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Runcoach Success Stories

Runcoach Success Stories (63)

Highlighting the successes of our awesome Runcoach athletes

Darrel has had an inspiring journey since heart surgery in 2021. He shares the importance of consistency and quality coaching guidance. Screenshot_2022-11-06_4.48.40_PM

Major milestone: Beginning after heart surgery in November 2021, my first milestone was 60 yards. I'm now up to eight miles. Actually, each time that I went farther was a milestone!

What is the secret to your success? Consistency. I know that mornings are best for me. Vigorous activity is essential to keeping my heart healthy.

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it? Sometimes it’s the time requirement to finish beneficial workouts. Sometimes it’s impatience and the need to go at a pace that is neither too slow nor too fast. I remind myself that results depend on spending time on quality workouts to achieve worthwhile goals. What is the most rewarding part of training? Finishing the exercise. Feeling the burn or the fatigue when it’s time to relax.

What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community?
Talk with the coaches. Trust the program. As long as you’re working on fitness goals, give yourself grace on missed days or more difficult sessions.

Anything else you would like to share? Always before I trained for marathons or ultras (10 total) on my own. Training methods have changed these past 20 years. I needed sound guidance to rebuild from ground zero. My coach, Hiruni, encouraged me. She always replied to my messages. The Runcoach program is an effective training system. 

What feedback would you offer on the Runcoach experience? Runcoach offers so much to inform and encourage runners to meet their goals. The personal contact is real. The resources are extensive. You are doing well. Please don’t stop.


Frank is celebrating the successful completion of the Ottawa Marathon '22 in 3 hours and 50 minutes. 
His story sheds some light on the journey to healthy running amidst a busy lifestyle.Frank Marshall jogging city streets

Major milestone: Ottawa Marathon 2022.  Completed in 03:50 (gun time was probably 03:45 because I finished on the line with the 03:45 pace bunny!).

What is the secret to your success?  Stretching, running, breathing, groceries, walking, more walking.  Having good routes.  I've been running a lot ever since I was 4, but walking and carrying big groceries has been the most stable and consistent thing that has kept my fitness regardless of my general running form or participation in events.  Having people who support you is massive, if you don't know anyone obvious in your vicinity, join a running club or a training program - even if you don't attend all the time, it gets you off the ground to independence at the very least, but can do a lot more as well (Runcoach certainly helped!).  Breathing rhythm is very important, it helps for just about anything that requires effort because it helps you maintain composure in a way I find little else does.

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it?  Work and family commitments.  I took physical education as an elective in high school every year starting Grade 10, because I couldn't fit a club in to my packed schedule.  During my university years (2008-2020), I didn't always have the time to run much, so I just participated in a handful of small races (<15K).  But during terms, I walked with the patience of knowing that I'd be running again at the end of that testing period, and that would keep me fit enough to get going quickly out of the blocks upon resuming my running.  Running in this case meant playing soccer, long-distance runs, and tennis - all good, different forms of running.

What is the most rewarding part of training?  You feel very good after a tough run because of the adrenaline rush and subsequent clarity of mind, so that gives you the incentive to agonize for an hour.  The clarity of mind comes because your body is functioning well the rest of the day.  You need good eating habits, so that adds to your feeling well during the day.  The adrenaline rush helps you because without that it's hard to get from anywhere other than exercise; new movies don't come out at the cinema every day, sports events occur once a week, eating too much chocolate comes with lows later on because it does something bad to your digestion.  Racing is great because of the way the local community comes out just to see the runners - not to mention the rather tremendous good will you see from volunteers (this is really some of the best of society that you will ever see).  I should say: virtual races done solo are fantastic, though you should probably have at least one person there to provide you drinks and cheer you on for the day.  I ran my first half marathon in 2021 during lockdown.  Having a friend and my parents there made that day more or less as exciting for me as the 2022 in-person event a year later.

What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community?  Personal experience (differs between people, so might not apply to the reader): if you've never run before, don't run unless you've tried walking long distances (e.g., 5K).  Buy running shoes (that was my first mistake, and my foot let me know about it!).  Follow instructions of a coach/teacher or any other trainer (e.g., running partner) who knows more about running than you do.  Try different styles of running.  Absolutely, do 20 minutes of static stretching post-run, 10 minutes of dynamic stretching pre-run.  Eat not too much the night before a run, but have something to eat alongside you during the run.  On a hot day, drink more than you feel like consuming.  On a freezing day, bring gloves and run in loops rather than long stretches.  Try laps before running too far - that way, you calibrate how far your route should be.  Buy a book about running, better if it is a very detailed one, it's worth paying for.  Read a blog (Runcoach blog is amazing).  If you're running and don't feel in control, slow down.  The most important thing is to finish the assigned distance.  Even if the time ends up poor, long-distance running is often about just pushing yourself at this moment in time.  You don't look at people running in the morning and think they're slow or fast; you normally think, "That is someone pushing hard, good for them".  You don't go easy on yourself, though, you go as far as you can go without losing control in the sense that absolutely you must reach the finishing line and you'd rather avoid a bad time as a bonus.

Anything else you would like to share?  My family, my friends, and my teachers have all been important in starting me off, maintaining and developing my running activity throughout the years.  It is to them that I owe all of my achievements, the hard work I put in is largely a reflection of their remarkable efforts over many years.  The people of Runcoach who have provided those Hi-5's have offered brilliant support throughout my training, that is the kind of support that you think about when your legs feel like quitting.  Also, a word for Terry Fox, whose charity run is held in many places worldwide (or virtually, in the areas of some readers).  Look him up if you don't know his story, and try giving up on a hard run after you've read that.  That story gives me a lift sometimes when I feel that the effort is getting too much.  Also, thinking of how good the warm drink and meal back home are going to taste!

What feedback would you offer on the Runcoach experience?  I began with Runcoach using the free trial offered in preparation for the 2021 virtual Ottawa Half Marathon event.  I started it in March 2021 as I began training, concerned from my previous experiences of physical-education courses that I'd be making novice errors during training for a distance >5K longer than my previous distance record.  This was the time of lockdowns and isolation, one that nobody likes looking back to.  Runcoach here was pivotal because it not only pushed me to new distances and raised my general health and performance standard, it helped me through Winter 2021 when lockdowns were in full force and cold conditions meant that indoors was more of a necessity.  I learnt a lot from my coach, he was there every time and punctual whenever I had questions.  The option of the log entries is terrific, and also the adaptation of the schedule after a goal has been reached always seems to work well for me, I rarely feel intimidated.


Runcoach trainee Beth , shares her incredible story of self-belief, trusting the process, and beating the odds!  

Beth_R._cusromer_success_imageMajor milestone:
From a Wheelchair to Marathon Training is my "MAJOR" milestone that is just incredible... a miracle!


What is the secret to your success? Do a little more today than yesterday. Read on to learn about Beth's 10 steps challenge. 


What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it?
In May 2014 I was a cyclist riding hundreds of miles a week. I crashed and landed on my head and face, suffering a Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI for short. My 3 adult children quit and/or took family leave and moved back home to help me get back on my feet. They would say "We got you, don’t worry.”
The first big breakthrough was taking 10 steps. The next day, I went 20 steps. This led to an obsession to add 10 steps a day. I started keeping notes on graph paper. It took two months, and it was a huge accomplishment the first time I ran a mile without stopping! My dog ran every step with me.


What is the most rewarding part of training? I’m proud of myself!!! I ran my first 5K in 2015, then a bunch of trail races. In fact, it is my belief that running and trail running are the reasons my brain has made improvements. I’m reminded of Dr. Jay Alberts, who works with MS patients and advocate for working hard and pushing limit to enhance brain function. I’ve also met some fantastic people, and made some great friends.


What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community?
It’s fun to change up your routes, especially try to make your long run an adventure! It is my hope that somewhere along the line my story will help even just one other person with a brain injury. It is running that made all the difference in my progress.

 

Anything else you would like to share?
Never in my wildest dreams would I ever have believed that I would become a runner. Nevertheless be training at 63 years old, to run in the NYC Marathon!!!


What feedback would you offer on the Runcoach experience? I’m one that tends to overdo it and get injured. Runcoach is a reliable way to build gradually and be successful (ha- I hope lol).


Cap_City_Half-tracy_treneffTracy recently ran a blistering 10K, which is his best fitness level result by more than 10 points. We asked him about his journey to this break-through race and any secrets to success he'd like to share.

Major milestone
: Ran a 10k in 45 minutes. The last mile I ran at a 5:55 pace. I had never run a mile under 7:00 prior to this.

What is the secret to your success? Setting lofty goals and religiously following the plan Runcoach puts in front of me. Choosing a competitor in my age group from an upcoming race that I want to beat and training as hard as I can to accomplish that goal.

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it? Staying within the training plan. I try to do too much and suffer small injuries.

What is the most rewarding part of training? Seeing the results. Last year I ran half marathons at a 8:55-9:05 pace. This year I'm sure I can run at 7:55.

What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community? Follow the plan as closely as you can and don't try to exceed the limits given in the training plan or eventually you'll suffer an injury and ultimately have to completely start over.

Anything else you would like to share? I love the quick responses and encouragement from the coaches when I have questions or issues.

What feedback would you offer on the Runcoach experience? It is a great program. I needed some guidance because I started running 2 years ago and had no idea what I was doing. I didn't necessarily need a personal coach to watch me 24/7, I just needed a good training program, some videos to watch to see how it is done, and someone knowledgeable to answer any questions I might have-all of which Runcoach provides. My heel-to-toe running has transformed to ball of the foot first with push and feels more natural and easy thanks to this program.


aaron_scrrenAaron recently ran a blazing half marathon, in under 1 hour and 15 minutes. Looking at his performances from the past year, it's hard to imagine all the obstacles he's overcome in his past, including brain cancer. We asked Aaron to share his secrect to success and how he overcame his biggest obstacle (keep reading to find out what this is).

RC: What is your biggest milestone?
AR: I categorize my milestones into two categories: health-related and performance-related. My most significant health-related milestone is re-building my fitness, post-brain cancer, then getting to the start of Philadelphia's Broad Street Run a year after treatment.

The top performance-related milestone is going back to Broad Street Run in 2021 and finishing in under 60 minutes. Then my sub-75-minute performance at this year's Lake Sammamish Half Marathon is also a proud moment on the arc of my running journey.

RC: What is the secret to your success?
AR: Okay, there are five secret ingredients to my success. Are you ready for these?
(1) tsp of consistency,
(2) morsels of not sweating the small stuff.
(3) tons of patience.
*ALL THE VEGETABLES!*
And also, paprika. The secret ingredient is always paprika, isn’t it?

RC: What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it?
AR: My biggest obstacle to achieving any of my goals is me! When I get in my way, I turn to the experience I have in overcoming various challenges. The tools in my toolbox include naps, breathing exercises, fartlek workouts, and myriad other methods to cope with goal/soul-crushing obstacles.

RC: What is the most rewarding part of training?
AR: The process or the journey, and the results, also known as the destination, are both rewarding parts of my training. Dialing in on feelings and emotions, mid-session is a rewarding aspect. Sharing the journey with my run buds is a very healthy social reward. And on the subject of health, we all understand how running can provide many health rewards.

I tell my friends and family who ask about my running that it is the best part of my day. So when I look down at my watch mid-run and calculate how much time I have left to run, it's a reminder that when the run is over, the best part of my day ends. I am incredibly grateful for the time I get to spend out on my runs. And that I have a safe and reliable place to run. These privileges are not taken for granted.

RC: What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community?
AR: Take your running as seriously as you'd like. Ask questions about your training. Information is power and knowing why you are doing a specific workout is valuable in the process of achieving your running goals. As for competition, don't be afraid to put yourself out there before or during a race. Communicating your goals can often lead to "speaking" them into existence. And most importantly, remember to have fun.

RC: Anything else you would like to share?
AR: Love yourself. Love each other. Run happy. EAT YOUR VEGGIES!! ❤


Plans change, but the goal remains the same. 

Recently, the US Air Force Marathon announced the shift of the 25th annual event from in-person event to a virtual event.  You can read more about this decision here.

This sparked many of our trainees to evaluate all available options. 
Yes this was supposed to be the Fall of live races, personal bests, and golden memories. Instead, we are back to evaluating "options". As the road race industry and participants continue to navigate through uncertainity, let's remember why we commit out selves to train.  

For Runcoach trainee, Christi the decision was to charge ahead. The training was almost complete, and she is within striking distance of a new personal best half marathon result.

smalled_-_chrisitFrom Christi, "I decided to commit to using the Runcoach app when I signed up for the USAF ½ marathon.  I was looking for a straightforward program that would be user friendly and generate speed and threshold workouts specifically geared towards my fitness level and race time goal.   Completing the training workouts has improved my running form, VO2 max, and confidence.  It has been enjoyable to run such a variety of paces.  This has kept me mentally fresh and stimulated throughout the training weeks". 

Christi, we wish you light feet and a strong heart on your virtual race day. Go enjoy your personal winner's circle!



French is coming off a sensational month of racing. However, it took him months of hard work, trust, and patience to reap the fruits of his labor. Read about his journey and top tips for all runners to reach a new personal record in this month's Runcoach Success Story below.


Running Major milestone:
I ran a PR in 10K and 5K within same month!french_lewis2


What is the secret to your success?
Realizing that my job is to follow the training plan Runcoach provides, not to exceed it. Be consistent with the training and getting enough rest.


What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it?  The biggest obstacle was my misconception that if the training plan called for a certain distance at a certain pace, running faster would, of course, be better. This led to a couple of injury filled years because my body was always working hard, never having time to recover and build strength.


What is the most rewarding part of training? The most rewarding part of training is feeling good. For me, I run because I enjoy it, I like being fit, I like knowing I am doing what I can to be healthy. About a year ago, after I messaged Coach Hiruni about a particularly tough speed workout she prescribed, her response stuck with me. The heart of the response was “Remember, tough workouts don’t last, but, tough people do.”


What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community? Follow the plan. Learn from my mistakes of believing, no matter what I read on Runcoach’s website, that I always needed to work hard to get faster. Easy days should be easy, hard days hard. Your body needs time to recover from the hard efforts. This is especially true as your body ages.


Anything else you would like to share? Again, listen to your body. I give Runcoach a huge amount of credit for my two fastest races taking place after I turned 50. However, I can not minimize the importance of having in person guidance in selecting shoes that match your running type. I was stubborn in thinking that the 0 drop shoes that worked well for a 42 year old me would still be good for 49 year old me. My local running store finally told me, after years of self denial, just try these 6mm drop shoes. That was the start of injury free training and racing.


What feedback would you offer on the Runcoach experience? It might sound simple, because it it. Follow the plan. This should be easy, the coaches tell you what to do, just do what they say. For people who are using the free service, I started there. It works very well. For those using the paid service, talk with your coaches, they all want you to succeed.


Runcoach Success Story: Laura

Written by Tom McGlynn December 06, 2021

Laura and Colfax have a special relationship. If you are on Instagram @runswithcolfax is sure to brighten your day, especially if you’re lucky enough to catch a photo with Colfax staring at the camera!

 laura1

Laura is a Mom, Veteran, Dietitian, Triathlete, Runner and many more. So you might wonder how she gets it all done in a mere 24-hours? We asked, she replied “It’s habit, beginning with planning and prep the night before”.
Below is an extended Q&A with this super woman. 

 

How or why did you start running? How did you find Runcoach?

-          I originally started running in high school, 24 years ago (eek!). I didn’t make the cut for my school’s soccer and softball teams, so I thought I’d give cross country a try, and then also ran track and field. I took a break from running competitively during college, and then decided to see if I could still run a 5K when my now-husband (fiancé then) was deployed to Iraq in 2004-2005. It turned out I could, and I’ve basically been running regularly ever since.

-          I honestly don’t remember how I first stumbled across Runcoach! I think I saw it mentioned on someone’s blog or Instagram feed a couple years ago and checked it out. After years of using free training plans I found online or wrote up myself, I knew I needed something a little more individualized to not only push myself a little harder but also be appropriate for my personal fitness level and goals.

 

What motivates you to get out the door each morning?

-          These days, it’s habit more than motivation. It’s just what I do, and I know the rest of the day I’ll feel a lot more relaxed and productive if I run (or work out) first thing. Also, Colfax pops up ready to go as soon as my feet hit the floor, and his excitement certainly helps.

 

laura2How did runs with Colfax become a regular thing?

-          It was initially my husband’s plan for us to get a dog that could run with me, since I run early in the morning by myself. We have another dog but she’s never been interested in long slow distance! Sprinting is more her style. He did a lot of research into the breed that would be the best fit for our family, lifestyle, and ability to run long distances, and decided on a Brittany. We got Colfax when he was 4 months old and started him out with walks. After he turned one, I started adding short running intervals – a quarter mile at a time to start, and then gradually built it up from there. At the time, I didn’t think he’d run EVERY run with me, but when I saw how much he enjoyed it, it soon became a regular thing.

**Important note: Colfax is a champion racer. Check out his first-place medal from Palmetto Running Company. Congratulations to Laura on placing first in her age group as well. A truly DYNAMIC DUO!

 

What do you enjoy most about your wellness routine currently?

-          It’s MY time. The rest of my day is often dependent on the priorities of others – at work and at home as a wife and mother of 2 young boys – so the time I spend running and working out is often the only time that’s completely within my control. I have always loved to be active (I’ve been an athlete since age 5), so spending my free time moving in ways that make me feel good physically and mentally is a high priority.

 

What are some of your personal wins?

-          I’m most proud of the times I tried something I’d previously never thought possible, like triathlons, marathons, reaching new training mileage/intensity milestones, remaining active through two pregnancies, and clawing my way back to even higher levels of fitness postpartum and now as I get older. I’ve never ceased to be amazed at what my body can do when my mind gets out of the way.

What are your future goals?

-          The half marathon has broken my heart the last 4 times I’ve run it, all due to situations out of my control. But I’m not giving up! Someday I hope to break my PR of 1:51 (set 8 years ago). I’m also looking forward to eventually running another marathon and breaking 4 hours, but in the meantime, I’m having fun focusing on what I’ve recently decided are my stronger distances – 5K and 10K – and hoping to continue setting PRs in those distances.

 

Laura and Colfax, we are rooting for you both to reach new levels of fitness, personal bests, and enjoy every second of your journey!
Photo cred: Laura from @runswithcolfax 



Audrey successfully completed the Marine Corps Marathon a couple times, but kids and life kept her busy and away from marathons for almost 21 years. This year, she virtually completed MCM using Runcoach training! 

“ I am a respiratory therapist and this pandemic has been very stressful on all of us healthcare providers. Spending time improving my physical health has helped my mental and spiritual health too.”aud_3

Major milestone:

This was my first Marathon in 20 yrs! The last Marine Corps Marathon was about 21 yrs ago when I was pregnant with my youngest who is now 20. I ran with a running club and all we did was run. I remember in the training we ran up to 24 miles and being so sore after each long run! After kids, I ran 3-5 times a week, but rarely more than 3 miles.

 

What is the secret to your success?

This time I followed Runcoach almost to the letter including the cross training and core. I only ran 17 or 18 miles before the race went virtual. I was worried and emailed coach Tom because I was concerned it wasn't enough running. He said it was, and I ran the virtual MCM with a local run group.

 

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it?

Since the man who plotted the course was an ultramarathoner, his course had all kinds of hills -- It was harder than the actual MCM course would have been. I was a little scared. Once I hit 18 and could still run, I relaxed a little.. then 20, then 24. It was in the 50s in Maryland, windy and pouring rain all day. I finished in a little over 6 hrs. I didn't think I would have taken that long but those hills were tough. I was prepared to be sore the next couple days. To my surprise, I was not! The training really helped and now my next goal is to run an ultramarathon in March 2021.

 

What’s the most rewarding part of training?

The accomplishments! Doing things, like push ups or planks, that I could never do before. I am a respiratory therapist and this pandemic has been very stressful on all of us healthcare providers. Spending time improving my physical health has helped my mental and spiritual health too.

 

What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community?

For those training, follow the program. It helps! And if you have questions the coaches do actually answer in a timely manner and have great advice. I have always had knee pain after running. I learned it was the way I run. I watched a video, changed how I run, and voila... why didn't someone tell me that years ago?

Anything else you would like to share?

I'm using Runcoach to train for the ultra!



Jerric_blogJerric restarted his relationship with running after a 15-year hiatus. His return has been nothing short of remarkable. While juggling the demands of family, a career, and training, he recently set a 27 minute personal best while completing the NYRR NYC Virtual Marathon. Read about his "not so secret" tips for success!

Major milestone:

I started running around Christmas 2018 after 15 years! Then I completed by 1st marathon in Chicago in October 2019 (finish time 4:18). Just completedmy 2nd marathon the NYC (virtual) in October 2020, big personal best of 3:51

What is the secret to your success?

There really is no secret here - you must put in the time and work for training. But I also view my running time as my "me" time." I reflect on my day ahead, I catch-up on podcasts, I listen to audiobooks, I let my mind wander...

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it?

The biggest challenge is balancing running with family and career. There are days when I have an early meeting so I will wake up really early (4:30am) to get my run in. If it's important enough, you'll get it done.

What is the most rewarding part of training?

Nothing beats crossing the finish line. While overall health and wellness is the over-arching goal (and Runcoach shows how you are improving which is very encouraging), crossing a finish line is a tangible milestone on this journey. And thinking of all your family and friends who support you through the good times and bad as you cross that finish line is humbling.

What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community?

Follow the schedule Runcoach gives you. If you stick with the schedule, you will hit your goals. Also, be honest with yourself. If you can only run three times a week, put that in your profile so your schedule reflects this and it's not a stressor.

Anything else you would like to share?

Runcoach has really been good at predicting race performance for me. I keep doubting I'll hit those times for a race but I've managed to. The app is great and has helped me reach my goals. My coach, Hiruni, is always there to keep me focused. And no big deal but she's an 11 time Sri Lanken national record holder :)

What feedback would you offer on the Runcoach experience?

Runcoach has been key in my running journey. The free version gives you a training program that is flexible and will adjust automatically for missed runs and multiple races. The paid version gives you 1:1 coaching (mine is super-friendly and helpful!) and allows for even more customized training schedules. I'm very happy with Runcoach!



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