Today is an exciting day: I have officially launched my e-coaching business, Go Run It Well Coaching!
I want to share with you today a bit about my journey to becoming a RRCA certified running coach as an introduction to my coaching services; be sure to return next week for a post on why you should a running coach plus a special limited-time coaching giveaway! (RRCA stands for Road Runners Club of America – they certify coaches and organize running clubs across the United States.)
As I’ve mentioned frequently on here, my original career path was in academia. Throughout all of college and graduate school, I wanted to be a college professor and spend my life researching and teaching. Teaching has always been a gift of mine: in high school, I tutored younger students in math and Latin and would spend after-school study sessions helping friends with chemistry. Even though I am quite an introvert, I break out of that shell when I have the opportunity to teach others about a topic I find fascinating.
I worked as a writing consultant and a teaching assistant in both college and graduate school. Even though there were times when these jobs were utterly exhausting (grading hundreds of freshman midterms right before spring break was awful), I overall savored the time spent teaching others, especially in the one-on-one settings as a writing tutor.
When I left academia, I briefly considered teaching high school. I did not have a teaching license, but with the way Catholic schools worked, I could have used my master’s degree to teach religion to high school students. However, there were no job openings in the diocese near where we lived; as it was, the teaching field is flooded with more applicants than it can handle, and certainly ones who were more qualified than I. There’s also the fact that, unlike college students, high schoolers mildly terrify me (and I give major props to anyone who teaches high school!).
My desire to teach came from a deep-rooted calling to help other people in some way. In the months after grad school, as I settled into married life, interviewed for jobs in alumni relations, editing, and writing, and contemplated more of what I wanted to do with my life now that a Ph.D. was out of the question, it became more and more apparent to me that the specific manner in which I wished to helped others was through helping others lead more active lives for the sake of physical health, mental well-being, and personal fulfillment. I wanted to teach in a very specific manner: I wanted to teach people in running, that is, work as a running coach.
Even though I did not race until 2014, running played a significant role in the duration of college and graduate school. I taught Pilates as a source of income in college, but running served as my form of stress relief and confidence-building. I ran up to 13 miles before class in graduate school just to be mentally prepared to deal with the intellectual and emotional demands of life in the boy’s club of academia. Running always provided that sense of accomplishment, that emotional boost, that relief of stress, and that gift of health during some of the most stressful years of my life. I realized I wanted to focus my career, or at least a portion of it, on providing others with the tools they needed to reap the rewards of running.
I began this blog in September 2014 with the intention of becoming a certified coach and using This Runner’s Recipes as a platform for my coaching business. Unfortunately, all of the Midwest RRCA seminars were booked for the remainder of 2014. When we moved out to the Pacific Northwest, I eagerly checked the RRCA website every day until they finally posted seminars within driving distance.
After a took the class, I passed my test with 97% and giddily ran around our apartment celebrating. It’s a small thing, I know, but after feeling afloat career-wise for so long, I am exhilarated to finally have a certification to my name and do the type of work I feel called to do.
Meanwhile, I read everything on running that I could get my hands on. In order to teach well, you must be constantly learning yourself. Running Times is one of my most frequently visited websites. I read Tim Noakes’ Lore of Running, Brad Hudson’s Run Faster from the 5K to Marathon, several books by Matt Fitzgerald, and Jack Daniel’s Running Formula. As frequent readers will know, I love to share what I learn through informative blog posts, such as my Marathon Monday series.
The more I learned about running and physiology and the experience I gained in running blogs, my particular vision of coaching clarified. Some running coaches love to work with stores or large training groups, but as an introvert, I thrive when I work one-on-one with people. Forgive me if I lack humility here, but one of my gifts is to be able to recognize people’s potential and encourage them. That’s what made me such a successful writing tutor; I not only worked with the written words on the page and objectively improved someone’s writing, but I also helped students become more confident in their ability to articulate their thoughts and support their arguments.
The same is what I will strive to do as a running coach: work with clients one-on-one, uncover the strengths and abilities, and not only improve their racing and PRs, but also help them grow as runners and as people. The individual focus on my coaching seeks to help runners find their best selves, physically, mentally, and emotionally, through running. No matter how any runner defines what their best is, I want to help them find it, set goals to pursue it, and provide them with the training needed to achieve it. While a focal point of my coaching services are to help runners train for goal races and run PRs, my coaching will also emphasize sustainable, lifelong running. Since my services are all online, I can literally work with runners across the country, of all ages, and of all abilities.
There’s a little maxim I first read in graduate school that has guided my career-formation and personal goals since then. Saint Francis de Sales, a 16th century author, wrote, “Be who you are and be that well.” This quote inspired the name of my coaching business, since I seek to help runners be their best running selves: Go Run It Well.
Questions of the Day:
Other running coaches: how did you get into the field of coaching?
Do you work with a running coach?
How would you define running your personal best?
Do you have any questions about the RRCA coaching certification process?