Coaching for the Striders
Hello Striders! Amelia again – this time to write about my (awesome!) experience attending the RRCA Coaching Certification course, my experience coaching my pals with Kingstowne Striders, and to hopefully convince one of you to do the same!
To summarize my history for a bit of context – I began running mostly recreationally in 2005 (actually it was for group workouts – in a past life I was an Equine Administration major and began running to be part of our polo team – yes, horses and sticks). This was also coincidentally my first experience with a coach - someone had to teach those horses and riders what to do! This led to a bit more recreational running and my first half marathon in 2008. I kept at it, running overseas in Dubai, at internships in New York State upon my return to the USA, up to joining my first running club – the DC Capital Striders, when I moved to DC in 2011. Over this time I probably read books about running and ran another half marathon December 2010 and ran my first (and only) Cherry Blossom in 2011 because my mom and I won the lottery to participate.
Flash forward to 2012 when I met my now husband and moved to Alexandria/Fairfax County and then in 2013 where I found the Kingstowne Striders. I ran my first track workout EVER with Coach Jim that year. Actually my first run with Kingstowne Striders EVER was that very first rack workout at Edison, which didn’t last long, thanks to a summer thunderstorm that rolled in. Running track led to more reading about running and more half marathons and my first full marathon in 2013. It was around this time, and partially because of DC Capital Striders, I discovered the DC Triathlon Club’s New Triathlete Program, which I completed in 2014. What does all this have to do with convincing you to become a certified coach for us? Hold your horses, I say!
So if you’re interested in running, fitness, health, and all that stuff, I think it’s fair to say there aren’t a lot of just… classes out there. Maybe that’s changed, but in the mid to late 2010s the only thing I consistently found was either (a) the New Triathlete Program, which let’s face it, realistically is at best 1/3 running or (b) a coaching certification course. After finishing NTP I wanted to learn more of my favorite of the 3 triathlon sports – running! I had heard about the RRCA Coaching Certification Course, and decided to participate mainly to learn more about how to coach about running (admittedly, to coach myself). There’s no requirement to become a certified coach after taking the class. But, Striders found itself in need of a coach, so I volunteered. It was a lot of fun - the club's program fee is structured to give the coach 1 hour to prep and then 1 hour of actual coaching. I made printouts of drills for us to do, demonstrated to the best of my ability, then tried to pass on some ideas for folks to do that evening. If the end goal was MCM, I taught how to build up to 1600s, if the goal was an Army drill of (I may need to be corrected) 2 miles in 15 minutes, we worked on short distance track drills. For others, I just taught the styles of workouts, most would self divide into groups of people with a similar pace, and off they went!
What makes the RRCA Coaching Certification and the Paid Kingstowne Striders Track Coach Program so awesome? After you coach us for one summer, the certification ends up being free! Our Paid Kingstowne Striders Track Coach Program was established back in the early days of the club, our coaches have been our club founder Kevin Shaw, high school and RRCA Certified track coach Jim Miller, our own Carmen Yuhas, myself, and Amanda Williams. Our fee structure allows club members access to a certified coach as part of the club's annual dues and it includes 15 Tuesdays in the summer, the income of which makes your certification free! COVID caused the club to cancel our beloved “Track Tuesdays” in 2020. We’re looking for them to make a comeback in 2021!
Interested in becoming a coach? As an RRCA Official Club we get first access and notification when classes become available. Actually, if you just know enough about running and would like the chance, we’re looking for someone to coach this summer! If you’re interested, reach out to myself and Valerie for more information!
Classes are currently virtual and all listed (as of 4/9/21) are full. But BEFORE class registration goes open to the public, RRCA Clubs get first chance at registration - so if you're interested, let me know ASAP and I'll keep an eye on my inbox for more classes!