5 Steps to Become a Certified Running Coach

A running coach is like a personal trainer for any sports discipline. The aim of getting one is to become better and achieve personal goals. Perhaps you are already training other people but don't know how to become a certified running coach. 

Or you are a runner and want to transition smoothly to becoming a full-time coach. Whatever the reasons, embrace your calling and take the initiative to become a certified coach.

Working with athletes who desire to turn pro runners requires work from both parties. It doesn't end with creating a program and handing it over to your trainees. But let's tackle that issue later. First, let's see what you stand to gain by becoming a coach.

Benefits of Becoming a Running Coach

Becoming a running coach requires one to be passionate about running to inspire others and share knowledge with them. Open yourself to the world and let them fall in love with running as you do.

A running coach's task is ensuring that the training methods keep the athlete free from injuries. According to studies by the Cleveland Clinic, six out of every 10 runners get injured and may stay out for several weeks. The number is scary, meaning that a professional runner requires a good coach to accomplish seasonal goals together.

The ultimate challenge of every coach is preparing athletes to become strong, fast, and injury free. For this to happen, the training program must have a solid recovery plan after every workout.

Benefits of Becoming a Running Coach

Why Do You Need Certification?

You can still train people without a certificate but having one will back up your claim as a great coach, especially if your athletes run and carry the day. In addition, you can work with any pro athlete if you have certificates from these two major organizations.

Road Runners Club of America—RRCA,

USA Track & Field--USATF

Having a certificate assures your trainees of the following things;

· That you are aware of scientific research and factual evidence

· You practice safe and regulated training methods

· They can learn and succeed by applying your methodologies

Do Running Coaches Need Insurance?

Like other professions, a running coach also needs liability insurance. Be specific when picking the policy to ensure that it covers coaching on how to run. A general coaching policy might fail to provide cover as you think, leading to insurance loopholes and failed compensations.

You should take a cover depending on your level of incident risk. For example, coaches that deal with pro athletes should at least have $ 1 million incident cover.

5 Steps of Becoming a Modern Running Coach

As a level entry coach, you need to have these fundamentals;

Achieve advanced training in running

Running seems simple because you started without being trained. But it requires more than hitting the road because you need to be in proper form. In addition, you have the right fitness level, which comes with advanced sports experience.

You must learn all the running disciplines to offer different training methods. For instance, training a marathon runner isn't the same as training someone running for the 5K or 10K road race.

A running coach must inspire and motivate their athletes. You must already see yourself standing at the podium to become a champion. Training this mentality in your runners comes with advanced knowledge of the sport.

Earn your certification

It's a competitive world, and certification might separate you from other coaches. However, clients looking for a coach need to know you are qualified and feel they can trust and be safe with your coaching methods.

It's a no-brainer that clients will always pick a certified coach over one that any credible running organization doesn't yet approve. Getting certified doesn't require much. You can enroll in training programs that award certificates after completing the course.

A certificate places you ahead of other entry-level coaches and lets your clients know you have training experience since you passed the examination and achieved a certificate.

Steps of Becoming a Modern Running Coach

Create a training program

No one training program fits all clients. Instead, you need to custom-create a program to match every individual's goals. For example, some people want to lose weight, others are chasing awards, and others want to improve on their best times.

If the client is training to finish their first half-marathon, come up with a half-marathon training program for amateurs. Training programs for professional athletes may include boosting speed and recovery while staying injury-free. 

Some events are unique, so your athletes need a customized training schedule. For example, you get a client who wants to participate in theMarathon Des Sables challenge. It is arguably the toughest marathon in the world, covering 250 Km in 6 days.

Part of the training program won't include running as you need to register and wait to be accepted. If there are too many participants or you get denied the opportunity by technicalities, prepare the athlete to handle the disappointment. Not all submissions get accepted.


The final stage is marketing your coaching services. How do you let people know you have the expertise to train them for success? Sometimes the clients know they need a coach but need a gentle push toward getting one. The right message will get you the right clients for your services.

As an entry-level coach, consider offering your current clients your new training program. If they need your services at a professional level, they will enroll because they already know you. They can also refer other interested people, and their recommendation is a step toward getting new clients.

You can reach out to surrounding local clubs and notify them of your services. The main objective is to look for many ways you share your training program with many people. For example, entice potential clients with discounts.

In today's generation, most marketing takes place online. Create a website or a blog and share your expertise. Share tips and information about healthy running—guide potential runners on diet and proper running form.

Stay current

The work of a running coach never ends. However, because you have received certification or now have a few clients, it doesn't mean that your work is complete. Update yourself with new running trends. Find out new training methods and technologies that aid recovery.

Become innovative and add value to your expertise. Studying new courses earns more certificates. You can further specialize in a particular discipline and become the master of sprints or marathons.

Dive deep into sports research and keep adapting to new trends and rules.


The world is improving its communication protocols, and you don't need to coach people in person. There are online and personal coaches. Don't let proximity control your destiny and potential.

You can have both online training courses and face-to-face clients. Set up a website and share your services with people interested in online coaching. You can have video calls and share material through many platforms.

Knowing how to become a certified running coach means it's time for you to commit yourself.

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