As of July 2015, I am an RRCA Certified Running Coach. The certification process requires you to get First Aid and CPR certified, complete 16 hours of on-site course work and take a 100 question online test. Getting into the class is the first challenge. It sells out very quickly. When I saw that the Baltimore course was open, I jumped on the opportunity to sign up.

The initial step in getting certified by the RRCA was the First Aid / CPR course. It couldn’t be an online course, it required classroom time as well. I found a class put on by the local Red Cross that was part online material and part hands-on classroom work. The online training was actually very interactive and entertaining. You are given various scenarios illustrated and animated by cartoon characters that require you to remember the steps in assessing what your actions should be in an emergency situation. It took several hours over the course of several days for me to complete this part. Then I had to take the classroom test at our local Red Cross. There were about a dozen other people in my class and we worked together to practice what we learned online on CPR dummies and each other. This class took about two and a half hours to complete. After completion, I received my First Aid / CPR certification via email. I learned a lot and am glad I now have the knowledge to help someone in peril if the situation arises.

The Baltimore RRCA Certification Class was actually held in Ellicott City, Maryland. It was at the Shrine of St. Anthony, a Roman Catholic shrine honoring St. Anthony of Padua. It was a very picturesque property.

Our instructors for the two days were Brent Ayer and Dr. Bobby Gessler. Brent was a coach at Hood Coach and Bobby is a Doctor of Urology. The two provided an interesting combo of the “why’s and how’s” of training runners. Brent gave a lot of stories of past experiences and how he handled them, and Bobby gave good examples of the physiological side in regard to how the body adapts and responds to training using his medical expertise.

Each day started at 8AM and dismissed at 5PM. We got a 30 minute lunch break and a couple short breaks throughout the day. It was a lot of information to fit in the two days, but it held my interest the entire time. I didn’t see anyone nodding off which is rare for a classroom situation. A lot of us got up and walked around since we runners can’t stand to sit still for too long.

There was a lot of great instructor-to-student interaction. A lot of questions and answers. The instructors were very engaging and interesting.

Day One’s agenda was as follows:

  • Introduction from the instructors
  • Coaching History – this went over many of the pioneers in run coaching. Very interesting.
  • Types of runners and their training needs
  • Putting it together with Physiology
  • Types of Running. Building a periodized Program
  • Coaching Nutrition

Day Two was laid out as follows:

  • Reflection on Day One
  • The Business of Coaching
  • Coaching: Sports Psychology
  • Building Programs, Part 1
  • Coaching: Injuries, Heat and Altitude + Running Form
  • Building Programs, Part 2
  • Conclusion

On Day Two, we were split into groups and given a scenario for training a client for a marathon. We had to take the information about the runner, his injury history, his daily schedule, his past and present performances and his goal for the marathon and plot out a 16 week plan. When the groups finished their plans, we presented them and then critiques each other. It was interesting how much the plans varied, yet each had merits that would get the job done.

I really enjoyed the class. It was a lot of info to soak in, but the course material is easy to use as a reference for future use. To complete the training, a 100 question online test has to be passed with at least an 85%. Some of the questions were tough, but using the reference material, it was just a matter of finding the answer and entering it on the online test.


I am excited to use what I learned to improve my running and to help other runners meet their goals.

Need a running coach? I’m your guy!