RRCA Coaching Certification: No magic formula or secret pixy dust to make me into an Olympic runner… but this is what I found out about myself!

I’m so behind on this thing. SO MANY THINGS TO TALK ABOUT. I think this has been the busiest/most productive summer vacation I ever had. I finished school. Then I had Ragnar Weekend, Finishing my Yoga Teacher Training weekend, Coaching Certification weekend, and the weekend in Portsmouth, then this weekend my Crossfit friends all went to Shoreline and my mom came and helped me weed the garden and I ran my 18 miler with Nate. Usually by now I’m bored, but I’m just exhausted! Anyway, I’ll write about all that stuff eventually.

The RRCA is the Road Runners Club of America. Now I didn’t know what to expect at the RRCA certification. As my title says; in the back my of my brain I was expecting a secret formula to become fast as lightning and invincible. This did not happen (shocker…) I also didn’t know if this information would help me coach myself- because I have done a LOT of research the past two years. I was hoping for more than something I could google, but wasn’t sure considering yoga certification is 200 hours and running is barely 20.

What I did get was a whole bunch of great information that made me feel like my brain was going to explode. I spent several days contemplating my life as I know it, basically. There were people of different ages, abilities, and goals there. Randy Accetta, the director of education at the RRCA is funny as hell. I did not expect to enjoy being still and talked at for 20 hours- but it was totally fine. One day he should definitely start a career in stand-up comedy. The other thing is this training isn’t necessarily for people to become better themselves- but definitely to help other people become better. I am actually extremely confident that I can help other people achieve their running goals. I don’t have any desire to start a local run club right now though. Especially a fully certified RRCA non profit run club… because that would be like a second job and sounds suspiciously like as much work as it took to start a roller derby league. NO-THANK-YOU. Maybe one day.

Day one we talked about coaching, being a leader, how to write a large plan in smaller cycles, the needs of novice, intermediate runners, V0 2 max, muscles, mitochondria, starting a club, different great running coaches and what they’ve brought to the table, the increase of women in running in the past 2 decades, different kinds of runs and how to be specific with distance, times, and how schedule them into a plan, the keystones of different plans, and probably a lot more. On day 2 we broke into groups and created a plan for an imaginary person, talked about running form, sports nutrition, psychology,  and ran out of time.

Now let’s talk about me.

The RRCA’s theory is high mileage running and not a ton of cross training. Randy said, “To be a great runner, you need to run.” As far as my plan is concerned, I have a lot of yoga and supplemental work to the point where according to him I’d be overtraining. I usually count yoga as an active recovery, but to him it would be an “effort.” The assault bike and rowing at Crossfit would be considered “supplemental,” but not “cross-training.” It would also be considered an effort. You aren’t supposed to do more than 4 “efforts” a week, but your speed run and your long run are also efforts. Basically I am doing like 8 efforts a week. However, I have the summer off so I don’t feel like I’m overextending myself by going to yoga.

Randy said to be great at one thing, you can’t be double-dipping in activities. The specific example was you can’t be a yogi and a great runner, eventually you’d have to pick one. I agree to an extent, but that wouldn’t work for me.

After talking to Steve, processing my thoughts, and figuring out what information to take, I also decided I’m comfortable disagreeing with the RRCA’s running philosophy on this. The programming I’ve been doing with Steve would be considered “outside the box,” according to the Boston Athletic Association’s power point on marathon training. We did “outside the box” training through the winter, and continued it through the spring because it was working. With two bad ankles and a low attention span- I work very well spending time on the assault bike and rower to get my heart rate and breathing up, then running. That training also prepared me to crush Boston with a sprained ankle.

Besides, I’ve never actually identified as a “runner.” My husband and Steve echoed the same thing to me anyway. Josh says “you have big muscles and little legs!” and Steve says “You are an athlete who is great at running, but you’re not a ‘runner.'” Then I logged into my 23andme.com account, and they told me my muscles were the same as elite athletes who do power-based athletics (hmmm, like roller derby and Crossfit?) So all that being said I spit out the kool-aid I drank at the RRCA weekend as far as just-run-and-that’s-it is concerned, because that doesn’t work for me.

That being said there was SO much good information and I will pepper in some fun secrets and insights into future posts! Here is one:

When you are tired, surge ahead. So basically when you begin to get tired, sprint instead of slow down. It changes your body’s mentality and you can run with greater ease. This is true! I did it during my Yasso 800’s. I did it today. I added it to my list of mantras.


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