“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”
― Albert Einstein
Understanding running, both the how and why, hasn’t bored me yet in the 8 years I’ve been into it. When I heard Dr. Jason Karp speak at IDEA World Fitness Convention, a man who has been running his entire life and written extensively on all aspects of running, it was both galvanizing and daunting. There is so much to know about running, but more than that…to understand. Which is why completing Dr. Karp’s certification, REVO₂LUTION RUNNING, was a must-do. Now that I have, I’m happy to tell you all about it.
Runners/trainers typically want to know if a certification is worth it (the time/money) and if it will help them be better at what they do. Then, the next question is usually, “How hard is the test?” I’ll try to cover all that.
I did the home-study. Partially because I’ve been to several presentations by Dr. Karp already and partially because I wasn’t ready to leave my 5 month old baby for two days. Dr. Karp is a very entertaining presenter. I was pleased to find that his humor and voice comes through in his written material as well.
How It Works
When you sign up for the course at Run-Fit.com you’ll get a welcome email (shows up titled Purchase Receipt in your inbox) with a link to download the course materials. There are about 139 pages of reading divided up into 7 sections. Your REVO2LUTION RUNNING T-shirt will also arrive in the mail soon.
You have 4 weeks from the day you sign up to complete the online, multiple choice exam. There are 100 questions and you have to get 80 of them correct to pass. If you want to know more, here is the FAQs page.
To cover all the material in the time allotted, I approached it as follows:
- WEEK 1: Read Running Physiology and Running Technique
- WEEK 2: Read Running Training and review
- WEEK 3: Read Running Workouts and Running Injuries
- WEEK 4: Read Running Nutrition and Running For Weight Loss and review
Easy to read. The course material is not dry textbook reading and it’s not wordy-nerdy. This is important, because understanding things like VO₂max is complicated enough as it is for most of us. This course spells it out as clearly as I’ve ever seen.
Usable running science. Compared to the RRCA running coach certification course, REVO2LUTION RUNNING gives you more in terms of running physiology and how that directly relates to training for races.
Women-specific information. The female body works different and responds differently to training. I greatly appreciate the coverage of running and the woman’s body from mechanics, nutrition, to pregnancy, postpartum and more.
Directly speaks to weight loss. These days, the majority of folks who hire a coach or trainer have weight loss as one of their top goals. There are 14 pages dedicated to talking about running and weight loss.
Sample race training plans. For a 5k or a marathon, beginner or advanced, these are helpful to see. This program is not a “run less, run faster” approach.
No sources sited for research mentioned. I’m used to textbook type material having cited sources when phrases like “studies have shown” are used. Even if I don’t always care to actually look up that study and regardless of whether or not I’d understand it if I did. However, knowing Dr. Jason Karp has a PhD in exercise physiology, a master’s degree in kinesiology, and a bachelor’s degree in exercise and sport science…I’m inclined to trust he has done his research.
Continuation education requirements to remain certified. While this is pretty typical of any certification, you’ll have to decide if paying $110 per year to be able to call yourself a REVO₂LUTION RUNNING Trainer is worthwhile. Most of the CECs mean purchasing one of Dr. Karp’s books, taking the online exam for it and then you pay a renewal fee each year in addition to that. At least if you’re ACE or NASM certified, some of these CECs will do double duty for you.
Is it worth the investment?
I think so, if:
- You’re a running coach looking for more tools in your tool belt.
- You’re a fitness pro with clients wanting to run races and lose weight.
It is helpful?
More knowledge & understanding is more better. This certification leaves me feeling better able to explain to my athletes the WHY behind their training programs. Many times, a good explanation of how their bodies will respond to their workouts encourages them to stick to the program.
Is it difficult?
If you’re already a certified coach or trainer, it shouldn’t be particularly difficult to read through the material. To pull it all together into a sound training plan, however, is not a given. VO2max and Lactate Threshold are all things runners talk about but I’m not sure how many really understand. If you have trouble explaining these concepts or knowing how to use them in a training plan, then this is what you want.
What about the exam? It’s not a “gimme” exam. The questions are pretty straight forward and use the same terminology from the text. You have 2.5 hours to complete 100 multiple choice questions. I highly recommend that you go through all the questions, answering the ones you know first and writing down the number of the ones you aren’t sure about on a sticky note. That’ll give you an idea of how much time you can spend really working through the more difficult questions. I used up almost the full 2.5 hours because I wanted to get as many right as I could (I ended up getting 95).