UKA Coach in Running Fitness

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 is next: On successful completion of this award, you will be able to progress to the Endurance Event Group Award.


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. 

The taught part of the course is three days in duration; hever, 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. 


  • 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. 


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 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. 


For a coaching license to be processed, coaches are required to complete the UKA Mandatory Training module and have a current police record check, PVG. Checks are not transferable between sports and other organisations therefore UKA must have a new check made. 


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 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 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. 

Each of the days will run from 9am-5pm approx. (there should be a morning and afternoon break). 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. 

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 booked on the correct programme for their development needs and for the environment they will be working in. 

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


  • 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 


Through our funding partner, sportscotland, there is a coaching subsidy of 60% of the course fee available for those applying for CiRF or Athletics Coach. To be eligible to receive the coaching subsidy, coaches must meet the following at the time of booking: 

  • Agree to coach through sport in the community (i.e. clubs, local programmes, schools, community, or performance sport) within six months of applying for the subsidy. 
  • Agree to coach on average once per week, or a minimum of 24 times per year. 
  • Agree to become a scottishathletics coach member at the time of booking, if not already a member. 
  • Agree to continue to develop as a coach through ongoing communications with a support coach and attend coach development opportunities as and when appropriate. 
  • Agree to work with named support coach in the development as a coach. 
  • Provide a statement, why this course will benefit you as a coach, and what impact this will have on the club/school/community. 

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