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Quick Facts

  • Course Name: Coach in Running Fitness (CiRF)

  • Environment: Off-Track

  • Age Requirement: 18

  • Assessment: Yes

  • Pre-requisites: LiRF, Coaching Assistant, Old UKA Level 1

  • Once qualified will I require supervision: No

  • Looking ahead what’s next: On successful completion of this award you will be able to progress to the Endurance Event Group Award. This is made up of an online component which you can work through at your own pace. Each section is concluded with a multiple choice test. On successfully completion of the online module you can progress to the Endurance Integration day, you will then have completed this award and it will be added to your coaching licence.

  • Alternatives: If you wish to become qualified in an off-track environment, you may wish to take the Athletics Coach Award.

  • Lunch: Not included. (We cannot guarantee that all venues have refreshment facilities so please bring lunch and a drink with you).


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The Coach in Running Fitness (CiRF) programme is designed for those who want to get involved in coaching runners over the age of 12 who take part in non-track based activities e.g. road, fell, cross country or multi terrain events.

The CiRF award provides coaches with an introduction to coaching knowledge and skills relating to running. During the programme candidates will be asked to consider the needs of individuals who have a range of fundamental movement skills and a range of physical fitness abilities regardless of their chronological age. CiRF coaches will work with runners of all abilities and interests, including those new to the sport, returning to the sport or competitive runners.

The CIRF programme is a twelve month development process to becoming qualified and licensed as a Coach in Running Fitness, however, once underway, applicants have up to one year to complete all elements of the qualification from their day 1 start date.

The taught part of the course is three days in duration; however, this should be viewed as part of a longer developmental process which will ultimately lead to a coach being licensed to coach unassisted.

Candidates embarking on this course must do so in the knowledge that it will require an investment in their time to complete the work necessary for success at the assessment stage. The pre-course tasks, supported practice periods, planning, delivering and evaluating training and preparation for assessment all form an integral part of the programme.

Please note that the CiRF programme is designed for coaches working in an off track environment. You will however be licensed to provide coached sessions for non-track events using a track facility. Coaches who want to work with runners taking part in track based endurance events such as 800m – 10,0000m or steeplechase should take the Athletics Coach award rather than CiRF. The CiRF course is designed for the participation running community as opposed to the performance pathway.

Role of a Coach in Running Fitness

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  • To identify, plan and evaluate the development needs of runners
  • To supervise Coaching Assistants or Leaders in the delivery of sessions or part sessions
  • To manage the safety and welfare of those under your supervision
  • To educate runners about all aspects of competition

When qualified and licensed, the CiRF ideally will be operating in a team environment with a range of Leaders, Coaching Assistants and other coaches in the planning and delivery of these programmes.

British Athletics and the Home Country Athletics Associations promote a culture of coaching co-operation and collaboration by providing further opportunities for formal learning and coach development. The CiRF programme is a formal step towards becoming licensed as a Coach; however, this is only the first step of the coach development journey, once qualified a CiRF can now progress to become an Endurance Event Group Coach.

Who Should Go On this Programme

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Coaches must be 18 or over to embark on the CiRF programme. The programme is primarily for those working with runners up to and including the Event Group Development stage. All applicants must be active leaders or coaches who have completed as a minimum a Level 1, FiRW, LiRF or Coaching Assistant course.

It is strongly recommended that coaches have three months minimum practical experience of coaching after the completion of the award before commencing on the CiRF programme. Candidates may progress quicker, at their own discretion, however insufficient coaching experience may have an impact in successfully completing the assessed elements of the programme.

CiRF is about the broad application to non-track based endurance running events rather than specific events or distances. If you want to coach middle and long distance ON TRACK you should take the Athletics Coach award.


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Anyone wishing to attend a Coaching Assistant Award will need to complete an application form and sign up to the terms and conditions of being an assistant. Forms should be submitted to the education team in the relevant Home Country. All applications must be accompanied by a photograph, which will appear, on the licence.S itself is free for club volunteers.

For details on how to arrange a DBS check please click here.

Once candidates have registered for the CiRF programme the will receive access to PebblePad, an online e-portfolio system. This will be used for assessment and communication purposes throughout the 12 month duration of the programme. Additional resources maybe found on uLearn

Prior to attending day one of the course the Welcome Pack and Pre-Course Tasks should be completed, these can be found in your PebblePad account. Candidates should begin work on this documentation as soon as they have booked onto the programme and it must be completed prior to the first day of the course. It should only take around an hour to complete but it is important that this is done prior to day 1. Candidates will be at a disadvantage if they have not completed this pre-course preparation as tutors are unable to spend time reviewing subject areas that have not been addressed though pre-course study.

Throughout this programme individuals will be required to work in conjunction with a Support Coach. This role is vital in each candidate’s individual success on the programme. If a candidate’s club is unable to provide a Support Coach they should contact their Regional / National Coach Education contact who will be able to signpost them to appropriate Support Coaches in their area.

What Does the Programme Cover

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  • Athlete Development
  • Athlete Profiling and Physical Assessment
  • Fundamental Skills and Running Drills
  • Skill Development
  • Energy Systems and Endurance Running
  • Physical Preparation including the use of multi jump and multi throw activities
  • Nutrition and Hydration
  • Injury Prevention and Management
  • Flexibility in the warm up and cool down
  • Factors Influencing Performance
  • Elements of Planning and Delivery
  • Role and Responsibilities of a Coach
  • Coaching Skills
  • Integrated coaching

Structure of the Course

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The course structure is summarised below:

Before attending day one of the course it is important to:

  • Identify a Support Coach
  • Read the Welcome Pack
  • Complete the Pre-Course Tasks, ensuring you print the relevant pages and bring with you to day 1 of the course

The course itself is made up of a number of elements including:

  • Pre-course activity (welcome pack and tasks)
  • Course delivery (3 days)
  • Homework activity between days 2 and 3
  • Assessment elements

The assessment elements consist of two distinct parts:

  • Technical Knowledge Test – completed online on uCoach
  • Practical Assessment Day – day 4 of the programme (this will include discussion regarding the development period plan i.e. mesocycle)

Once all the above elements have been attended, completed and satisfactorily passed at the required level you will receive your Coaching Licence.

Prior to booking onto the course, candidates should identify a Support Coach to mentor and assist them throughout and beyond the programme. Clubs, Athletics Networks or Club/Coach Support Officers should be able to provide advice on Support Coaches in your area.

The first two course delivery days are run over the course of a weekend, with the third day following approximately six weeks later. Candidates will be provided with an On Course Workbook to record any learning on the course days, please remember to bring a pen.

Each of the days will run from 9am-5pm. (There should be a morning and afternoon break. Please note lunch is not provided. Please bring a drink, as we cannot guarantee refreshments will be available at all venues)

To pass the course, candidates are required to attend all three days and complete the Homework activity. The programme combines classroom-based activity and practical sessions so candidates should come dressed for light exercise, which could take place indoors or outside, and should be prepared for all weather conditions. If there are any medical reasons why an individual cannot take part in activity they should let the tutors know at the beginning of the day.

Prior to the Day 4, candidates will complete an online multiple choice test on uCoach. This will cover the underpinning technical knowledge of running and physical preparation covered throughout the programme.

On Day 4, candidates will be required to deliver two parts of a session while being observed by an assessor. They will also be required to play the role of an "athlete" in the assessments of fellow coaches (where possible). If a candidate is physically unable to take part they should inform the Home Country when their assessment day is confirmed and the assessor at the beginning of the day.

A document entitled "Coach in Running Fitness Assessment Guidance" is available. It is strongly recommended that candidates who are considering getting involved in this programme should read this document to raise their awareness of the requirements of the programme in advance of booking. This will help to ensure they are booking on the correct programme for their development needs and for the environment they will be working in.

Once all of the above elements are completed and a DBS form has been submitted you will receive your coaching licence.

What Resources are Available?

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Access to the CiRF supporting resources is available through:

How do I book?

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Anyone wishing to attend a Coach in Running Fitness Award will need to complete an application form and sign up to the terms and conditions. For courses run by England Athletics you can register and book via uLearn. Click here to go straight to search for your nearest course!

For courses in the other Home Countries, forms should be submitted to your relevant Home Country Athletics Association.