My love of running, the running community and desire to bring it to others drive me to Tweet, Facebook and Blog all things running, and have even led me to starting the FitNicePT YouTube channel. I want to be able to provide the best guidance and coaching I possibly can, and this motivated me to register for USA Track and Field’s Level One Coaching Certification Course early in the year. As I mentioned in this post, I attended the course last weekend, March 21-23 at Villanova University, and had a wonderful experience.
The 21 hour program kicked off Friday evening and it flew by. The class was full of coaches from up and down the east coast and their faces were of every shape, size and age. It’s amazing how accepting and diverse the running world is. There really is a place for anyone, especially those who want to help others improve. We covered the USATF Philosophy, basic sport Psychology, and basic running Physiology during Friday’s session and it was a good review of things I’ve learned throughout my training career. After class, I went home and hit the hay, ready for lots of learning on Saturday.
Saturday morning kicked off around 8:30 with a valuable outline of Biomechanics then rolled right into Training Theory and Sprints/Hurdles before lunch. I was familiar with the first two subjects, but beyond my meager attempts at crashing through a few hurdles and some not-so-fast sprints in high school, I really didn’t know much about these events, especially how to coach them. Speed work is an important element of long distance training, and I found the things I learned in this section quite valuable.
After lunch we covered the second half of the Sprints/Hurdles curriculum, worked through the Biomotor section and wrapped up the twelve hour day with my favorite topic, the Endurance Events. Since I’ve been off the track for quite a long time, and have been running distances of at least 5k ever since, it was a good reminder that distances as short as the 800M are considered Endurance events that require similar training techniques. After the lecture, I had a great talk with the instructor and got lots of advice on half marathon training that will be a big help in guiding both my clients and myself through upcoming races.
It was back to finish up Sunday morning with the Throwing Events before lunch and last, but not least, close the educational experience with the Jumps Events. Much like the Sprint and Hurdle Events, I knew a bit about the Throws and Jumps, but these two sections were definitely the most foreign to me. Not much of a weight lifter back in the day, my upper body strength was, shall we say, lacking as I was unable to do a pull-up or more than two or three full push-ups and I steered clear of any throwing implements or surfaces as often as possible. Similarly, I’m not much of a jumper. I never seriously attempted any Jumps in my track days, though I did take a few leaps into the sand for fun. Some of the technical elements of the Jumps Events are similar to the Sprint Events, which helped me understand the mechanics, and I found myself wondering how I would perform at both the Throws and Jumps (probably not very well at either).
A few minutes of closing remarks and a course survey signaled the end of the 21 hour endeavor and I walked away with a brain swimming in information I couldn’t wait to share with clients, and apply to my own training. The instructors were great. They were enthusiastic, incredibly knowledgeable and more than willing to answer questions and help all of us grow as coaches. I made for the car excited to get back to coaching, and after my brain cleared out a bit during the drive home, I really started to process what I head learned. Tons of great information that definitely helped me grow as a coach and will greatly benefit my clients and my business made every minute of my missed weekend worth it.I decided during my drive to take my 200 question Level One Coaching Exam Monday morning. I wanted to dive into in while the information was still fresh, and even though the exam is open book, I really wanted to see what I retained. The lengthy exam took more time than expected, but with little help from my book, I had apparently retained lots of the lecture information and knocked out a 97% on my test. I am officially a USATF Level One Coach. I’m proud of my accomplishment, but even more so to be a part of the running community.
Are you a running coach? How do you work to improve your running?