Coaching Certification Student

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.


Totally my coaching philosophy. Surely theres some way I can train runners
by making them do household chores for me. Win-win!

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.



11 thoughts on “Coaching Certification Student

  1. Oh Latin, I took three years of high school Latin. Why? I have NO idea. And I like your coaching philosophy since it pretty much lines up with what I want: injury free, goal-setting and achieving fun. I think that’s a great start! It’s really interesting to have a case study like that: it reminds you that the tough part about coaching is working with people! …who have their own expectations, goals, & baggage. For every under confident runner, there will be an over confident one, and figuring out how to work with each type of runner presents it’s own challenges. It’s exciting stuff and I suspect you’ll be a natural!

  2. Karen @ runningfifty says:

    I really enjoyed reading your post. I think your coaching philosophy sounds excellent. You clearly had a significant impact on the girls you coached in GOTR. What a fabulous gift you have given them! Best of luck to you as you continue to guide and inspire runners.

    • Thank you! The GOTR girls were so inspiring and freaking adorable in their excitement about running and racing. I wish GOTR had existed when I was a youngun, although I was too busy picking dandelions in the outfield to be very athletic back then 😉

  3. That scares me to even try the coaching cert… I mean, how do you balance that? But then again, your philosophy is PERFECT. You’re going to be the BEST at coaching. And the GOTR? It really is such a reward in itself… well, I have the boys’ version and they don’t write cute notes like that, but when I asked if they wanted to come back and they all said YESSSSS in a split second, rewards. You’re awesome.

  4. Martha B says:

    Will you please be my running coach?? I think you are going to be an awesome one. Your love for running will shine through in how you interact with your clients, and your philosophy is super solid. I hope your exam goes really well, and I hear ya on the anatomy being a lot to take in all at once.

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