Since 1998, the RRCA Coaching Certification Program has provided a baseline of education for individuals seeking to become knowledgeable and ethical distance running coaches to work with runners of all ages and abilities.
The RRCA Coaching Certification program is comprised of two levels: Level 1 and Level 2.
Level 1 Certification
The Level 1 Coaching Certification course focuses on adult distance running, defined as one mile or longer, and touches on youth running and shorter distances.
The Level 1 Coaching Certification course is designed to educate prospective coaches so they may:
- Level I participants should have experience with the sport of running, a desire to improve their own running knowledge, and have an interest in coaching others.
- Intellectual interest in the sport of running and 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.
- Participants must be 18 years of age or older with no less than a high school diploma.
- Each online course will take place from 8am-5pm over two consecutive days in the designated time zone.
- Multiple RRCA instructors will lead the course via our private interactive online Zoom classroom.
- The course will provide a detailed review of the course slides with plenty of opportunity for both written and spoken Q&A plus group work on program development.
- Attendance is required throughout both days. Attendance will be taken throughout each day, including using a screen-grab of the Zoom video.
- FedEx will ship the hard-copy course book directly to the mailing address you include in your registration. *Please be sure that your course registration information includes your FedEx shipping address.* Additional fees will apply for all international shipments.
- Hourly breaks and ample time for lunch will be incorporated into each day’s schedule.
- Each in-person course will take place from 8am-5pm over two consecutive days in the designated time zone at the specified facility.
- One or more RRCA instructors will lead the in-person course.
- The instructor(s) will provide a detailed review of the course slides with plenty of opportunity for Q&A plus group work on program development.
- Attendance is required throughout both days and will be taken throughout each day.
- Course books will be distributed to course participants on the first day of the course.
- Frequent breaks and ample time for lunch will be incorporated into each day’s schedule.
The two-day Level I Coaching Certification course consists of 16 hours of synchronous coursework. Delivery methods include:
- Group discussion
- Small group work
- Assignments and homework to be completed between Day 1 and Day 2
For online courses, FedEx will ship the hard copy course book directly to the mailing address listed in each participant’s online registration. There will be an additional fee for all international shipments or re-shipments for providing an incorrect mailing address.
For in-person courses, course books will be distributed the morning of the first day of the course.
Topics covered in the Level I Coaching Certification course include:
- Principles of coaching
- Exercise physiology for coaching
- Principles of building a training program
- Understanding different types of workouts
- Understanding running form
- Basic sports nutrition
- The business of coaching
- Sports psychology for coaching
- Recognizing injuries and injury prevention
- Environmental factors that affect performance
Full participation across both days, including reading, writing, speaking, and the use of technology, is required for certification. Attendance will be taken throughout each day, including by using a screen-grab of the Zoom video for online courses.
No running is required during the course.
Participants are required to pass an online exam and submit valid CPR and First Aid certifications to complete the Level I Coaching Certification process. See below for more information.
Registration for Level I Coaching Certification courses takes place online. Payment by credit or debit card is required at the time of registration.
The fee for the course is $335.
Each course is limited to 35 participants.
Upcoming Level 1 Courses
Upcoming courses are announced via email notification list and on this page. Interested prospective coaches must add their email addresses to the notification list below to receive course registration announcements. Courses fill quickly, so register early.
Review the Waiting List instructions below for adding your name to a full course’s waiting list.
Additional 2023 online courses will be announced soon.
March 23-25, 2023 – Chicago, IL at the 65th RRCA National Convention – OPEN – Central Time
*Fees for courses held at the RRCA National Convention are higher as additional meals and activities are included.
Additional in-person courses will be announced as they are planned. See below for information about hosting an in-person course.
COVID-19 Protocols for In-Person Courses
Protocols may vary by course location and will be communicated to registered course participants via email in advance of the course.
Participants withdrawing from a course and seeking a refund must email the request to [email protected].
Withdrawals 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 online 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.
Course transfers are not permitted. You must first request withdrawal from the original course, then re-register for the new course, if space permits.
While rare, if the RRCA must cancel or postpone a Level I Coaching Certification course after participants have registered, participants will be notified via email by the Director of Coaching Education.
Options for enrollment in a different course will be provided, if available. In the event of a course cancellation by the RRCA, participants will receive full refunds of the course fee and any processing fees, if applicable.
Please review all course-related communications carefully.
Detailed information, including course expectations and pre-course assignments, will be emailed to all registered participants in advance of the course.
Information regarding the online exam and submission of CPR and First Aid certifications will be emailed to participants immediately following the course.
At the conclusion of the Level I Coaching Certification course, information about accessing the 100-question online exam will be emailed to participants. Each participant must independently complete the online exam within 30 days of the course and pass with a score of 85% or higher to qualify for certification.
The exam is administered through a professional online testing platform that tracks individual responses, progress, IP address, and testing duration.
Participants are not permitted to work together on the test and submit answers. However, individual participants may reference their personal notes and course book while answering questions.
Before finalizing the test, participants will be asked to affirmatively agree to abide by the RRCA Coaching Code of Ethics .
Upon completion of the online exam, participants will receive an instant score, which is also emailed to the Director of Coaching Education. Answers to test questions are not provided to any participant following completion of the exam due to certification testing integrity.
If your score is 84% or lower, you have not passed the exam and will receive an email from the Director of Coaching Education detailing the re-testing process and associated fee. You must pass exam to finalize the certification process.
Anyone that cannot pass the online exam in two attempts will not be certified as an RRCA Level I Coach and will not be granted a refund. Participants that do not pass the online exam on the second attempt may be granted the opportunity to take the Level I Coaching Certification course again, but will be required to pay the full course fee.
There is a six-month window from the course date to complete all steps in the Level I Coaching Certification process.
Participants must submit valid CPR and First Aid certifications within 60 days of the Level I Coaching Certification course.
We will accept both CPR and First Aid courses that are completed online, in-person, or as a combination of online and in-person learning. We have no preferred providers for these courses, though many prospective coaches choose to take courses through the American Red Cross or American Heart Association. Electronic submissions via email are required, either as PDFs or image files of the certification documents. Fax copies will not be accepted.
CPR and First Aid certifications are usually valid for two years. You will be required to maintain CPR and First Aid certifications in order to remain an RRCA Level I Certified Coach in Good Standing and use the RRCA Level I Certified Coach title. Coaches must update their CPR and First Aid expiration dates and upload their new documents to their profiles before they expire in order to maintain their Good Standing.
Once a participant has completed all requirements for becoming an RRCA Level I Certified Coach, the RRCA will confirm completion and send a congratulatory email via the SimpleCert platform. This email will contain a link to download the coach’s Level I certificate.
The coach’s RRCA profile will be updated with their Level I credential, adding their name to the public Find a Coach listing. This will also grant access to the Certified Coaches Portal.
To remain in Good Standing as an RRCA Level I Certified Coach, a coach must maintain current CPR and First Aid certifications. At this time there are no “re-qualification” or CEU requirements.
If a coach does not update their CPR and First Aid expiration dates and upload their new documents to their RRCA profile in advance of the expiration dates, their status as a coach will change to Not in Good Standing, their name will be removed from the public Find a Coach list, and they will lose access to the Certified Coaches Portal. Coaches will be reinstated by updating their First Aid and CPR expiration dates and document uploads on their profile.
To update your profile with your new CPR and First Aid certifications:
- Visit RRCA.org and click Membership System Login.
- Log in with your username and password. If you have forgotten your username or password, utilize the links below the login fields to access your username or reset your password.*
- Click the My Profile button.
- Click the small circle in the upper right corner and click My Profile.
- Click the blue pencil in the upper right to make the fields editable. Review your information and make any needed updates. We encourage you to add a profile photo/logo, information about your coaching services, etc. This will be included on your public listing.
- Add/update and validate your Directory Address. Our website uses your directory city and state to populate the Find a Coach list. While you must provide a full street address, only your city and state will be visible to the public. Completing this step will make the Update button clickable at the bottom of your profile.
- Update your CPR and First Aid expiration dates and upload your new certification documents.
- Click Update at the bottom of your profile to save your edits.
*If your username is NOT an email address or you’re having trouble logging in, please email [email protected] for assistance.
When updating your CPR and First Aid information, you must enter your new expiration dates AND upload your certification documents. This information will transfer automatically to your Coaching Certification record(s) to maintain or restore your Good Standing status.
Please allow up to two hours for your updates to be reflected on our website.
Beginning January 1, 2023, an Individual Coach membership will be required, in addition to current CPR and First Aid certifications, to remain in Good Standing as an RRCA Certified Coach and to appear on the public Find a Coach list. Your certification must be in Good Standing in order to purchase the Individual Coach membership through your profile. Once you confirm that the CPR and First Aid information on your profile is current,
- Click the small circle in the upper right corner and click Join RRCA as an Individual. (If you have previously purchased an RRCA membership, you will click the small bell-shaped icon in the upper right corner and click “Renew.”)
- Select the Individual Coach membership type and click “Next.”
- Acknowledge the Safe Sport, group run, and insurance guidelines and click “Next.”
- Add the Certified Coach Liability Insurance policy on the following screen if desired. (Click “Next” if not.) Detailed information about the policy is housed in the Certified Coaches Portal, which is accessible to all RRCA certified coaches in Good Standing.
- Review the fee(s) and click “Add to Cart.”
- Click “Checkout.”
- Enter your payment information or select your saved payment method and click “Checkout.”
Level 2 Coaching Certification
The Level 2 Coaching Certification program provides a deeper understanding of the scientific, psychological, competitive, and managerial aspects of working with individual clients and training groups.
The program prepares coaches for organizing training programs and developing periodized plans that will bring athletes to success, help them manage fatigue, maintain motivation, and allow for peak performance at the appropriate time.
The Level II Coaching Certification program is open to all RRCA Level I Certified Coaches in good standing who have been certified for a minimum of one year. The Level II program is designed for coaches seeking to enhance their knowledge or reinforce concepts learned in Level I.
Level 2 Coaching Certification program participants must:
- Be an RRCA Level 1 Certified Coach for a minimum of 12-months. Coaches may begin the Level II program earlier but won’t be fully certified until 12-months following their Level 1 certification date.
- Be 18 years of age or older with no less than a high school diploma.
- Provide proof of coaching experience in the form of a brief essay outlining their experience as part of the enrollment process.
Level 2 Coaching Certification program is delivered in a combination of two formats that must be completed:
- A two-day, interactive, synchronous online Session, schedule several times during the year.
- Full participation across both days of the two-day Level 2 Session, including reading, writing, speaking, and the use of technology, is required for certification, as well as passing a 50-question online exam with a score of 80% or higher.
- A minimum of 15 asynchronous online modules with end-of-module quizzes requiring a score of 8/10 or 80% or better.
- $25 enrollment fee for RRCA Level 1 Certified Coaches that intend to pursue the Level 2 Certification credential. Following enrollment, participants will follow a pay-as-you-go system for the two-day Level 2 Session and individual online modules.
- $335 for the two-day Level 2 Session. Sessions are capped at 35 participants.
- $25 – $30 for each online modules
- Approximate total cost is $650 to complete all Level 2 Coaching Certification Program requirements.
No running is required during the program.
Coaching Education Team
Randy is an accomplished educator and runner that brings a wealth of experience to the RRCA coaching program. He is the Communications Mentor for the top-ranked McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Arizona, where he has twice received Teacher of the Year honors. Additionally, he has co-authored two continuing education courses on how to coach runners, and he has written running-based articles that have been published in Running Times, Runners World and the New York Times.
Brent has been active in the sport of running for over 50 years. He served on the RRCA Board of Directors from 1987 to 1990, again from 2004 to 2008, and was elected RRCA President from 2009 to 2012. Brent holds USATF Level I & Level II and USTFCCCA coaching certifications. He coached the Frederick Striders Youth Track & Field Club for 12 years. In 2003, he launched the Hood College Cross Country program followed by the Track & Field team and coached them for 13 years. Brent holds an MBA and worked for over 30 years with several different Members of the United States House of Representatives.
Beofra earned a Bachelor of Art in Psychology and a Master’s of Art in Human Services and Life Coaching and has been an active participant and leader in the running community for over 30 years. While serving in the military for over 28 years, she has completed races in every distance from the 5K to 100 miler, in addition she has run over 112 marathons. Beofra serves as a pacer for several marathons and is currently an Ambassadors for Black Girls Run!, Brooks Run Happy Team, Balega International, and Regional Ambassador for Marathon Maniac/Half Fanatics.
Bobby is a graduate of the University of Maryland and obtained his medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine in 1983. He completed his urological surgery training at Brown University and is a Board Certified urological surgeon. Bobby has served as Chairman for the Department Of Urology of the Johns Hopkins Hospital Affiliated Howard County General Hospital for over 10 years. Dr Gessler is an RRCA Certified Coach and Instructor and has USATF Level I and Level II coaching certifications in the endurance and combined events respectively as well as being a certified Level I Course instructor for the USATF.
Benson earned his Bachelors in Health Science and Master of Social Work from the University of South Dakota. While at Butler CC, he was NJCAA in Academics, Cross Country, and Track & Field. Benson is RRCA Level I & II Certifed Running Coach and a competitive distance runner specializing in the 5k – Marathon distances. Additionally, Benson was named the 2020 Boston Marathon Honorary Member and currently serves as the RRCA South Dakota State Representative.
Alex is the owner and head coach of the Resolute Running Training Center, a full-service training facility in Birmingham, AL that focuses on adult runners. Alex has been an RRCA Certified Coach since 2010. He is Lydiard Level II certified, USATF certified, and Coach Daniel’s VDOT 02 certified. He holds a personal training certification from AFAA and is a TRX qualified instructor. Alex is a multiple-time Boston Marathon qualifier, has completed all six World Marathon Majors: Chicago, Boston, Berlin, Tokyo, New York, and London, and has raced distances all the way up to 100 miles.
Cari earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology at Aquinas College, while earning All-American Honors 8 times and was national runner up in the indoor 1000 meters. In 2014 she was inducted into the Aquinas College Athletic Hall of Fame. Cari continued on to Michigan State University where she earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree. She is RRCA level II certified, level II USATF endurance coach, level II USTAFFCA in sprints and hurdles as well as she is certified in running mechanics through Newton Running.
Christine is an accomplished local runner with a 2:58 marathon PR. She has her doctorate in Kinesiology and has been an educator for over 25 years. She has served as the training coordinator for her local running club, the running coach for the youth triathlon program, and the head coach for the charity group Red Cross Rescue Racers. While an undergraduate Cross Country runner, she was an academic All-American. She is certified through RRCA and USATF as a running coach and ACSM as a personal trainer and exercise physiologist.
What People Say about the Course
Individuals that have completed the RRCA Coaching Certification course and earned the title RRCA Certified Coach are not employees, nor contractors, with the RRCA. All coaches operate independent from the RRCA. They have agreed to abide by the RRCA’s Coaches Code of Ethics, which includes revocation of the credential for serious violations.
RRCA only verifies that RRCA Certified Coaches have completed a formal education program and have completed the requirements to earn the credential of RRCA Certified Coach and be included in our searchable database of coaches.