Happy 2016! Welcome to the Year of the Team

Welcome to 2016! Are you ready to have your best year of running ever?

Had a blast at the SR meetup last night, meeting so many of my runners and readers! #bostonmarathon #bostonstrong

A photo posted by Jason Fitzgerald (@jasonfitz1) on

Before we dive into what’s coming this year, let’s reflect on all that we accomplished in 2015.

It was a big year, marked by some important milestones:

  • I challenged you to “get out of your comfort zone” by dialing in your nutrition, fueling smart, and preventing more injuries
  • We took things offline and I spoke at the National Endurance Sports Summit at Princeton University and taught several classes at Camp Nerd Fitness
  • Our momentum was noticed by mainstream media like Business Insider and the top rated business podcast Entrepreneur on Fire
  • Most importantly, members of the SR community continued to run faster and stay healthy
  • Running for Health & Happiness was a #1 best-seller on Amazon, helping beginners get started right with their running

With regular contributions to major media like Competitor Magazine, Lifehacker, Greatist, and Map My Run our message of smart training and consistency is spreading far and wide.

Together, we’re doing big things.

Mike ran two marathons in a week – without hitting the wall in either race.

Alex ran his fastest 5k in over 10 years (after a 6 month knee injury…).

Aimee ran a whopping 38-minute marathon personal best and qualified for Boston.

But I can only publish so many case studies. Nearly every day, I get emails like these:

Everything went perfectly on the day and I ended up smashing my 1:30 half marathon goal with a huge PB of 1:25:04! Needless to say I am over the moon with the time, but even more than that, I was so happy just to be able to get to the start line injury free and feeling fit.

Never have I been able to run so well for so long without injury. So a big thank you for helping me achieve my goal, I don’t think I have ever enjoyed a race so much. – Scott

I ran a 25 minute PB in the marathon yesterday despite 20mph headwinds for 80% of the course.  I felt strong, relaxed and prepared, all due to the logical, progressive and FUN program you put together for me.

I felt a real sense of accomplishment as I saw consistent gains in strength and speed through the weeks and months of the program.  Once I’ve decided on my next running goal, I will be coming to you for a new training plan! – Katie

These emails are my oxygen – my lifeblood.

I’m beyond grateful to be a small part of your success. They give me the energy to continue doing what I love: helping you run faster, get stronger, and use running to live a better life.

And we’re just getting started…

Who’s ready for an even bigger 2016?

Big things are happening behind the scenes here at Strength Running HQ – and 2016 could be a huge turning point in your running career.

SR started as a small blog in 2010 but soon, our movement took off like a rocket.

Today, you’ll find Strength Runners across the globe in nearly every country (even Pakistan, Zambia, and Romania!). Our community is now over 40,000 runners who share common goals:

  • Run faster and increase speed (and knowing how and when to schedule faster workouts)
  • Stay motivated to run consistently – even if you don’t belong to a running group
  • Balance training and your competitive drive with rest to prevent overtraining and injuries

And finally, SR is in a position to help tens of thousands of runners instead of a few hundred.

You see, last year I invested tens of thousands of dollars into technology upgrades that will make coaching and training easier for you – and vastly more affordable.

It’s an exciting time to be part of the Strength Running family. And that’s exactly what I want to talk about today: community.

Up until now, I’ve admittedly failed you in building a more close-knit community. SR isn’t really a team.

But that’s about to change.

After giving several presentations at Camp Nerd Fitness last fall, I realized that my top goal as head coach should be to build a team.

And not just any team – a supportive, non-intimidating group where you can share stories, connect with other runners, and motivate each other to achieve your biggest running goals.

Something magic happens when we band together. When we unite to help one another.

And wouldn’t you love a like-minded community of runners where you can get support for your training, motivation to be more consistent, and ask all of your questions?

But unlike a lot of other virtual running groups, it won’t cost as much. And you’ll get far more resources. Sounds fair, right?

Soon this team will be a reality – and if you’re like me, you can’t wait!

Introducing 2016: The Year of the Team

Conn Cross Country Team

My college cross country team. Behold my shaved legs.

This year, my #1 priority is to build a team. A virtual group of passionate runners that will push one another forward.

There are four pieces to having a great team:

1. Smart training that’s personalized to your needs, goals, and fitness level

If you’ve gotten a custom training plan from me in the past, you know the power of a running program designed exactly for YOU.

For every runner, training should be just right – not too easy and not too hard. Just like Goldilock’s.

Goldilocks Principle

If you sit down on Sunday night before the week starts and wonder what to do – or spend weeks researching how to build your own training plan – then soon you’ll get access to unlimited training plans.

All of which will be personalized to your fitness level, race, goals, and how much time you have to train.

Can you imagine never having to worry if you’re doing the right workouts? Or running the right mileage levels? Finally, peace of mind!

Right now the final touches on propriety software are being made by my team of developers. And in a few weeks, you’ll be able to use it as many times as you’d like.

Because with smart training designed just for you, you’ll be able to finally break through those time and mileage barriers and improve consistently.

But smart, personalized training isn’t enough…

2. Coaching guidance to answer all of your questions (no matter how “weird”)

Even if you have the perfect training plan, what happens if a question comes up?

  • How do I change my plan if I go on vacation?
  • I had to skip a long run, should I modify my plan?
  • If the weather is terrible, how should I rearrange my workouts?
  • What do I do with my training program if I get hurt?

I know that not all of us are seasoned running veterans. In fact, some of us are just starting to run for the first time or after decades of time off!

Questions will come up. And any good team has coaching guidance for these situations – so you’re always focused on your goals.

3. Expert instruction from world-class experts on every training topic

I firmly believe that learning more about running is a surefire way to success.

That’s why I always encourage you to invest in your running through courses, coaching, books, conferences, running retreats, or new training programs.

I also believe that you should learn from the best (they’re the best for a reason!). Just imagine how much you’d learn with access to:

  • Elite coaches
  • Professional runners
  • Best-selling running authors
  • Top physical therapists
  • Running form and biomechanics experts

Modeling their behavior, learning from their insights, and being inspired by their accomplishments can help take your running to the next level.

And any good team should bring those outside experts to you.

4. Supportive teammates to keep you motivated, consistent, and focused on your goals

What good is a team if you don’t have teammates?!

This is where the fun of a team shines through: the camaraderie, the inside jokes, and the joy of sharing your favorite running stories together.

When I was on a team, being inconsistent was harder than being consistent! I was always surrounded by my teammates, pushing me to improve, to run more, to run faster, and to break through my own self-imposed limits.

If you’ve never been on a running team before, I can’t wait to give you that opportunity. I’m confident it will completely transform your running.

When these elements are combined, can you imagine how much you’ll improve? How much more dedicated you’ll feel when you have the right training and support network available to you?

You’ll never have to wonder, “Am I doing the right thing? Why can’t I break 2:00 in the half marathon? How do I keep improving?

Instead, you’ll have the resources to get every question answered and to ensure you’re giving yourself every advantage to succeed.

And in that situation, it becomes damn hard to fail.

My First Experience with a Team

I joined my high school’s cross country team as a freshman nearly two decades ago. I dove headfirst into hard workouts, competition, long runs, and the discipline required to improve year after year.

And it was the best decision I ever made. I loved every minute of being on a team:

…sharing “war stories” after races and dissecting what went right and what went wrong.

…having a group of close friends cheer me on during a race (there’s almost nothing this exciting!).

…trusting my coach to plan good workouts – so I can focus on running, not on planning.

…having the accountability of a network of my peers – if I fail, they’ll know about it!

Legendary businessman Jim Rohn is known for saying:

You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.

If I didn’t spend most of my time with runners, then I wouldn’t have become a runner. And I certainly wouldn’t have achieved as much.

My team gave me accountability, support, guidance, and the training I needed to run fast. It was everything I could have wanted as a new runner.

If I had tried improve or start running without that team, I probably would have failed. I would have always been stuck at a certain mileage or a certain personal best.

In other words, breaking through any plateau is far more difficult without a support network.

And I’m thrilled to help you with that support network this year.

What’s Coming this Month

Strength Running Team

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to talk more about your support network – your team.

I’m going to share specific strategies on building endurance, increasing speed, and how to plan the right training for you so you can be more consistent than ever before.

This month you’ll learn more about achieving your biggest goals than any other month in 2015 (I enjoy bold predictions). Get excited!

And in a few weeks, I’ll be opening Strength Running’s newest coaching program. One that will:

  • Allow any runner to be coached – affordably – with unlimited personalized training plans
  • Give you unprecedented access to me and my personal network of running’s top coaches, elite runners, and most sought-after experts
  • Let you connect with your teammates, meet up at races, or just join each other for an easy run

Until then, let’s do a fun thought experiment:

Imagine that you have YOUR IDEAL TEAM. What does that look like?

Really walk me through it, from how you interact with your teammates and coach, to what resources you’d love, and how that would impact your training.

Leave your reply below (there are no silly answers and certainly no judgment). I can’t wait to read yours!

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  1. My dream team would have my best buds, and a new friend or too as well. Anyone really, but how we would get along is like this, we would always be there to provide positive encouragement, but never be too easy on one another and always push each other to be our best and to help one another reach our shared goals. We would be able to talk about anything, be up for adventure, mini-marathon next state over? No problem, we are there, together. we may share different beliefs or ideas about some things, but we are all accepting of one other’s beliefs and respect then and are able to discuss them at length in a judgment free positive way so that we can see the other member’s viewpoints. Plus, we all like to drink a nice cup of coffee before our morning runs.

  2. I think a team of open minded, humorous, and energized peers would be ideal. People who are consistent, supportive of both their and others achievements, and available. Mostly though, I would like to be around people who love to run and laugh.

    As for a coach, someone who is in your corner and can get you going even when it’s tough. A coach who can get tough, but also laugh – to get you to a PR. I’ve always wanted a coach who could individualize training but also foresee long-term goals for both the individual and team as a whole. Just someone fully invested – who if asked a question and they didn’t know the answer – not to ignore it, but say “i don’t know” or research it. Mainly, a person who can motivate and keep accountability. Thank you for all of your efforts. I am excited to learn more! 🙂

  3. I’ve been following Nerd Fitness for years and think building a running team like the nerd fitness group is a fantastic idea. I like the supportive yet still competitive nature of the group because it is a challenge but still a safe place to ask “stupid” questions.

    I also like the competition side where results are weighted based upon skills. As a 45 year old, I cannot compete with a college runner in a head to head challenge but put us in a weighted competition based upon accomplishments and it is beneficial for both of us.

  4. Hi Jason,

    This is Bala from Chennai, India. I am interested in joining your programming but how could we make this possible. I would like to have frequent interaction with you but how can we make this possible. To give an introduction about myself, I am an amateur runner who has ran around 3 10k races with 1 hour as duration and 3 21k races with 3 hour duration. I would like to improve my time and also I got some issues with my legs during 21k races especially as I suffer with blisters. Your advice and coaching might help me. Please let me know your thoughts when you get time.

  5. My ideal team would be various paces, very experience. All coming together for the common good. A particular race. then have a coach take these levels of runners, and show them how to excel, while having the support of each other. As you’ve said in previous articles, training should be fun, but work at the same time. I also think just having those check off sheets for the work out helps get you to race day. Because everyday life will happen, and with a specific plan, you can change days around for fit that week and never lose a beat. Then on race day, bring it as a team you will have numbers, and when you see someone that has trained as hard as you excelling, it will help push you to a height that may though achievable. Thanks,

  6. I came to running from cross-ski backpacking and mountaineering. These are team sports. There is no individual winner there, teams compete and win. The ideal team there is like a single living body, with all its parts being aware of other parts and ready to get extra load if some other part is injured or just in bad shape. In a bad team, one can be shy to ask for help, or even refuse help suggested even if he need it. In a perfect team, it’s not a problem: I am getting help today and will help you tomorrow. And each one’s contribution is needed, recognized and appreciated by the team.

  7. My ideal training team would be one of people who are in a similar fitness level as me. We would take turns designing exercise sequences (warmups, cardio, endurance, strength training, cool downs etc) and then also take turns teaching and coaching sessions to each other. Everyone would be equally committed and accountable, respectful, open, good listener, clear speaker/communicator, and show up on time. This is my DREAM. I’d like to make this happen for myself this year.

  8. Team – Keeps my accountable; challenges me; acknowledges my accomplishments/successes/tries/failures

    Weekly run/strength plans

    Roadmap from A to B – How to get to where I want to be.

  9. I’ve been really fortunate to have found a great community/team through a local running store when I fell into marathoning about 5 years ago. Even though most of us don’t take part in the scheduled running clinics anymore we all still meet on Wednesdays and Sundays for regular runs. All different levels and goals and we share and swap ideas and push each other to improve. I was also fortunate to find Strength Running early on as it has kept me healthy and added the necessary focus of a well-devised training plan.

  10. Great stuff Jason, I think what you’re doing for the average runner is fantastic! Quick edits and FYI – “4. Supportives (sp)” and then “dived headfirst” vs. dove. Just to help!


  11. Dixon Hemphill says:

    I am a 91 year old runner with 40 years of running behind me. These days I am running short races 60 to 3000 meters indoors and outdoors at local and national track meets.

    Obviously I have very little competition — there are so few 90 year old runners. I am shooting for the American record which is 10:85. My best is 12:08. My question: How can I improve keeping mind my body will stand only about two miles three times a week.

  12. I totally agree that what you are doing is super helpful and so interesting!!!
    Keep up the great work!!!
    I am hoping this is my year to excel and prevent injuries!!!
    Here’s to anxiously awaiting your emails 🙂

  13. 2016, the year of the Team: what a great idea, this is just what I need at the moment. Living in a tiny town in outback Australia where i’m the only runner, being part of a team is like a dream for me. But hopefully you’re just about to make that dream come true Jason, if we can all here at SR create a supportive community to help each other out. Even if it’s “just” an online community, I’m sure it can be beneficial, especially for isolated folks like me. It’s the only kind of team we can be part of!
    What I’m looking for the most in a team is accountability: having peers around me that expect me to do my runs. I’m pretty good with self-discipline so far, but being part of a team can certainly motivate me even more the days I don’t feel like executing my training.

  14. I am an almost 61-year old runner with five months of running behind me. I am looking for a widely and wildly diverse team–fast young ones, slow young ones, experienced master runners still at it (Dixon!)–basically all combinations of age, experience, and ability. I’m sure among such diversity, I will find many inspirational stories to keep me going.

  15. Toni Dakins says:

    I enjoy signing up for runs (usually half-marathons) with family members and having them help to hold me accountable to do the training necessary to complete my goals. Also, to be able to support them so that they can complete their goals for the run,

  16. Mohana Ganesh says:

    I will complete 58 years in March end. I have been running since July 2009 and have ran about 21 HMs and a few 10k. My timing for HM is 2.20 to 2.30. There is degenerative issue with my right knee. Hence, whenever I try to run fast my right leg does not get fast. My right knee becomes stiff if I do any jumping exercises. Can any of your physios look at my MRI and suggest what strengthening exercises I should do to improve my strength of right leg and thereby my speed. By the way I am from Mumbai, India.

  17. Ann Cobain says:

    I love the idea of a team and coach as a runner who is pretty isolated. It would be cool to meet people who I could run with it at least talk/write about running with. I would love a coach who could give me feedback on planning running goals for year and keep motivation high.

  18. I joined my first team when I was 14 years old. Back then I was much different person than I am now. Insecure, shy and a loner. In those 5-6 years until I went to university, I changed a lot, but still had only one good friend with whom I love to run and share my thoughts. The club I never considered important.
    After almost 40 years, I’ve started to run again but this time alone.
    Even on my first race (half marathon) I went without the support of the club or friends.
    I thought that running is activity in which you have to be alone with all your pains and troubles. A little bit of pleasure and joy too.
    Then after the race I accidentally met a group of people at the track on which I train(run). They were preparing the track for cross-country race to be held the next day.
    I joined them that day and ran the next day race. After the race it seemed as if I was a part of that group of people for all my life.
    That same year (2014) with the support of friends from the club I finished my first marathon at age of 60(3:13:14).
    Now even seriously injured for 6 months I can’t imagine my future running without them, my team or as I like to say without my tribe. They are the reason I have not given up on running. I have two grown up children and two grandchildren, but now I have 52 more, they call me Running Dida (Grandpa) and I call them all: “kids”, even few of them are older than me.

  19. Dean Smith says:

    I envision a running team that is made up of friends, strangers, pros, amateurs, turtles, hares, racers, stayfitters, streeters, trailers, crazy and not so insane! In other words, a running team made up of people all of whom are different from one another, but common in one most important thing: RUNNING! And a team is made by the contribution of each member because all have something of immense value to bring to the table where we all run from. While, mostly, I run alone because of my location, I feel better connected knowing there are others I may stay in reach of and see and meet at races! I am looking forward to your updates on “TEAM”.

  20. Hi Jason,
    An ideal team might look like this: Great communication. Always supportive for one another, lots of encouragement! Taking turns ‘taking the lead’ on runs (responsible for letting the team know how the run will be “sandwiched” and miles involved – if that is a variable for the group). Warmly inviting new members with a follow up invitation if they don’t show up for run #2, (encourage)! Travel together or meet up at racing events. Training together for similar events. Recognize our differences and help push each other to each of our potentials. Having a couple set run days weekly, and some optional get-together runs. Good communication! Letting our coach know our goals so he has the proper training lined up. I think an ideal TEAM would have similar race goals, so we are all training at similar run lengths; This is the one thing that would make a team different then a club. Thanks for listening Jason! Can’t wait to see what you’ve got this time 😉

    • I love this idea. I find it hard to find “like minded” runners in my area that are reaching and trying to achieve new PRs – AND following the fundamentals you preach (injury prevention, smart training). Being on a “virtual team” where we can share war stories (both good and bad) would be awesome. Maybe we can have Strength Running singlets for race day (a team jersey ALWAYS makes me feel like I’m part of something bigger). We can post race results and goals…get ideas on what races are coming up. All the “small” stuff can be shared, like the right clothing, nutrition, etc. You build it, and I will come.

  21. Perfect team? A coach in my ear on my Android device, a nutritionist, a physical therapist, a massage therapist, a yoga teacher and any other cross training professional. I’m also in a remote area, though I’m committed enough to drive 30 min away several days a week to get my miles in.

  22. Hi Jason, I seek coaching for….
    – road map to attaining running goals
    – race planning
    – training planning
    – injury prevention
    – navigating alterations in training plans because of… travel, injury, weather, work schedules, life
    – random advise about running, cross training, and nutrition.

  23. Team – is to work together, if someone lost – everyone else lost too. I am not sure how to to achieve that goal in such a diverse group tho. As Most comments above show it’s about commenters Issues or wishes and are not about building a group of like-minded people. I guess if someone knew what to do, we’d had a “Facebook” for runners already 🙂

    Sorry for a least helpful comment

  24. I would say my ideal team would be like the one I run a relay race with every year. They are fun to be around, positive, competitive, healthy and great teammates. Knowing what to say or not to say is not always easy. Getting along in a van for 8 hours of a stink fest without fighting or arguing isn’t easy! They meet all the requirements for sure.

  25. It would be awesome if you created a Strength Running club on Strava or Garmin etc. where we could checko out each other’s runs. I’m a member of another group and it’s very motivational and inspirational to see different runs from all over the world.


  1. […] is the Year of the Team – and we’re learning why support and an encouraging team can help you accomplish […]