I've been thinking about this post for a while. I write many posts in my head. Some stay there, some get started, and some (only some) lead to me pressing publish. I'm writing to tell you a bit about my plans with running and my DREAM BIG DREAM of becoming a running coach. I've decided to blog about this journey in the event it helps someone one day in realizing their own dream or in becoming a certified coach. This is a story of acting on dreams, taking a leap of faith, and crossing out the possibilities of future
Let's back up a moment. Two weeks ago I announced on Twitter I was enrolling in a coaching certification course. Becoming a coach has been my goal for sometime now. The love I have for running and seeing others accomplish their goals drives me immensely in this journey. After having benefited tremendously from having a coach of my own, it feels very right for me to be on this path.
I've given a lot of thought to this decision. I recognize there are many courses out there, and I also realize you certainly don't need a certification to be a coach. But, me being me, wants to get certified. After researching extensively all the running coaching certifications out there (there are more than you think), I've decided to get certified through the North American Academy for Sport Fitness Professionals (NAASFP). The intensive course will leave me with the Marathon Coach (MC) credentials. The NAASFP course appealed to me as it was more than just your run of the mill weekend course. It is a course that combines theory and practice and will provide me with the necessary foundation in becoming a worthy coach for runners of all backgrounds.
There are four phases to the Marathon Coach certification. As outlined on the NAASFP website:
STEP ONE: Written Exam The exam is a comprehensive 100-question, 3-hour challenge of the principles found in the course material. Candidates register for a scheduled exam date and time. The exam is posted on-line for the scheduled three hours. Candidates may reference course material during the exam, but a thorough knowledge of the material is necessary to complete all questions within the time limitation. Immediately upon completion the exam answers must be submitted electronically to NAASFP. A score of 80% or better is required for a pass.
STEP TWO: Case Study The Case Study provides the candidate with an opportunity to demonstrate an ability to apply the knowledge necessary to successfully coach prior to working with a live client. The candidate is given some basic necessary information on the prospective client including goals. Based on this information the candidate will design a training program to help the client to achieve his or her goal. A score of 80% or better is required for a pass.
STEP THREE: First Aid and CPR Certification Maintaining First Aid and CPR certification is a requirement of certification with NAASFP and critical for working safely with clients. In order to proceed with the Practical component the candidate must have completed this step and submitted a copy of the certificate to NAASFP.
STEP FOUR: Practical The Practical is the opportunity to work with an actual client while the guidance of a Master Trainer is available electronically. The candidate finds the client and signs them up, gaining permission to have the client’s information released to NAASFP for monitoring. The candidate will design a full and monitor a program that must be a minimum of 18 weeks and appropriate for the client’s goal, factoring in their current fitness level.
Step One is currently scheduled for August 14th. After completing my masters degree in 2009, I never thought I would be saying that I'm heading back to the world of text books and studying. That said, I could not be happier (in fact, I am SO far over the moon). I look forward to keeping you updated on this journey and will one day be honoured if you considered working with me to reach your own running goals. For now, I will leave you with this excerpt from a book I read a little while ago.
"...because chasing the dream in your head looks surprisingly like work. Don't just stand there. You are good at something for a reason. The timing is never right. Forget that. It rarely falls into your lap. You are probably not guaranteed success. But off you go because we were not created to stand still, even though that is safe and familiar and you are guaranteed never to fall or stumble or grow weary. We were made to run." - Jen Hatmaker, For the Love