It’s been a really long time since I had to study for any sort of exam, so it’s been interesting getting to work on my NAASFP marathon/running coach certification. The anatomy section made my head a little mushy. I’m very glad it will be an open book exam. Most of the information isn’t totally new to me because I’ve been self-studying running and general fitness for a couple years now, but remembering which bone or muscle is called what… yah, glad I’m not studying for a med degree.
I also received my case study to begin preparation. I was assigned an imaginary client who is based on a real runner. The info was pretty limited, but the big doozy to me is that the client seems to have an out of reach shorter term goal for someone with his running experience. I imagine this is often an issue coaches run into, the newbie who thinks they can run a (very in this case) fast first marathon after getting less than a year of running under his or her belt. The coach’s job is to not dash that dream into pieces, but rather manage expectations and help the client reach their potential with a reasonable progression of training that minimizes the risk of injury. And not insult the client or have them blow off your training plan because it doesn’t give them their initial goal.
Challenging stuff, to be sure.
One of the hardest exercises I’ve done this far in this program is trying to come up with a coaching philosophy. I feel like a cheeseball of insincerity or something (with extra nuts!!!), especially since I feel as if I should have done a little coaching to fine-tune my philosophy before I trot one out — see what works and what doesn’t. Otherwise, what I’m writing seems like blowing smoke up people’s gluteus maximusses (maximi? Latin, anyone?). I’ll have to work on my eloquence and just get over this feeling of being a pretender.
What I really want to say is: as your coach, I want you to have fun, stay injury-free, and feel good about yourself by setting and achieving your goals. Um. That’s about it. Hardly Nike-ad-level inspiring. I’m sure everyone reading this is ready to sign up with me, right?
Maybe I should start with what I sought when I went looking for a running coach and work from there.
I received thank you notes from the two girls that I served as a Girls on the Run running buddy, and they were super sweet. One said her birthday was coming up, and she wanted to run. This is a girl who didn’t really like running when the group started, but wants to love it. She said she really wants me to come back and be her buddy this spring. This is what it’s all about for me.