Friday, March 29, 2013

RRCA Coaching Certification Class

Two weeks after my Yoga Fit training, I headed to Atlanta, Georgia to accomplish goal number 2 of the year – get my run coach certification through the Road Runners Club of America.  And unlike the Yoga Fit training, we DID get a sample agenda for this clinic and I was made aware that breakfast, lunch and snacks would be provided.  Still, to be on the safe side, I packed some of my favorite snacks. 

In researching my trip to Atlanta I discovered that the hotel and clinic were across town from the airport.  This is normally not a big deal and when I’ve traveled to big cities before I’ve used public transportation with no problem.  However, I was advised by former classmates of mine who live in Atlanta that I did NOT want to use public transportation while here.    The hotel did not have a shuttle to/from the airport and a taxi ride would cost $50, so……..that meant I needed to rent a car.  I wasn’t really excited about this because I don’t like driving in areas I am unfamiliar with, especially in the dark.  But I rented a car and packed my GPS.

I landed in Atlanta around 6:00p.m.  Perfect time for driving in rush hour traffic.  Lovely.  I grabbed my luggage and headed to the rental car counter.  Due to a weird computer glitch, it took longer than expected there and I was ok with that because I was hoping some of the traffic was now gone.  I ended up with a Toyota Camry.  I loaded my luggage, programmed my GPS and headed to the hotel.  The GPS took me through downtown.  Traffic was bad at times, but the speed limit in Atlanta was 55mph, so I just stayed in the far right lane and did the speed limit.  Thanks to the trusty GPS I found the hotel with no problems.  I checked in and decided I did not want to get back out to find food, so I just snacked on what I had and then went to bed.

I woke up early Saturday morning and headed out to make sure I could find the gym where the class was.  It was only two miles from the hotel and pretty easy to find.  The hard part was trying to figure out how to get to the parking lot.  The gym was located in a multi-level shopping center and the gym was on the lower level.  I was not the only one who couldn’t figure out how to get down there.  When I came out of one garage, there were three other cars circling around.  We stopped to chat and two more came upon us.  Finally we just all parked in the garage and walked down the stairs.  Not a big deal except that it was 28 degrees!!!

As we were walking to the gym I was talking to one of the guys walking in with us about where we were from, etc.  Turns out I was talking to the instructor.  He seemed really friendly and I could tell it would be a good class.

We signed in and then headed to our classroom for the weekend.  And oh boy, I don’t think it was any warmer in the room than it was outside!!!  It was freezing in there and I wasn’t the only one who thought so.  (I ended up keeping my coat on all day).

There were some tables set up and I quickly grabbed a spot in the middle where I would be able to see and hear.  Next to me was a guy about my age.  We got to talking and discovered he is also an Ironman triathlete.  Then I learned that he had just attending the USAT Coaching Clinic the weekend before.  We talked a lot about that since that is another of my goals if I can ever get accepted.  I believe things happen for a reason and was glad that I had sat where I did.

We went around the room for quick introductions.  There was one other person from Texas.   Most people were from somewhere around the Atlanta area, but one even came from California.  We also discovered that since we were in a gym that had it’s own deli, that no outside food could be brought in by RRCA.  So, breakfast was fruit and muffins.  I was ok with that since I had eaten a bar prior to arriving and I had snacks with me since I didn’t know what lunch would be.

We jumped right into the material.  They had prepared a manual for us that had all of the slides in it, so we were able to listen more and take notes when we felt like we needed to.  It was also a very interactive class, which I enjoyed.  And it didn’t hurt that our instructor was funny and kept class entertaining. 

As questions came up and as the class went on, we discovered more about several of the participants – two physical therapists, one who owns a running store, one who works for NUUN, an Olympic trials qualifier, etc.  We had a wealth of knowledge in that room and once again, I kind of felt out of place.  But that’s what I was there for – to learn.  And learn I did.

Lunch was a quick break with food from the gym’s deli.  I had a hummus wrap that was pretty good.  I talked with a few more people.  Yoga instructors, personal trainers, insurance specialists.  All people I could learn from.

At the end of the day I was mentally exhausted again.  And I was still frozen.  I had kind of hoped a group of people would go out for dinner, but I didn’t hear any ramblings about that, so I headed back to the hotel in hopes of getting warm.  There was a Subway just across and down from the hotel, so I decided to walk over there and get some food to bring back to the hotel.   I ate my food in the hotel and read over the course materials again, highlighting things I thought were important.  I also used the down time to study some of my personal trainer manual.  When I almost feel asleep while reading, I knew it was time for sleep.

Sunday morning I headed back to the gym for day 2.  It was still cold in the room, but not as cold as yesterday.  We jumped right into learning and decided to work through lunch since it was Super Bowl Sunday.  Today we went over some of the business side of coaching, which is the side I have questions about.  You know – setting up the business name as an LLC, legal waivers to cover you as a coach, insurance needs, etc.

Over lunch today, we broke down into small groups and were asked to write a plan for someone wanting to run a marathon in 12 weeks.  We were given a few parameters, but we quickly realized that we really needed more information to get really specific.   It was also interesting because all five people in my group had different ideas on how to get him there.  Some thoughts were very similar, but some thoughts were different.  None were wrong.  And that’s what we got out of the class as well.  As a coach, you have to determine what your philosophy and way of coaching will be.  If it works for you and your client, it’s not wrong. 

We wrapped up the afternoon, were given instructions about the procedure for taking the test, took a group picture and were sent on our way.  I felt really good about the weekend and was excited to get back and get the test taken.  In the meantime, I headed back to the room to watch the Super Bowl.

When I booked the class and my flights, the Super Bowl was not even on my mind, but I was glad that I decided to stay Sunday night and fly out early Monday morning.  I had stopped at the Target by the gym Saturday and bought some snack food for the Super Bowl, so I was set.  I got comfy, munched on bad food and then went to bed.

Monday I was up super early to head back to the airport, turn the car in and get through security.  Luckily, the GPS did me right again and I was sitting at the gate waiting for my flight with plenty of time to spare.

Since I’ve been home, I’ve worked my way through the test in my own time.  I finally got the nerve to hit the “submit” button and was very pleased to see that I passed the test with a 94.  So, I am officially a RRCA certified run coach.  Now I just need to get some clients!

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