The Road Runners Club of America
The first weekend in April, I participated in the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) running coach certification course. The RRCA is a national organization that is dedicated to growing the sport of running through the development of community based running clubs and the support and training of certified running coaches. Their coaching certification program is divided into two levels. I participated in the level 1 certification program which instructs participants on the basics of building training plans in addition to providing an overview on specialty topics including sports psychology, nutrition and injuries. It is stressed during the training to build a network of trained professionals that you can refer athletes to for specialty care and treatment as this is out of the scope of a trained running coach.
Level 1 Certification Process
First, you will need search the RRCA website for an open in-person course. The level 1 coaching certification course is held over two 9 hour days. After attending the course, you will need to successfully pass a 100 question on-line test within 30 days. Finally, you will need to submit proof of CPR and first aid training to complete your requirements.
If you have tried to sign up for one of their courses, you probably know that it is difficult to secure a seat. The course is limited to 35 participants which allows for group discussion and the completion of a group assignment/presentation. Luckily, I found a course offered in Pittsburgh at the local Fleet Feet store! We had representation from Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New Jersey in our class. The group was very diverse including trail runners, Boston marathon qualifiers, ultra-marathoners, middle distance runners, and tri-athletes. This lead to great discussion on different training preferences and methods.
· Principles of Coaching
· Exercise Physiology for Coaching
· Principles of Building a Training Program
· Understanding Different Types of Workouts
· Running Form
· Basic Sports Nutrition
· The Business of Coaching
· Sports Psychology for Coaching
· Recognizing and Preventing Injuries
· Environmental Factors that Effect Performance
· Building Training Programs (In Class Activity)
I thoroughly enjoyed the course and actually wished that it was spread out over an additional 8 hours. There is so much information packed into this weekend! The course guide has a book reference and I have ordered most of the materials to continue reading and learning. With my background in athletic training, I am familiar with the concept of periodized training programs. This same theory applies to the techniques of building running training programs as outlined in this course.
The instructor (Randy Accetta) was amazing! He has such knowledge and passion for the sport of running. Listening to him speak was really inspiring. Randy is currently serving as the director of coaching education for the RRCA. One of the best pieces of advice that he gave over the weekend is to remember that you are not coaching yourself. Even though this seems intuitive, I can understand how our own experiences guide our thought process and how this may affect our ability to effectively coach others for their goals.
I am really excited not only to apply this new knowledge to improve my own training but to also work with other recreational runners to help them achieve their running goals in the future.