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Runcoach Success Stories

Runcoach Success Stories (34)

Highlighting the successes of our awesome Runcoach athletes

rc success mitch gottlieb_smallMitchell Gottlieb

Major milestone: Marine Corps Marathon finisher

What is the secret to your success? Make a plan and stick to it.

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it? At 55 years old, it was a challenging age to pick up running and decide to run a marathon. Running in the Marine Corps Marathon helped to inspire me on my runs and having my wife push me out the door Monday mornings really helped as well.

What is the most rewarding part of training and the race? Finishing was very rewarding. Running in snow and rain and the look on people's faces as you run by in shorts with a big smile always pumped me up.  Race day was an emotional day. It was 9 days before my 56th birthday. The Marine Corps Marathon honors all Marines who have served to defend our great nation. During the race we ran through Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia. Running past monuments and buildings with such history was uplifting. Running through a sea of photos of our fallen soldiers lost in too many senseless wars was heart wrenching. Marines lined much of the course and I tried to shake hands and thank as many as I could.

 It was special to have my family cheering me on from multiple locations along the course. They have supported me for the last six months of training. They motivated me on days when I did not want to run, They worried about me when my long runs ran too long and always tried to get me to stretch. 

The most amazing part of the the race was the final .2 miles. Running up the Marine Corps War Memorial hill with cheering crowds and finally passing the finish line. My medal was presented to me by a Marine and finished off with a salute. I was not sure if I should return the salute but did my best after running 26.2 miles. It was a day I will never forget. I'm already looking forward to another marathon.




haleycarwile Haley Carwile

Major milestone: 2017 Marine Corps Marathon 

What is the secret to your success? I followed my Runcoach MCM training program from start to finish -- over 787 running miles!  My secret to success was never giving up.  Even if I had to set my alarm for 3:45 AM to get those long runs in!

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it? One week before my race, I sprained my achilles tendon doing a recovery run on the treadmill.  I had never injured myself before and had no idea how it would impact my race.  I rested, iced, and took over the counter painkillers all week and set a personal goal to run the race as best as I could.  I used mental toughness to get through 26.2 miles with an injury.

What is the most rewarding part of training? Seeing results! (I was able to run a 7:30 mile by the end.) Always having something new to try (great workout variation), I loved receiving new workouts each week, and watching the logged miles get higher and higher! Runcoach was amazing through my entire training process.  

What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community? You are strong.  You are tough.  Stick to the training and TRUST it! 




rc success_haroldpizzettaName: Harold Pizzetta

Major milestone: I qualified for the Boston Marathon!

What is the secret to your success? Using Runcoach took away the need for me to stress over how to and how much to train.  Runcoach allowed me to focus on enjoying running and racing.

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it? Like many, self-doubt and an injury along the way creates a real risk that i would give up on the marathon distance.  My IT band required me to ramp down my running twice while transitioning from half to full.  During the second episode, I was sure that I was not going to achieve marathon distance.  Following the Runcoach schedule brought me back and fully prepared me for the marathon. 

What is the most rewarding part of training? I think back to the transition from half- to full-marathon training.  I was absolutely intimidated by the thought of several 20+ mile Saturday runs.  But, little by little, Runcoach added miles and I held on for the ride.  Reflecting on how far I have come keeps me motivated.

What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community? Rest days and easy runs are requirements, just as much as hard workouts and long runs.  The easy runs helped my up my miles per week without serious injury or over-training. 

Anything else you would like to share? As much as I hate to admit it, I think the speed work suggested by the training plan made a great deal of difference.  Those workouts are the most difficult for me, but worth the effort in the end. I have emailed Runcoach for support and suggestions on a few occasions.  Each time, the support was terrific.  In particular, I got some good advice on adjusting my schedule to deal with an injury.




Mike Portman ran a blazing 2:53 in his first marathon this year. Now, he's using Runcoach to train for California International Marathon and the Boston Marathon. And he's set his sights on a sub-2:50 finish.


Mike PortmanName: Mike Portman

Major milestone: I finished my first marathon in 2:53 at the 2016 Chicago Marathon. 

What is the secret to your success? To treat training like it is a 24/7 job. That means running, strength, good nutrition, hydration, sleep, and trying to keep your life as stress free as possible.

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it? Trying to prioritize what in my life is important that can be delayed till the training program is over. When the volume gets very high I focus on the big things that always need to be taken care of (such as work and family). Other things (like my social life), I push back till my racing has calmed down.

What is the most rewarding part of training? The satisfaction of getting the work done day in and day out.

What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community? Stick to the plan, but don't be religious about it. The plan itself is solid but training is organic. If you can't hit certain splits, distances, or times once in a while don't be too down on yourself.  Just do what you can day to day and the results will follow.

Anything else you would like to share?  I’m training for the California International Marathon and then the Boston Marathon. Hopefully both will be solid PR's from Chicago! This plan for CIM has been lot harder than Chicago's but that's probably because now I know what I can do and so far my form is coming along. I’m definitely way more prepared than anyone I know currently training for that race. I’m hoping to go sub 2:50 and right now I think that's doable with 10 weeks to go.



A lot of people put off pursuing a goal, waiting some time to materialize when work is calm, home life isn’t hectic, and there’s plenty of time to train. Not Shanley Roach. She trained for Grandma’s Marathon, even as she navigated a major life change and a move. “My training wasn't perfect, but I trusted my body and just went for it come race day!”

shanleyroach 1Name: Shanley Roach

Major milestone: I recently just ran my very first marathon, Grandma's Marathon, whoohoo! It was amazing and so much fun and I can't wait to run my next marathon!

What is the secret to your success? Persevering through whatever comes at you in life. A major lesson I learned is that your training is not going to be perfect. Life throws things at you and it’s okay!

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it? In the month leading up to my race, I graduated from my undergraduate college, moved cities, and started graduate school. I didn't train to as much mileage as I had hoped to do because of all this, but I still tried to run what I could leading up to the race and never gave up even when I didn't think I would make it to race day.

What is the most rewarding part of training? The moment that I increased my weekly training pace. I always considered myself a slower runner, so nothing felt more rewarding than realizing I could bump up my training pace. My long runs were still the same speed, but I was able to run faster during the week and feel comfortable with it. It was a major high point of training!

What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community? Just keep running. And also do some lifting. Your hamstrings, knees, and IT Band  will Thank you.. Make sure your quads and hamstrings/glutes are proportionate in their strength! And Foam roll every day because it seriously will makes a difference after only 2 weeks.

Click here to learn more about the Grandma's Marathon & Half Marathon Training Program.

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rc_runcoachsuccess_houston_doncraig

Don Craig didn't even start running until he was in his late 30s, and ran his first marathon when he was 45.  In just five years, he's finished four marathons and qualified for Boston twice, including at the 2017 Houston Marathon. Now, he's headed for the 2018 Boston Marathon, which falls on his 50th birthday. He's also aiming for a sub-3:20 finish at the New York City Marathon in December.

 "There have been times I've looked at my Runcoach plan for the week, especially in the last third of the marathon training, and told my family 'I have no idea how I will do that,'" he says. "But when I do, it is an amazing feeling of validation of the work put in to that point."

Don Craig
Sport: Running

What is the secret to your success? The most important has been finding a plan and sticking to it, almost religiously.  The Runcoach program has given me the variety and challenge needed to get me to not be stagnant.  But also, there is not enough said about visualizing your success on race day.  For my first BQ in Fargo (my 2nd full marathon) I had visualized the clock reading 3:22 as I came down the last block. I thought of that for weeks.  Sure enough, I turned the corner that day and saw the clock ahead and it said 3:22.

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it? Life is the biggest obstacle.  With a family, a demanding job, travel, and spouse, just like all of us, getting in the hours is tough.  I've learned I do best if I get up at crazy hours (like 4:30 am) so I can get 'er done before the rest of my life has to begin. When I travel, the first thing I check is what running gear I will need, even before the work clothes.  And I hold myself accountable.  If I decide to sleep in when I was supposed to run, then I fit it in later that day.  Sometimes that means I am now running in hot humid conditions or it’s snowing (it's Boston), but that is my self-imposed punishment.

What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community? Set high goals.  Everyone thought I was nuts setting a goal to qualify for the Boston Marathon, since I was 45 years old, and had only run one full marathon.  Now my goal is a sub 3:20 marathon in NYC in November and to BQ in Boston on my 50th birthday.  Set the goal, set the plan and execute. Anything is possible.

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rc_bryanveal_cropBryan Veal

Sport: Marathons

Major milestone: I have completed 40 marathons over the past 18 years.

What is the secret to your success? Finding something I enjoy, and having dear friends to run with.

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it? About 1.5 years ago, after dramatic energy loss in marathon about 1.5 years ago, I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. It's been very hard since to find strength after around 15 miles and my times have dramatically slowed. But I still fully train and have finished 6 marathons since then.

What is the most rewarding part of training? Being with friends of 13 to 14 years. Almost 1 year training with Runcoach and it has been my best resource in 18 years of marathons. It's consistent, fit to my goals, balanced, well rounded, well supported. Mostly it's always there.

What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community? Find the joy and accept yourself.


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Just three years ago, Jorge Cortes had no running experience, and was completely out of shape. Then he used Runcoach to train for the Aramco Houston Half Marathon. Today, he's a Boston Qualifier with a 3:27 PR. What's the most rewarding part of training? "Overcoming difficulties," he says.


Jorge Cortes

 2jorge 1
Major milestone: I qualified for the Boston Marathon with a 3:27:12. (The qualifying standard for my age is 3:40).

What is the secret to your success? Set goals that are realistic, but aggressive. You have to push yourself.

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it? Time commitment. I always found excuses why I could not do it, and thought I did not have the time. I made the commitment to myself I would find the time, and I do. It’s up to me if I want to waste my time in other things. We always do, so it is a matter of priorities.

What is the most rewarding part of training? Overcoming difficulties. The success (beating your time, runs in perfect conditions, etc) are easy. I like it when it is hard, when I am tired, when you go against the wind or the heat or the humidity, and you still complete your training.

What advice would you give to other members of the runcoach community? Invite others who are not doing it!

What feedback would you offer on Runcoach? I love it. I started running in 2014 and Runcoach, which I found when I registered for the Houston Half Marathon. I went from being in no shape, and having zero experience, to running marathons the next year, then qualifying for Boston. Thank you!


We're proud to be the Official Training Partner of the 2018 Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Half Marathon!  To learn more, click here.

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Stacey Bain quit smoking and picked up running four years ago at the age of 48. She was hooked on the sport with her first 5K. She now has 12 half marathons under her belt, and is training for The 2018 Houston Marathon, which will be her first. Along the way, she’s learned that running is a powerful happiness potion. “You’re only one run away from a good mood,” she says.  “Running is cheaper than therapy!”

staceybainStacey Bain

Major milestone: I quit smoking 4 years ago and started running at the age of 48. I ran my first 5K and I was hooked. I decided to run a race every month leading up to my first half marathon before I turned 50. Thinking it would be my only half, (yeah right!). I've completed 12 half marathons and am training for my first full marathon—the 2018 Chevron Houston Marathon. 

What is the secret to your success?  I’ve also learned that quality miles—like interval workouts— are better than quantity.

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it? Tibalius Posterior Tendonitis/Tendonosis, an inflammation in the tendon that supports the arch of the foot when walking. I have learned that quality miles are better than quantity. I’m learning to rest on rest days! I've also struggled with a new tendency to eat more sweets. Runners often develop an entitlement attitude about eating, reasoning, "I can eat that, since I ran 8 miles, etc".  My sweet consumption has gotten out of control and I've really had to focus more and fueling and healthy foods!

What is the most rewarding part of training? When I've completed my long runs and races! I train alone and usually run races alone, but I love the running community.

What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community? When you’re thinking about your progress, remember: you might not be where you want to be, but you're not where you used to be!

We're proud to be the Official Training Partner of the 2018 Chevron Houston Marathon! To learn more, click here.  


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rc_successstory_bigelowWes Bigelow may be a relatively new runner, but he’s already learned one of the most important rules about running.

“Push yourself, but don't forget to enjoy yourself too,” he said. “If you never have any fun you probably won’t stick with it.”

Luckily, he’s having a great time. Bigelow has already logged more than 800 miles while training for his third marathon, and recently got a half-marathon PR of 2:03.

“I'm feeling great and looking forward to a little taper time,” he says. “Runcoach has been a great training plan that pushed me harder than I would have thought I could go on my own.”

Name: Wes Bigelow

Favorite sport: running

Major milestone: training for marathon number 3!

What’s the secret to your success? There is no secret. I’m a firm believer that if I can run a marathon, anybody can.  It’s just a matter of commitment and desire. And maybe being a little crazy.

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it? The biggest obstacle to marathon training is putting in the miles. There are many days where the weather is bad or your legs are sore or you just plain don't feel like running. The only way to get over it is just lace up the shoes and go. No matter how miserable the run is, you never regret it when you finish.

What is the most rewarding part of training? Seeing your hard work pay off when you reach new milestones and set new personal records.

What advice would you give to others? There is always somebody faster and somebody slower. Run your own pace and do it for yourself, nobody else matters.

What advice would have for other runners? If you are training for a longer race like a half or full marathon, a good training program is invaluable. It keeps you on track and makes you accountable for your training. Push yourself, but don't forget to enjoy yourself too. If you never have any fun you probably won’t stick with it. Don’t be afraid to take a short break.  Runcoach has worked great for me so far. I try to follow as close as I can but it doesn't feel like I'm getting penalized if a week doesn't go as well as planned.

UPDATE: After his story was published, Wes ran a 17-minute PR at the 2017 Grandma's Marathon— that's 37 minutes faster than last year. Congrats Wes! You rock!

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