If you want a month by month blueprint for becoming a better runner, you're in the right place.

Regardless of distance or speed goals, we all need a strong running foundation that encourages consistency, proper, injury free training, and promotes running longevity.

The problem is that most of us have no clue how to make that happen. We follow a training plan, but then what? We're either left injured or unsure what to do next after the plan ends.

I'm Doug Hay, founder of Rock Creek Runner, running coach, and 100-mile ultramarathoner.

For the longest time, I ran the same workouts and routes day after day, because I knew I should run, but didn’t know how to do it better. But after awhile, my long runs became less, well, long, and happy hour drinks with friends started taking precedent over weekday miles. You gotta love a cheap cocktail.

I was stuck on my running plateau — that frustrating spot where most runners lose focus — and no longer progressing.

And I know I'm not the only one who's found themselves on the running plateau ... because runners come to me frustrated with lack of progress or motivation all the time.

Or worse, they're simply tired of being injured and ready to quit all together.

Well I've got some good news. There's a way off the plateau.

And it starts with the fundamentals.


The other day while chatting with Monica, one of my coaching clients, she shared something that left an impression on me. She said,

“Working with you has been the best thing I could have done for my running.”

I’m not going to lie, that was nice to hear, but more importantly, I was ecstatic for her. See, I don’t have any magic powers — there are other coaches and programs that I’m sure she’d also have success with. But what I am providing is just what she needs:

  - Focused instructions on exactly how to train (and improve)
  - Clear goals that keep her inspired
  - Someone encouraging her and watching out for her

That’s the formula I've needed to continue to improve as a runner.

And after having the privilege of speaking to and working with countless runners through Rock Creek Runner, that’s what I’ve learned almost everyone needs.

Instead of stalling out … Instead of reaching your running plateau, you can:

  … Get stronger and build consistency.
  … Prevent injuries, and strengthen the right muscles.
  … Maximize endurance, improve your running form and efficiency.

By going back to the fundamentals, and breaking down (and building back up) a part of your running each month, you start to become the runner who reaches her goals, stays injury free, and achieves things she never believed she could.

And that, my friends, is a beautiful thing.


A goal oriented membership program where we’ll go in-depth on a new topic each month, set actionable goals, and take your running to the Next Level.

Sounds pretty great, right? Here’s what’s included in the program:

1) In-depth Education on the Most Important Running and Training Topics

Each month we’ll go in-depth into a new running topic. The bulk of the information will be delivered at the beginning of the month, so you can work through at your own pace, with follow-up materials and motivation shared throughout.

Think a few hours per month (at your own pace, of course) out of your sneakers learning, then the rest of the month putting it into action through runs and workouts.

I know that not all topics are best taught through a single platform, so depending on the month’s focus, we’ll use a combination of video, audio recordings and interviews, worksheets, and text.

And to dive in even deeper, several topics will utilize other running coaches and experts.

Here's the actual list of what we'll cover in the first few months:

Focus 1: Build a Consistent Running Routine. This month includes worksheets, a video interview with routine building expert Jeff Sanders, and a blueprint for creating a sustainable running routine.

Focus 2: Perfecting Your Running Form for Power, Efficiency, and Speed. Through 10 seperate video demostrations I outline proper form (from head to toe) and drills to guarantee efficient running.

Focus 3: Injury-Proof Your Running. A roadmap to injury-free running, with an actionable interview with coach Jeff Gaudette, exclusive routine videos, and yoga for runners sequence.

Focus 4: Developing Powerful Speed (to Propel You Toward Your Goals). This month includes weekly challenges and speed work details, adaptable for every running goal, reguardless of the distance.

From there, it just keeps getting better. Other topics include:

  - Mental toughness to get through even the worst runs
  - Mastering the art of running up and down hills and mountains
  - Strength and cross training routine for every runner
  - Nutrition for stronger training and racing
  - Building a massive endurance base
  - Trail running for better running on and off the trail
  - Racing and pacing strategies to cross the finish line

Now if that doesn’t sound good, then this program probably isn’t for you … But I’m willing to bet that it does.

2) A Monthly Goal to Put the Education into Action

Without action, knowledge is useless. So along with the in-depth education will come a new 30-day goal or challenge each month.

These goals add:

  - Excitement and a sense of accomplishment
  - Inspiration to keep growing month after month
  - A tangible, concrete objective to aim for each month

They’ll be challenging, but adaptable to your level and overall goals. Beginner to expert, we’ve got you covered.

3) Training Plans to Fit Your Needs (Reguadless of skill level or running goal)

With each new focus and goal comes a 30-day training plan designed to incorporate and focus on the topic and help you reach goal. The plans will build on previous months to ensure that you’re constantly progressing and strengthening throughout the year.

Each month will include the option of:

  - Low, medium, or high mileage 30-day training plans
  - Mile or Metric versions of each option
  - Excel or Google Doc downloads

And as always, all training plans are delivered through Rock Creek Runner’s unique, interactive tracker, created to help you better understand your training in real time. They’re also designed to be adaptable as you incorporate custom training depending on your race schedule.

4) Live Monthly Q&A Coaching Sessions

Sometimes, even with the best materials, you just want to ask a specific, personal question. That’s where the monthly Q&A sessions will come in handy. Every month we’ll schedule a live Q&A webinar where you can ask anything what want (well, almost anything…) about that month’s topic or your training in general.

Just in case you can’t make it live, the coaching sessions will also be recorded and stored within the program.

5) Connection and Community

Part of what makes running unique is the strong and welcoming community. So, when designing Next Level Runner, it was important to me that all members could work together and interact.

After joining the program, you’ll gain access to a private Facebook group, just for members. It’s here that you can hold each other accountable, brag about a big training run, and announce to your fellow runners that you just signed up for a race. We’ll support each other, answer questions, and provide a unique sense of community.


And just because I know some of you will want to dive in and ingest as much information as possible right away, I’ve decided to throw in several bonuses for free.

Bonus 1: Expert Interviews

Stephanie Marie Howe on Nutrition and Training

Stephanie is an elite ultrarunner and nutritionist, with a win at the Western States 100. In this audio and video interview, we discuss:

  - The importance of everyday nutrition for runners
  - Guidelines to follow with your typical diet
  - What to eat before and during a long run or race
  - How to use food for recovery

Matt Frazier on Goal Setting and Accountability

Matt Frazier is an ultrarunner, blogger at No Meat Athlete, and a man obsessed with habits and goal setting. In this video and audio interview, we break down:

  - How to set massive goals you’ll actually reach
  - Why accountability matters for runners
  - The small set approach to reaching your goals
  - What to do when something goes wrong

Bonus 2: Yoga For Runners with Katie Hay

One of the best complements to running I’ve found is yoga. The strengthening, stretching, and balance building poses give you confidence and power on and off the road or trail.

As a bonus to this program, Katie Hay, Registered Yoga Teacher (500 level), Yoga Therapist, and my wife, has recorded a 20 minute yoga session designed specifically for runners.

Bonus 3: The Race Week Blueprint

The Ultrarunner’s Race Week Blueprint is an eBook system, split in to daily chapters for the final week of your training. Each day includes:

  - What to eat
  - How to run
  - A race week action for each day leading up to the race.

In addition to the eBook itself, you’ll gain access to my crew sheet and pace chart templates, and a race day packing list.


I’m not going to pretend this is for everyone.

If your training is going great. If you’re improving month after month. Or if you just don’t have the time or energy to put into a program like this, then you shouldn’t even bother. Thanks for reading this page, and I hope to see you around the blog.

But if that’s not you …

If you’re feeling stuck and want a clear direction on how to move forward, or if you’re ready to start taking running serious for the first time, Next Level Runner can help.

There are no experience requirements here. You can be training for your first 10k, or celebrating your 10th ultramarathon. This isn’t about helping everyone reach the same time split or distance goal.

It’s about elevating your running to the next level, no matter where your starting point may be.

So what do you say? Are you ready to take your training to the next level?

You can join now to for just 17 dollars per month. By joining now, you’re locking in the $17 rate until you cancel (which, by the way, you can do at any point from inside the membership site).

“I’ve loved working with Doug as a coach to get me to a new place in my running. He’s worked with me to properly train for new distances and situations – be it a mountainous race or longer distance than I’ve ever run. Working with Doug allows me to focus on my running itself, instead of having to think – and overthink – what I should be doing at any point in race prep.”

Jaime Zaplatosch, Illinois

ready to take your running to the next level?

Click the blue button below to join now.

Join Next Level Runner Today

Meet the coach

Doug Hay

I'm Doug Hay, founder of Rock Creek Runner, host of the Trail Talk podcast, and coach to runners chasing goals ranging from road half marathons to 100-mile ultramarathons. More than anything, I love helping runners achieve their potential through smart, fundimentals based training.

I've completed more than a 20 marathon or ultramarathon distance races, and my work has been featured in a number of publications including:

The Washington Post, Washingtonian Magazine, Outside Magazine, and The Huffington Post.


Like I said, Next Level Runner isn’t for everyone. We’re all unique, with different learning and running styles and training routines.

So I want to make this as flexible as possible. If at any point during the first month you’re not happy with the program, then I don’t want you to pay for it. Just shoot me an email ( and I’ll refund your money, no questions asked.

Take a look around the program. Dive in to the content, connect with the community, and even attend one of the live Q&A coaching sessions.

If you decide it isn’t for you, just shoot me an email and you’ll be on your way. I’m just happy you were willing to give it a chance.


Part of the mission of Rock Creek Runner is to give back — to the community, the trails, and the mountains — and I’m excited to honor that mission through quarterly donations to Conservation Patagonica.

The work of Conservaction Patagonica, in the Patagonia region of South America, is unlike any conservation project in the world, and their efforts are restoring lands and mountains, and providing a refuge for wildlife and wilderness lovers alike.

5% of all purchases made through Rock Creek Runner, including memberships to the Next Level Runner, will go to supporting the work of Conservaction Patagonica.

“I’m 58, live in equatorial SE Asia and thought I’d reached my peak as a runner which was sort of pathetic after only 2 ½ years, working with Doug as a coach has completely turned that around. Im running with confidence and cant wait for the Mt. Ijen trail run in May and then the super technical Vietnam Mountain Marathon in September. Just get on board with Doug, you wont regret it.”

Ian Davey, Bali

join us today and take your running to the next level

Click the blue button below to start training smarter for just 17 dollars per month. Don’t forget, you can quit any time if you discover this program isn’t right for you.

Join Next Level Runner Today