Becoming a Certified Running Coach


From time to time, friends ask me for running tips or advice. They tell me about a race they’re looking to sign up for and ask for my help. This gets me so incredibly excited!

I absolutely love it when friends want to run a half or full marathon. It’s no easy task, and I think it’s extremely admirable to sign up the challenge, especially folks who don’t consider themselves “runners.” In the past 2 years, I’ve helped 3 friends with their training plans. 2 were training for half marathons, while another was aiming to stay on track with a fitness routine called BodyBoss. It doesn’t matter if it’s running or not, I really admire people who commit to doing something healthy for themselves and making time for it.

Anyway, 2 days ago, I had a friend approach me, letting me know she’s signed up for the Giants Race Half Marathon in September and wants my help. I jumped at the opportunity. Instantly, my mind started reeling, thinking of ways I could help her, from providing a training plan, to checking in regularly to keep her accountable, to provide tips and tricks for long distance running.

Why do I get so excited when others ask for my help? It’s because I had a running coach a few years ago. He made a huge difference on my running career. He was a friend from high school, and he offered to help me, when my marathon career was just starting to take off (around 2013). He met with me to learn what I was currently doing to prepare for marathon, what my schedule was, and what my goals were. Then he customized a training plan tailored specifically for me. I remember so clearly what he said to me, “I will only help you if you commit to this.” Oh man, that really lit a fire under me, because as much as I didn’t want to waste my own time, I definitely didn’t want to waste his! He created a Google spreadsheet for me with workouts listed on each day. He introduced me to speed work and strength training. Ha, I had never even done a deadlift before I worked with him. The spreadsheet was key for me. It was where I listed my notes for him, how I felt after each workout. It completely held me accountable, since I didn’t want to let him down. And I had faith in his workout plan. I trusted him and his work, and it worked wonders. In fact, following his schedule led me to the PR of my life: a 2:54:48 marathon at the Boston Marathon 2014.

This is why I believe coaches are so important and so helpful. To this day, I am so grateful for my coach’s help. And that’s why I want to do the same for others. I don’t know why it never occurred to me before, but there’s a program to get certified as a running coach. It looks like there are a few different programs, with the most common being the USA Track & Field (USATF) coaching certification and theĀ Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) coaching certification. It seems like RRCA is more for people who want to coach adults and organize running groups/clubs. They offer 2-day in-person courses around the country, but the spots fill up quickly! I’ve just signed up for the waiting list, and I’m excited to look into this a bit more. I don’t know if I do want to coach others, but getting certified as a coach has got to help me coach myself, right?!

Have you thought about getting certified as a running coach or know anyone who has? What was your experience like?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.