I’ve been involved in this crazy triathlon thing for … a lot of years now. I mean, I first wrote about training for (and completing!) my first Olympic distance tri for Fit Bottomed Girls back in 2011, but I’d also been doing shorter races for at least three or four years prior to that. And, aside from a couple of truly horrendous races (lesson learned: don’t skimp on nutrition or hydration, even in a short race) and a few tougher-than-usual training days (which, hey, we all have them, right?), I’ve loved every moment of it.
So much so, in fact, that I’m always talking my friends into signing up for their first triathlon. And then helping them train for it. And then, I often end up at the race with them, cheering for them as we cross paths. Then I help them choose their next race. (There’s always a next race.)
A year or two ago, I started thinking about taking my love of the sport to the next level. No, not by inviting Triathlon to spend a long, sexy weekend in a fancy hotel room with me, some candles and a couple bottles of wine — but by becoming a certified USA Triathlon Level 1 coach.
The certification process is more complicated than I’d realized at first (which is why it took me a couple of years to put my plan into effect). There are only a certain number of clinics held in various parts of the country at specific times, and you can only apply for each clinic for about one week out of the year … and those dates aren’t necessarily listed year round, so you have to keep checking. Once the application period opens, you have to, you know, apply with a resume and references and more. It was intense, but I was accepted, and this past weekend, I attended the clinic, meaning I’m nearing the final stage of becoming a certified coach.
What’s that mean, really? Well, I’m certainly not quitting my day job in order to focus on helping every athlete I meet qualify for Kona (although, if that’s your goal, I know some great coaches you might want to work with!). But, I am planning to take on a couple clients and maybe a small training group or two, focusing on first-timers or other newbies who are looking for lots of encouragement and mental prep in addition to the physical training and nutrition plans.
You’ll probably also see more about triathlon on here, because just in my two days at the clinic I learned a ton that I’m dying to share — for example, I was telling my husband (who has a Master’s in Health Science Education) about some of what I learned in my nutrition session, and he was trying to remember if his classes even got into some of that detail. I mean, I learned so much!
As my education continues, well, I know I’ll just be bursting with exciting new ideas. But, mostly, it means that I’ll just have more knowledge and resources to rely on as I keep doing exactly what I’ve been doing — cheering people on as they realize their potential.
I’m not quite certified yet — I have an exam to take and a couple other things to wrap up first. But it’s happening, and I am hella excited to add “coach” to my resume!
Have you ever gotten certified as a coach or trainer? What was the most surprising thing you learned? —Kristen