Learning to Coach: My initial thoughts

Learning to Coach: My initial thoughts

Coach in Running Fitness booklet

“Running is only putting one foot in front of the other, what more do you need to know?”. This is what my non-running boyfriend likes to say when he sees me reading a running magazine.

And this was a point that was brought up by one of our tutors during the two days of the UKA Coach in Running Fitness course I attended last weekend. Ultimately, that is all that running is. But if you want to be good at it, if you want to keep injuries at bay, if you want to help others to achieve their best potential, then there is a lot more to it than that.

The two days were very intensive. I had been warned this was the case by my support coach who had recommended I do some pre-reading so I had an idea of how the body works and what fitness is technically. I’m very glad I took the time to do that. It meant I wasn’t thrown by new phrases, words and concepts and had a better understanding of what the tutors were saying.

As someone who has never been coached and whose running clubs don’t have coaches, I was a little vague on what coaches were responsible for and how it was different from a run leader. I know that seems an odd thing to say for someone who had signed up to become a qualified coach, why on earth decide to do something when you don’t know exactly what it entails?

Well for me, I really enjoy being a run leader but I want to be able to work with smaller groups and individuals. I want to help runners become better, whatever that definition of better is. I want to encourage people who never thought they would run to start running and actually enjoy it. I want to be able to help the person who has been plagued by injury to get running again and stay injury free. I want to get the experienced marathon runner that PB they have been trying for. I want to work with runners who are attempting a new distance for the first time. All of these things, and more, it seemed to me is what a coach would do and why I want to be one.

After completing the first two days of my course I can definitely say that I made the right decision. My understanding of the role of the coach has increased and I am excited about being able to work with runners in a new way. The technical side of it is really interesting. How not having the fundamentals right can mean you won’t achieve your best. How the focus of the coach is always the athlete, how you and your athletes work as a team rather than the coach being a dictator who controls everything.

It has made me aware of where I am lacking with my fundamentals and how I can improve as a runner. I think being able to see the strengths and weaknesses in myself will help me observe them in others. I know that once I have the okay from my physio that I can run again I will be going back to basics!

I now have some homework and planning to do before my third taught day in April. I’m already waking up thinking about what I need to do, which I see as a good thing. I’m not worried, just excited and keen to get on.

Initial views on the @EnglandAthletic #CiRF #runcoach course #ukrunchat Click To Tweet

If you have been thinking about doing the CiRF course but perhaps lack the confidence or are worried you aren’t a good enough runner, I say just go for it. As our tutors said, you don’t need to run like Jessica Ennis to coach Jessica Ennis! Don’t think you have to run a marathon or run a seven minute mile before you can coach. As I learnt, coaching is a different skill and if you enjoy seeing people improve and do things they never thought they would then it could be that coaching is for you.

Have you done the CiRF course or another coaching course? How did you find it?

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