Monday, August 8, 2011

RRCA Training Class Weekend

Like I mentioned on Friday, this past weekend, I flew to the wonderfully cool Minneapolis to become a Certified Running coach.  This was actually the first time I had traveled alone since the birth of my son a full 8 months ago.  (Cheesy dad moment – here is his 8 month picture.  I think my 361 month picture is still being developed – should have shot it via Polaroid)



For those of you new to my blog, for the last 7 years or so I used to travel full time Monday through Thursday.  It was different, but my wife and I both made it work for us.  After work, I read blogs and watched The History channel in the hotel and my wife watched Bachelor related shows and shows about housewives in various metro areas to her heart’s content.  There were downsides (no close friendships in the town I lived in, away from my wife) but there were advantages too (lots of frequent flier points, no pants whenever I wasn’t at work, “reunions” with my wife were great).

So, as I found myself in a hotel by myself again for the first time in a long time, I found that I quickly fell into my old habits.  I caught up on blogs / twitter and had a little wine:


Who am I kidding?  I mostly did this:


And I reaccustomed myself to passing out sleeping on a king sized bed by myself:


But, I soon realized that I didn’t travel half way across the country to pass out after drinking too much screw-top wine – I could do that at home! I needed to learn about coaching.

The class itself was split up into two full distinctly different days.  Day 1 was all about the bio mechanics, nutrition, coaching styles, and even a bit of psychology of helping people realize their potential.  It was all very interesting information – but it was all very theoretical in the sense that there was no pace talk, mileage talk, or even a hint of speedwork.  Almost like knowing how you brew beer.  Sure, really good info to know that it doesn’t come from the beer fairy, but doesn’t make it taste any better.

Day 2 was where all the action was. It was the shirts optional day! There we learned about creating training plans for different goals, proper training paces, and how to apply the fundamentals to various situations.  I was particularly interested to find out which “training philosophy” RRCA uses.  HIGH MILES.  Their underlying goal is to run lots of long miles in a base build period – peaking at 75 miles for advanced marathoners with no stepback weeks and only then layering on speedwork.  This is opposed to some of the other training philosophies such as Hal Hidgon’s 2 week build, 1 week stepback or Jack Daniels / Pete Pfitzinger’s “phased” approach.  Wow, running coach jargon FOR THE WIN!  Jeeze, feel free to ignore that last paragraph as uber technical mumbo jumbo.  Let it suffice to say that I had fun and learned a lot of great information that will supplement what I already knew.

Of course, Murphy’s Law says that you can’t get 30 runners together with at least a few of them knowing each other. Rebecca @ Thru Thin and Thick followed Lesley whom I coach, Matt @ SISU Runner somehow found me, and Ann from Sporty Girl Jewelry was there as well!  Unfortunately, we only all put this together the last day.

Overall the coaching certification course was a great experience and I would do it again.  It was great to see all of the various backgrounds of people: from fairly novice runners looking to make a career change, more experienced runners looking to gain an edge, and people looking to start children’s groups or even help coach high school track.  But, while we were all there for as many different reasons as there are to run in the first place, the drive was essentially the same: We all wanted to help others put one foot in front of the other.

24 comments:

Tricia said...

Ummm....high miles huh. I'm afraid to look at my training plan.

But I'm curious to see how they recommended you deal with "problem" clients. That Lesley, she's a trouble maker.

Did you update my log? I'm faaaar to busy to do that

:)

sisurunner said...

The question is, after taking the class, are you going to modify your own training, either for your upcoming race or the next one?

McV said...

I am REALLY impressed by your ability to get such great candidate photos while traveling alone. Are you sure you don't travel with a professional crew a la Man vs. Wild?

mikemilzz said...

That's awesome Adam - it really is all about helping others achieve things they never thought possible. I'd be curious, like other readers, to hear more about the high miles philosophy. I'm met Jack Daniels a couple times at coach trainings for Team In Training, and I've also practiced Hal Higdon's step back approach. The difference in philosophy might just be the level of athlete, or the goal of the individual, but I'd be curious to hear more.

Congrats on being "certifiable"!

Runners Fuel said...

Sounds like a great weekend!

Brian said...

Interesting approach. I've looked at programs where you top out at mileage in the 40s like Higdon's novice and intermediate plans.

75 miles a week sounds really elite. I too would be interested in learning more about the difference in goals.

WannabeRunner said...

Check out your hand hover on that last picture! :)

That's really awesome you were able to attend this - congrats, Coach!

Kovas said...

It's so great that this far into your coaching career you've decided to learn how to do it - kudos!

Adam said...

WannabeRunner - I know! I think that the picture must have been taken mid grasp before I was able to grab hold of Ann. Don't worry though, I was fully gripped around Matt.

Adam said...

I can post a follow up that speaks to the finer details of their training philosophy, it is interesting stuff!

Jill @ Run for the Hills said...

Wait, you're a beer fairy too?

Furthermore, if you try to pile high miles on me, I will kick your ass from Tennessee.

Kate said...

High miles, huh? Remind me not to ask you to coach me. :)

Great pictures from the trip, and your son is, as always, adorable.

I've only been following since after your son was born, so your old schedule was news to me. I can see where it would be both awesome and not ideal at the same time. (And is there a job opening doing that so I can test it out?)

Lesley @ racingitoff.com said...

The trouble maker? No way. Just remember who filled out her spreadsheet.

Did you see the page I told you to ignore? The one that sets max mileage of certain paces for speedwork? You'd get an F on your plans. In case you were tweeting while they taught that... page 46 of day 2.

Fortunately, when I went to class, RRCA methods pretty much jive with how I already thought... contentious for others who prefer other methods.

sisurunner said...

@WannabeeRunner, I can't say for sure if Adam is ambidextrous or not, but he definitely has a pretty firm grip with his right hand. Made me feel pretty special.

Cynthia O'H said...

And a new phase of your running career begins. There are going to be some amazing stories ahead.

SupermomE12 said...

Very cool! I would love to take a class like that. I am a big believer in high miles too.

Your son is crazy cute! :)

Char said...

That's a King size bed? You must have the wing span of an albatross.

Rebecca said...

It truly is a small word but a very informative class for anyone who enjoys running and would like to know more.

Sure you could learn it all on your own but it's nice having all that info just handed to you!

Annette@(running)In the Right Direction said...

Interesting with the high miles...would love to hear more about that! Love that you going to do this. Hysterical pics.

Alisa said...

I love the hotel life! Even though I couldn't imagine making a career out of it, it's a pretty sweet deal. Especially the king size bed part.

Running Moose said...

Awesome! I had this same class in Morristown, NJ a couple weeks back. I know that I know the info, but I've been afraid to take the test for fear of not passing it...I plan on doing it by the end of the week! Don't forget your 1st Aid and CPR training! I got that done yesterday!!

Jeff - DangleTheCarrot said...

Does this mean I should be expecting a bill for you coaching me up yesterday?

haha!

Congrats on the cert!

kilax said...

I am surprised they promote a high mile plan! I just read a little blurb in RW that there is no point for non-elite runners to go over 45 miles per week. What do you think about that?

So do you get your coaching certification for going to this event or is there more you need to do?

5 Miles 2 Empty said...

I'm happy to read about your experience!! i'm going to the class in DC area in Oct!! I can't wait!!!!