The Quick and Dirty on How to Become a Certified Run Coach

by Lisa DiCocco

I was motivated to become a run coach because I am what many would call a slower runner (pace is all relative, honestly), and I (incorrectly) believed that many coaches only work with elite or “fast” runners.

After a few years of volunteering with different run groups, and working with run coaches myself, I decided to look into what was required to become a run coach. I wanted to become a coach to specifically work with runners who, like me, thought themselves too slow to be worthy of coaching.

I did some research and discovered a Level I, long distance run coach certification program through the Road Runners’ Club of America (RRCA). There is also a coach certification program through USA Track and Field (USATF), but I felt that the certification program through RRCA better suited my objectives.

When I initially looked into a certification course through the RRCA, there were none being offered in NYS, so I signed up for email alerts that would notify me when a course would be offered in my area. I forget how long I waited (I want to say the wait was at least a year), but I finally received an email notification that a course would be offered in Ithaca (which was a bonus because I love the Ithaca area).

The certification course is approximately $300 and includes course materials, a two-day course and an exam. The course is very intensive; each day is eight hours and includes lectures on sports physiology, psychology, nutrition, training plans and the business of coaching. You then are required to study and take a 100-question exam in which you must pass with a score of 85% or higher.

In addition to passing the exam, you must also complete a first aid/CPR/AED course within a certain time period after completing the course.

Both the RRCA and USATF offer several levels of coaching, for those who want to enhance their learning beyond Level I. One of my goals is to complete the Level II training through the RRCA.

                                                 Lisa is on the right

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