To further my knowledge in the sport I love as well as become a certified run coach, I jumped on the opportunity when I first learned about a certification offered by Dr. Jason Karp. REVO₂LUTION Running is a certification tailored to fitness professionals working with clients who are interested in running as part of their fitness regimen. What’s also great is the opportunity to earn continuing education credits. This was a win-win for me since I have a personal trainer certification from American Council on Exercise (ACE) with CECs required to keep my certification active and I get to learn more about running!
I’ve known Dr. Karp since 2009 when he volunteered to assist the San Diego Track Club’s Boston-bound team track workouts. He is well-educated with a PhD in exercise physiology. He is also an author of several books –The Inner Runner, Running for Women, and Running a Marathon for Dummies and nationally-certified as a USA Track and Field coach. I also had the opportunity to work with him as an assistant volunteer coach for the American Heart Association 2013 START Half marathon training program.
I found out about the certification from one of Dr. Karp’s blog post. A one day live workshop was available in San Diego but unfortunately I had a schedule conflict. It was the same day as the 2016 Marine Corps Marathon. Disappointed, I opted for the home-study option. Here’s a quick description of the course: The REVO₂LUTION RUNNINGTM certification, developed by renowned running expert and 2011 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year Dr. Jason Karp, is a professional fitness education program for personal trainers, group exercise instructors, coaches, and runners specifically designed to teach fundamental running-specific training principles and provide the required skill and expertise to train runners.
The course included seven manuals covering a range of topics from Physiology (scientific principles) to Running Technique to Types of workouts (VO2max, acidosis threshold, etc.). My favorite section discussed the “Secrets to Running Injury Prevention”. It provided 13 solid tips to ward off bothersome injuries. As with any certification, you have to pass an exam (80%) to earn the certificate. It’s an online multiple-choice exam with a two hour limit and you can take it as many times needed. Dr. Karp pointed out, “You can take the test as many times as you need to pass. Life is full of failures. So don’t get discouraged if you fail. Keep trying.” I can proudly say I passed it on the first try! It’s not a very difficult exam but it’s not easy either.
I learned a lot from taking the course. Sharing with you five of my favorite tips that could take your run to the next level:
”Easy runs must be easy”
This is a concept discussed a couple of times because of how it can significantly impact your next run. Many runners, including myself, make this mistake too often. The science behind it as Dr. Karp emphasized: “Since many of the cellular adaptations associated with aerobic training are volume-dependent, not intensity-dependent, the speed of easy runs is not as important as their duration.”
Run easy to cover enough miles for the day to build on our weekly mileage. And allow our bodies to recover in time for a quality hard effort run in the next day or two.
“The repetition of specific running movements can make a runner smoother and improves running economy – the amount of oxygen used to maintain a given speed.”
Several factors affect a person’s running economy, but one way to improve is to practice good running mechanics. Coach Greer, San Diego Track Club’s running coach always reminds us to focus on good form. Relax your shoulders, look ahead and arms stay forward and back, not across the body. Dr. Karp provided several basic points of running skills – one I take heed is to Avoid Overstriding. “Place the foot on ground directly underneath the hips so that you roll into the next stride”. Another effective way to improve running mechanics is to do form drills. A topic I covered in my post Meb’s Words of Wisdom.
“Training the acidosis (lactate) threshold (AT) increases the speed at which acidosis occurs, enabling the runner to run at a higher percentage of his/her VO2max for a longer time.”
Longer races strongly benefits from AT training. It should be the focus for someone training for a half-marathon and marathon. To improve the maximum aerobic pace, progressively increase the amount of training run at AT pace without increasing the pace. Run at the correct pre-determined AT pace and hold that pace constant while the period of time is increased. Only adjust the pace when evidence of improved fitness level is observed. This is indicated by a faster race time, lower heart rate and/or less effort during AT paced runs. I admit my pacing requires work as I tend to push my pace towards the end of a workout.
“Balance strength imbalances”.
First identify your areas of weakness and create a plan to strengthen those weaker muscles. My weakness has been on the right side of my body. Starting with my foot’s overpronation to my weak hips and glutes. It’s been a work in progress for years now.
“Ingesting carbohydrates during long runs maintains blood glucose level…However, doing so has the potential to defeat one of the main purposes of the long run which is to deplete muscles of carbohydrate”.
A runner can achieve these three adaptations during a long run. “Depletion and resynthesis of more glycogen, Muscles’ reliance on fat, and the Liver’s ability to make new glucose via gluconeogenesis”. When we take any form of carbohydrates during a long run, these adaptations do not occur. Forgoing fuel during a long run is not advisable for beginners since the long run already provides enough stress. However, intermediate or advanced runners can maximize their physiological adaptations by hydrating only with water during their long runs. Read more about ‘training low’ in this post by a registered dietitian from the San Diego Track Club’s blog.
Additional information about the program is available at run-fit.com . Dr. Karp has traveled the world – Canada, Asia, Australia to name a few and around the US to educate many who love the sport of running. His next stop may be your hometown!
Have you or are you pursuing a coaching certification? What was your biggest takeaway from it?
Disclosure: I wrote this post based on my experience with taking the home-study course. You are welcome to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have further questions. Dr. Karp has a referral program for his services. If you find my information valuable and plan to sign up, I kindly request for you to type in my name, Elaine Dusetzina in the referral name box. Much appreciated.