A Learning Experience

Romayn Richards got a BQ in his first marathon attempt but learned a lot along the way…

I completed my first ever half marathon on 09/19/2020, with an unofficial time of 1:26:43 (per Garmin), and instantly decided I wanted to try running a full marathon.

I figured if I was going to run a marathon, why not sign up for a Boston Qualifier (BQ) marathon, just in case I’m able to achieve my age group’s qualifying time of 3:00:00. I knew from the beginning this was going to be a long shot, but I had to have something to aim for. 

Initially, I signed up for the Millinocket Marathon (in Maine), scheduled for early December. This gave me a little over 12 weeks to prepare. Unfortunately, the event was cancelled and the only remaining BQ marathon in all of New England for 2020 was the Manchester City Marathon (in New Hampshire), on November 8th, which gave me exactly 7 weeks to prepare.

Coincidentally, a guy I occasionally road bike with owned a copy of Daniels’ Running Formula (2nd edition). He offered me the book after I mentioned wanting to run a marathon. I not only read the entire book, but I ordered and read the entire 3rd edition; all within a week timeframe! (Thank you, Amazon!)

I then reached out to Run SMART for help with preparing for my first marathon in the small amount of time I had. Thankfully, they quickly responded and provided me with a very simple training schedule for the 6 weeks I had before the marathon.  

3…2…1… GO!

The first 15 miles felt absolutely perfect.  I held a 6:21/mile pace (WAY TOO FAST), and I had no doubt in my mind I would finish in under 3:00:00. But after mile 15, things began going south very quickly. My legs were fried, my form began failing, my breathing was sporadic, and my running form no longer felt fluid. I’d be lying if I said the thought of quitting never crossed my mind during the last 11.2 miles. 

Fast forward to the end: my final 3 miles were all over 8:00/mile, and I practically stumbled across the finish line. My wife told me that when my father saw me approaching the finish line he asked “Why isn’t he running?”

Thankfully, I officially finished the marathon in 2:58:20. I will not attempt to sugarcoat anything… This was hands down the most physically and mentally challenging event I’ve ever experienced. I obviously dug myself a hole early on by trying to hold a unrealistic pace, and I spent the final 11.2 miles paying for it!

Looking back on it, I would not advise anyone to attempt to prepare for a marathon in 7 weeks… It’s now almost 72 hours after the marathon and still barely able to walk. I have a peroneal tendon injury on my right foot that’ll likely take a few weeks to heal, both quadriceps still hurt to touch (let alone stretch), and I have nasty blisters covering the entire tip of three of my toes. 

But now that I have my first marathon under my belt, I would like to reach out to Run SMART for a proper training plan, seeing how I have adequate time before my next scheduled marathon (18-24 weeks), which is tentatively scheduled from early May 2021.

I cannot thank Jack and the entire Run SMART team enough for all their help! 

Jason Snyder Sets New Marathon PR

Jason Snyder continues to make great progress even during the pandemic. Congratulations on your new PR. Plus, with virtual racing you can finish two marathons at the same time!

20-Year-Old PR

Bradley Geilfuss is now faster than his 26-year-old self. His sub-18 virtual 5k smashes a 20-year-old PR. He’s now set a PR in every distance from the mile to the marathon under the guidance of coach Gary Berard.

Don’t let the pandemic get you down. Keep training. Challenge yourself.

Take Pride In Choosing To Run

The marathon endeavor is about the commitment, the planning and the disciplined developed over many weeks of training. Take pride in all the hard work you’ve put in. Take pride in being part of the running community. Take pride in choosing to run and lead a healthier lifestyle, hopefully influencing others to do the same. Take pride in your decision to run and do marathons.

Congrats to all our marathon finishers this year and good luck to those running marathons to come!

That Makes Five Straight Races With PRs

Mike Prest of Chicago Illinois and Run SMART coach Jay Bawcom have been on a tear lately. Recently, Mike set his fifth straight PR at a local 8k! He managed to break 34-minutes for the first time ever, finishing in 33:47 (6:48 per mile). He averaged 6:51 pace for the first 5k then ended up running his fastest mile of the race in the last mile (6:40)!

Congrats, guys! Keep it going!!

Jimmy Carney Finds His 5k Fountain Of Youth

Jimmy Carney was kind enough to share some feedback on his latest race result while following one of our 12-week 5k custom plans from Dr. Jack Daniels. It’s been roughly 15-years since he averaged sub-7 for a 5k!

Wow – I’ve been hit with two awesome surprises today at my first 5K (3.1 miles) race of the year: (1) I finished **2nd** in my age group, which never has happened before (I think that silver is my new favorite color! smile emoticon ); and (2) I averaged less than 7 min. per mile (6:59 to be exact!), which I haven’t done since high school many years ago.

I wanted to thank my peers and coaches at The Run SMART Project and Evanston Running Club for challenging and encouraging me to become a better runner; seriously, today’s outcome was a team effort!

Can Choosing The “Right” Friends Improve Your Fitness?

While you can’t choose your family, you can choose your friends and science tells us that you better choose carefully. Numerous scientific studies demonstrate that your social circle affects more than which post-run brunch location you go to. Your social circle also affects your health. Perhaps the most famous of these studies is a 2007 study published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine entitled “The Spread of Obesity in a Large Social Network Over 32 years”.

Science on the Run: Not All Fitness Trackers Are Created Equal

Linking current research to running

By Nikki Reiter

Do you own or are you considering a fitness tracker? These monitors claim to be a great way to measure energy expenditure and physical activity levels and can help enhance self-monitoring for behavior change. As many of us are desk workers, it’s important to track how much physical activity we are truly getting in a day for our general health. When it comes to training, it’s also invaluable to know how hard we are actually working in order to plan proper recovery.

A recent publication presents an evaluation of the validity, or accuracy, of a variety of industry-leading fitness trackers.



Marimac in red after winning TN State XC team title.

[Editor’s note from coach Malindi Elmore]:  

One of the most rewarding aspects of being a Run SMART coach are the relationships I build with interesting and talented people. I started working with my track coach when I was 14 and, except for my years at university, he remained my coach for the duration of my career – twenty years this year! One of the reasons we’ve been able to work together effectively was because he truly cared about me as a person and supported my other interests and talents. I was a person, not just a runner.

The Perfect Gift For The Runner In Your Life


By Ann Alyanak

Are you still looking for the perfect gift for that special someone in your life? Is that person a runner? A Run S.M.A.R.T coaching package can make a great gift. Or maybe you need to be honest with yourself. If you’re reading this maybe getting a coach could be the perfect gift for you! Ok, I am a coach and I’m clearly biased but there are many good reasons why starting a coaching subscription can do wonders for your running. Fall into one of these categories?

Has your racing hit a plateau?

A Run S.M.A.R.T. coach can tweak your training and introduce new challenges to create a breakthrough. If you continue to complete the same workouts it will lead to the same results. A coach will have new ideas and training plans to help you improve your recent results. He or she can objectively look at your previous training to find your strengths and weaknesses and work with these to put a plan together to help you reach your goals.