How confident are you as a runner? If you say something like this, you’ll make me smile like a proud coach:

“My training has gone so well that I know I’ll run a PR – it’s just a question of whether that’s 30 seconds or a full minute!”

Confidence OOZES from these runners! And while misplaced confidence can result in some fantastic race failures, it’s necessary for success.

When Billy Mills won the 1964 Olympic 10,000m race, he wasn’t even predicted to medal. His win is considered one of the biggest Olympic upsets in history. He told himself:

“God has given me the ability. The rest is up to me. Believe. Believe. Believe.”

Mills had the confidence to believe he could win – and he ran more than 50 seconds faster than he ever had and set the Olympic 10k record, winning a Gold Medal in the process.

Could Mills have went from a virtually unknown runner to an Olympic Champion with confidence? No way! His strategy is similar to my “Let Jesus Take Over” race strategy from 13 Lucky Racing Tips and it certainly requires confidence.

Without confidence, you’ll never bet on yourself and take a chance to push yourself further, faster, or longer. You’ll say self-defeating things like these quotes I saw online the other day:

“I wish I was competitive and was being coached. Pushing myself to run hard is a huge problem for me. I can challenge myself to run far, but I just lack the mental strength to run fast.”

“Another slow runner here! I wish I could run 10:00/mile…”

“I’m 28 now and have lost 100 pounds. Am I too old to run faster than I currently am? Was being overweight a problem for me now?”

The interesting thing is that I could easily help these runners get significantly faster – even though they think they’re slow, “old,” or not competitive. It’s all a matter of providing the right training approach and support – and then being confident enough to stick to the plan and believe in yourself!

But how do you build confidence? How do you become a more confident runner who knows what you’re capable of achieving?

Today I want to talk about the value of SUPPORT – people who provide encouragement, advise, and counsel to help build your confidence.Kris Marathon PR

Do you have a group of runners who support your training and encourage you to accomplish more? Do you have a coach who answers your questions and guides you to new PR’s and milestones?

Working with runners of all abilities every day, I get excited when a beginner reaches out for advice or support. It’s the fastest way to succeed – just surround yourself with those who have the same goals and those who are more knowledgeable than you.

Now let’s tell Kris’ story – about how she found the right support, developed her confidence, and ultimately ran a 30 minute personal best in the marathon that helped her qualify for the Boston Marathon.

“I knew I could run a better marathon”

Kris was one of the first members to join Run Your BQ, an online team of runners who want to improve their marathon time and one day qualify for Boston. At first, her running wasn’t structured – she had injury problems and felt like she was just scratching the surface of her potential.

She needed a training overhaul. She needed expert support and training that helped her stay healthy while fitting her schedule. She told me:

I joined RYBQ after having success with a personal training plan designed by Jason. I knew with access to other runners and two successful coaches I could run a better marathon. My previous two were plagued with injury and faulty racing strategies.

You certainly can’t run your best ever marathon if you’re dealing with chronic injuries and poor race strategy. Thankfully, Kris thrived on her new training program. The quality of her workouts improved without adding too much more mileage. She has a regular job and a family, after all.

To help her stay consistent, the first goal was to keep her healthy. Kris remembers:

The emphasis on injury prevention was the clincher. I’m a lifelong runner, and until this program, I haven’t spent a lot of focused effort on injury prevention. I was introduced during my half marathon training, and had never felt more strong and healthy as a result. That was a huge confidence booster going into marathon training.

Prioritizing injury prevention was a big transition for Kris. But it was worth it – with just 10 minutes per day, she was able to feel stronger and healthier than ever before – and she knew that it needed to be a permanent part of her routine. Going back to old habits would definitely result in injury.

But what about her confidence? How did she improve her marathon by such a drastic amount of time?

Community and Coaching Support = Win!

At Run Your BQ, our goal is to push our members to run better marathons. With live coaching webinars, a library of training plans, and 60+ articles and videos, it’s a community rallied around the marathon.

And the results of our members are impressive. See how Bill ran a marathon PR after a stress fracture, Darin broke 4-hours at age 52, or Jennifer avoided “the wall” and ran a 40-minute personal best.

Kris realized that she could tap into this support network. And with the right guidance, she could run faster than ever before. With guidance on her training, she remembers what it was like to start her RYBQ training plan:

I encountered few challenges transitioning to my new running plan, but one was building confidence in running at a pace, that on paper, seemed faster than I was capable of. That was a huge hurdle. It’s incredible the significance we put on a number! I got to a point where I started running more by feel and checking in with my watch versus, watching the clock and checking in to see how I feel.

I also worked a lot on running efficiency and I think it has improved dramatically. One of the results I’ve experienced with Run Your BQ is more overall strength and running knowledge. The resources provided and the availability of the coaches to answer specific questions is invaluable. I would definitely recommend RYBQ…and have!

More importantly, RYBQ isn’t just a bunch of training plans. It’s a community of runners who can offer support.

When was the last time you needed some words of encouragement – or an answer to your pressing running question – and knew exactly where to turn?

What would it feel like to have a group of runners that shared your goal and could help guide you there?

Kris recognized the value of this community – and she took advantage of it. She not only loved having her questions answered during our regular coaching webinars, but she thrived in the members-only forum:

Having direct access to experienced coaches was phenomenal. Any and all questions were addressed during the chats. Access to archived chats was a tremendous help for me when trying to manage a hectic work and family schedule. I didn’t feel like I missed anything!

The online community was also beneficial. I felt there was a lot of combined experience among the members. And the fact that we all had a similar goal in common was a huge common denominator. It felt very supportive instead of competitive…if that makes sense :)

Makes sense to me! Want to learn more about this community? Click here to see what Run Your BQ is all about.

Where is Kris Now?

Since joining Run Your BQ, Kris has dramatically improved her marathon. Earlier this year, her personal best was 4:07 – solid, but that won’t get her into Boston.Kris' Marathon

Then Kris went on a PR rampage, running 3:52 in May and 3:35 in August, cutting 32 minutes from her personal best and qualifying for the Boston Marathon.

She’ll be joining thousands of other runners on the starting line in Hopkinton, preparing to run the infamous Newton Hills, through the Scream Tunnel, and past the Citgo sign, finally making that historic left onto Boylston Street.

She’ll be met by hundreds of thousands of cheering fans lining the historic course. And as I learned this year, one of the most exciting experiences a runner can have is racing the Boston Marathon. When else are you treated like a pro athlete?

I’m so excited to post this success story because not only has Kris improved SO much – she’s a totally different runner now! – but she has new confidence from her progress and the RYBQ community.

When she lines up in Boston, she’ll know the course (members get the Boston Course Guide). She’ll have her pacing, race strategy, and long run questions answered during our video Q&A’s. And she’ll have more than 500 RYBQ members cheering her on.

Join me in congratulating Kris on such a huge improvement in just the last few months. Just think… where do you think she’ll be a year from now?

If Run Your BQ sounds interesting to you, sign up here and we’ll tell you more info about the program, plus you’ll get:

  • Case study: how Joe qualified at age 51 with a PR of nearly an hour
  • The single trick we use with our members to fix their running form
  • The “7 Strategies to Run Your Fastest Marathon” podcast
  • The BQ Blueprint – how Matt improved his marathon by almost two hours

Get all these goodies by signing up and we’ll also let you know when we open Run Your BQ to new members, too.

Thanks again to Kris for letting me share her story. Congratulations!

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Every so often, a run will leave you breathless. In this case, I mean that both figuratively and literally:

This photo was taken at over 6,800 feet altitude in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

It’s one of thousands of stunning locations that running has enabled me to experience. The simple act of running has allowed me to see the world through a beautiful and unique perspective.

And today, I want to share some of these “rave runs.” But more importantly, I want to share what YOU love about running.50 Quotes Book Cover

I’m thrilled to announce the release of 50 Quotes to Inspire You to Run Down Your Dreams - a free ebook just for you.

I want to show you the red dirt in the sugarcane fields of Maui.

And waterfalls in the Blue Mountains of the Australian Outback.

Let’s not also forget the serene beaches of Cape Cod, the awe-inspiring mountains of Colorado, and what a dormant volcano looks like at 10,000 feet elevation.

With each picture is a quote from a Strength Running reader that answers the question, what do you love about running?

The result: a lightning strike of motivation that encourages all of us to run, explore, and cherish the gift of running.

It’s this gift allows us to view the world in a way that “normal” people never experience.

Think about it…

What if one inspiring quote and incredible image motivate you to run more consistently this month, jump-starting your training that ultimately leads to a big PR?

What if you could fall in love with running all over again?

Or remember the passion that made you start running in the first place?

Today I want to share that kind of inspiration – just enter your info below to get your free copy of the 50 Quotes ebook.

A lot of other blogs might charge for something like this (especially since it cost hundreds of dollars to create!). But I love rewarding my readers – it’s my way of saying thanks for being here.

So for no charge at all, grab the book that will put a smile on your face and light an inspirational fire under your… running shorts.

Download the ebook here – and enjoy! Thank you for reading Strength Running :)

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3 Lessons Learned From Running in the Mile High City (and trail photos to make you drool)

September 11, 2014

Tweet Many of you know that I moved to Denver, Colorado this summer with my family. We’re in the heart of the city and loving it. But last May, I visited for three weeks and explored the city (read: breweries), getting to know Denver’s vibe and trying to decide if it was a place I wanted to live. […]

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What advice would you give a new runner about running injuries?

September 8, 2014

Tweet Let’s talk about your support network. Do you have one? Do you have an inner circle of trusted runners you can reach out to for advice? I’ve been fortunate to have had hundreds of teammates over my 8-year career running cross country and track in high school and college. And over those years, I had over […]

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50 Quotes to Inspire You to Run Down Your Dreams (new ebook!)

September 3, 2014

Tweet I started Strength Running in 2010 to share my passion, expertise, and love of running with the world. For over four years, SR has grown in leaps and bounds and I’m thrilled that today I can help tens of thousands of runners get stronger, stay healthy, and race faster. But even though I’ve coached […]

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Fresh Foam, Fresh Feel: The New Balance 980 Trail Shoe Review

August 28, 2014

Tweet Earlier this year I mentioned that New Balance running shoes never resonated with me. But now, I’m loving them. First it was the New Balance 1400 (I’ve since bought another pair). And now it’s the Fresh Foam 980 Trail. NB is making waves in the running industry by finally making shoes that runners actually […]

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Are Hill Sprints a Secret Weapon for Injury Prevention and Speed?

August 25, 2014

Tweet How many of us sprint on a regular basis? My guess: only a tiny minority of runners ever sprint. It’s important to understand the definition of the word sprint: it’s to run as fast as you can. It’s a maximum effort, at maximum intensity, with 100% power. It’s as fast as you can possibly go. But […]

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How to Become An Ultramarathoner: 5 No-BS Steps to Running Your First Ultra

August 18, 2014

Tweet Doug Hay is a 5-time ultramarathon finisher and the creator of the trail running blog, Rock Creek Runner. Just recently he finished the Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 Mile Run. He is also the co-host of the No Meat Athlete Radio podcast, author of Discover Your Ultramarathon, and his work has been featured in Competitor, Outside Magazine, and Washingtonian […]

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The Uncanny “7 Strategies to Run Your Fastest Marathon” Podcast with Matt Frazier

August 12, 2014

Tweet The marathon: for many, it’s a mythical unicorn. Capturing a great performance can be elusive and may take years. Jason and Matt on the days they ran their fastest marathons When I ran my first marathon, New York City in 2008, I thought that I’d breeze through it. After all, I was a fairly […]

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Struggle with Foot Injuries? Get Healthy With These Foot Exercises

August 7, 2014

Tweet Why do we ignore strength exercises for our feet when each foot contains more than 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments? The human foot is an anatomical miracle, able to support hundreds of pounds with an arch that provides energy return when we walk and run. With hundreds of individual “pieces,” it’s no small feat to […]

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