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! 

Comments are closed.