After talking about it for well over a year, I finally managed to get on an RRCA Coaching course that took place in January. It was a fun and fairly intensive weekend which really revitalized my enthusiasm for my own running as well as wanting to help others either get started or improve their running.
Part of my reasoning for doing this was just to inform my own running – after 5 years I’m looking for more ways to improve and make sure I can keep running healthily, but I also love the idea of helping others enjoy running.
The certification requires you pass the exam with 85 correct answers out of 100, and I somehow managed to get 97 correct on an exam where I felt I could easily have got more wrong (but now I really want to know which 3 I did get wrong). You are also required to get first aid and CPR certified.
About a year and a half ago, I started looking at the USATF coaching options, and there is an initial online “fundamentals” course which I completed, but didn’t take it further. Part of this was because RRCA courses are hard to come by – I had also considered the USATF course but decided I would prefer the RRCA course because it focuses solely on running whereas the USATF Level 1 covers track and field (although I am considering doing that too now).
I still didn’t know exactly what I was going to do, but made a quick decision to set up a (cheap) 8 week group training program leading up to the Highland Park 5k (of which I happen to be a race director). I put the word out on Facebook and within a few days I had 10 athletes ready to go. The first session was on Saturday and to say I’m enjoying it so far would be an understatement.
I’m already looking around for other local races to try to build similar groups for, and I’m really interested in doing a kids series of fun sessions so I’m looking into what I might need to do for that.
Now I just have to work out a way to transform this into a long term plan that could maybe see me making it more than just a part time thing for fun. I may also combine it with a more general personal trainer qualification…