Recap: RRCA Coaching Certification Course

You’ve probably figured this out, but just in case, that’s our class photo! Our Road Runners Club of America Run Coach Certification course took place in The Cube of Ann Arbor, Michigan. I’d never been to Ann Arbor, so my family and I were happy to be there (after the 3.5 hour drive).

Among us were few people from Michigan. Two were from California, a handful from Ohio, pretty sure I heard someone say Indiana…

So, several of us traveled to attend this course. Why? In a nutshell: This is the it certification in running; this is worth it; this is likely one of the most credible running coach certifications one can earn. 

The course runs from 8-5 on Saturday and Sunday. The participant size was kept fairly small, and this was beneficial for a few reasons: We got to know each other and became friends over the course of 16 hours; we had time for a lot of questions, etc.

Below are my biggest takeaways from our course:

  1. You are not coaching yourself; you are coaching others. This seems like “duh.” But really, when you start understanding the fundamentals of coaching and realizing that runners have some crazy goals that they really want to achieve, you have to remember that you’re not coaching YOU. Maybe you wouldn’t be willing to log 90 miles a week; maybe you wouldn’t try to achieve what someone else tries to achieve. Your job as a coach isn’t always to tell someone something is unrealistic. I think we often get caught up in “That’s too much ____;” and that may be true for us, but not others.
  2. Your responsibility of coaching stops at coaching. It’s easy to look at someone and say “Oh that’s ITBS” or “Sounds like you just pulled your hamstring” or whatever, and as much as we believe that is the case, we can never be sure. We’ve all had injuries (most of us), and we all know by now that we self-diagnose one thing and then are formally diagnosed with another. Our job as coaches is to send others to the correct place and guide them to the right resources.
  3. You need to hold yourself accountable. Would you take running advice from someone who dropped out of training because it was “too hard” or listen to someone who told you that you have to do a long run, but s/he just skipped the long run? Probably not…So if we are going to put ourselves in the spotlight and aim to help others, we need to meet our own goals.

These are my “top three.” There were so many other takeaways from this course, but I wanted to narrow it down at least a bit!

Last night, I proudly passed the 100 question exam. On Sunday, I am attending Red Cross adult/pediatric CPR, first aid, and defibrillator certification courses. After that, I’ll be listed in the RRCA Running Coach directory!

I’ve looked at many, many certification courses to become a running coach. There are a few different ones online, but they just don’t compare (and they cost more). If you are thinking of becoming a certified running coach, I urge you to make the trek and attend and RRCA coaching clinic. If this clinic were a college institution, I’d definitely say it’s Ivy League.

Moving forward, I’m excited to see what I do with this education!

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