A Simple Approach to Becoming a Better Runner …

That will keep you motivated and running further, faster, and injury free.


Hi, I’m Doug Hay, a runner, coach, and the creator of Rock Creek Runner. About 16 months ago, as I worked through the mountain of running books, tutorials, and programs I own, I discovered something important.

For starters, there’s a TON of information out there (and that’s a good thing), but something was missing: There was no practical advice on how to actually use that information!

No advice on how to change your bad form habits, how to actually integrate new workouts into the training you’re already doing, or how to use this new advice to ramp up your training without injuring yourself.

In other words, all these books and programs I had laying around — and regularly recommended to other runners — were just making us nerdy, book smart runners.

Nerdy runners who still weren’t hitting PRs and still found themselves injured time and time again. So I did something about it …

Over the next year I developed this twelve-part program focusing on everything you need to know to take your running to the next level. Injury prevention, speed, distance, nutrition, mindset, training plans … it’s all covered in the program.

The 12 monthly focuses go in-depth on a new topic and set goals to:

  • Virtually eliminate the risk of injury,
  • Show you exactly how to build strength, endurance, and speed to reach your goals the right way, and
  • Create a sustainable and approachable training routine for even the busiest of athletes

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

What Runners Are Saying

“You may not know how much Next Level Runner has helped me. I am not a fast runner by any means but I am becoming a solid runner and that makes me happy. I started this gig late in life and I am so glad I found you and your website to help me stay injury free, strong and focused on getting a couple good run years in.”  – Sandra P., Canada

I recently bought new running shoes, and the lady in the store commented on my good running form in the video analysis. In the last analysis my form was terrible (with pronation and not wonky foot placement). Your program is working very well for me!!!” – Verena J., Germany

How This Approach is Different

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 that outline not just the what and why, but also exactly how to train (and improve).
  • Clear goals that keep her inspired and eager for each run.
  • Someone encouraging her and watching out for her needs.

A focus, a goal, and someone who’s got your back.

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 goals, stays injury free, and achieves things you never believed you could.

And that, my friends, is a beautiful thing.

Introducing Next Level Runner

Black device iconsThat formula that helps Monica, myself, and so many others? Yeah, it can help you too. It’s exactly how I’ve structured the new Next Level Runner program.

NLR is a goal oriented membership program where — through 12 monthly focuses — we’ll go in-depth on a new topic and set a goal to keep you motivated.

Every 30 days the focus shifts to a new running fundamental, each building off the last and serving as stepping stones to help you run faster and injury-free.

This isn’t a flat or boring instruction manual that only lays out the information, but instead an active program which you can incorporate into your training, regardless of level or goal.

And of course it’s a community of like-minded runners — from all over the world — eager to help you succeed.

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Sounds Great … But What’s Included in the Program?

Black device icons1) In-depth Education on the Most Important Running and Training Topics

The program includes 12 monthly focuses, which go in-depth into a new running topic. The entire program (all 12 focuses) becomes immediately available after purchase so you can work through everything 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 to put what you’ve learned 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 you’ll gain immediate access to inside the program:

Focus 0: Understanding Your “Why” (and Building Accountability). Before you can achieve your big goal, you need to build a strong foundation. In this pre-program focus, we do just that.

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 separate video demonstrations 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, regardless of the distance.

Focus 5: Running With Your Head: Mental Toughness for Runners. Because a runner can only reach full potential when the brain and the body is in proper shape.

Focus 6: Addressing Your Weaknesses. Once you’re half way through the program, we review what you’ve learned and revisit any problem areas or weaknesses.

Focus 7: Manipulating the Long Run for Better Endurance and Faster Finishes. The long run is the most important weekly runs for every runner. Here we learn how to use long run workouts not just to increase mileage, but also to run faster and stronger on race day.

Focus 8: Strength and Cross Training for Runners. Strength training is often the forgotten tool for runners, and in this month’s interview with Exercise Physiologist Heather Gannoe, we learn exactly how it will make you a stronger runner.

Focus 9: The Vertical Challenge. A blueprint for mastering the art of uphill and downhill running on the road and the trail.

Focus 10: Trail Running 101: How it Will Improve Your Running On and Off the Trail. Proper trail running technique and strategies that will help you become a stronger runner on every surface.

Focus 11: Nutrition for Stronger Training and Racing. What you eat not only during but around your run has a direct impact on how you perform.

Focus 12: Racing and Pacing Strategies to Blast Through Your Running Goals. After months of training, you want everything to come together on race day. This focus walks you through pacing, race strategies, and how to handle anything race day throws your way.

All immediately available after joining the program.

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2) A Monthly Goal to Put the Education into Action

Without action, knowledge is useless. 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) A Training Plan Library, with Full Race Plans and Monthly Focus Plans (Options for all skill levels and goals)

By joining Next Level Runner you get instant access to 20 race specific training plans (from base building to marathon to 100K ultramarathons), including high and low mile options, and available in both miles and kilometers.

Not training for a specific race? Each month you’ll receive a new 30-day training plan that incorporates the focus topic and 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.

video-display4) Monthly One-on-One Coaching Sessions and Live Group Q&A Calls

In my opinion, there’s nothing more valuable than having someone to ask questions to and receive personalized feedback.

With Next Level Runner, I’m including a free 15-minute one-on-one coaching call each month — either over the phone or on Skype. We will chat about your training, and work through any struggles or weaknesses you may have. This is something I’ve only done with coaching clients in the past, and have seen firsthand how valuable talking directly with a coach can be.

On top of the one-on-one calls, I’ll host periodic live group Q&A sessions. All members will be invited to join the call and learn from each other’s questions. You can expect the live calls every 1-2 months.

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 FIRESIDE, a private Facebook group, just for members. It’s here so 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.

6) Your Stories Interview Series

If there’s one thing I’ve discovered through Rock Creek Runner, it’s that we can all learn from each other.

To help share the stories and lessons from other RCR members, we started a new interview series called Your Stories. Your Stories are 30-45 minute conversations with members just like yourself, and are only available for Next Level Runner members.

This interview series will continue to grow each month. We’d love for you to be a part of it.

What Others Have to Say About Working with Doug

ian“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. I’m 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 won’t regret it.”  – Ian Davey, Bali


karen“I am just starting to discover what achievements are possible for me in the ultra/trail running world, thanks in large part to Doug’s coaching, encouragement, and unwavering support. My confidence ebbs and flows based on what I am facing in the moment but Doug remains steadfastly focused on the bigger picture, and what I need to do to stay on track and get to Leadville prepped and injury free. I am incredibly thankful.” Karen Clarke, Pennsylvania


mallory“After hiring Doug as my coach, I’ve seen progress in so many areas! I’ve gotten stronger on the trails, increased my mileage and have had more motivation than before. He’s easily accessible and gets back to me quickly whenever I have a question.” Mallory Billings-Litke, Rhode Island


jamie“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


paul“A year and a half ago I could barely run 2 miles, so I set myself a crazy goal: run a marathon. Doug Hay gave me the tools I needed to become a runner and believed that I would cross that finish line. Doug’s balance of encouragement, strategy, and accountability was just right. His coaching led me to one of my biggest accomplishments: I ran my first marathon last month in just under 4 hours. I am planning to run my second this fall.” – Paul Gwynn Garrity, Georgia

Even More to Keep You Inspired

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 from the Trail Runner’s System

Stephanie Marie Howe on Nutrition and Trainingsteph-trs

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 step approach to reaching your goals
  • What to do when something goes wrong

Bonus 2: Yoga For Runners with Katie Hay, RYT500

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 two balance practices — a quick 20 minute yoga session and a full hour class — 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 – Daily advice on how or what’s important to eat and when.
  • How to Run – Tapering for an ultramarathon is more than just reducing your mileage. It’s about running the right types of runs, and the right distances, at the right time. The Blueprint provides a daily schedule of what to run for the final days.
  • A Race Week Action – The bulk of the Blueprint is comprised of daily actions to prepare you for the race itself. With each day comes a different action that will reduce anxiety and increase mental and physical preparedness.

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

Bonus 4: Product and Resource Discounts

We take care of our members. In the Bonus area of Next Level Runner, you’ll find exclusive discounts on products and resources you may use as a runner. This bonus is updated regularly with food, gear, and resources I love.

But when it comes to Rock Creek Runner products, you can count on some major perks. All current members will receive 30% off physical RCR products (like hats and stickers) and 50% off all digital RCR programs.

So here’s the deal:

You can join now to for just 24 dollars per month. By joining now, you’re locking in the $24 rate until you cancel (which, by the way, you can do at any point from inside the membership site).

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Just picture yourself on a Saturday morning, struggling to find the motivation to lace up your shoes and run.

Now picture yourself again on that same morning, only this time your run has a clear focus, you’re working towards a new goal, and you know people are waiting to hear about it.

That sounds much better, right? That’s the feeling I’ve designed Next Level Runner to bring.

“I wanted to say thank you. It has made all the difference having you as my coach. I’m SURE I would not be pushing this hard. You are very good at what you do.”– Brooke, Columbus, Ohio


Is Next Level Right For You?

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 you’re feeling stuck and want a clear direction on how to move forward, or if you’re ready to start taking running serious, 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?

Click the blue button below to start training smarter for just 24 dollars per month. Don’t forget, you can quit any time if you discover this program isn’t right for you.

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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 (doug@rockcreekrunner.com) 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.

Ready to take your running to the next level?

Click the blue button below to join Next Level Runner today.

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Questions about Next Level? Just email me at doug@rockcreekrunner.com and I’ll get back to you myself.