Fast Friday


Dave started running in his twenties and ran his first half marathon in his early thirties.
He then got injured and stopped running for 10 years. He picked it up again.. on and off… Throughout his forty’s and got into triathlons in his mid forty’s.

Meet Dave

I’ve completed three 70.3s, a few Olympic tri’s, and a number of sprint distances.”

Things took a small turn for the worst when Dave had to have back surgery in 2017 but luckily regained his fitness. He did have another minor back issue just before he joined Coach Parry.

Just like for a lot of us runners… Dave says running is his way of getting out and de-stressing – after a long day working, and especially during the pandemic, when so many in-person events were canceled, running was something he could still do – “something normal!”

Recent Achievements

I haven’t had too many Persolan Bests recently – a nagging back injury meant that running and training consistently was hard.”


Dave did manage to get his 10K time down to a fantastic 50:55!   

This is what he posted in the forum:

I completed my training plan to run a sub-55 10k and raced today in the Middletown 10k (Middletown, CT).  It’s a double loop course with a couple of inclines, but you finish with a downhill and a flat final 0.2 miles.  I was looking to run average splits of 8:30/mile and ended up running an average of 8:12/mile.  Really happy with my final time.  Looking forward to chatting with Lindsey on Thursday to start work on a half-marathon.  Thanks to everyone for the encouragement and for the program!”

His splits ended up being:

  1. 8:14
  2. 8:07
  3. 8:12
  4. 8:25
  5. 8:35
  6. 7:56
  7. 6:26 (for the last 0.2)

Joining Coach Parry

Dave found out about Coach Parry online and attended a Fast Beyond 50 online session in November 2020. 

I really liked the philosophy behind how the team approached running.”

Join us for a free online presentation of the…

The Faster Beyond 50 Masterclass

…and discover how you can run well (and faster) as you get olderwithout training more or harder than you currently are, all while avoiding injury. 

If it feels like you’re training harder than ever but not running the paces you’d like to be running or if you’re constantly tired, fatigued or running in some sort of pain, then this is specifically for you.

Save your seat in this training now…

Biggest Contributor To Dave’s Success Story

He tells us that it’s all about having a structured training program – and the guidance around running his slow runs slowly enough so that he can run hard during the interval sessions.  

Weight training is something I’d never really done before, so that has made a real difference too!”

What’s Next?

Dave has two half-marathons planned over the summer, along with an Olympic distance tri. 

I’d like to get into some more trail races – they definitely beat pounding the pavement!”

Difficulties That Had To Be Overcome Along The Way

Consistency – and learning to make time for working on core strength and stretching. I’ve had some back issues previously and stretching and core work were two of those things I always knew I needed to do…but just never took the time to do them.”

Dave said that he’s really trying to be disciplined in this department.

Some of my runs just felt like a slog and hard work.”

Dave also felt the challenge of looking at one workout session and not appreciating the overall impact of following a consistent plan…until race day!

He wants everyone to know that he has signed up for some 1:1 coaching sessions and these have been great!

To be able to talk through my goals and approach, and to have that additional accountability is excellent – I would highly recommend them!”

Amazing Dave, we can’t wait to hear from you after your half marathons and tri!
Keep up the hard work:)

As a child, she ran everywhere…

She ran track in junior high and track & cross country in high school.

She also ran on and off while raising her children,

Meet Kristen Nickel

In 1999 she decided to run the Boston Marathon, so she ran a qualifier and ended up running Boston in 2000, 2001, and 2016 (for her 50th birthday).

I guess I have some natural ability but I’ve enjoyed running plans and pushing the limits doing intervals and sticking to plans.”

Kristen knew that running and strength training was key to stalling her aging process.

She listened to podcasts about interval training triggering the growth hormone to slow down aging and then she stumbled on to Faster Beyond Fifty Framework and listened to the webinar and instantly knew it was for her.

Join us for a free online presentation of the…

The Faster Beyond 50 Masterclass

…and discover how you can run well (and faster) as you get olderwithout training more or harder than you currently are, all while avoiding injury. 

If it feels like you’re training harder than ever but not running the paces you’d like to be running or if you’re constantly tired, fatigued or running in some sort of pain, then this is specifically for you.

Save your seat in this training now…

Running Is Therapy

Our 29-year-old son died in December 2019 following a horrific fire accident that burned 95% of his body…

We thought he’d have months of rehab but the next day he died.”

Kristen told us how traumatic this was for her and her family.

For me, that withdrew from my life but my faith in a loving God and running kept me from drowning in my grief.”

Kristen knew that she had to run to feel better… “Running truly is therapy in the grieving process”

Recent PB’s

I ran a 3:49:37 on a brutally hilly marathon course on Sunday. It rained the whole time and was 15°C. I’m so glad I’ve trained FBF with you @Coach Parry. Thank you!! The strength training paid off. I should have gone out a little more conservative for the first 10 miles as the hills were even more significant later in the race and my legs felt it but I persevered. I was 2nd in my age group so I got an award.”

Kristen’s Forum Post

In October 2019 she ran a personal best of 7:52 pace per mile marathon (26.42 miles  3:27:51).
Since then Kristen has run a personal record of 1:43 half Marathon (In January 2021) 

In April 2021 Kristen broke her 5k record with an incredible time of 22:17 and in July the same year, she ran a record 47:16 10k. (While recovering from covid)

My success with Coach Parry is that I haven’t slowed down in my fifties and have stayed injury-free”

Enter Coach Parry…

I joined Coach Parry in September 2020.

Pre Coach Parry my personal best marathon had been at age 50 at the Boston Marathon but on my previous training plan – The Hansons training plan,  I was getting injured (metatarsal stress fracture, a glitchy knee, Morton’s neuroma, and then plantar fasciitis)

I was feeling tired throughout the day in the later stages of each planning cycle I did. 

Then… Kristen stumbled onto the Faster Beyond Fifty webinar and joined right away.

Biggest Contributor To Kristen’s Success

Kristen tells us that the biggest contributor to her success and achieving her Personal Bests has been the Coach Parry Faster Beyond Fifty Framework.

The Recovery and the strength sessions are game-changers for me”

Just FYI, the strength sessions all felt too easy at the beginning, and innocent doing each session but could barely move or sit the next day.”

Future Goals

“I’m racing a marathon in the BlueRidge Mountains (Virginia, USA). It starts at a high elevation and has 3 major climbs.”

Kristen lives at a low elevation and has only 2 available hills to train on… She runs up & down and does it over and over again.

She had trained hard last winter and was ready, but a week before the race her hubby came down very ill with Covid, so she deferred to this year. 

I would like to run a 50-mile race later this year, possibly & preferably a trail race.”

Kristen would also like to run every USA race with “Vacation Races” which are run in or near National Parks. 

Struggles Along The Way

Kristen says that winter running in Northern Michigan USA means a lot of ice, snow, wind, and bitterly cold days. 

Also, finding a balance between work, kids, grandkids, helping others, and then throwing in a bad day of grief, here and there can also be a bit challenging.

Hardest Part Of Reaching Goals

Kristen HATES running on a treadmill, so rearranging her days to match days where the road wouldn’t be covered in ice was tough to plan as she wanted to make sure her blocks were turning green.

Rearranging her jobs to be able to run when a stretch of road would be salted and melted enough to do intervals (which was in a nearby town), where she had to dodge traffic (not dangerously just annoyingly)  was also quite tough.

But on the flip side, having a spring big race is what keeps me motivated through the winter to get my butt out the door!”

Being Called Crazy

Kristen says “It’s kinda fun to be called “nuts”, “insane”, “beast”.”

Kristen thinks that it’s sad to see so many people her age or younger that aren’t doing anything as far as exercise or a healthy lifestyle and they’re aging right before her eyes, needing knee and hip surgeries. 

Then being told I’m going to ruin my knees from running so much!”

Amazing story Kristen!

We are so proud of how far you’ve come and can’t wait to see what the future holds for you!☺️

Mohsin started running in 2013 when he moved to Doha, Qatar as he wanted to live more of an active lifestyle.

Meet Mohsin Khan

Mohsin started pushing himself to run longer distances as he trained for his first marathon in 2014.

He lived abroad for 6 years and used to train alone.

I enjoyed the solitude on the long runs but since moving back to South Africa in 2018, I started training with an awesome running group and I can’t imagine going back to ever running alone.”

I’m sure a lot of you can relate to that!

Every run is a laugh and we are always pushing and motivating each other. The camaraderie and friendships made through running have been the best part for me!”

BEST Marathon PB!

Mohsin has been training to crack a sub-4hr marathon and is very pleased to report that he completed the Johnson Crane Marathon in a time of 3:58:23!

Devlin did advise to aim for a negative split given the relatively flatter 2nd half of the race but I ended up with a 1:57 / 2:01 split. I was a bit concerned going into the race as my ITB flared up a bit during the last couple of weeks.

With my knee all strapped up, I felt pretty comfortable in the 1st half and took some walk breaks but my legs and hips started feeling tight around halfway.

I pushed through and the last 7kms were quite brutal as pretty much all of my body was in pain! But I managed each km as best as I could and finished within my goal time for my 1st sub 4 and beat my marathon PB by about 6 mins.”

Mohsin’s forum post.

During the lockdown in July 2020, Mohsin and two of his friends joined a challenge to run every day for the whole of July. 

After running between 8km and 10km for 31 consecutive days, they decided to keep going and ended up running 1000km in 100 consecutive days!

“For the most part, it was pretty chilled easy runs, and only towards the end of the challenge when we started pushing the pace a bit more did we realize how our base fitness had increased significantly through consistent easy running.”

Smashing All His PBs!

After the challenge, he followed the Coach Parry sub 45min 10k plan and before the end of 2020, he had smashed his 5k, 10k, and 21k PBs. 

His previous 5k PB was 24:06 and he ran a 20:46.
His previous 10k PB was 50:05 and he ran a 44:58 on a pretty tough hilly course.
His previous 21k PB was 1:49 and he ran a 1:43. 

The effects of easy running and following a properly structured plan were huge

Mohsin joined Coach Parry in 2020 because he wanted to attempt his first Comrades but then COVID happened….

The Biggest Contributor To Mohsin’s Success Story

Structured plan… Easy running with good quality sessions and my running group (The Wendywood Cool Runners)”

What’s Next…

Of course… His first Comrades!

Mohsin will be targeting a sub 10 hour and … “after that, I want to aim for a sub 3:45 marathon. I would also love to break 20min in the 5k”

Set Backs along the way…

2021 was a pretty tough year personally and I didn’t run as much I would have liked.”

He managed to finish off the last few months of 2021 with consistent running and carried that over in 2022.

I have been pretty poor at strength work and had to really dig deep and push through to get my marathon PB at Johnson Crane. The last 7kms were torture!”

Mohsin says that seeing his wife and two kids at the finish line was the icing on the cake of a great day out! 🎂

Incredible story Mohsin, I know a lot of runners will relate to it!
Here comes … Comrades!  We KNOW you are absolutely going to SMASH it!

Desmond started running while in the army, it was a way to keep him from getting bored. 

Then a few of his friends started running, a couple did Comrades, and one even did the Washie 100 miler, which Desmond seconded him for. 

Meet Desmond Klein

Irene Trail

After finishing his national service, Desmond also decided to run the Comrades Marathon.

His first marathon was the Nashua Johannesburg Marathon in 1985.

He then joined Rockies (one of the oldest and most established running clubs in South Africa) and learned a lot about running from Don Oliver, who lead the club runs every Sunday.  

I qualified for Comrades in 1986 with a marathon time of 3:33, which was my PB until now.”

Recent PB’s

Desmond ran the Vaal Marathon as his Comrades qualifier and managed 3:50:18! 

My fastest marathon and first sub 4 hours since I started running again in 2017.”

His previous best since then was 4:06 when Desmond qualified in 2019. 

Cyclone Trail

After a 30-year break, he started running again in 2017.

I only started running again when my nephew told me was running a Parkrun, and wanted to do Comrades with me. (He still sometimes runs Parkruns, but has stopped talking about doing Comrades.)”

Since then, Desmond’s best PBs have been in 21km races, first 1:57 at Old Eds where he came 1st in his age group, and then a couple of months later at the Irene 21km where he came second in his age group in 1:50.

“My other best PB has been in 5km, with a PB of 22:44 in February this year.”

Old Eds Podium

Welcome, Coach Parry…

Desmond joined Coach Parry in November last year. 

He had decided that he needed more guidance to improve his times, as he is aiming to do a sub-10-hour Comrades. 

I also wanted someone who has experience with Comrades, and local conditions.”

The Biggest Contributor To Desmond’s Success Story

I’ve learned a lot from the videos that Coach Parry posts, as well as from reading the forums.”

Desmond also says that the addition of strength training has made a BIG difference to his running.

What’s Next?

After watching the YouTube video Shona posted about setting the goal to run Boston… I went to the Boston website and found that my time beat the qualifying time for my age group by 15 minutes!!!”

“So if my wife agrees, and my time is recognized, I might be joining Shona in Boston in 2023.”

60KM Day

Struggles Along The Way

The biggest hurdle for Desmond was keeping up the training and running during the lockdowns, as well as the lack of races to assess progress. 

Work was also a problem, but since he has retired it’s been a bit easier.

Join us for a free online presentation of the…

The Faster Beyond 50 Masterclass

…and discover how you can run well (and faster) as you get olderwithout training more or harder than you currently are, all while avoiding injury. 

If it feels like you’re training harder than ever but not running the paces you’d like to be running or if you’re constantly tired, fatigued or running in some sort of pain, then this is specifically for you.

Save your seat in this training now…

Hardest Part Of Reaching Goals?

I find that going on long runs by myself (3 or 4 hours) is difficult, but it does mean that I’ve learned to run without worrying or help from anyone else.”

Wonderful story Desmond!
We can’t wait to see what’s next! Keep it up:)

I am fast approaching 58 and have been running regularly for over 30 years”

David says that he wouldn’t be without running – it bestows on him a sense of calm, satisfaction, achievement, and much more. 

Meet David Brewer…

David was diagnosed with Osteoarthritis in 2014 and had to stop running for 4 years…

During this time he elected to have major hip surgery – “I have a ceramic resurfaced hip.”

David knew that he had to replace his running with something else

And so… He learned to swim from scratch at the age of 50.

I have since raced 2 ITU world championship Aquathlon races. But running is my first love and starting to capture my imagination again as I improve post-surgery and all the deconditioning that goes with not running for an extended period of time.”

Recent PB’s

David had just run a 1:29:45 at the Hannover half marathon which placed him  #8 out of 332 in the MV55-59 age category!!

Very happy with that and so Valencia marathon beckons in December 2022 and maybe even a crack at Comrades in 2023.”

David says that he followed the FBF sub 1:30 plan and it worked a dream – he ran a nice even pace and felt strong all the way around.

An Unforgettable Running Experience

In 1995 at the Berlin Marathon he set off hoping to run sun 3:10 having improved from 3:29 in New York in 1994 and 3:19 in London in 1995.

The next series of events is just too exciting, we had to quote David word for word!

Coincidentally I happened to notice my split at 14k was 59 mins. Hang on a minute I thought, I’ve just run a third distance in under an hour – I was scared and excited but felt good!”

So, I promised myself just to focus on maintaining pace and not worrying about time until 28k. The marker duly arrived and my watch said 1:58 – I had maintained my pace exactly. No choice now I thought, I have to go for it!”

I tried to contain the excitement, relax and maintain my pace. The last 5k was tough but I came home at 2:57:45.!!!”

Sub 3 glory and totally unexpected – I shall always remember the feeling of elation and how it lasted for such a long time.”

Hello, Coach Parry 

David joined Coach Parry 3 years ago… Although he says that he has only really been actively using training plans for 6 months or so and the benefits have been significant. 

He likes the ethos of FBF and the focus on strength and running – “It has certainly helped me a lot!”

Join us for a free online presentation of the…

The Faster Beyond 50 Masterclass

…and discover how you can run well (and faster) as you get olderwithout training more or harder than you currently are, all while avoiding injury. 

If it feels like you’re training harder than ever but not running the paces you’d like to be running or if you’re constantly tired, fatigued or running in some sort of pain, then this is specifically for you.

Save your seat in this training now…

The Biggest Contributor To David’s Success Story

“Undoubtedly following Coach Parry training plans!”

Future Goals

David’s first marathon in over 10 years at Valencia in December 2022.

Following a CP plan of course 😊… and then maybe Comrades in 2023, looking to go sub 9”

Struggles On The Journey

Osteoarthritis and major hip surgery meant David couldn’t run for 4 years in his early fifties, just as the deconditioning kicks in …

So it’s been tough to get back, but I finally feel like the strength and speed are returning.”

Hardest Part Of Reaching Your Goals

Nothing really – I’ve always enjoyed training hard and following the structure of a plan I believe in.”

Something Interesting

David had been following a low-carb diet for the last six months and it has worked very well for him.

“I have lost weight – now down to 65kg (height 179) without any loss in power and energy.”

He says that he has always trained hard fasted, so he feels a minimal impact there and he feels that his weight for racing now feels right.

Absolutely INSPIRING story David.

Bring on Valencia!💪

He first started running seriously back in 1981. 

Up until then, Stephen had dabbled with various sports including squash, football, and weight training… So, he had a fairly good level of fitness.

Meet Stephen Kelleher

I was introduced to running by a very dear work colleague and friend Basil Nielsen from New Zealand, a reigning European Masters middle distance champion at the time; he said he saw some potential in me and I believed him.”

He mentored Stephen for a while and now Stephen says that he has so much to thank Basil for.

In his early days of running, Stephen focused mainly on road running and completed his first-ever marathon at Harrow in 1983. 

I set myself a tough target of sub-3 not really knowing what to expect; I was ecstatic with the result of 2:59:42.”

The next 2 marathons in 1984 however were far less successful for Stephen… He was just outside 3 hours on a flooded Birmingham course and then had to survive a 90F heatwave at Slough where over 50% of the field dropped out. 

I achieved greater success though,  in London in 1985 with a sub 2:50 clocking and in 1986 I achieved a lifetime best at London with 2:43:50.“  – Amazing!!

Stephen managed a further 11 sub-3 marathon clockings up until 1995, the best of which was 24th place in the last ever Polytechnic marathon in 1993 in a sub 2:47 time. 

After 1995, injuries and the aging process made the sub-3 holy grail target so much more difficult for Stephen to attain. 

I persevered nonetheless and came very close on several occasions. To date I have now completed 31 marathons and I and not stopping yet; I have further targets to attain.”

He tells us that the best of these was the last ever-famous Polytechnic marathon in 1993 where he finished 24th at 2:46:50, Stephens 2nd best time.

Besides road running, I love Cross Country and I have been the XC Team manager for my current club Finch Coasters for the last 5 years. I am assuming they have given me this responsibility because of my experience rather than my ability.”

One of Stephen’s previous clubs was Crawley and he was honored to compete in the same National Cross Country team as the 3 times winner (and 1984 Olympic 5000 4th) Tim Hutchings, one of GB’s greatest ever cross country runners.


When he turned 50, Stephen ventured into the world of Biathle, a sprint event involving a 1k run, 100m swim, and a further 1k run. 

I felt that being a newbie to the 50’s age group and that the event was biased towards the running sections I may have a chance of doing well.”

So in 2007 he competed in the UK series and British championships and qualified for the World Championships in Monaco!!

I surprised myself and got a podium place, with a bronze medal in the MV50 age group. After that, I competed at the world championship level for the next 2 years but was unable to repeat the success of 2007.”

Love For Running

Stephen believes that running has helped him in several beneficial ways. 

“I have a very positive attitude; my glass is always half full not empty. It’s also given me great confidence in my work career and helped it to be a successful one”

Running had introduced Stephen to some great people, many of which are now his close friends.

Recent Achievements

Whilst I haven’t achieved any outright lifetime PBS recently (and realistically I won’t be doing so unless I try new distances) I have had some notable performances.”

Last year in Stephen’s 16th London Marathon, he managed 3:27:57, his fastest time for 12 years and well inside the London Marathon Good For Age time of 3:45:00. 

He also ran his second-best time for 10 years over 5k a few weeks ago with a time of 21:21. 

His half-marathon run a few weeks ago at the Wokingham Marathon was his fastest time in 12 years (1:36:31). 

Enter… Coach Parry

I have been with Coach Parry since March 2021 and I have enjoyed every minute!” 

Stephen thinks that as we get older we need to factor in more recovery runs into our programs and accept that we can no longer perform (training or racing) at the same level as in our younger years… (We couldn’t agree more!)

He was having difficulty accepting this and felt that the Coach Parry program would help discipline him to do so. 

I must confess though I do try occasionally to lead out our much younger club runners on training runs and this becomes a tempo session for me.”

Biggest Contributor To Stephen’s Success Story

The biggest factors contributing to his recent success are having a structured program to follow (“something I have lacked for several years”), the strength training classes each week (“hosted by some great coaches”), having a forum, and a live coaching call weekly. 

I also strongly believe that being a member of a running club helps considerably with training workloads and motivation.”

What’s Next…

Stephen reaches the MV65 age group in the next couple of months and the prospect of being the youngest in his age group excites him!

Knowing that this will be an opportunity to perform well against my peer runners. I aim to continue making marginal time improvements over 5k to marathon when compared to the last 12 years and to stay injury-free.”

Struggles Along The Way

The last few years of training haven’t gone all to plan for Stephen and he has had to overcome a foot stress fracture as well as a cardiac ablation procedure for Atrial Fibrillation. 

The latter is something that I am very mindful of and periodically I have had reoccurrences which interrupt my training.”

Hardest Part Of It All

Stephen says that he has found interval training to be the hardest part of the Coach Parry program, which he has followed in reaching his goals. 

It has not only been the physical aspect of achieving the times but also the mental aspect and self-belief that you can smash the sessions.”

He has found recently that doing these sessions in a group is helpful.

Something Interesting

I am a bit of a stickler when it comes to stats. I have maintained training diaries ever since 1981 and I know details of every session I have ever done including route, distance, times, and pace.”

That’s why he knows that as of today he has completed a lifetime mileage of 77,500 miles.

My target is to emulate the great Ron Hill and reach 100,000 miles, hopefully within the next 10 years.”

Stephen hopes that 2022 is going to be a big year for him in terms of running. 

He has a marathon at the end of April in his birth town of Blackpool, the primary aim being to comfortably get inside the London 2023 Good For Age by time of 3:45:00. 

In May I turn 65 and enter a new age group and in October I have my second marathon of the year the London Marathon. I am hoping that Coach Parry will keep me on the straight and narrow road to success.”

Amazing Stephen! Trust in the process and we’re sure that you’ll be able to stick on the straight and narrow road to success with no problems at all! 🙂

“I am determined not to give in to my age!”

He started running 5 years ago just before his 60th birthday…

After being presented with the stark choice of statins or more exercise to control his raised but not quite above threshold bio-markers. 

Yoga and golf were not athletic enough to satisfy the nurse who carried out his lifestyle medical. 

Meet Graeme

Graeme’s daughter is a 3:05 marathoner and she encouraged him to take up running. 

Up until then, I had only run to play or referee rugby which I gave up at 55. and, despite its image, rugby only requires you to sprint, walk and wrestle. So, I had only ever been anaerobically fit.”

He still thinks that he recovers from intervals better than he can push himself in endurance runs. 

At school, Graeme hated cross-country with a passion…

Having come 102nd out of 105 as a tall but fat 12-year-old.”

He could see no pleasure in running for no purpose. 

To Graeme chasing a ball at rugby, football or cricket was a purpose but running just to get out of breath or get a stitch gave him ABSOLUTELY no enjoyment.

I now run to defy my age.”

As of six weeks ago, Graeme could, for the first time, run 10k as part of an easy run without having to take a walk break.

I do take a break – but it is now out of choice (or CP instruction!) rather than necessity.”

Graeme is also an addict. 

I gave up alcohol twenty-four years ago with help and nicotine twelve years ago on my own. Running is a way for me to celebrate my health.”

Recent PB’s

This is his first PB for three years.

I got my Parkrun back below 30 minutes only three weeks ago although I don’t run it very often as I don’t find it fits well with easy running.”

For the first three years of running, he just practiced trying to run faster and faster with mixed success. 

All of Graeme’s PBs before Sunday were achieved anaerobically, even his first half marathon.

Which I have now beaten(Run fast/walk/run fast/walk)  and I now want to knock them off one by one aerobically by running steady and getting steadily quicker!”

Enter… Coach Parry

“I joined CP in October 2020”

Graeme tells us that he knew that he needed to acquire an aerobic base and didn’t know how to do so…

I had heard of heart rate and MAF training and didn’t know how to do that and then I stumbled across CP advertising the Fast Beyond Fifty program and decided to give it a go.”

Join us for a free online presentation of the…

The Faster Beyond 50 Masterclass

…and discover how you can run well (and faster) as you get olderwithout training more or harder than you currently are, all while avoiding injury. 

If it feels like you’re training harder than ever but not running the paces you’d like to be running or if you’re constantly tired, fatigued or running in some sort of pain, then this is specifically for you.

Save your seat in this training now…

The Biggest Contributor To Your Success

Creating an aerobic base through MAF and easy running is the secret sauce. 

This has taken Graeme fifteen months to do.

He has also chosen to lose weight and managed to lose 6kg during the twelve weeks of his latest training block. 

The two things together helped me to my PB”

What’s Next?

Edinburgh half-marathon at the end of May to try to get below 2:15:00.” 

Graeme can’t believe he is even considering a marathon!

“Earlier in my life, it was unimaginable that I might ever want to give it a go.”

He still thinks that he needs to do more of the easier runs. 

My aerobic base isn’t big enough yet. I might do 5k and 10k over the summer and plan for a marathon next spring.”

Difficulties Along The Way

“The last three miles on Sunday!”

Graeme believed that the stamina in his legs rather than the aerobic base is not where it needs to be and that it comes down to insufficient strength training.

The hardest part of completing his training block is that January, February, and March are absolutely the busiest time of the year in Graeme’s line of work. 

He tells us that he can easily be working a fourteen-hour day which can be mentally exhausting, so fitting in the training has been both a challenge and a motivation.

One of the biggest challenges Graeme had to face was dealing with runners’ trots and its unpredictability.

It has been a real issue for me and has led to many abandoned runs… I always have to plan.”

Graeme’s gut is now a bit better trained for his current training block, but still not without any drama… He knows that planning is a part of his running reality.

Running Community

Graeme’s son lives in New Zealand (He is in the UK) and pre-Covid they had managed to visit him and his family during the UK winter for a few years. 

I belong to a running club in NZ (I first broke 30 mins for Parkrun in NZ) and to two in the UK and have running friends on both sides of the world. “

Graeme believes that You don’t have to be a great runner to be part of a great running community. 

We couldn’t agree more Graeme! What a fantastic story…

Good luck
with the Edinburgh half-marathon next month!  Trust in the process!💪

John started running as a Freshman in High School, he was already playing basketball and baseball (his best sport) but his sister convinced him to run cross country so that he could meet people right away and stay fit for baseball.  

Turns out I was pretty good and stuck with it all four years.”

That was the start of John’s running career…

Meet John McShane

For about 15 years after High School, running and cycling became part of his after-school or work routine.  

It became a habit that gave me a sense of accomplishment and developed physical and mental toughness.”

John had a great working career that was filled with long hours and stress.  

Running became a form of meditation that gave me peace, calmness, and mindfulness.”

He ran his first marathon in 1997 (NYC).  

The thrill of finishing after 9 months of focused training is still one of the greatest sports experiences I have been a part of.”  

After that race, John was hooked on marathons, half-marathons, and triathlons! 

He tells us that he is naturally more competitive at 5K distance but marathons gave him a challenging goal over a long training period. 

“Once I was blessed with children and a dog, the early morning runs (with my dog, Tate) became my guaranteed workout!  The very first box I would check off for my day!  It always gave me confidence as I faced the challenges of the day ahead.”

Recent Personal Bests

John says that he is a big believer in “age-adjusted” personal bests once you have run races over several decades.  

His last marathon was in Chicago in 2014.  

A couple of years before that I had a serious health event.”  

He had an autoimmune response that caused significant inflammation in random joints and for almost two months John was only able to move with crutches…

The pain and inflammation eventually were manageable, but it resulted in nerve damage and “foot drop” in my right leg.”

It took almost a year to stabilize, strengthen his right leg, and get feeling back in his foot.  

Running another marathon became a goal, though John knew it would be a ‘couple of years’ journey.  

Long story, short…

I ran the marathon in 3:38:52, an age-adjusted PB!

More importantly, running had brought him back…a goal, purpose, confidence mentally and physically.  

That marathon was a special milestone!”

Recently, John started the 5K under 23min program to get refocused on running.  

He trained about 4 weeks following the program and did his first-time trial.

I did a 5K in 22:33!”

He ALREADY achieved his goal!

John then reset for 12 weeks following the same program (under 23 min)…

And ran a 21:33 5K. “I’m very happy with the program taking a full minute off my time.”

He thinks strength training was key for the faster shorter distance run.

When Did Coach Parry Join Your Running Journey?

I joined Coach Parry in September 2021.”

John retired in April and decided to pick up Golf as a hobby…

After several months of gradual improvement, he had a really bad day on the course. 

I was joking with a friend that I was going to focus on something I KNOW I can do well (running).”

That friend told John about Coach Parry and her experience.

So I joined and am loving it!  By the way, it has also helped my golf game!”

The Biggest Contributor To John’s Success Story

John says that three keys were the main contributors to his recent success…

1. This is the first time I incorporated strength training with the level of discipline required.  Strength was particularly important for my 5k success.

2.  Listen to your body.  I strained my calf muscle in my first 5K time trial.  In the past, I wouldn’t have rested and the strain would have turned into a bigger problem. Instead, I took a few days off, ramped back up, and then reset my 12-week plan for another 5K.

3.  Discipline with Flexibility!  Review your week and adjust your running program accordingly.  I can’t think of a week that I stuck exactly with the program each day.  I always adjusted the “when” but never sacrificed the structure of easy, intervals, rest, long runs, and strength training.

What’s Next?

Since I was able to knock off a full minute in my 5K time….my next goal is a sub 21min 5K!”

He ran a 41:06 10K 15 years ago….so John also wants to beat that on an “age-adjusted” basis!  

“I run better in cold weather, so the 10K will likely be in the Fall!”

John is also going to try to do a better job with his nutrition as well as trying to reduce his alcohol intake, he believes that by doing so he will have further success both in racing and general health.

Struggles Along The Way

He lives in a pretty remote and hilly area, so it’s really hard to stick to the paces for some of the runs because of the hills and also spotty GPS signal. 

I found that it was key for me to wear an HR monitor strap and let my heart rate guide me (and ignore my pace).”

For John’s time trials, he would drive to a paved flat trail to build confidence in his pace and progress. 

Hardest Part Of Reaching His Goals

For John, the hardest part of the journey to achieving his PBs was that he had several vacations, travel, and visitors during the 12-week training.  

Planning and being disciplined, yet flexible is always a challenge.  Fortunately, I share my goals openly with my friends and family so they are very supportive and understanding.”

What a marvelous & inspiring journey you have had so far John! We can’t wait to see you SMASH that sub 21min 5K! 

John has been trail running for about 15 years, more frequently since he decided that he’d pushed his luck far enough after rock climbing for 20 years (John is 57yrs old).

He’s been taking running much more seriously over the last 4 years to train for UTMB qualifier ultramarathons and especially over the last 2 years using Coach Parry Faster Beyond Fifty training plans. 

John started trail running in beautiful locations during rock climbing trips to help improve his climbing fitness. 

Continuing to run after stopping climbing, still keeps him regularly visiting beautiful natural environments which he finds especially helpful when life is busy! 

Meet Mountain Ultra Runner John Fowler

John tells us that running has also replaced the sense of achievement he always felt chasing rock climbing grades and serves as another adventure ‘thread’ that runs through his life and keeps him inspired. 

As someone who likes to achieve in all facets of life, it helps keep me motivated, buoyant and happy through these challenging times.”

John has completed a few hilly ultramarathons in the last few years, he even qualified for the UTMB OCC for 2020 but was then unfortunately unsuccessful on the ballot. 

I have no issue with motivation whatsoever (i.e. I am prone to overtraining) and have suffered from Achilles tendon and heel pain issues over the last 2 years, despite valiant efforts by my physio to sort me out! “

More recently John has been supplementing limited running with gravel biking adventures, now evolving into bike packing trips. 

This last weekend 4 of us completed 120KM with 2000m of ascent over Dartmoor in 2 days, including 1 night of wild camping on top of one of the 500m high Tors. “

John tells us that he is a self-employed, abseiling historic building surveyor and has recently taken a sort of semi-retirement to…

“allow me to focus more on my work-life balance, i.e. less work, more fun!”

Recent Achievements

The recent completion of the Ultra-Trail Snowdonia 50K mountain ultra (with 12,500 feet of ascent) and the subsequent UTMB OCC qualification is my most recent and proudest moment so far at 57 years old.”

It was also an Ultra Trail Word Tour round, so it was very significant to John. 

He fell over twice coming off the second mountain, cut open both of his forearms, and twisted his left knee. He could not run downhill from there, just before halfway, but could still run on the flat and gentle uphills.

I was still however really strong on the uphill power-hiking and I’m sure that came from a combination of FBF50 strength training and some other specific exercises my physio Jo Meek has given me. “

These plans do give you some hardcore ENDURANCE!!!”

So John got around within the cutoff time in 13 hours and 47 minutes, about 3 hours slower than expected but he was just grateful to complete it!

John said he doesn’t race very often as it took about 2 years for him to get over long-term Achilles and foot issues. 

I don’t chase PBs for this reason and also because I feel that mountain and hill running for me is primarily about the experience.”

But for some context, he ran the Exmoor North Coast 55 Km ultra with around 9000 feet of ascent in 8 hours 40 minutes so he can push on a bit if he needs to.

The joyous memories I have from running ultras around mountains in the dark wearing a headtorch with other like-minded loons far outweigh any ‘high’ I’ve experienced from a 5K PB!”

UTMB Dream To Reality

John wanted to share some advice to others setting out on their journeys …

  1. Stick to your Coach Parry plan, do the work and you’ll reap the benefits…. but do it with caveats…
  2. Stick to the pace and/or intensity and make sure you understand WHY those intensities are specified – it makes it easier to stick to a slow run for instance if you understand the benefits.
  3. Use these training plans as one tool within your tool-kit of resources such as advice on nutrition strategies, gait analysis, physio advice, equipment, etc.
  4. If you feel a niggle or injury coming on, ease off for a bit – its easier to recover from a niggle than an injury and you won’t lose much fitness if any for the sake of a few recovery days!
  5. If the injury gets worse, go and see a good physio promptly. Don’t ignore it.
  6. Do the exercises the physio gives you!!!!
  7. Work out your heart rate zones and try to stick to them, especially on the hills. Be honest about it.
  8. Get over the fact that when you’re training on hills and trails you’ll be doing quite a lot of walking during your easy runs and your average pace will be slower on Strava. Give your ego a rest!
  9. Factor in some training with a full-weight ultra pack (3.6kg for UTMB races and qualifiers). I do this on my Sunday long run so it involves even more walking until you get used to the weight.
  10. Don’t skip your strength sessions – you’ll get stronger on the hills AND become more resilient against injury.

The Journey With Coach Parry

I’ve been with Coach Parry for about 2 years and some adverts on Facebook piqued my interest as a more mature runner.”

John was injured at the time too and was looking for a solid way to recover and increase his strength and resilience against injury.

It has taken a while but I’m sure the Faster Beyond Fifty plans have been a major contributor to achieving a sustainable recovery.”

Join us for a free online presentation of the…

The Faster Beyond 50 Masterclass

…and discover how you can run well (and faster) as you get olderwithout training more or harder than you currently are, all while avoiding injury. 

If it feels like you’re training harder than ever but not running the paces you’d like to be running or if you’re constantly tired, fatigued or running in some sort of pain, then this is specifically for you.

Save your seat in this training now…

Biggest Contributor To John’s Success Story

John finds it difficult to pin it down to one thing. 

Being inspired enough to commit to solid training, hard work, consistency, the FBF plans, good nutrition (I’ve been vegan for about 5 years), sound rest, and recovery “

He says that it’s one of the fascinating things about sports and especially running, there are so many small things that you can improve on that collectively add up to big gains. 

I personally think that inspiration is huge – ever since I saw the UTMB races live on the internet in 2015 I KNEW I HAD to race around those mountains!!! “

John’s also a big fan of visualization and reverse-engineering or planning. 

After deciding on UTMB OCC I first researched how to qualify, then found the qualification races that I liked the look of and then worked out how to train for them, looked for training plans and other advice. 

Once you commit then things just start falling into place.”

Future Goals

The UTMB OCC 50K mountain ultra in the Alps in August is the ‘A’ race for this year and a long-term 7-year goal.”

He has a 22-mile hilly trail coast race called the Exe to Axe at the end of April as part of the build-up. 

John is not sure after UTMB as he is focused on this year at the moment, although he may do a crazy mountain ultra in Scotland that involves easy rock climbing and there are some other mountain ultras in Europe that he has one eye on.

Struggles Along The Way

I had a quite serious Achilles issue that stopped me running completely for about 3 months.”

John also had associated pain for well over a year while recovering and getting his hips and glutes strong! 

“I still feel the same niggle occasionally but it’s just a reminder that I need to focus on my running form or ease back on the intensity and/or volume.”

He says that you never stop learning! But you have a great chance of overcoming injury issues if you take good advice and put in the hard work.

Hardest Pary Of The Journey

“Understanding and embracing the injury recovery process and not overdoing things. “

John found that visualizing an upwards line on a graph representing recovery and understanding that all the training he was doing had to remain effectively underneath that line, helped restrain his enthusiasm. 

That’s where a really well-constructed recovery and training plan is invaluable I think.”

Something Interesting About John’s Story

He works as a self-employed contract historic building surveyor and most of the work does is done by abseil. 

John gets to abseil and photograph castles, cathedrals, and other important buildings all across the country including in London.

He then spends time at home writing the reports.

I sometimes, therefore, have to be adaptable with my training – strength training in hotel rooms without weights, running around central London sometimes in the evening instead of hills and mountains.”

But when he’s working from home he can take breaks and head out to the hills during the day in Winter for instance. 

So you need to be adaptable depending on the circumstances and make it work for you.

For sure, sometimes you might have overdone things and need to miss a session or run to prevent an injury, but generally, making excuses doesn’t help you achieve your goals! 

You need to put in the work :)”

Absolutely incredible story John! Wishing you luck for the big race ahead!  Keep us posted!

She’s been an on-and-off runner for most of her life, but ever since her 20s other goals and challenges have gotten in the way of putting running as a priority.

She’s always dreamed of running again and maybe even running well for her age…

Meet Ruthie Barrett

At age 19, Ruthie used to run 10 miles at 8 min/mile pace, routinely and easily.

When she lived in Santa Monica, during her college years at UCLA, she just ran for herself.

Now, at age 59, I’ve been doing around 17 min/mile for 2-3 miles — would sure like to get faster and go further.”

Ruthie says that running for her is very much about mental health.

As a therapist, as well as from the challenges of life, I somaticize quite a bit of stress and heavy emotions. I’ve found running to be the very best self-care. Nothing else helps me so well to clear out the negative and refresh my spirits.”

Why Ruthie Runs

Running makes me feel free, powerful, independent, capable, and good about myself. It combats stress and sadness.”

Ruthie says that running gives her hope and energy.

Ruthie’s best running was on her own in college, when she ran to combat loneliness and to feel good about something outside of school.

After a long period of sedentary work/school life (also post-breast-cancer, which certainly knocks the stuffing out of a person), I was very, very, very out of shape. In the last few years, I’ve been trying a lot of different things, and getting fitter, slowly. I’d love to be a faster runner, and generally stronger and healthier.”

Recent Achievements

Ruthie’s most recent PB is in the CP program when she just ran 70 min without stopping.

“This was an amazing (to me) accomplishment to run so long without stopping.”

She wondered if she could really run an hour or more, and we said, “if you stick with the program, it will work.”

The Biggest Contributor To Ruthie’s Success

Ruthie told us that the biggest contributor to her success has been following a program that works, and the coaches’ support.

On my end, persistence in following the program, even if I have to do my workout late at night after work.”

Future Goals

Fitness and well-being, I hope.”

Ruthie aims to run a 5K in July, and then longer races.

She’s even starting to believe that she might be able to do a 10K, marathon, or even longer someday. “That’d be super cool.”

Struggles Along The Way

I have crooked feet/ankles”

Ruthie says that she either has to toe out at 45 deg, or she has to walk/run on the outer edge of her feet if she points them straight, and trying to find the best way to position her feet has worried her, along with the pain from that, which was experienced sometimes.

Hardest Part Of Reaching Her PB

Not having a clear vision of how best to run. I’ve been around very athletic people, most of my life, and always been the slow one, painfully struggling not to embarrass myself.”

Ruthie says that she has developed a real aversion to running with others. She’s also tried coaches who treat her like she’s 20 years old, and that has resulted in discouragement and embarrassment.

I appreciate that the CP program sees me and encourages me where I am, at 59 years old, slow, and 50 lbs overweight, and still says I’m doing good stuff.”

Strong female runner

Join us for a free live online presentation of the…

The Running Through Menopause Masterclass

…and discover how you can run well (and faster) as you get olderwithout training more or harder than you currently are, all while avoiding injury. 

If it feels like you’re training harder than ever but not running the paces you’d like to be running or if you’re constantly tired, fatigued or running in some sort of pain, then this is specifically for you.

Wednesday 25 May 2022

11am Los Angeles | 2pm New York | 7pm London

Interesting Fact

Ruthie used to race Siberian Huskies, with her ex, and they won the Siberian Husky Sprint Racing Championship, Siberian Husky Club of America, 3 times!

I know quite a lot about how to train, feed, and inspire dogs to run fast, be healthy, and have fun. Lol, now I want the same for myself.”

Awesome accomplishment Ruthie! We can’t wait to see what’s next:)