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Runcoach Success Stories

Runcoach Success Stories (42)

Highlighting the successes of our awesome Runcoach athletes

rc_bryanveal_cropBryan Veal

Sport: Marathons

Major milestone: I have completed 40 marathons over the past 18 years.

What is the secret to your success? Finding something I enjoy, and having dear friends to run with.

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it? About 1.5 years ago, after dramatic energy loss in marathon about 1.5 years ago, I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. It's been very hard since to find strength after around 15 miles and my times have dramatically slowed. But I still fully train and have finished 6 marathons since then.

What is the most rewarding part of training? Being with friends of 13 to 14 years. Almost 1 year training with Runcoach and it has been my best resource in 18 years of marathons. It's consistent, fit to my goals, balanced, well rounded, well supported. Mostly it's always there.

What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community? Find the joy and accept yourself.


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Just three years ago, Jorge Cortes had no running experience, and was completely out of shape. Then he used Runcoach to train for the Aramco Houston Half Marathon. Today, he's a Boston Qualifier with a 3:27 PR. What's the most rewarding part of training? "Overcoming difficulties," he says.


Jorge Cortes

 2jorge 1
Major milestone: I qualified for the Boston Marathon with a 3:27:12. (The qualifying standard for my age is 3:40).

What is the secret to your success? Set goals that are realistic, but aggressive. You have to push yourself.

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it? Time commitment. I always found excuses why I could not do it, and thought I did not have the time. I made the commitment to myself I would find the time, and I do. It’s up to me if I want to waste my time in other things. We always do, so it is a matter of priorities.

What is the most rewarding part of training? Overcoming difficulties. The success (beating your time, runs in perfect conditions, etc) are easy. I like it when it is hard, when I am tired, when you go against the wind or the heat or the humidity, and you still complete your training.

What advice would you give to other members of the runcoach community? Invite others who are not doing it!

What feedback would you offer on Runcoach? I love it. I started running in 2014 and Runcoach, which I found when I registered for the Houston Half Marathon. I went from being in no shape, and having zero experience, to running marathons the next year, then qualifying for Boston. Thank you!


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Stacey Bain quit smoking and picked up running four years ago at the age of 48. She was hooked on the sport with her first 5K. She now has 12 half marathons under her belt, and is training for The 2018 Houston Marathon, which will be her first. Along the way, she’s learned that running is a powerful happiness potion. “You’re only one run away from a good mood,” she says.  “Running is cheaper than therapy!”

staceybainStacey Bain

Major milestone: I quit smoking 4 years ago and started running at the age of 48. I ran my first 5K and I was hooked. I decided to run a race every month leading up to my first half marathon before I turned 50. Thinking it would be my only half, (yeah right!). I've completed 12 half marathons and am training for my first full marathon—the 2018 Chevron Houston Marathon. 

What is the secret to your success?  I’ve also learned that quality miles—like interval workouts— are better than quantity.

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it? Tibalius Posterior Tendonitis/Tendonosis, an inflammation in the tendon that supports the arch of the foot when walking. I have learned that quality miles are better than quantity. I’m learning to rest on rest days! I've also struggled with a new tendency to eat more sweets. Runners often develop an entitlement attitude about eating, reasoning, "I can eat that, since I ran 8 miles, etc".  My sweet consumption has gotten out of control and I've really had to focus more and fueling and healthy foods!

What is the most rewarding part of training? When I've completed my long runs and races! I train alone and usually run races alone, but I love the running community.

What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community? When you’re thinking about your progress, remember: you might not be where you want to be, but you're not where you used to be!

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rc_successstory_bigelowWes Bigelow may be a relatively new runner, but he’s already learned one of the most important rules about running.

“Push yourself, but don't forget to enjoy yourself too,” he said. “If you never have any fun you probably won’t stick with it.”

Luckily, he’s having a great time. Bigelow has already logged more than 800 miles while training for his third marathon, and recently got a half-marathon PR of 2:03.

“I'm feeling great and looking forward to a little taper time,” he says. “Runcoach has been a great training plan that pushed me harder than I would have thought I could go on my own.”

Name: Wes Bigelow

Favorite sport: running

Major milestone: training for marathon number 3!

What’s the secret to your success? There is no secret. I’m a firm believer that if I can run a marathon, anybody can.  It’s just a matter of commitment and desire. And maybe being a little crazy.

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it? The biggest obstacle to marathon training is putting in the miles. There are many days where the weather is bad or your legs are sore or you just plain don't feel like running. The only way to get over it is just lace up the shoes and go. No matter how miserable the run is, you never regret it when you finish.

What is the most rewarding part of training? Seeing your hard work pay off when you reach new milestones and set new personal records.

What advice would you give to others? There is always somebody faster and somebody slower. Run your own pace and do it for yourself, nobody else matters.

What advice would have for other runners? If you are training for a longer race like a half or full marathon, a good training program is invaluable. It keeps you on track and makes you accountable for your training. Push yourself, but don't forget to enjoy yourself too. If you never have any fun you probably won’t stick with it. Don’t be afraid to take a short break.  Runcoach has worked great for me so far. I try to follow as close as I can but it doesn't feel like I'm getting penalized if a week doesn't go as well as planned.

UPDATE: After his story was published, Wes ran a 17-minute PR at the 2017 Grandma's Marathon— that's 37 minutes faster than last year. Congrats Wes! You rock!

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For Tariq Brown, the physical fitness running provides pales in comparison to the emotional and mental strength it bestows.

During his hardest times, the sport has provided a gateway to healing. “I ran through my youth as a way to cope,” he says.  “Now, more than 30 years later, I’ve discovered it again, and it has opened up a lot for me in my mid-life journey.”

Along the way, he has gotten fitter and faster. He recently finished his first half-marathon in 1:51.

“Last October I could barely squeeze out a 9-minute mile,” he says. “For the first time since I was 17 I am actually improving and increasing my running. I was very, very happy, and I loved the experience!”

 tariqbrown 1Tariq Brown
Favorite sport: 
running
What’s the secret to your success? A desire to live my life fully.  I seem to be pretty disciplined, too.

What’s the biggest obstacle to moving more and how do you get over it? I have struggled with addiction and depression throughout my life related to PTSD from childhood sexual abuse. I have worked very hard to eliminate from my life anything that would take me away from my true nature -- who I was before that happened.  I have worked very hard to instill a spiritually-based lifestyle.  I ran through my youth as a way to cope.  Recently, at almost 50, I've discovered it again. It has opened up a lot for me in my mid-life journey.

What is the most rewarding part of running? It is so hard to describe to non-runners what a long run does for me.  I have the added gratitude of simply completing a run without being hurt or injured.  For the first time since I was 17 I am actually improving and increasing my running.  I am so grateful every day when I can go out and have this experience. Last October I could barely squeeze out a 9 minute mile.  I recently ran my first half-marathon in May, and finished in 1:51. I was very, very happy, and I loved the experience!

What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community? Many of you have deep struggles.  Find your Community, tell the Truth and don't ever give up.


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Runcoach user Mark Gillis set a new PR at the Pittsburgh Half-Marathon this month. But the real reward was the strength he gained—and the 60 pounds he lost —on the way to the starting line. He's already setting his sight on his next goal, breaking two hours in a half-marathon this fall.

rc_ss_markgillisWhat prompted you to start running? I wanted to get healthy. And it was part of my weight-loss routine.

What was the key to your weight-loss success? Tracking what you eat is critical, because it is so easy to just grab something without thinking. If I don't portion out my meals and snacks, it's really easy to overdo it. I don't deny myself any specific food, but try and limit the salty snacks that I usually crave.

What’s your biggest obstacle, and how do you get over it? It’s fighting the small nagging aches and pains and getting motivated to run in the morning. I have my clothes and shoes beside my bed, so when I wake up, I automatically put them on. Once they’re on, I’m motivated to go out and run.

What advice would you give others? Start small, and keep the progressive increase in your distances small. I started by run/walking a mile. I use music to keep my pace steady. Now my daily minimum is 3 to 4 miles of running. Consistency is the secret to my success.   


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Robin Baurer grapples daily with the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis: pain, imbalance, numbness, and trouble seeing.  But she won’t let the disease stop her. She trained with runcoach and completed the 10-Mile Broad Street Run, and after revamping her diet, lost 85 pounds.

“Maintaining a focus on running has brought positive energy to my psychological, emotional, and physical well-being,” says Baurer, who also has Type 2 Diabetes. “I am determined, dedicated and disciplined to beat this mess of a disease.”

rc_robinbaurer_2Robin Baurer

Major milestone: The 2017 Broad Street Run. I ran the entire race and I was not winded!

How did you get started?  In the spring of 2015 my doctor broke the dreadful news that I was Type 2 diabetic and my  [blood sugar] levels were horrendous. I took this awful news very seriously and evaluated my eating habits. I designed a nutrition plan and watched my weight decline. After about four weeks, my energy level increased and my MS symptoms lessened. I incorporated power walking and light jogging.  By fall, my jogging became a run. The Broad Street Run seemed organized, safe, and challenging. The training  was awesome!  I felt prepared going to the starting line, and evidently I was.  I am so PROUD to have participated and completed this incredible race! Next: I am participating in a duathlon in Bucks County.

How does running impact your MS? On a daily basis, I experience pain, numbness, imbalance and difficulties with my sight, and these are  constant reminders that I have this dreadful disease.  Maintaining a focus on running has brought positive energy to my psychological, emotional, and physical well-being . Now, my MS symptoms and flare-ups are less frequent. I have lost 85 pounds since May 2015 and feel amazing.

 What motivates you to keep going? For many, many years I had difficulty walking so I feel blessed to be able to stand up everyday and teach as well as walk, jog, or run.  I not only wanted to show myself but also show others who experience physical difficulties to "push" forward and give it your best.

Regardless of my speed or lack thereof, I am a winner every time I cross the finish line!


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Sesa Pabalan discovered one of the most important lessons of running: if you want to run fast, you have to take your easy runs truly easy. She just finished a 1:48 half marathon. "It's fun to run fast," she says, "but best to not do it all the time."

2rc_sessaSesa Pabalan

Sport: Running

Major milestone: Going under 1:50 in the half marathon for the first time in three years. I'm still three minutes from my PR, but I'm getting more fit under the runcoach program!

What is the secret to your success? During my long and easy runs I switch the screen on my Garmin so I can only see my heart rate. That way I truly run at an easy effort and save my legs for speed workouts and races.

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it? Staying consistent with my running during major life changes. It's easy for me to stop running when things aren't going well in the office or with my relationships. I have very little motivation to run during difficult periods in my life, but I just tell myself I will feel a lot better if I run, even if it's just for 20 minutes.

What is the most rewarding part of training? Seeing it pay off in a hard workout or race. With the direction of runcoach, I've been running my fastest times in three years!

What advice would you give to other members of the runcoach community? Trust the process - but don't be afraid to back off if you feel sharp pain, sick, or burned out. I owe most of my progress to being consistent and doing the hard workouts, but it's better to be undertrained than injured because I didn't listen to my body. Run easy most days. I feel like most people run their easy runs too fast. Most of my runs are 11- and 12-minute pace, and I just ran a half marathon in 1:48. I think of sub-9 miles as my "party pace." Yes, it's fun to run fast, but best to not do it all the time.



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Matt Vulanichrc_2mattvulanich

Favorite sport: running

Major milestone: My first milestone was deciding to start running nearly 15 years ago at age 45.  I started with 20 minutes, three time per week on a treadmill as a stress reducer.  Since then, I have run enough miles to go nearly halfway around the world.  In terms of racing, it was completing Leg 5 of the Hood-to-Coast relay last August, as I approached my 60th birthday.  Leg 5 is widely recognized as the most challenging of the race.

What is the secret to your success? There’s no secret.  Just dedication, commitment, the challenge to get better and doing so as the clock ticks.  Father Time is the only undefeated opponent known to humankind.  I won't beat him either, but I'm going to make it tough for him to win!

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it? At age 60, the biggest obstacle is staying fit, staying healthy and knowing how hard it will become to maintain my current levels of achievement as I get older. I try overcoming it by making sure that I focus on training, not exercise.  Training is making sure that the workouts, fueling, diet and sleep needed to perform are all in complete balance.  Doing so keeps me physically fit and mentally prepared.

What is the most rewarding part of training? To me, it is rewarding to enter a race and compete at a level that is competitive with a few age groups lower than me. When I compete, I look to see how I performed overall and against anyone, say, 20 years  younger.  So far, I've done well and hope that it continues for a while longer.

What advice would you give to other members of the runcoach community? It's never too late to start. Be committed to an overall training regime.  It's the best way to stay healthy and compete at a high level. And have fun! I All the running plans and programs I've used over the years, I truly appreciate runcoach.  The ability to have a dynamic plan that adjusts along the way to my performance has been great.

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Kathleen Cason joined runcoach in 2015 with a goal of walking her first half marathon, at the age of 61. After beating her goals, she became a runner, and just finished her fourth half marathon in 2:05.

Kathleen Cason
rc_3kathleencasoncrop

Major milestone:  I started out with runcoach as a walker. I wanted to improve my fitness and figured setting a big goal would help. So I aimed to walk a half marathon in under 3 hours and started training with Runcoach. I finished that first one in 2:51:26 in October 2015. In January 2016, I started running. I recently completed my 4th half marathon, in 2:05:50. Three things contributed to my improvement: following my runcoach training plan, joining a running group and finding a compatible running partner.

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it? I started running at age 61. By including strength training, walking, hiking, mindfulness and realistic goals as part of my training, my age has not been as much of a problem. I do try to take steps to avoid injuries.

What is the most rewarding part of training? I feel like I did when I was 25. I can enjoy many of the activities I enjoyed in my youth and had quit doing when I was less fit.

What advice would you give to other members of the runcoach community? Be realistic about goals, follow  your runcoach training as best as possible and email the coaches if something isn't working out. Be patient, take baby steps and have fun. runcoach has pushed me at times but helped me become a runner. The drills and strides assigned before speed and tempo workouts REALLY improved my strength and speed.

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