RRCA Certification Recap

Good morning!

Hope you all had a good weekend! I’m exhausted after spending 18 hours in training.  But I thoroughly enjoyed it: running talk, planning and writing programs, connecting with some great people… not a bad way to spend the weekend.

I promised a brief overview, for those of you who are curious.  RRCA is one of several running coach certifications. So far, they offer the one basic level of training, and they are hoping to develop a level 2 course and some continuing education options.  Other programs include USATF Levels 1 and 2, NAASFP Marathon coaching, Natural Running coaching, etc.

Topics Covered

Most of us in the room were already writing our own training plans, volunteering with coaching groups, or training others.  I’ve been reading running articles and following the research for years, so it wasn’t a lot of new information.  But it was really helpful to put things together in a new way and fun to learn the RRCA lingo.

One of the most helpful tools was a visual graph of the training pyramid, from base building through strength, intervals, tapering and race day, with an emphasis on three week cycles.  It helped me reframe my training mindset and I have a few ideas for things I’ll change next time.

We covered everything from sports psychology to form, injuries, heat, altitude, training methods and the business side of coaching and legal issues.

5 Things I Learned

1) The terminology and training mindset of RRCA is distinct.  I’m a slight outlier, with my emphasis on cross training and fewer overall miles, but I expected that going in.  Top athletes run 6 days a week, and that was the basis for many of our plans (think Advanced Marathoning over Run Less, Run Faster).

2) The purpose of different types of intervals for different race distances and goals.

3) The importance of waivers, legal advice, and liability insurance.

4) How to coach running form and exercises by over-exaggerating poor form.

5) Three types of running drills and how to incorporate them.


One of the best things about gathering the running community is the wealth of expertise and information shared in one room. On my left was a physician who specializes in sports injuries and on my right was a sports physicist who has a lab that does lactate threshold testing.  I made sure to get his info!

Next to him was an accountant, who helped me think through the pros and cons of sole proprietorship vs LLC for my health coaching.  I got his card, too.

Besides the great resources, I got to meet three other bloggers: Tricia, Steph, Wendy (and me).

And good news for those of you who have been waiting for an RRCA course to come near you.  The original teacher, Randy, brought along two teachers-in-training (top runners with science degrees) who taught portions of the weekend.  They’ll each be taking on their own courses by summer, so there will soon be many more courses available.

What’s next? An online test, and then some brainstorming about how I want to use it.

It was a marvelous weekend.  I’m linking up with Katie for Marvelous in my Monday.

What was something marvelous about your weekend? Do you have any interest in a running coach certification?


82 thoughts on “RRCA Certification Recap

  1. I was also the outlier in my course with the cross training, I think the toughest part was the group work to write a program, I was the only one wanting to let them keep their XT! Glad you enjoyed the course and made the connections, good luck with the test and next steps :)
    Jen recently posted..Marathon Training Week 3My Profile

  2. I always look if there is a class near me. I missed one very close a couple years ago. I always find the recaps interesting and most people who attend make the comment about the methods and topics regarding cross training. I love to hear various perspectives!
    abbi recently posted..Runners Seminar with Bart YassoMy Profile

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    • Thanks for sharing, Christina! Yes- I’m curious to see how it will all come together, too. My gym is starting a running club, so I’m considering helping with that a bit… but I think I’m most interested in one-on-one coaching.
      Laura recently posted..RRCA Certification RecapMy Profile

  4. Glad you enjoyed the weekend–it’s a lot of learning packed into a short period of time (and lots of sitting!!).

    So funny that you met Bobby–is that him standing up in the pic near the screen? Looks like it. I see him tonight for a board meeting so I will mention you.

    And I keep forgetting to say that your hair looks really cute short!
    misszippy recently posted..Post-run slugMy Profile

  5. Awesome! I am so excited for you and this journey. I know you will be a great coach. I’ve learned SO much about running since I hired mine. It was a great weekend here and I hope to get my race recap up soon! Nope, no interest in certification here but I am excited for you and anyone else that takes that on!!
    Kimert recently posted..ChangeMy Profile

    • Yes- it’s a different mindset in some ways, but that was also more for marathon training, with the “specificity of training”- you have to run more to become a better runner… makes sense intellectually, and works for a lot of people, but certainly not for everyone.
      Laura recently posted..RRCA Certification RecapMy Profile

  6. I read a lot of running blogs, but I have never seen a RRCA Certification Recap before. Thanks for sharing what it’s like to attend the class for those of who have never been able to attend one!

    Also, thanks for mentioning your little aches on my blog – it makes me feel better that I’m not the only one!
    Tina@GottaRunNow recently posted..Half Marathon Training UpdateMy Profile

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  8. Awesome! I wanted to take the RRCA course here in Atlanta, but it sold out so fast! :( I don’t know if they’ll host another one nearby. I might be stuck until 2014. :(

  9. 18 hours in training… oh that’s really exhausting but I bet, you did enjoyed that.
    Connecting with great people is such a good experience indeed.

  10. My friend who took it had a similar critique. He felt they only taught one training philosphy…theirs. He also felt they paced the long runs too slow to ever get any improvement. But I get that having a certification is what’s needed if you really want to persue coaching. I was interested in taking the class just for personal growth and after my friend loaned me all the materials, I decided that since I wasn’t going to do anything with the certification, I couldn’t really justify the expense. Your Run less Run faster traning is really the smarter thing to do. I’m a dumb 6 day a week runner who lacks fitness in other areas…I’m just a addict though. :)
    Clea recently posted..This is how I (sushi) roll…My Profile

  11. Laura, this is so awesome!! I totally have the personality type that as soon as I discover I love something, I want to get every certification that exists, and start looking up programs for everything whether I’m qualified for not (I was that kid that loved school and never wanted college to end…), so I loved reading about your experience, and I am so excited for you and your health coaching business!
    Ari @ Ari’s Menu recently posted..Cookie Butter Cookie Dough BarsMy Profile

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  13. Thanks so much for writing this post! I am really hoping to go to an RRCA certification course this year, so reading about your experience taking the course was really helpful for me. It sounds like they cover a lot of helpful topics that I didn’t think they would cover (like liability).

  14. Thank you for sharing your experience! I am interested in RRCA certification and am looking for as much information as I can get on the course :)

    How have you been able to “use” your certification so far? That’s my husband’s main question right now – what will I do with the certification if I do go to the courses.
    Amy @ Life to the Full recently posted..Taper Week + Apple EverythingMy Profile

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