Coach in Running Fitness (CiRF)

Course Name: Coach in Running Fitness (CiRF)
Environment: Off-Track
Age Requirement: 18
Assessment: Yes
Pre-requisites: LiRF, Jog Leader, Coaching Assistant, Old UKA Level 1
Cost: £435*
Once qualified will I require supervision: No
Looking ahead what is next: On successful completion of this award, you will be able to progress to the Endurance Event Group Award.

*COACHING SUBSIDY: The sportscotland subsidy is available for this course. To apply for the subsidy or confirm if a candidate is eligible please contact

More information on support coaches can be found here.

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Course Overview

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, 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 (Coach in Running Fitness) programme is a 6 – 12-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.

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.

What is the Role of a Coach in Running Fitness?
  • 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.

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.

Am I the Right Person for the Course?

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, FiRF, LiRF or Coaching Assistant course.

It is strongly recommended that coaches have three months minimum practical experience of coaching after the completion of the LiRF award before commencing on the CiRF programme. Candidates may progress quicker, at their own discretion, however insufficient coaching / leading 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.

Licence Requirements

To enable you to book on to this course, you must hold an in date Scottish Athletics coach licence (with a qualification that meets the outlined prerequisites).

A new licence will be issued on completion of the course and all required components.

Please note the following regarding a CiRF licence in Scotland:

  • If you are coaching with a scottishathletics affiliated  club (with U18 or protected adults) – please ensure that you have an up to date PVG. If not, please contact your club’s Welfare Officer who will guide you through this process.
  • If you are coaching athletes aged O18 or are not coaching with a scottishathletics affiliated club  – complete online Self Declaration using this form: Self Declaration  (you will be issued with O18 licence card only)

Further information on licensing can be found here:

Obtaining and Renewing your Leader/ Coach Licence

Course Structure

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 several 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 your MyLearning Portal.
  • Practical Assessment Day – day 4 of the programme (this will include The first two course delivery days are run over the course of a weekend, with the third day following approximately four 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.

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 an activity, they should let the tutors know at the beginning of the day.

Prior to day 4, candidates will complete an online multiple-choice test on your MyLearning Portal. 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.

Once all the above elements are completed and a PVG / Self Declaration (if coaching Over 18’s) form has been submitted you will receive your coaching licence.

What Topics are Covered?
  • 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 warmup and cool down
  • Factors Influencing Performance
  • Elements of Planning and Delivery
  • Role and Responsibilities of a Coach
  • Coaching Skills
  • Integrated coaching




Upcoming Courses

Upcoming Coach in Running Fitness courses are listed on our Coaching Qualifications page.

Booking Process

Bookings are now made on our online booking system – Athletics Hub

If you have any questions about Coach in Running Fitness courses and bookings, please email

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