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?