It’s Official, I’m Almost Official!

As I mentioned on Monday, I took the Road Runners Club of America Coaching Certification Course last weekend. It was an intense two-day course (mainly because I had to sit for 18 hours) where I learned important new concepts, and validated what I already practice with my running clients.


I have wanted to add the RRCA coaching certification to my credentials for several years, but apparently I wasn’t the only one trying to get into their very popular class!  The fifth time’s the charm, and I was able to sign up for a location that wasn’t too far away.  We had people from Florida, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Ohio, New York, Maryland, and DC travel to Virginia on a holiday weekend for the course.

When we arrived bright-and-early Saturday morning at 7:45 at the physical therapy center hosting the event, a breakfast of bagels, muffins, yogurt and juice was waiting for us (and again on Sunday).  Lunch on Saturday was Chick-fil-A chicken tenders, nuggets, wraps, and both garden and fruit salads.  On Sunday lunch was Paisano’s pizza, tossed salad, and leftover chicken nuggets.  At all times, there were healthy snacks (and not-so-healthy snacks) available.


Our RRCA instructor was Dr. Bobby Gessler, a urologist from Maryland with a lot of running experience, both personally and as a coach.  The first thing he asked us was, “Who’s missing their long run this morning to be here?”  I think every hand in the room went up!  I had gone on a ten-mile run on Friday afternoon, so I didn’t miss out my my weekly relaxing time on the running trail.


All day Saturday was spent inside the classroom going over coaching history, types of runners, running physiology, building a periodized program, coaching running form, and running nutrition.  On Sunday morning we learned about the business of coaching, sports psychology, injuries, running in heat and at altitude, and managing workouts.  Sunday afternoon we broke out into groups and built training programs for different case studies.

Our group chose to go outside in the near perfect weather (mid-70’s, low humidity) to discuss and design our training program for our 52-year old pretend gentleman that wanted to qualify for Boston, and gave us twelve weeks to get him there.


We had a great group of five people with diverse running backgrounds, with everyone contributing which resulted in a team effort devising our training program.  Each group had an opportunity to present their program to the rest of the class, and receive instructor and peer critique.


I met two other bloggers over the weekend and of course we got a picture together!  If you haven’t visited their blogs, please be sure to pop over and say hi!  Jamie of Run The District is on the left and Safari of Fit Momma is on the right.


Jamie, Deb, and Safari

Shortly after taking the above picture and saying my goodbyes to everyone, I set my training manual down on a desk and promptly walked out of the room without it…  We were given another book, Daniels’ Running Formula by legendary running coach Dr. Jack Daniels, and since I had it in my arm it felt like I had everything.  I even looked back at my desk as I walked out the door to make sure I hadn’t left anything behind!

A few emails after I got home confirmed that my manual was still at the physical therapy center and that I could pick it up after Monday’s holiday.  My son Daniel works nearby and came to the rescue and picked it up on Tuesday for me.  I was very relieved when I got this text from him!


To complete the course and become RRCA certified coaches we had to pass an open-book 100-question exam by getting at least 80% correct.  When it comes to test taking, I have very little self-confidence so I was a nervous wreck even though I’ve been coaching runners for years and the material was very straight forward.  I set aside Wednesday to take the exam while the material was still fresh in my mind, and took the better part of the day working on the questions, and then reviewing them before I hit submit.  Obviously, Bobby prepared us well because I got a 95!


RRCA Certified Coaches must have current CPR/AED and First Aid certifications, and as a personal trainer I already had both of those certifications.  So even though I haven’t gotten my certificate to hang in my gym or the code to add the RRCA link to my blog; I took the course, passed my exam, and have submitted my proof of CPR/AED and First Aid certifications.

All I’m lacking is an email verifying my successful completion of the course. So I guess I’m not really officially official, but I’m too excited not to share the great news!

So once I receive verification, my credentials will proudly include:

Personal Trainer
Weight Management Consultant
Road Runners Club of America Certified Running Coach

  • Questions:
  • Have you taken or tried to get into the RRCA coaching course?
  • What credentials would you like to add to your signature line or business card?
  • What is your favorite healthy snack?  Decadent snack?
Happy Running! ~ Deb


  1. May 30, 2014    

    Courtney @ Don’t Blink. Just Run. recently posted…Face The Music Friday #36My Profile

    • Deb Runs Deb Runs
      May 30, 2014    


  2. May 30, 2014    

    Congratulations, Deb!! That’s really eexciting, and a nice credential to add even though you already had so much running knowledge.
    I’m surprised it is so tough to get into, and that’s crazy people came from all over!
    What was the best portion of the class? I think I’d find the building a periodized plan the most interesting.
    Abby recently posted…So you wanna do a triathlon? Part 2 – Getting startedMy Profile

    • Deb Runs Deb Runs
      May 30, 2014    

      We were told that they are trying to add more classes onto the schedule because they fill up so quickly. I had actually considered flying somewhere to get into a class, but then found this one nearby before it filled up.

      I think building training programs was my favorite part.

  3. Amy Amy
    May 30, 2014    

    Congrats! I am sure you could have earned that 95% without Bobby’s help 😉 So glad you were able to rescue the book, too. What a relief. And glad you were able to meet new bloggers.
    Amy recently posted…Canton Avenue: The Steepest Public Street in the USMy Profile

    • Deb Runs Deb Runs
      May 30, 2014    

      Thank, Amy! It was a great course and I highly recommend it to anyone wishing to learn more about coaching runners.

  4. May 30, 2014    

    Congrats Debbie!!! What great titles you have 🙂 And you still threw an awesome memorial day party after it all!!
    Becky recently posted…On Growing Up and PlanningMy Profile

    • Deb Runs Deb Runs
      May 30, 2014    

      Thanks, Becky! Sorry I hardly had time to talk to you at the party. We’ll have to go on a run together soon so we can catch up!

  5. May 31, 2014    

    Congratulations! I can’t believe how quickly the course fills up each time they announce one. I love how Daniel texted you that picture to show you he had your book.
    Meagan recently posted…Hank (and Scout) got into the chicken coop (again)….My Profile

    • Deb Runs Deb Runs
      May 31, 2014    

      Thank you; I’m so happy to have it under my belt! I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw Daniel’s text!

  6. May 31, 2014    

    That is terrific, Deb – congratulations! I wished we lived in the same town; I would love to have you as a personal trainer. I wasn’t familiar with running coaches, but it seems like such a great way for runners to make the most of their training and reach a goal. Congrats again!

    Oh, and snacks…right now I am munching on watermelon, but my unhealthy vice is chocolate!
    Dana recently posted…The dark side of summerMy Profile

    • Deb Runs Deb Runs
      June 1, 2014    

      Thank you! I think you would be a fun client (and friend)!

  7. May 31, 2014    

    Congrats! These are so hard to get in to! Everytime I get the email and go to register it’s full…maybe some day!
    Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes recently posted…Friday Five: 5 Things in My Gym BagMy Profile

    • Deb Runs Deb Runs
      June 5, 2014    

      It took about five tries for me!

  8. June 3, 2014    

    Congratulations! I don’t want to add any more credentials…I don’t really use the ones I have. 🙂 Sounds like a really comprehensive 2 days.
    Carla recently posted…When You Can’t Stop Comparing Yourself To OthersMy Profile

    • Deb Runs Deb Runs
      June 5, 2014    

      It was pretty intense, but mainly because we covered so much material in only two days… and I’m not used to sitting that much!

  9. June 8, 2014    

    So excited you’re officially official now! And so great meeting you at the course. Happy running (and coaching!) =) =) =)

    • Deb Runs Deb Runs
      June 8, 2014    

      Thanks,Jamie! It was great meeting you, too!

  10. June 29, 2014    

    Looks like an intensive couple of days. I’m glad there is such a certification. There are a lot of running groups in my area, and I will look for that certification before getting involved with any of them. I’m sure it is worth the effort…
    Randy recently posted…Chi RunningMy Profile

    • Deb Runs Deb Runs
      July 2, 2014    

      I felt that it was so worthwhile, and I met some really nice people in the process!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge



Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. I promise to never sell or share your email address.


NEW SPA badge


Virginia Bloggers Badge

Race PR’s (Personal Records)

5K - 22:57 (7:23 pace)
8K - 39:25 (7:55 pace)
10K - 47:05 (7:40 pace)
Ten Mile - 1:16:22 (7:38 pace)
20K - 1:45:30 (8:30 pace)
Half Marathon - 1:54:34 (8:45 pace)
Twenty Mile - 2:46:14 (8:18 pace)
Marathon - 3:29:04 (7:59 pace)
Ultramarathon - 10:50:30 (13:00 pace)

2016 Race Schedule

February 14 - Run Your Heart Out 5K
April 17 - Loudoun 8K or Half Marathon
April 29 & 30 - Ragnar Trail Richmond Ultra
May 22 - Chicago Spring Half Marathon
July 4 - Firecracker 5K
August 21 - Leesburg 20K
September 16 & 17 - Ragnar DC
November 24 - Thanksgiving Day 5K
December 11 - Frosty 5K

Favorite Races

1997 Marine Corps Marathon (3:44:56) - first marathon and first Boston qualifier

1997 JFK 50-Miler (10:50:30) - first and only ultra

1998 Boston Marathon (3:39:57) - first Boston

1999 Steamtown Marathon (3:29:04) - PR marathon

2010 North Face Endurance Challenge Marathon (5:32:38) - favorite trail marathon


Disclaimer: This blog contains Amazon affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a commission anytime you purchase items by clicking on these links. You will never pay any more when buying a product from Amazon through my link, and you will be connected to Amazon as you usually are. The only difference is that Amazon pays me for referring you!
%d bloggers like this: