Please be sure to scroll to the bottom of the post for an important update regarding the practical requirements of the program that I was only made aware of on August 31, 2015.
Since I’m starting the final phase of my running coach certification, I thought now would be a great time to talk about the program I used, why I picked it, and what it involves.
Why I picked it
I spent quite a bit of time googling and searching for running certification programs that are offered in Canada before landing on the North American Academy for Sport Fitness Professionals, or, NAASFP, Marathon Coaching program.
In my youth, I was an NCCP coach (Level 1 Swimming, Level 2 Synchronized Swimming) but when I went looking for information related to running, I found a ton of information on athletics, but nothing on running.
Many of my American friends have been able to obtain coaching certification through the RRCA; however, those programs are also not offered in Canada.
With all that – the NAASFP it was!
(Note, because I’m crazy and/or an over-achiever, I have a second certification in the works. Since I just started it, I’ll work through some more before I chat about it).
What does it involve
Unlike the NCCP and RRCA coaching programs, the NAASFP program is longer (much longer) than a weekend.
Upon registering (way back in November) I received my handbook of materials and purchased two additional books to study for the written exam (part 1). The exam is 100 multiple choice questions that you have 3 hours to complete (I passed this back in May).
The second portion is the case study. I was given a hypothetical person and needed to provide a training plan for them, taking into account all information I was provided in the case study. This will be submitted ASAP (I really just need to carve out a few hours, I don’t have a good excuse, it just needs to happen).
The final requirement is to coach a real live person through a 16-week marathon or half marathon training program. However, before I’m permitted to start, I need to be certified in CPR/First Aid, so I’ll be attending a two-day certification program this weekend.
When coaching my guinea pig (thanks to Katie for volunteering and Lexie and Sarah for trusting me to come up with programs for them before I was fully certified!) I will work with a Master Trainer, who will review my training plan and receive feedback on my coaching abilities from my coachee (is there a better word than coachee, here?).
I won’t be fully certified until Katie completes the Dopey Challenge with me in January, so for the next few months I’ll be working hard at learning what I can.
Like other sport professionals, I’m also required to maintain my certification by taking certain continuing education credits each year. Having the opportunity to combine blogging with BlogFest and IDEA World in the future will be a great way for me to build on both hobbies.
Thoughts so far
While this program has taken a lot of work, and a lot of time, I’m glad I picked such a rigorous program. Getting feedback during the actual coaching process will be valuable and I know it will help me to be a better coach in the future.
Through running, we all have very different experiences and have learned what works for us, and what doesn’t, so there are a handful of things presented in the coaching methodology, that I don’t 100% agree with; however, for the purposes of the program (and really, any course I’ve ever taken) I’ve followed that methodology in creating my coaching programs.
My goal in becoming a marathon coach was to increase my knowledge of running so I could better help myself and help others.
I plan to offer personalized and off-the-shelf running programs for sale in the future. If you sign up for my newsletter, you might even be able to get a sneak peek at a program and maybe even discounts when those programs start to go-live 🙂
[Tweet “Ange is sharing her experience thus far on her quest to be a marathon coach #runchat”]
On August 30 I submitted my case study to NAASFP. On August 31 I received word that I had passed my case study and was provided information regarding the practical component of the coaching certification. Information that had not been provided to me prior to that day and is not available on their website.
Practical requirements are as follows:
As in a paid coaching scenario, you are expected to work with the Volunteer in person. For the Practical you must spend a minimum of one hour per week working one-on-one with the Volunteer. Time spent making notes and advising the Volunteer through email or on the phone does not count as part of the one-hour minimum.
As in a paid coaching scenario you are expected to instruct the Volunteer on a warm-up and cool-down protocol. Each session you work with the client, you will be expected to start and end each session with the protocol. Although you cannot be held responsible for a Volunteer who does not practice the protocol when training on his/her own, you are required to ensure the protocol is followed when you are with the Volunteer.
For the duration of the Practical, you are required to regularly meet with the Volunteer and to record all information to be used for consideration of your successful challenge of the Marathon Coach certification. The minimum time to be spent with the client each week is one hour. It is understood that a Volunteer may be occasionally unavailable to meet. An alternative form of communication for that week is acceptable, but for the purposes of this program, no more than two weeks can pass between training sessions, and that this can only happen twice during the program. Please ensure that you have selected a volunteer who is committed to be available to you for the duration of the program.
You are to record information such as what you did with the Volunteer during this session, comments/information gained from the Volunteer on his/her training during the past week, and progress and or issues (potential issues) that have been identified.
Based on the assessment, you will create a training program that is appropriate for the individual and accessible for the Volunteer’s lifestyle. The minimum timelines for the programs are as follows:
• 10 week Learn to Run Program
• Half-Marathon minimum 18 Week Program
• Full-Marathon minimum 18 Week Program
Immediately after being made aware of 1-hour in-person requirement, I attempted to contact NAASFP to make them aware that this information had not, at any time, been communicated in the previous nearly 10 months I had been involved in the program.
I also reached out on Facebook and found someone in Calgary, but who had a marathon in 14 weeks, not the 18 required by NAASFP. As of September 1, I had received no response from NAASFP aside from an auto-reply email stating they are “very busy during the months of July 2015 – September 2015”.
While I was initially very excited about this program (as you can read below) I’m now left out $500 ($310 for training manual, 2 additional books purchased on Amazon and First Aid certification) and no marathon coaching certification.
I’m absolutely not unwilling to work with someone in person, but if the 14 week program is not acceptable to NAASFP then I’ll be forced to push back my certification until after the winter. This assumes NAASFP replies to my email regarding other options for the practical component.
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