No, not that kind of Coach! This kind of coach!

Yes! Over the weekend, I spent 16 hours in Houston with a dynamic group of 36 other runners who have a passion for the sport. We were all there to become RRCA Certified Running Coaches. Wow – it was wonderful! My mind is swimming with new ideas for training programs and running drills.

The certification not complete yet, as I still need to pass the exam and complete first aid and CPR certifications in order to become fully certified. I anticipate I’ll complete the process in the next month.

RRCA – Road Runners Club of America


The oldest and largest organization in the US dedicated to distance running, the RRCA has over 1,000 member clubs representing over 200,000 runners. Their RRCA Coaching Certification program aims to create a national community of knowledgeable and ethical coaches. Limited to 35 students per course, the RRCA certification classes fill quickly. RRCA is working to expand their offerings, though, and we met two new instructors who will be working along with Randy Accetta at RRCA (see more about Randy below) to offer more courses at more locations throughout the country.

Our Instructor – Dr. Randy Accetta

Randy Accette, Director of Coaching Education, led the course. A former 2:19 marathoner who competed in the 1996 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, Randy has a long history of coaching runners. In addition to his work with the RRCA, Randy is the Communications Mentor for the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Arizona. His running-based articles have been published in Running Times, Runners World and the New York Times. So, he’s a knowledgeable competitor and leader in the field of running. I found Randy to be an engaging and entertaining instructor. He shared his plans to expand the course offerings through the RRCA Certification Program to include population-specific and other continuing education courses that coaches will take in order to maintain their certifications.

My Key Takeaways From RRCA Coaching Certification Class

  • Developing personalized training programs according to the needs of the runner (and we practiced writing those)
  • Sports psychology and motivating athletes
  • Dealing effectively with heat while running
  • Working with beginning runners
  • Understanding the physiology of running and incorporating this into training considerations
  • Different muscle types and how to train them effectively for running
  • Understanding and managing the 7 key running injuries
  • How to make money as a coach, and important insurance considerations

Key Quotes From The RRCA Coaching Certification Class

“Remember – If you are not a trained medical professional, you are not a trained medical professional. ”

“Typical recreational runners are the “healthy, wealthy and educated” demographic.”

‘Sixty-five percent of the people who come to see you as a coach are unhappy with something about themselves. They are asking you to help them change their lives.”

“Coaches should always ask questions and dig deeper before giving a response to a question.”

“Running coaches should develop a resource of professionals: nutritionist, chiropractor, orthopedic doctor, sports medicine professionals, etc.”

“Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should do it.”

“Every workout has a purpose.”

“When running hills, don’t try to win the race up the hill, unless that’s where the finish line is located.”

Other Running Bloggers At The Course

Another great part of the course is that I met a number of other running bloggers! Bonus! I sat beside Simon from Foot Care Facts, and neither of realized we were bloggers until the end of the course! Whoops! He’s a very cool vegan runner and podiatrist, as well as a father of three kids like me. I definitely encourage you to check out his blog.

And here I am with Laura from Mommy Run Fast (far right), and Tricia from (far left), and Steph from Steph Runs For Wine. Laura lives in Houston, and Tricia and Steph came in from Austin for the course. Super fun runners – and future coaches!

Just The Beginning
I learned a lot at the RRCA Coaching Certification Course – but I also learned that there is much more to know. So, this is the beginning of a journey of self-education for me. I plan to throw myself into the study of running and coaching so that I can offer effective running training programs for those who seek my help. I can’t wait to get started!