Last weekend, I spent 16 hours at the Redhook Brewery. I know what you’re probably thinking, and you’re wrong. I binged on running and coaching, not beer and apps. Randy Accetta was in town for an RRCA Coaching Certification Course hosted by Runners Alley. Randy is a former 2:19 marathoner and current running coach in Tucson, AZ. He’s also a professor at the University of Arizona and Director of Coaching Education for the (RRCA) Road Runners Club of America.

accetta
Randy Accetta

The RRCA Coaching Certification Course is designed for active runners who have a desire to improve their own running or an interest in coaching others. This program introduces the basics of coaching, physiology, sports psychology, training, nutrition, injury prevention and the business of coaching runners. This very popular course has a long wait list, so I was psyched to see it offered in New Hampshire and jumped at the chance to get in.

The class was made up of athletes and coaches of varying levels of running ability and experience. Some people were there to improve their own running, others were there to develop their coaching programs. I wasn’t sure what I was walking into on the first day, but quickly realized that it was a welcoming place for runners and coaches of all abilities. The philosophy of the RRCA is to be inclusive and supportive and the classroom environment was the same way.

Perhaps the most important piece, for me, was the ability to network with other coaches. I learned a lot from listening to their stories and understanding their goals. As Randy taught us, step one to launching a running club or coaching business is to scope out the local competition.


The days were long, and our heads filled up quickly. But, the topic was interesting and Randy is a dynamic speaker. Here’s what to expect if you decide to take the course:

Day One

  • Principles of coaching
  • Understanding exercise physiology for coaching
  • Principles of building a training program
  • Understanding running form
  • Basic sports nutrition

Day Two

  • The business of coaching
  • Sports psychology for coaching
  • Recognizing injuries and injury prevention
  • Environmental factors that effect running performance
  • Building training programs as a group activity

There is a 100 question (open book) online exam at the end of the course. All you need to pass is an 82/100 score. If you can’t pass the test, you’re not ready to offer coaching advice to runners.

The RRCA requires proof of current CPR and First Aid certification within 60 days of course completion.

Upcoming RRCA Coaching Certification Courses

I highly recommend taking the RRCA Coaching Certification course. It’s time well spent.

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