USATF Level 2 Certified Endurance Coach
USATF Level 1 Certified Track & Field Coach
USATF Certified Cross Country Specialist
USATF National Registry Coach
RRCA Certified Distance Running Coach
VDOT 02 Certified Distance Running Coach
NFHS Accredited Interscholastic Coach
H. S. Cross Country/Track Head Coach
Former Youth Cross Country/Track Coach
Coaching 5k - Ultramarathon
First Aid/CPR/AED Certified


Hiroyuki “Mike” McKnight




As a certified running coach and master’s runner, I share and embrace the core view regarding coaching as taught and promoted by USA Track and Field (USATF) and the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF). It is simply expressed through the words: “Athlete’s First, Winning Second”. This means that the welfare and development of the runner is the single most important consideration.

The focus is always on what is in the best interest of the runner/client. Without doubt, I believe that an emphasis on the long-term development of the runner is more likely to produce better performance, greater consistency and more satisfaction for the runner/athlete and coach than will an overemphasis on winning or racing.  I strive to deliver a consistent and positive message to the runners I coach with a long-term vision, valuing their trust above all else. Without a strong bond between runner and  coach, higher levels of commitment and performance are not possible. A Focus on the process of long-term development rather than on short-term outcomes ensures a positive experience that reinforces confidence even when things don’t go right.

The context of my coaching is continual growth as a both runner and coach, always asking: What did we learn? What can we improve on? What did we do right? What did we do wrong? How can we prepare better next time? Distance running is a process of gradual progression, tempered by persistence, patience, and a long-term vision, and as a running coach, it’s my role to further your development as a runner within this context in an honest and ethical manner. As a certified running coach, I also recognize the importance of having fun and enjoyment within the activity, while acknowledging that some of the training and more arduous workouts may not always be so enjoyable.  I also acknowledge that running is just one aspect of a person’s life, and not one’s whole life. Running and training must be kept in context and in balance with the more important priorities in life, while providing us with a healthy physical and psychological outlet.


My approach to training, especially with new and less experienced recreational runners is to employ a gradual, long-term development plan that places equal importance on proper recovery. I believe in periodization, albeit at a more modest level, for all runners; even non-competitive runners. This creates a structure that is more conducive to progressively challenging the runner, which encourages growth and development, while abating staleness through the thoughtful exposure and application of a variety of workout types. Another important facet of my training approach is to inform and educate my client/runners on the rationale behind specific work sessions, work loads, intensities, etc. and on a variety of other related subject areas as may be appropriate.


Every running coach has a style, or a way of doing things, often reflected by how they interact and communicate with their client/athletes. They run the gamut from the classic authoritarian style to the casual, laid-back (laissez-faire) style. In regards to my coaching style, I aspire to and promote what could best be described as a “Cooperative Style”. This style of coaching provides guidance and structure, but allows and encourages the necessary physical and psychological development to occur in an environment that places significant importance on the feedback, thoughts, and input of the runner/athlete. My style is an “athlete centered” coaching approach that embraces the notion that working in concert together, you will achieve superior success. Consequently, the fit, or match if you will, between client/athlete and the coach cannot be overemphasized. Ultimately, if you don’t like your coach’s style or how they do or do not communicate with you, or by providing timely feedback, your long-term success and development will be limited and will likely not be enjoyable for either you or your coach. Therefore, finding a certified running coach you like, have confidence in, and can get along with, will go a long way toward making your distance running endeavors enjoyable and fruitful.


      • Conduct business in an honest, professional, private, discrete and confidential manner;
      • Abide by and embrace our coaching code of ethics and conduct;
      • The emphasis of coaching must be runner/athlete centered;
      • What’s in the best interest and welfare of the runner/athlete must always come first;
      • Decisions are guided by the coach, but shared equally;
      • The communication style is one of: “telling, asking, and listening”;
      • Value the importance and significance of communication with, and feedback from, the runner/athlete;
      • Development is predicated on mutual trust between runner/athlete and coach;
      • The importance of providing consistent and timely motivation is high;
      • Structured training is emphasized, but should also be flexible.



As a USATF registered and certified running coach, I abide by and endorse the Coach’s Code of Conduct as contained within the USATF Sport Safety Handbook. As a USATF Certified Coach, I am committed to a sport free of prohibited drugs [and techniques] and actively advocate for clean competition and reporting of suspected use of prohibited drugs to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency; and am in good standing with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency as an individual fully eligible to participate in the sport of track & field.


As a registered and certified running coach with RRCA, I abide by and endorse the Coaching Code of Ethics, as provided on the RRCA website. The RRCA Ethics Code is intended to provide standards of professional conduct that can be applied by the RRCA and its member organizations that choose to adopt them. This Code is intended to provide both the general principles and the decision rules to cover most situations encountered by coaches. It has as its primary goal the welfare and protection of the individuals and groups with whom coaches work. This Code also provides a common set of values upon which coaches build their professional work.


Certifications & Credentials

  • USA Track & Field Level 2 Certified Running Coach – Endurance;
  • USA Track & Field Level 1 Certified Coach – Track & Field;
  • USA Track & Field Certified Cross Country Specialist;
  • USA Track & Field National Registry Coach;
  • U.S. Center for Safe Sport Certified;
  • Road Runners Club of America Certified Distance Running Coach;
  • VDOT O2 Certified Distance Running Coach – Dr. Jack Daniel’s, Run SMART Project;
  • National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) Accredited Interscholastic Coach (AIC);
  • AAF Cross Country Coaching Program;
  • AAF Track & Field Coaching Program;
  • Adult & Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED Certification (Red Cross)


  • Remote coaching online through Running Workx since 2015 (5k-Ultramarathon)
  • Current – Cross Country Head Coach (Girls & Boys), Vasquez High School (CIF-Div. V);
  • Cross Country/Track Head Coach (Girls & Boys), AV Academy Charter High School – Girls Team: 3rd Place 2016 “CIS” Cross Country State Championship;
  • Instructor/Coach, City of Lancaster Parks, Recreation & Arts Department; Beginning Running Classes and Workshops for Aging Adults;
  • Former Head Coach, SCVAA Cross Country Team (Girls & Boys) – Combined (28 individual) appearances in the USATF Junior Olympic Cross Country National Championships (Girls and Boys);
  • Former Assistant Head Coach, SCVAA Cross Country Team (Girls & Boys);
  • Former Assistant Distance Coach, SCVAA Track Team (Girls & Boys);
  • Former Board Member, SCVAA Cross Country Board of Directors;
  • Former Board Member, SCVAA Track Board of Directors;
  • Running off & on since the late 70’s with 5k to ultramarathon distance experience.

Other Credentials

  • University of Southern California, MRED
  • California State Polytechnic University, BS
  • Cosumnes River College, AA

Affiliations & Organizations Supported

  • USA Track & Field – Certified Running Coach & Member
  • Road Runners Club of America – Certified Running Coach & Member
  • Santa Clarita Runners – Member
  • Wounded Warriors Project – Community Athlete/Proud Supporter
  • U.S. Olympic Committee – Supporter
  • Special Olympics – Partner/Supporter
  • Marine Toys For Tots Foundation – Supporter
  • USO – Sponsoring Member
  • Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi – Supporting Member
The USOC whole heartedly supports measures such as USATF’s Coaches Registry, which lend legitimacy to coaches in good standing while also potentially protecting athletes from individuals with ill-intentions.

– Scott Blackmun, United States Olympic Committee CEO

Coaches from all of our communities, which include college, post-collegiate, youth, high school and club, have completed the process to be a Registered Coach. We know the majority of coaches already live and work according to the Code of Conduct; the Coaches Registry helps the rest of the world understand that as well.

– Terry Crawford, USATF Director of Coaching

The Coaches Registry is part of our commitment to implementing ‘best practices’ that are on a par with the best-run sports in America. In the end, this is everybody doing what is best for athletes, coaches and our sport. It is our intent to work together with coaches in a positive and productive way to make sure we are serving them as well as our athletes.

– Stephanie Hightower, USATF President & Chairman

What is USATF

USA Track & Field (USATF) is the national governing body for the sports of track and field, cross country running, road running and racewalking in the United States. USATF was known for a number of years as The Athletics Congress (TAC) after its spin off from the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), which governed the sport in the US since its founding in 1878 and through most of the 20th century until the Amateur Sports Act of 1978 dissolved its powers and responsibilities. USATF functions as a non-profit organization with a membership of nearly 100,000 and is based in Indianapolis, Minnesota. The organization is led by an elected President (Stephanie Hightower) and a full-time CEO (former NASCAR executive Max Siegel). USATF is involved in many aspects of the sport at the local, national, and international level, providing the rules, officials, coaching education (certified running coach) , sports science and athlete development, youth programs, masters (age 40+) competition, and the National Track & Field Hall of Fame. It also organizes the annual USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, as well as the annual US Junior Olympics National Championships for Track and Field and Cross Country.

What is RRCA

Founded in 1958, The Road Runners Club of America is the oldest and largest national association of running clubs, running events, and runners dedicated to promoting running as a competitive sport and as healthy exercise. The mission of the RRCA is to promote the sport of running through the development and growth of running clubs and running events throughout the country. The RRCA supports the common interests of runners of all abilities during all stages of life by providing education and leadership opportunities along with programs and services that benefit all runners. The Road Runners Club of America is the national organization dedicated to promoting the development and growth of running clubs, running events, and supporting the interests of recreational runners throughout the country. The RRCA strives to provide quality programming that can be replicated throughout the country by member clubs from small towns to large cities. The RRCA is dedicated to providing the running community with educational information, certified running coaches and programs that will keep them safe, healthy, and informed. These programs promote and support running and runners at all stages in life.