Why I Became a Running Coach

For a while now I’ve been trying to decide what I want to do with my life. While I’m a marketer by education and trade, it is not something I’m necessarily passionate about. It is fun and I enjoy it but maybe there is something more for me. Make sense? Staying at home with the kids has given me the opportunity to think about other options. I considered looking into becoming a nutritionist or dietitian, but it always came back to running.

What made me decide running coach certification was for me? A few reasons.

  1. I remember well my first marathon. I was injured because I had no idea what I was doing. Even with the training plan provided to me, as a novice I was running too much, cross-training too little and adding mileage way too quickly. Not to throw my coach under the bus, but as an Ironman and a very seasoned endurance athlete, I think he forgot that newbies need hand holding. I certainly did. I want to help people feel confident and make it to the starting line (and hopefully the finish line) healthy.
  2. As I’ve made progress over the past eight years, I’ve had a lot of people ask me for advice, from training plans and paces to stretching and fueling. While I always offered up what works or has worked for me, I always felt slightly uncomfortable because what works for one runner, definitely does not work for all runners.
  3. Achieving a goal feels incredible. I want to help other people feel that satisfaction, that joy, of meeting or beating a goal.

My journey actually began last spring when I started looking into coaching certifications. For months I stocked the RRCA website looking for classes that were nearby and not sold out. After months of anxiously waiting, a class finally opened up for registration near me. I was so happy that I wasn’t going to have to fly across country or drive hours and hours.

I spent a weekend in August with about 20 other runners learning the ins and outs of how to coach. We covered topics from types of runners and their needs to nutrition and psychology of running, focusing primarily on distance runners. It was interesting and while some was a review for me, there was also a lot of new information. I took a ton of notes and a pretty substantial guide book. After the conclusion of class, we were sent a link to a 100 question online test.

The test took me a while because I wanted to make sure I was not just half-assing it and 100 questions is quite a few. If I was going to become a coach, I was going to do it well. After successfully passing my test and retaking First Aid/CPR certification classes, I’m was officially certified as a Level One RRCA Running Coach.

It’s taken me a while to put this out there. As excited as I am to help others, I’m also a little bit intimidated. Runners put a lot of trust in their coaches to get them to their goals and I certainly don’t want to let my runners down. Over the past several months I’ve been working with three runners behind the scenes. My first three clients were all very different which was fun and challenging. From wanting to get to the finish line to wanting to speed up and everything in between. So far they have had great success, which is exciting for them and for me!  In a post to follow I’ll share some information about them and what their coaching involved, what I’ve learned and hopefully include testimonials from each of them.

Eventually I’d like to offer a couple of standard half and full marathon training plans for both novice and experienced runners, in addition to working with clients for personalized plans depending on goals, fitness, etc. I have to figure out pricing and what each pricing level will include as far as in-person workouts, online/over the phone coaching or just here’s a plan, let me know how it goes. There is a lot to consider and figure out, but for now, here I am, open for business and ready to coach!


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