This past weekend I FINALLY took my USATF Level 1 Certification test. I passed  with a 92% {80% is needed to pass the course} and I’m proud to say I am now a RRCA Certified Coach as well as USATF Level 1 Certified Coach!

Below are my thoughts if you are thinking of taking the course!

These are the different education levels offered by USATF

  • Fundamentals of Coaching Track & Field – Intended for entry level coaches, parents or volunteers/officials at any level.
  • Level 1 – basic knowledge course that emphasizes rules, basic mechanics, and teaching progressions.
  • Level 2 – more in-depth training in an event specific group (sprints/hurdles/relays, endurance, jumps, throws, combined events).
  • Level 3 – very high-level seminar structure educational experience in a specific event area.


Link to USATF level 1 course information ——/Coaches/Coaching-Education/Level-1.aspx

Link to locate a school location—/Coaches/Coaching-Education/Calendar-of-Schools.aspx


Prior to the class I did NOT read the recommended reading – big mistake.

I’d like to think after 10+ years of running marathons and 3+ years of being a certified coach, that I know a thing or two about distance running. I wrongly assumed this meant I would semi breeze through this class.

If you are like me and love distance running but want a certification that is harder to get than the RRCA certification I want you to know this is a class that is going to teach you about TRACK & FIELD. If you already realize this then you may think this is a dumb point to make BUT I did not realize how little time would be spend on distance running and that “distance running” is considered anything over 800 meters. When I think distance I think marathons. This class will not teach you how to effectively train someone for a marathon and has little to do with what I consider long distance running.

Going in to the class I did not know one single thing about hurdles or throws among other things. When we went over these sections in the classroom and physically went over them on a track, I really didn’t grasp what the teacher was saying because I didn’t know A DARN THING. If I had read the recommended reading prior to class then the class would have been better. After the class, I almost wanted to buy all the books – read them – then take the class again – so I really got what was going on and really LEARNED how to coach someone in these aspects of Track & Field.

Many of the students in this class were already coaches for high school or college track and field athletes. They were able to take their knowledge apply it and then ask the teacher questions. When I felt lost I felt like they were learning.

The test is open book and 200 questions. I did not breeze through this test. I really had to sit there and make sure I was answering something correctly. I also found the test to be tricky at times because of the wording of the questions.

Overall I’m glad I took this class – I certainly learned a lot. I would recommend it to someone who is currently or will be coaching track & field and wants to have a certification in this area. If you are in to distance running {half marathons, marathons and ultras} and either coach in this area or plan to in the future this class probably isn’t for you. If you simply want to expand your general knowledge in running even if you don’t plan on coaching track and field – then again I would say yes – take the course – you will learn new things.

This all being said – I would never myself coach 75% off the track and field events I learned about and am now technically certified in. I do not feel qualified. I would either need practical experience as an assistant coach of some sort or read more/take more classes.

w od

Have you taken this course? Thoughts?


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  1. Congrats on passing the test and becoming a RRCA Certified Coach! Thanks for the honest review. I knew nothing about the test until now and this info is good to know!

  2. That is awesome that you are certified! I have never considered it – except to learn more myself! It is a little bit too pricey to take just to learn more for myself though!

  3. Oh come on, I know you’d rock the hurdles and shot put – you’re just being modest! :-)

  4. Great review, thanks! I took the RRCA certification class and even though I liked the 2 day class, I wish it would have been a little bit more in detail. Or at least they would offer add on classes. Knowing how popular half marathon and marathon running is, I’m surprised there is not much certification/seminars out there.

  5. Congrats on passing the test. It is a pretty difficult test (I took the class and was certified Level 1 in 2012). As a distance runner, I too found that the focus on field and track was weighed heavily against “distance” running. Barely mentioned 10,000 let alone half marathon or marathon distances. But good running basics and training planning ideas.

    Keep running strong.

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