2021: The Year of Taking Action

Happy New Year and welcome to the Year of Taking Action! We’re going to create bigger goals, follow through, and actually accomplish them in 2021.

Year of Taking Action

2020 is officially over. Let’s also hope that murder hornets, dysfunctional governance, and the raging global pandemic are also on the way out.

Even though life isn’t back to normal and our challenges are far from over, we can still band together to make the most out of this year. The future looks bright and I’m optimistic!

In 2021, I want to encourage you to get off the sidelines and take action. To aggressively pursue every running goal that you have with grit, determination, and a coherent plan. Because if you can do that, your odds of success are far higher.

But it’s not always so easy.

Even though I’ve been running for over 22 years, large chunks of my running career went by without much progress. I had goals – but no strategic approach to accomplishing them.

Both my sophomore and junior years in high school and college went by without a lot of improvement. I had hit a plateau and my performances stagnated. I had no real understanding of how to get better.

It was only until years later, when I better understood training theory and physiology, that I was able to jumpstart my progress.

Today, my job is to help runners avoid my own mistakes and train more strategically. I know how to help you improve, accomplish your goals, run faster, stay healthy, and design smarter training.

And I’m going to do exactly that this month.

2020 In Review

First, let’s take a step back and reflect on last year (as much as many of us would rather not…).

Despite a pandemic and a recession, Strength Running endured and continued to support runners through our numerous media channels. In March, at the beginning of our COVID reality, I recognized that the best thing I could do to help runners was create more content.

So, I doubled down on our video channel and the Strength Running Podcast. I tripled the number of videos I published and committed to a new podcast episode every single week.

You were all clearly excited about this, as our YouTube channel grew to over 38k subscribers and the podcast is consistently ranked #1 or #2 in the country.

We also reached an incredible milestone of 3 million downloads!

Strength Running Podcast 3M Downloads

The most popular video in 2020 was on how to run longer with over 143,000 views:

And our most popular podcast episode was (unsurprisingly!) with Dr. Justin Ross about performance psychology:

If you haven’t subscribed to either platform yet, I’d be greatly appreciative!

The majority of what I do at Strength Running is unpaid; all 825+ blog posts, 170+ podcast episodes, and 250+ videos are free for you. My commitment is to the broader runner community and my goal is to elevate the sport by helping you improve.

Still, I need to keep the lights on and pay all of the support contractors that help me produce all this content.

That’s made possible by our paid training programs. And in 2020, we saw two new opportunities to learn more about the sport.

In February, I launched our Mindset Mastery Coaching program. I worked with about a dozen athletes in a private, small-group setting to improve their mental fitness and build skills like confidence, focus, and mental toughness. This was a 1-time program.

In June, I made this coaching program into a self-paced course that’s more affordable (and also includes even more content). Mindset Mastery is now available to anybody who wants a better mental relationship with the sport.

The work that we do together to improve was also recognized outside of Strength Running with major media appearances including:

But ultimately, Strength Running is about YOU.

The Strength Running Community in 2020

Dirty 30 Start

Not from 2020 but I can dream…

I’ve always loved running. But never have I loved the running community as much as I do today. It’s why I respond personally to all of my emails, created more material than ever to help you last year, and make 98% of our content free for you.

And most importantly, there was still a lot of progress in our community despite all of 2020’s struggles. Even during a pandemic, runners continued to run.

As I’ve said before, we are runners, and we will run. We can still keep the ball rolling when there aren’t any races.

From runners who are (finally, after years…) on the road to pain-free running, to fast 5k’s and breakthrough marathons, this was a year of progress:

Just a quick note from a happy customer to say thank you for the plan you created for me earlier in the year. I hit my goal of breaking a 20min 5k earlier today with a 19:45, after several years of falling short. It was the most impactful $ I ever spent on my running! Your approach works!” –Sean

“Today, I ran without hurting anywhere! I honestly thought that was just impossible for me at this point. I’m implementing all the advice from your treatment plan and I’m feeling optimistic. Just to let you know that you have the complete faith of a gal from France! Without your treatment protocol, I would simply not feel confident that I can run again.” – Margo

“Coach! I just took 10 minutes off a seven year old PR!  I can’t tell you how exciting it is to run this fast at almost 40! THANK YOU!!Old PR: 1:37.Today: 1:27:24.I crushed my 10k PR today, and also got another 5k PR in training a few weeks ago.Thanks for everything.” – Jacob

“I ended uprunning a solo Marathon time trial on Sat morning. I think I knocked it out of the park running 2:51:49, smashing my 3hr goal. In the end I ran a very evenly paced effort, the second half actually a minor negative split.” – Tim

I just wanted to give you an update on my progress through my custom training plan. I did the first 5k time trial last weekend and ran 22:22! My last PR from a year and half ago was 23:50, so it’s a huge improvement! This time trial also gives me a lot of confidence towards my goal of running a BQ, which I’m very excited about and thankful for. Being on this plan really encouraged good habits!” – Claire

You can see more results from custom training plan clients here. Or, feedback from our injury prevention clients.

My commitment to the running community is as strong as ever.

If you’re a runner who wants to improve, then it’s my mission to help you do exactly that.

2021: The Year of Taking Action

Every year, I announce a theme that’s designed to get you to think differently about your running:

Each theme influences much of the material that I produce on our video channel, blog, and podcast.

And this year, I’m encouraging you to take action. To move, to make a decision, and act decisively.

Often, we know what to do with our running to improve. We intellectually understand that we have to run more consistently, set better goals, be better about injury prevention, actually do our strength work, and work on our mental skills.

We all know that we should do these things in our training. So why don’t we?

Why do we put off our strength workout until later, when we know later will never come? How will we ever improve if we spend weeks figuring out what to train for? What are we waiting for when we don’t aggressively treat an injury?

Runners, including myself, are often incredibly good at running consistently. It’s what we love to do!

But if pressed, we’re hardly consistent with equally important aspects of our training:

  • Most of us aren’t strength training regularly (or properly)
  • If a problem comes up, we often ignore it and hope it will go away
  • Most runners aren’t doing strides, drills, or a dynamic warm-up
  • We often run the same mileage and workouts month after month
  • Mindset training is rarely done by adult runners (and we pay the price)

Are we then surprised that we’ve hit a performance plateau? We can’t expect to progress if we don’t take action on the most impactful training strategies that exist!

Because the Strength Running community is so smart (and attractive), I won’t repeat myself. You know that you should strength train, do strides, get help when you need it, progress your training, and train your mind.

So instead of telling you the amazing benefits of these training ideas, I want to make it all more actionable for you.

I want it to be practical to improve. If progress is downright easy because you have a clear, logical, and simple approach then you’re going to make huge leaps forward in your ability.

Let’s get started.

How to Take Action

Now, the fun part.

I want to encourage you to take one action right now that will improve your running. You won’t be a sub-5 miler overnight, but taking action is a habit that leads you to act even more decisively in the future.

Opportunity #1: Rambling Runner Summit

Rambling Runner Summit

On January 15-17, I’ll be participating in the first annual Rambling Runner Virtual Summit. It’s like a conference for endurance runners who want to get better (uhm, sign me up).

You’ll hear from Tina Muir, David & Megan Roche, Carrie Tollefson, Jared Ward, my brother from another mother Matt Fitzgerald, Mario Fraioli, and other leaders in the running industry.

This is your opportunity to soak in the running wisdom from the best and propel yourself into your best year of running yet.

Take action and sign up today. Use my first name (jason) to save $25 on registration.

Opportunity #2: Make a Public Commitment

Perhaps one of the most impactful ways for you to follow through on taking action is to tell others. Shout your goals from the rooftops and you’re more likely to achieve them!

So no matter if you want to run your first marathon or a sub-3, to run 7 days in a row or 365, or you just want to better connect with other runners, let’s hear about your goals in the comments below.

Leave a comment on this post about your biggest aspiration for 2021. What would you like to accomplish? What’s your plan?

I can’t wait to read your ideas! And if I think I have a concrete idea for you, I’ll reply.

Opportunity #3: Learn More

If you’ve listened to the Strength Running Podcast, you know that knowledge is a competitive advantage. The more you know, the better training decisions you’ll make.

Wiser decisions lead to more effective training, a better mindset about running, and ultimately much faster runners.

Now, I want you to learn more about a specific area of training that you might need to improve.

Always injured? Get our injury prevention series here.

Need more mental toughness and motivation? Sign up for our mindset e-course.

Want to lift weights and build power? More than 130k runners have loved our strength series here.

No matter what you choose, remember that knowledge about the sport makes you into a fiercer competitor!

Join Me This Month

January will see an enormous content blitz from me. My advice will be simple, actionable, and applicable to as many runners as possible.

After all, I do all of this for you 🙂

If you’re ready to take action and improve your running, you’re in the right place. Our main focuses will be on building injury resilience, increasing endurance, gaining speed, and improving your mental fitness.

If that sounds good to you, I invite you to follow along:

Finally, don’t forget to leave your biggest 2021 goal in the comments below. We’re all in this together and if we support each other, push one another forward, and pick each other when we fall, we’ll have a successful year.

Happy 2021!

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    Comments

    1. Jason,
      This is a fantastic post. NOTHING happens without ACTION. Any action is better than staying put. Even a step in the wrong direction provides the opportunity to learn and course correct.

      I took action on Jan 1 and signed up for the Javelina Jundred (a 100 mile trail race held on Halloween Weekend just outside Phoenix, Arizona). I’m currently 14th on the waitlist (I signed up within 3 hours of the opening of registration!!!) but am hopeful I’ll make the entrants list.

      I completed a 50 mile in 2020 at the JFK 50 in November and want to build on last year to see if I have what it takes to go farther. I’ve kicked off 2021 with a challenge for myself to run a 5k every day for the first month of 2021.

      Every run starts with a dynamic warm-up and ends with some sort of strength component. I’m doing the IT band rehab workout 2x a week and dedicated core work on at least 2 other days. All of this is challenging my mental toughness and pushing me toward my goals!

      I’m all in for 2021!

    2. So I’m a bit late, but I love the theme. I’ve only had a running practice/habit for a few years now. After completing my first half-marathon in 2019 at the age of 49, I’d set the goal of running another one in 2020. COVID, work and surgery threw much of the year into disarray. But I worked to get back into a rhythm in the latter part of the year (partly thanks to a running buddy); the two of us ran our own half-marathon on Dec. 30 in cold, wet, windy Pacific Northwest conditions – but at a faster pace than my first half. For 2021, I’ve set a goal to increase my overall mileage by 33% (with a stretch goal of 66%), to run more half-marathons, and to maybe – just maybe – run a full marathon. My running friend and I have signed up for a couple of virtual running challenges and a virtual half – the finishing medals are motivators for us both. I’m looking forward to digging into more of the Strength Running content. Although I’m good at incorporating strength training into my overall fitness, I need to be more intentional in working on improving my running form, to add variety to my workouts so I increase speed, etc.

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