How to Become A Running Coach in 2021 – A Complete Guide
It’s not uncommon to start running by having a goal of completing an event, then finding yourself teaching others how to run as fast as you further down the track.
Most runners, in general, become a coach through the enjoyment of running, rather than studying it in their early years.
But how does one become a running coach? In this article, we answer some of the main questions of how to become a running coach.
How to Become A Running Coach – What You Should Know?
While no path is the same, there are a few key areas you need to tick off before trying to become a running coach or any coach for that matter.
The most important of all is to get qualified. This can be done by going through your governing body. For example, USA Track & Field or USATF, Athletics New Zealand or British Athletics. For people outside of these country’s, talk to your athletics governing body and see if they have some running coaching courses you can attend.
Alternatively, you can go through the sports science route or online. For example, training peaks and Ironman have some decent coaching courses available for an entry-level coach. For the more experienced runner, or someone that is looking more into physiology, biomechanics, anatomy, periodization, and so forth, is better to go through some online institutes. For example:
UESCA – UESCA is an online course that consists of 22 online training modules. Each module contains the latest in sports science research that is designed to be one of the best online resources to becoming a certified running coach.
SSISA – SSISA (Sports Science Institute of South Africa) has a well-known online endurance running course that can be completed from anywhere. Each module takes you through key elements required to learn, including physiology, periodisation, VO2 max, and tapering.
RRCA – Road Runners Club of America usually does their level one coaching course in person. However, because of the pandemic, they are now offering the Level I Coaching Certification course online.
While this is a small fraction of the online courses available, speak with your countries governing body of athletics and ask them how you can become a certified running coach.
Secondly, you may pass your certification with relative ease if you have a solid background in running. But before you get your first athlete it is important to describe your coaching philosophy.
Your running certification will help to get things started, but you want to spend some time describing your way of coaching, training, and goal setting.
Some questions you need to ask yourself are:
– Do you have the ability to individualize training plans?
– Motivate each athlete differently?
– How many athletes can you realistically handle?
These should all be addressed before you even look at taking on your first client.
How Long Does It Take To Become a Running Coach?
Everyone is different. A person that has years of experience in running and has worked with numerous coaches is more likely to transfer into a coaching role much quicker than someone else. That also is the same for someone that has come in from another endurance sport such as cycling, rowing, or football.
However, for the general person, it can take around 20-40 hours to pass a basic certification. As you move up certification level you can expect a longer time to become certified at that level.
As a running coach, you never stop learning. You should be constantly keeping up to date with the latest sports science and keeping any qualifications updated as you go.
You can in reality consider yourself a running coach when you have multiple positive results from clients, gathered some qualifications, and been coaching successfully for a few years. Anyone can take a course and become a so-called coach, but the successful ones are the coaches that have been continuing for years.
Can You Make Money Being a Running Coach?
The quick answer is yes. There are multiple ways to make money as a running coach. This includes becoming a club coach, a school track and field coach, or an online coach.
However, it takes a lot of work and a lot of marketing to become a successful online coach. To become a successful school track and field coach, you will need to complete all the qualifications needed and successfully show you have a good background in coaching.
Either way, one thing I learned over the past 15 years of coaching is that understand marketing, SEO, and producing results for your clients are the key areas to work on if you want to have a successful running coaching company for years to come.
How much does a Running Coach make?
The amount of money a running coach makes varies a lot. But the statistics provided by Glassdoor show that the average salary for a Running Coach is $44,571 per year in the United States. These numbers are based on 8919 salaries submitted anonymously to Glassdoor by coaches in the United States.
While that may seem a decent amount of money, don’t expect to make anywhere near that in your first year of coaching. Most likely you will need to build a base of clients by giving away free coaching in the beginning. That will help develop your brand and create a name for yourself. Then as you become more well known you can expect to obtain more clients, thus increasing your salary.
One way to speed up this process is to join an established coaching business and start an internship with them. That way you already have an established clientele to coach and maybe a job with that business after your internship.
Learning how to become a running coach is a rewarding journey. Not only does it help increase your knowledge of training but gives you joy watching the people you coach succeed.
How much does it cost to become a running coach? It can cost anywhere between a few hundred dollars and a few thousand dollars (and more). It ultimately depends on how much you want to learn and the level of qualification you want.
What makes a good running coach? A good running coach can balance volume, intensity, nutrition, psychology, strength training, and recovery protocols into a training plan. They should also be able to motivate the athlete and provide critical feedback from training sessions.
How long has Sport Coaching been coaching runners? Sport Coaching has been coaching runners of all levels since 2007.
Where can I find a running coach? You can find a running coach near you by contacting your athletics governing body, searching the internet, or looking at the training peaks coaching database. Alternatively, you can contact Sport Coaching or check out our online running coaching.