresses uniform usage/meaning of certain terms like cross training, tempo run, or intervals, as it relates to coaching running. As coaches, they want us to be careful with how we use these terms. Basically, each different coaching theory uses a different definition for terms like “tempo” and intervals so when we give our runners plans, we need to be very specific on what we want them to do.
Aside from putting together a running plan, most things in regards to said runner is most likely out of our scope, which includes but is not limited to:
Nutrition and diet
Injuries and dealing with them
And pretty much most other things
As coaches, we have to stress to our clients
So, where do I go from here?
Well, if you haven’t done so before, perhaps you’d like to check out my Coaching page, already updated with my bright shiny new RRCA certification badge. Some of the benefits of having a coach is that they will create a training plan just for you, with your goals, history, schedule, and experience taken into account. They will also help keep you accountable, make adjustments in your plan if necessary, and give you honest advise regarding racing, goals, and injuries.
Have you ever worked with a coach?