Road Runners Club of America

Empowering Everyone to Run!

Coaching Level I Certification Course

RRCA Coaching Certification Course Prerequisites
Participants should have experience with the sport of running and have an interest in coaching others along with the desire to improve their own running knowledge. Intellectual interest in the sport of running along with seeking information about training theory from expert coaches is a must. Personal experience running in events ranging from 5K to marathon distances is helpful. An introductory video module will be emailed to registered participants and viewing is required in advance of the course. Attendees must be 18 years of age or older with no less than a high school diploma. 

The RRCA Coaching Certification Course welcomes all genders, all races, ethnicity, national origins (course and test are presented exclusively in English), ages (18 and over), sexual orientations or identities, education (above high school or GED), and people with disabilities.  The RRCA is committed to a nondiscriminatory approach in the delivery of this program, and we respect and value diverse life experiences, which may be shared during the course of the program between attendees and instructors.  All individuals pursuing the RRCA Coaching Certification credential are required to follow all steps outlined below, no exceptions. 

Step 1: Attend an RRCA Level I Coaching Certification Course

Registration for the in-person course and certification test costs $325.  Course registration is an online-only transaction; only credit and debit payments are accepted. The fee includes the two-day, in-person course, taught by RRCA-approved instructors, course materials, continental breakfast, lunch, and access to the online certification exam. The prospective coach must be present for the entire eight hours of course work each day. Courses are limited to 35 participants.  Any attendee that has a special need should email the Director of Coaching Education in advance of a class to review accommodation options.

Upcoming courses are announced via email and listed online. Interested candidates must sign up for the email list to receive course registration announcements. Classes fill quickly, so register early. Learn more about course dates and locations. There is no online certification option for Level I. Coaching involves learning and practicing personal interaction, and interactive experience is provided via group learning exercises during the course. No running is required during the in person course.

July 22, 2020 Update: all 2020 Level I courses have been moved to an interactive online learning environment. View the current Level I course schedule to register for an open course or add your name to a course's waiting list.

RRCA Level I Coaching Certification Course Schedule
The two-day course includes 16 hours of in-person coursework. Detailed information will be emailed to all registered participants in advance of the course and immediately following the course. It is important to closely review these emails before and after the course.

Day One Includes:

  • Principles of coaching
  • Exercise physiology for coaching
  • Principles of building a training program
  • Understanding different types of workouts
  • Understanding running form
  • Basic sports nutrition

Day Two Includes:

  • The business of coaching
  • Sports psychology for coaching
  • Recognizing injuries and injury prevention
  • Environmental factors that effect performance
  • Building training programs ​- group activity
Cancellations must be made by emailing Cancellations are subject to a $50 fee until 14 days before the class date. After that time, no refunds will be granted. You may not sell or give your spot to another person if you cannot attend. Refunds will be processed via the RunSignUp registration platform, and funds will be returned to the credit or debit card originally used to register. Refunds may take up to two weeks to process. No class transfers are allowed. You must first request a cancellation and refund for the original course, then re-register for the new location.

Step 2: Submit the Online Test

After completing the in-person course, information about accessing the online test will be emailed to attendees. The prospective coach that has attended the course, in full, has the opportunity to submit and pass the 100-question online test that is administered through a professional testing platform that tracks individual responses, progress, IP address, and testing duration. The test must be submitted within 30 days of taking the certification course. Course attendees must demonstrate they have learned the course content and can apply it to coaching athletes by successfully completing the 100-question online exam with a passing score of 85% or higher. Course attendees may not work together on the test and submit answers. 

Upon completion of the exam, students will receive an instant score, which is also automatically emailed to the Director of Coaching Education. Answers to test questions are not provided to any participant following the completion of the exam for certification testing integrity purposes. As part of the test, participants will be required to select the box to agree to abide by the RRCA Coaching Code of Ethics.

If you receive a score of 84% or less, you have not passed the test. Participants not passing the test receive an email from the Director of Coaching Education outlining next steps for re-testing (a fee applies) to finalize the certification process. Anyone that cannot pass the test on two attempts will not be certified and will not be granted a refund. Students that do not pass the test on the second attempt may be granted the opportunity to retake the in-person course again, but will be required to pay the full course fee.

Step 3: Submit Electronic Copies of First Aid and CPR

Due to the pandemic we will accept both CPR and First Aid courses that are completed entirely online. We have no preferred providers for these classes; use a reputable one in your area. These certificates must be submitted within 60 days of the certification course. Submission can only be accepted in electronic format—either scan the documents or photograph them and send as an email attachment. Fax copies will not be accepted. We recommend taking or scheduling these classes before your RRCA certification course date to ensure compliance within the 60-day window. You will be required to maintain your CPR and First Aid certifications in future years to retain the RRCA Certified Coach credential upon successful completion of all three steps outlined here.

There is a six-month window from the course date to complete all steps in the Level I Coaching Certification process.

Certificate of Completion and Listing in the Public Database of Coaches

Following successful completion of the exam, all participants will need to create their personal profile in the RRCA database. To create your profile simply visit and follow the instructions for creating a profile in the RRCA database. 

Once a coach has completed ALL requirements for becoming an RRCA Certified Coach, the RRCA will confirm completion and add the coach to the public listing of RRCA Certified Coaches found at Coaches will receive a certificate by mail along with instructions about accessing the coaches’ private section on the RRCA website at 

It is the coach's responsibility to check for accuracy, to correct personal information on the database listing, and determine what portion of the information will be visible online. All RRCA Certified Coaches must maintain current First Aid and CPR certifications. If a coach does not update these certifications in advance of expiration dates, they will be deemed INACTIVE, and their name will be removed from the public list of RRCA Coaches. Coaches may be re-instated to the public listing by updating their First Aid and CPR expiration dates. Learn more about updating your information.

Review the Level I Coaching Certification Frequently Asked Questions for answers to common questions about the program. Please email with any other questions.

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