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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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