I am now a qualified Leadership in Running Fitness (LiRF) person – awaiting my licence from England Athletics. Don’t panic I had to do an all day course to gain this qualification, they haven’t just decided to give it to me. In fact, yesterday (on a Sunday even) I had to attend a 9-5 course, to learn all the ins and outs of being a Run Leader. The day was both classroom and practical based. We even got to play a mini version of netball to demonstrate a ‘fun’ warm up, which started well but ended up with the male participants losing interest and start lobbing the ball as far as they could into empty spaces.
The day started with posing the question: ‘why do you want to gain a LiRF qualification?’ We all eagerly wrote our answers on a post it note. The general vibe was ‘to help others in to running.’ I was guilty of this trend stating ‘I have always ran and want to help others get into to running.’ Whilst this is true, it is probably one part of the reason. The other reason, which I was reluctant to write on my post it on the off chance I would look self centred, was that I feel like I’ve spent a lot of my time running (admittedly out of my own choice) and although I do have PBs, medals and memories to show for it, I lacked any qualification or recognition of my running knowledge. So at least I have something in writing now!
What does the doing the LiFR actually qualify me to do? I can lead a Run Together beginner group, delivering a warm up, main session and cool down, hopefully in a fun manner. The Run Together programme is mostly aimed at people new to running who cannot run for very long and want to build this up. This my understanding of it anyway. The official description is here. I know that some of the other people on my course were hoping to set up a completely new running group, not associated with a running club. One lady was wanting to start up a running group that targeted homeless people.
What was the most valuable aspect of the course? It encouraged me to see running from a non-competitive perspective. At times I found this difficult, whilst we discussed the delivery of one of our sessions which involved two teams competing to get the most number of bean bags, a lady in group suggested not letting the winning team win at the end by taking some bean bags off them. I was mortified. But everyone had fun doing the activity, so in that sense it was a success.
I’m unsure when I’ll be able to put my new skills into action, but I hope I do get the chance as it would be rewarding to successfully deliver a running plan that ended in new runners achieving their goal and maybe even taking up running permanently.