The Peaceful Runner would like to welcome Jason Fitzgerald, author of the popular website, Strength Running, for an interview. Jason has been running competitively for over 14 years and has achieved an impressive marathon PR of 2:39:32. He is a coach and author and he has helped thousands of athletes become better distance runners as they become stronger and run faster.
Please join us as we interview Jason Fitzgerald to learn more about how he helps so many others achieve their goals.
Q. Good morning Jason. You have been running competitively since your college days. How did you get started on your running career and did you ever think it would lead to you helping and coaching so many others?
A. Morning! My introduction to running is an unlikely one. I went out for the cross country team as a freshman in high school because I thought it was “like track” and I could high jump. I quickly learned that there are no field events in cross country and that we ran…every single day.
Luckily, I really liked the coaches and the team was fun so I stuck with it. I never thought it would lead me to where I am now, but I’m sure glad I stayed on that team!
Q. You began the Strength Running website in 2010 to help others run faster and stronger. You now have over 200 articles covering a wide variety of topics including: motivation, workouts, form, diet, etc. What are some of your most popular articles?
A. Of the 240+ posts I’ve written on SR, a sample of my top ten includes these crowd favorites:
7 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Running – great lessons for beginners
The ITB Rehab Routine – Video Demonstration – perfect for ITBS sufferers or those who are injury-prone in general
Hacking the Perfect Runner’s Diet: Food Lessons from a Lifetime of Obsession – I don’t write about food or diet often, but this one went viral for a few days!
Q. There are over 3000 members registered on your site who regularly receive your awesome newsletter. What other privileges do members receive when they sign up for a free membership on Strength Running?
A. Subscribers to my free newsletter get a lot of things!
First, they get access to what I call the Runner’s Gear Bag – a collection of resources that are only available to those on my private email list. It includes two ebooks, custom exercise illustrations for two core and flexibility routines, workouts, and extra articles.
Plus, they get newsletter articles that aren’t published on the blog, along with private sales on my coaching services and advanced notice of projects I’m working on.
Q. On the Strength Running website you offer customized race training plans based on each runner's specific schedule, fitness level, goals, injury profile and running experience. The many testimonials you receive attest to the success of your training plans. What type of runner do you think will benefit most from a customized training plan? Is there a certain level of skill that a runner should attain before seeking a customized training plan?
A. The great thing about customized training is that it fits every level of runner – after all, it’s 100% personalized!
I’ve written ITBS rehabilitation plans, walk-run plans for runners who want to get up to 10 miles safely, and 1.5 mile military fitness training programs. And of course, plans for every race distance from 5k to the 6-hour ultra. So far, the majority of runners who get a plan from me stay healthy and run faster than their goal.
Any runner who is looking to improve will benefit from a personal training plan – whether that’s time, distance, or even weight loss. It’s always tailored to the individual’s goals.
Q. You are the author of 101 Simple Ways to be a Better Runner and co-author of The Rebel Running Guide. Both of which have helped numerous runners achieve their best racing times. Do you have plans to write more books in the future?
Q. You have been running competitively for many years and you continue to race and train regularly. How do you stay motivated to keep training and racing?
A. I still think I can run faster than all of my PR’s and I know that my physical peak won’t last for long, so why not? I always look back on the times when I wasn’t running – either by choice or because of an injury – and for a short while it was fun. I stayed up late, partied a little more than I probably should have, and had a little more fun.
But at the end of the day, I missed pursuing a worthy goal like a new PR. I always feel more satisfied after a good run anyway so it makes sense for me to keep racing.
Q. You give a lot of advice to runners on injury prevention, running faster and staying healthy. You also advocate the importance of eating healthy. What do you think is one of the biggest mistakes runners make with regard to their dietary choices?
A. One of the biggest mistakes is probably over-complicating things. I eat a fairly healthy diet, but I’m not militant about it. I love ice cream, beer, and fast food! But I try to keep things as simple as possible when I cook (which is most nights) and focus on staying healthy 80% of the time.
A. I hope so! I haven’t committed to anything yet, but definitely stay tuned…
Strength Running has over 40,000 readers each month. You have also
been featured in a number of magazines and major online media sources,
such as: Active.com, Lifehacker.com, Yahoo, Shape Magazine, Health
Magazine, Fitness Magazine and Fox News Magazine. You are obviously
doing a lot of things right. What do you contribute most to the success
of your site and in what direction would you like to see it moving?
A. That’s a really good question. I think one of the things I did right over the last two and a half years was I always tried to write really great articles for my site and for every guest post I did on other websites. A lot of people can write a generic 600 word article, but it takes that detailed, formatted, and in-depth post to be a success.
In addition to simply writing great content, I’ve always had a growth mentality. That just means I was always looking for ways to grow my overall traffic and subscribers and I think I’ve done a pretty good job overall!
In the future I don’t see much changing on the blog front. I might be doing different things behind the scenes – like writing more books, speaking, or working with big races in some capacity – but I’ll keep writing for Strength Running and keep things relatively the same.
Q. And finally, Jason, we know you are very busy maintaining your website and coaching others, but do you have any personal goals you would like to attain in the near future?
A. For running, I’d love to get a new 10 Mile PR later this fall. It’ll be tough, but I’m shooting for it in about a month! My training has gone really well during the last 6 weeks so I’m very optimistic.
I’d also like to do some traveling with my wife, both domestic and international. Running is a great way to explore the world and I’d love to venture out and run in some breathtaking new places. It’s one of the best feelings!
Thank you Jason for your time today and thank you for sharing your knowledge so freely. We appreciate the extensive resource you have made available to all runners through Strength Running and we look forward to reading more great articles from you. Enjoy your travels and best of luck to you in achieving all new PRs!
You can also hear more from Jason Fitzgerald on Facebook and Twitter!