Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend an RRCA run coach certification course in the beautiful Cape Cod area— Hyannis, Massachusetts. RRCA is Road Runners Club of America, if you’re unfamiliar with the organization (and, if you are, you should get some information from your local RRCA club!). Unfortunately, I didn’t get to experience as much of the area as I would have liked, save for my picturesque morning beach runs and my all-too-brief sojourner to visit Walden Pond (which fulfilled a lifelong dream for this Thoreau-lovin’ gal). Alas, I digress!
RRCA’s run coach certification course is a two-day class that I would absolutely (speaking with the utmost of respect, of course, for our witty instructor Randy Accetta) not want to teach. The upside? When you’re teaching a class full of runners, you’re dealing with a group of people who are all passionate about running! The downside? They’re all freakin’ passionate about running! The problem is this: when you’re passionate about something, you inherently strive to learn as much as you can about it. And us runners, we’re constantly gobbling up running articles from magazines or journals, snatching up books on run training techniques, and getting the skinny on the latest developments in the sport. This, of course, leads to one side of the double-edged sword this class present: “we know all this stuff already!” So hats off again to our instructor; I can’t imagine what it’d be like to teach a group of us know-it-all runners who live, eat, breathe, and sleep all things running-related!
On the other side of the double-edged sword: “you didn’t teach us enough!” Running is an activity that involves the entire body— everything from muscles to joints to the cardiovascular system to fluid and electrolyte balance; you could easily delve in-depth into nutrition, cardiac function, joint mechanics, muscle development, orthopedics, shoes… on and on and on. But, come on, you aren’t going to learn that over the course of two days! Chances are you’ll never know everything there is to know about running, since the sport of running is constantly evolving. So what does the RRCA course do? It teaches you the basics of run coaching, how to work within your scope, and where to go when you’re outside your scope. In essence, the RRCA course builds the foundation for a successful running coach— but it’s up to the coach to then construct upon that foundation with more research, further education, keeping up-to-date on the sport, and building a collaborative network.
In short: the RRCA run coach certification course is just like any other class— it provides you with an education, but it’s still up to you to apply that education in the real world.
The course was an amazing experience, and I’m looking forward to putting my education into practice (you best believe I already passed my RRCA run coach certification exam too!). We learned a lot over the course of two days— about business, ethics, sports psychology, types of clients, types of run training, constructing a program and so, so, so much more. Some was old hat; some… not so much. I can’t recommend this course enough— both for prospective run coaches who want to begin coaching others, as well as for avid runners who maybe just want to learn more to enhance their training.