This was the race I had been training to run for the past 3 months, Busselton half marathon being postponed nearly killed all my hopes but our amazing coach organised a run for all of us wanting to have a race.
I knew I couldn’t race this on my own and that I would need support along the way. The amazing Sally and Claudia stepped up to the challenge and helped me throughout the run. From passing water and gels to making sure I wasn’t speeding too much as well as shielding me from the wind I really couldn’t have gotten there without them in my corner.
The other amazing person to thank and mention is of course the coach! @tony_smith_run_coaching has been training me for the past 6 months and put a lot of time and patience into my training.
When I started my coaching journey my fastest half was 2h05 (funnily enough on this exact course) but thanks to his ongoing support I’ve really been able to push myself to paces I never thought I would reach.
2021 promises to be an interesting year for running and I simply can’t wait to see where his guidance takes me.
I’ve already got new goals in mind and new races to think about but for now, I’ll enjoy the personal record and my beer.
I first approached Tony about being coached towards the end of 2019. I’d achieved a few things in running that I was pretty proud of but at that point I felt a long way from achieving any of them again. It was time to get my act together.
We started at the beginning of 2020, and set some goals, neither of us expected the year to turn out as it did, and a lack of certainty around events, the cancellation of events and the suspension of parkrun made race goals tough. But necessity is the mother of invention and Tony had me running regular solo Time trials and the plan was adapted.
Throughout Tony has been encouraging, understanding and flexible. Making sure that the plan was kept interesting and the workouts challenging.
The work has been hard, but the improvement in my running has been the reward, along with the returned enjoyment of running. I still have a way to go to achieve my goals, and with Tony’s guidance I know they will happen if I put in the work.
I’d recommend anyone who wants to improve their running or their enjoyment of running to speak with Tony.
A fantastic read from Anna on her journey to the 6 Inch Ultra Marathon working alongside our trail expert - Coach Ben Harris....
Thanks so much for sharing your story
“Going out for a bit of fun on the Six Inch course”
Even I do not mention the “race” word around me. Anxiety can be a right PIA sometimes.
I’ve been running for about 5 years now and like many others, can recall a time when running more than about 100metres felt tough! I first heard about Six Inch through parkrun. For those of us who attend parkrun, we all know it doesn’t take long before discussions of longer events come up! I’d built up my fitness enough to tackle a few road events, but whilst fun, they never made my heart sing. Towards the end of that first year attending parkrun, there was lots of discussion about Six Inch. Seriously, who the *bleep* would want to run that far?!?! Anyway, I was curious about it all and wanted to support all my friends so put my hand up to volunteer at Aid 2. Watching everyone come in that day was an eye opener of just how amazing the human body is when removed from the comforts of the couch! Our bodies truly are built for this!
Two years later I entered the Six Inch ultra (4hours and 38minutes for my first go… not too shabby!) It was a rainy day and I still remember just how much fun I had out there. Well, until my watch beeped at 46km and the finish line was nowhere in sight (the course is not 46km as per the website… thanks DK! lol). I was hooked on this fantastic event and trail running!
Fast forward to this year and I had built myself a pretty solid fitness base and very rarely drove anywhere for a run. I can finally keep up with my regular running buddies Stuart and Bryant on any of the nearby hilly roads and trails; and I’m always trying to convince others to come up and play on the local trails with me (this became a lot easier with the opening of the local cider house – go figure!). 1500m – 2000m of vert per week became the norm for me as I explored more and more of the trails around the home.
It was about this time my good friend Ben Harris joined up with Tony Smith Run Coaching to offer his trail coaching expertise to the community. Ben has always been someone I have been in total awe of, his achievements are just mind blowing, and I was eager to learn from him. I jumped on board for 12 weeks of coaching targeting Six Inch, and honestly, it was just what I needed! Left to my own devices my weekly kays were climbing unnecessarily and with no real purpose other than for ‘something to do’. I wasn’t improving like I felt I should be either. Ben got to work with arranging a catch up straight away.
Ben listened and took on board all the million-and-one things that I listed out about where I was at and what I wanted to achieve. Full time work commitments, huge commute commitments, kid commitments, living on a large property with lots of gardening commitments, leave pass commitments, refusing to drive anywhere for run commitments… all of it taken on board. And instead of telling me to rack off, he then somehow magicked it into a flexible plan for me! Whenever something else came up, he changed the plan to suit. Told you he is awesome. With Ben’s commitment to making my plan work for me, I sure as heck made sure I gave my best on every single one of those workouts in return.
My long runs started feeling easier, my speed sessions were getting faster. I was beating my own best on Strava segments over and over. I was thriving with the structure that Ben’s coaching was giving me.
Before I knew it, 12 weeks had rolled by, my taper madness had hit hard (I have never tapered before!) and Stuart was out front waiting to drive down to North Dandalup Hall with me. OMG. It was “that” day!
Arriving at the brightly lit hall, it was the usual buzz of excitement – everyone was so pumped that it was hard to believe it was 3:30am in the morning. Gear checks, toilet, photos, toilet, hop onto the bus to be transported to the start line. Say hi to a few people there. Toilet again (clearly I wasn’t the only nervous one, the queue was huge!) and then we were off up our way up Goldmine Hill.
I set off at a fast hike interspersed with short jogging stints. So far so good…. Until I looked next to me and saw coach Ben’s smiley face. Uhhh shouldn’t he be up further ahead?! I put the thought to the back of my mind and just carried on up the hill at a sustainable pace. I hadn’t seen Stuart or Bryant since the start line but figured they’d soon catch me as usual, as I know they preferred to take the first climb easy.
I zone out a lot in my own little world when out running in the bush. It’s a peaceful state to be in and I don’t talk a lot either. Talking tends to jack up my heart rate quite quickly so I find myself apologising to those around me when they chat to me during an event – it was one of those occasions that I realized that Ben was still nearby to me. Hang on! Was I running too fast? Looked at my watch. Shit, my average pace was pretty warm for so early on in the run. It was somewhere at that point I went ‘oh well, I’m feeling quite comfortable, see what happens’. I didn’t look at my watch pace again after that.
The scenery was stunning as always through there, next thing I knew I was cruising straight past Aid 1 and on towards where the half start line was. Ben said something about the half starting. It was about then I absolutely knew I was in for a good run that day. Ben zipped through the large crowd of half-marathoners and I figured that was the last I would see of him. Feeling a bit fatigued, I really didn’t have the motivation to push my way through the crowd, and seeing others walking the hill made it a little easier to just let my own legs walk for a bit. I ate a gel, drank some water and told myself to get moving. My legs were agreeable to the idea and I was off again.
Somewhere between that point and the climb up to the escalator, probably along the gorgeous single trail section, I had noticeably picked up the pace again and was moving well up that gradual climb to the “escalator”. Rocking out to some tunes and probably signing out loud at some points. These are the best parts of an event in my mind – love it when I get into that magical headspace and the kays roll by easily. Oh…there’s Ben next to me again!
Just the rutted out climb up to Aid 2, thankfully it’s not an overly long climb, got to the top where the aid station was and shoved a chunk of watermelon in my mouth, a quick hug from Jez and I was off back down the hill. Somewhere around there, Ben decided he was a bit too clean and rolled in the dirt for a second. I called out, he said he was ok, and saw him get to his feet but I felt bad for not going back. His tumble played on my mind for a few kays as after that, I didn’t see him again.
Soon, I was running on fumes. I had taken in minimal water and fuel all run, nor did I feel like taking anything in now. My pace was a little more broken up with short walks but I was otherwise still moving ok. I was just focused on that finish line. Bit of a shame really as that last section of the course is just so pretty – right when you are least in the frame of mind to enjoy it.
Now I’m a bit of an anxious one, and Ben clued onto this pretty early on in the training. He knew I was aiming for a sub 4 hour 30 minute finish but never mentioned any specific time or any mention of ‘racing’. Wise man and a wonderful coach. He may not have said anything to me, but he had already predicted my finish time correctly based on my time training with him. If you are wanting to improve your trail running, I cannot recommend Ben highly enough.
I finished in 4 hours, 10mins and 26 seconds. 4th Female! My dear friend Marnie caught me at the finish line. My heart did sink a little to see her there (she was unfortunately struck by illness during the race), but at the same time it was the absolute best to have her hang that medal around my neck. There were already a decent number of runners in, but soon the oval was full of smiling faces all ready to celebrate epic achievements. Best Christmas party of the year!
Not sure what’s next, but I’m excited for it already.
I've been running for about 8 years. I've never been athletic and I'm not very fast so when I was new to the scene felt a lot of imposter syndrome (still do!).
After making friends through parkrun, I learned about events such as 6 Inch Ultramarathon and Lighthorse. In 2015 I completed both, before having my daughter in 2016 and my son in 2018. I ran in between kids but the fire really came back in 2019 and I completed 50km at ADU in 2020.
I did really well in this race and recovered really well due to the fact that a friend Ben Harris helped me put together a rough plan, mainly how to schedule back to back long runs to maximise my endurance and work on mental strength. So as you can imagine when he announced that he was going to be working with Tony Smith I put my hand up straight away!
his year saw me go from being a stay at home mum to working as a community mental health worker which leaves me feeling drained and I was doubtful of how to fit it all in. Ben writes a program for you, the person you are, your family, your job, your social life, your priorities.
he plan is flexible and I've had times where I've had to miss sessions due to the kids being sick, and its no big deal. He is so approachable and knowledgeable and always knows exactly the right things to say to get the best performance out of you. Most importantly, he recognises in me when I am doing too much or putting too much pressure on myself.
Since working with Ben I've accomplished things I never thought I was capable of. At Lighthorse I covered 87kms in 12 hours without sitting down once.
I've set new 1km, 5km, 10km and 21.1km PBs several times over.
Thanks to Ben's knowledge and his faith in me, I am starting to believe in myself and my abilities and am starting to dream big!
My running journey began many moons ago (22 years ago in fact) when, as a teenager I joined the Army. I wasn’t much good at running then, everything hurt, I was slow, I got shin splints and ankle problems. But, you had to run in the Army and eventually I got my flat feet into some decent shoes and it was on a deployment to the Solomon Islands in 2003/2004 that I was finally able to run injury free, and it gave me an escape of sorts from our base on Guadalcanal. It was there that I began to enjoy the freedom of running, trotting along slowly to reach the coconut stands where locals would dish out a freshly whacked coconut, deliciously sweet and topped with a straw for what equated to about 20 cents. I was still slow, but I began to look forward to my stand-down time, and also the refreshing monsoon rains, so I could head out for a run.
Fast forward to 2019, and I was well on my way to achieving a goal of running a full marathon in every state in Australia. October 2019 I had just returned from running my 4th marathon in Melbourne, still floating on my runner’s high when I went in to see my psychologist, who has been helping me with trauma therapy for a couple of years. Eager to foster and build on the positives he could see running, and more importantly, the community and connection that running promised, he urged me to go and join a running group. Immediately.
So, I did. There I met a few of the familiar faces in the Perth running community and before long, a few names started bouncing around on our regular groups runs. One of them was Tony Smith. His name kept popping up, from the likes of Adam Williams, who kept telling me I could improve my running exponentially with the right guidance. Enthusiasm is a sweet seductress and before long I was finding myself tempted to find out more about Tony Smith and his coaching.
In all the years I had been running, I had trained by myself. Followed a program for the marathons I had run that was smooshed together from tips from others and some hurried google searches. I debated long and hard about asking to go onto Tony’s wait list. My reservations likely shared by many other runners. I am an avid but amateur runner, never likely in my mind to ever be standing anywhere near a podium, let alone cross a finisher’s tape. I also considered running my free therapy, my hobby and something I did for pure enjoyment. I didn’t want it to start feeling like a chore. I also didn’t want to feel pressured or accountable. My list of excuses could have gone on forever.
Then COVID-19 slid the rug from under the world’s feet and my plans for a 5th marathon on the Gold Coast went sliding down the gurgler, along with everyone else’s plans for 2020. My running flat-lined, any quality or speed sessions I would normally do went out the window, every run was run at the same pace. I never pushed myself.
Eventually, I bit the bullet and emailed Tony to request a position on his wait-list. It’s mythical this wait-list. A couple of girls from the running group asked me how it works, I told them I think we have to wait until someone actually dies before there’s a vacant spot.
Finally, in October, Tony told me I was next up and he’d have a spot for me beginning mid-month. Right, I thought, let’s do this.
I met with Tony and discussed my goals, my running history, my reservations about being coached in the first place. He put my mind at ease immediately. We nutted out some realistic goals, settled on a plan and got to work.
First up was to schedule in some smaller races seeing as my plans for Gold Coast marathon had gone haywire.
We set Fremantle Half as the first race to tackle, which would set a benchmark for Busselton half in February next year. The last half marathon I had raced was in 2007 as part of the World Police and Fire Games held in Adelaide that year. I had run the distance many times in training but really had no idea how I would go. I expected I could come in around 1:40 – 1:45. Tony set me the goal of sticking to 4:30 kilometres for the first half and then, if I was feeling strong, to pick it up and finish quicker. I came in at 1:35 – a smashing PB and I was stoked. I had been with Tony for just one month.
Today as I write this testimonial, I have been with Tony for exactly two months. Today I ran my fastest 5km parkrun event ever, with an official time of 19:39 (Garmin says a few seconds slower, but Garmin is a bit of an unfriendly bossy-boots so we’ll ignore them for now!)
If someone had suggested to me that I would be running personal bests, ticking off a sub-20 minute 5km and working towards a sub-3:30 marathon even six months ago I truly would have laughed in their face. All of this and more now, thanks to Tony Smith’s coaching, are realistic and achievable goals that I have no doubt he will help me achieve.
But why Tony Smith I hear you ask? What would I benefit from being coached? Why spend money and time when running can generally be free?
Everyone will make up their own mind as to why they might consider a coach.
But I’ll tell you why I think Tony stands out head and shoulders above the crowd. He clearly knows what he’s doing. He takes into consideration your life and circumstances – family, social, work, study, and he manages to put together a plan that works for you individually. Tell him your goals, tell him your problems or niggles, or issues and he’ll make them work out. His feedback on your runs, whether an easy recovery run or a tough quality session, keeps you on track and keeps you motivated. My initial reservations about deciding to take on a coach went out the window within the first week with Tony. I feel supported, encouraged, nudged in the right direction, gently but firmly so that I am now pushing myself more than I ever could have believed. It doesn’t matter if you’re crossing that finish-line tape or if you’re crushing your own personal goals, for Tony, your goals are what matter, and he will help you reach – and likely surpass them. Welcoming not just coached athletes but anyone who cares to join into his regular Tuesday interval sessions, Wednesday morning loops around the river or King’s Park, Tony is at once humble, generous, supportive and inclusive. Rare qualities that quite simply make him not only an outstanding running coach, but also an exceptional human being.
Two months in to this journey I know without a shadow of a doubt that one of the single best decisions I have ever made was to email Tony and ask to go onto his wait-list. I am super excited to see what comes next. With the half marathon in Busselton to look forward to, Bunbury marathon in April and then finally if the world stays spinning like it ought to be, Gold Coast in July.
Thank you Tony – ever grateful for all you do.
After queuing in the “waiting list” for a couple of months, I was thrilled when Tony informed me that a spot had become available for his coaching. I had heard and read great things about Tony as a coach and I wanted to be one of those ‘special’ athletes being coached by him. I signed up with Tony in August this year and I can say that within the last 3 months he has transformed my running beyond my expectations. I have begun to feel more comfortable with my running and I don’t feel stressed anymore when I line up for an event or even parkrun on a Saturday because Tony has built so much confidence in me.
One thing I love about Tony as a coach is that he is always contactable and responds to my questions and concerns promptly. One day I realised I wasn’t able to do the scheduled run and messaged him to ask if I could swap with the run scheduled for the next day. He was very flexible with my request and updated my plan immediately. It is very easy to work with Tony because he is very understanding of my work schedule, which involves occasional travel as well as my family commitments.
What I appreciate about Tony is that whether you are an elite runner or a back of the pack runner he gives the same dedication and attention to each one of us - we are valued as an athlete. He is so invested in his team of athletes that he has a record of all the events we have done, our times and our PBs. Only after I read Tony’s write-up on my Perth Half Marathon did I realise that it was my course PB! That’s the kind of effort he puts in to finding out and learning about his athletes. Another aspect I like about his coaching is that he never fails to give feedback on every workout that I complete on the schedule. It’s very helpful because that way I can communicate about the run whilst it’s fresh in my mind.
I have so much respect for Tony because he lives by what he preaches. He takes part in events, he runs with us and he even does pacing duties. He is a great leader and a humble human we can all look up to. Just as much as he pushes us to our limits, he also cares about our wellbeing – which is why he insists on rest days and checks with us as to how we are doing.
With Tony’s help I have broken the sub 60 10k barrier and sub 90 15k within a short span of 3 months. On average, my overall pace has improved immensely. I am confident that under Tony’s guidance, I will continue to achieve many more Personal Bests and I am so excited to continue this journey with him.
I received some really nice feedback this morning that makes my dream job so much more rewarding, than it already is.... Thanks Harry!
Good morning Tony, hope you had a good night last night.
Just want to show my appreciation as coming up to the first 3 months block. I’m 47 so I realize I’m no spring chicken and I never thought at any point that In my first 3 weeks you would take my park run PB of 20.05 to 19.23. The latter still stands as we haven’t been able to do park runs officially when I did TT but that PB alone I would have taken after 3 months, never mind 3 weeks!
Every time I run at the moment the PBS are getting smashed! Long may it continue but I’m Loving my running journey.
You changed my whole running outlook overnight.
The 15km Deep water run (1:03:05) at the weekend was something I would never contemplated in time finish 3 months ago. I would have taken 4:30 pace all day long so to run it at 4:13 pace blew me away.
It’s because your training sessions are fun. You mix it up, keep it different. I love them!!! Even the hills....
Thanks Tony, even my wife is telling me I’m a different person with all this running. More energized, happy, loving life even more!!
A great read on Michael’s running journey to date...
My whole life I have always loved to run. Throughout my schooling years, I was recognised by others to have a decent natural ability, but I never focused on exploring and developing this ability beyond school sporting events. I was very competitive and always gave my best on the day of events and sometimes I even managed to win the odd aged athletic or cross country event. All whilst never training, but just showing up at the start line and giving it my all.
As I got older and life taught me a few things through multiple incidents, such as where I collapsed mid-race while chasing a personal goal. After this happened not once but twice during separate events, I realised that if I was ever going to achieve some of my goals that I’d have to get a more little serious and actually train between event dates. So I began training myself multiple times a week and began to reap the benefits of increased fitness and also started achieving more personal goals that I kept setting for myself.
Some of those achievements were 2015 Lark Hill Dusk till Dawn 50km in 5:05, 2015 City 2 surf marathon in 3:06, 2016 & 2017 Busselton Half marathon in 1:21:34 & 1:20:36. 2017 Feral Pig 100 mile ultramarathon where I actually DNF after covering 160.4km in just under 24 hours after getting lost for the fifth time, 2018 pacing a friend at 6” Ultramarathon in 5:05, 2019 Birdy’s Backyard Last Man standing ultramarathon winner in 21 hours and 141km and finally Perth Running festival Marathon in 3:00:34. Not a bad resume for a self-trained athlete who just gleaned tips and knowledge from friends, google, and more experienced runners through conversation.
Then late in 2019 I met Tony through some running connections, and from there his wisdom and influence on me as my coach has seen my running ability just grow and grow. Tony has helped and guided me to fine-tune my training and race day strategies, as well as increased my total capacity to levels I could have only dreamed of as a self-coached athlete. Tony’s attention to detail, my own goals, as well as his encouragement and faith in me as a runner is just invaluable.
You might ask yourself, why with the running resume that you were already building did you need a coach?
My answer to such a question is simple, I will never achieve my full potential on my own. Having a coach or mentor who is lightyears in front of me in experience and knowledge and who also knows how to extract the best from my God-given abilities is the only way to get better. Don’t misunderstand me, I am still the one responsible for putting in all the hard practical work. Like getting up at 3 am before a 12-hour shift at work in the middle of winter to do interval or hill repeat sessions assigned to me when everything in me wants to stay tucked up in bed for extra sleep or grinding out a long trail run on the weekend while a lot of my friends are out socialising. But these are some of the sacrifices I have to make and I’m willing to make in order to achieve the goals I set for myself.
Since working with Tony in 2020 I have exceeded my expectations beyond measure. My achievements this year have included in 1st place in the Australia Day Ultra 100km in 7:27 – New course record, Busselton Half Marathon in 1:16:38 - finally smashing the sub 80 minute goal I’d attempted twice before, 1st place in the Lark Hill Dusk til Dawn 100km in 7:54:27 – new course record, an unofficial marathon at Herdsman Lake organised by Adam Williams where I was the 1st finisher in a time of 2:40:34 – new PB by 20 minutes, Birdy’s Backyard Last man standing ultramarathon winner after 40 hours and 268km, Lighthorse 24hr ultramarathon where I placed 7th overall even though I withdrew after 16 hours due to health concerns – at that point I had run 178km including the first 100 miles in 13:54 (unofficially the 5th fastest 100 mile time in Australia), and my latest and favorite achievement of 2020 was at the Feral Pig 100 mile Ultramarathon where I finally got my redemption from 2017 and did it in style finishing 1st and smashing the old course record time by 2:18:01. Finishing in a total time of 18:27:43.
I am continuing to train and work hard on my craft with Tony and I’m super excited to see what we can achieve together in the future.
Great feedback for Ben Harris our awesome trail/ultra coach – thank you Sam!
During my first sit down consult with Ben, I could tell right away that he was excited for my lofty goal of a sub 24hr result to get my first buckle. I instantly thought perfect! We are on the same page. Before the consult, I was not sure myself if I were semi delusional with my goals. Ben gave me reassurance based on my current level of fitness leading into his coaching that I was on for the sub-24hr attempt this year.
Ben nutted out all my commitments some of which included a weekly social run and tailored my program around this. I was happy with the result which included me running short to medium trail-runs most weekends and that I could see my plan for a few weeks in advance which was great to work out planning and logistics requirements which included a 95km weekend on the WTF course, during my peak week of training.
I noticed that Ben had included a regular tempo run which was new to my current thinking of what training for an ultra involves. I decided straight away to trust Ben and the process and to see what will happen. Under Ben’s plan I started to notice and get some great results which included my first sub 20min 5km run which happened to my surprise during a Mona-Fartlek session.
Leading up to race day, I was confident in my body and where I was at physically. I have never been fitter or stronger in my life! I was hungry and ready to eat-up the WTF course and make it my own!
During the race, as Ben was not competing this year he decided to comedown and offer his support which was very generous of him and it was great to have his sage advice out on the course.
Although I did not quite have the day out that I envisioned, I completed the race knowing that I had done the correct training and I was in the condition that I needed to be to achieve a sub-24hr WTF. I have defiantly learned a thing or two about myself and what type of running structure works for me.
If you are interested in getting into ultras and or are currently an ultra-runner I would recommend having a chat with Ben, as he has a good understanding of how to take you to the next level in your running.
Kev's running journey, thanks for sharing
I first started running back in 2016 where I would do a few park runs here and there just so I could try to increase my fitness level.
I continued doing park runs through 2017 where my times were around 26 minutes. It wasn't until mid-2018 where I did my first HBF Half Marathon where I did 2hr 6min that's when I really started to get more enthusiastic about running.
Once 2019 came around I wanted to do more races however I needed a bit of structure on how to train for them so for the next year I used a plan via the Internet which got my times down to 1hr 49 for the Half at the Perth Running Festival and my 5km 22:40
June this year I made the decision to see if I could get the opportunity to be trained by Tony. Once I met him I could see by his Enthusiasm to see me reach my goals that it was going to make a massive difference in my fitness level.
As it stands though his program it has got my 5km time down to 21:22 and my Half time down to 1hr 41. I also trained for my first Marathon which during the race was going well until I got an injury.
Tony continues to be a great source of encouragement and his program has made a massive difference. I'm now looking forward to an Enthusiasm to where my run Journey leads to next.
your help so far Tony.
A brief insight into Jason’s triathlon journey and some very kind words.
I began competing in Triathlons mid 2018 to keep myself active and healthy, in December 2019 completed my first IronMan 70.3.
Throughout 2020 my training was hit or miss and I wasn’t seeing any improvement in my running. I was recommended Tony by a few people and couldn’t believe there was a waitlist when I first contacted him. I met with Tony when a space became available and was super impressed with his knowledge and his general running ability. Not only was he a great runner but he actually knew what he was talking about.
I decided to sign up with Tony about 11 weeks out from another Ironman 70.3. We set realistic goals however I thought that I wouldn’t see much improvement in such a short space of time.
Sticking to Tony’s training plans I soon started to see improvements and at times was certainly out of my comfort zone.
A few weeks out from Ironman I set a new 10km PB and was running better than I have in a long time. It didn’t stop there, I again set another 10km PB and felt like I was in fantastic condition.
Tony encourage me every step of the way and made sure I had a good mix of run training to get the best out of the short time there was.
On race day I set a new PB for the Ironman run section by a massive 14 minutes over the half marathon distance and this led me to achieve a course PB.
When Tony asked if I wanted to continue my training I knew 100% that I did and I am excited to see how many more PB’s I can smash with Tony’s support and guidance.
Not only does Tony have a phenomenal coaching ability but he is also a great guy. Thanks for all your help so far Tony.
A great insight into Andrews running journey and some very kind words about our amazing group.
I started this wonderful journey late in 2018 at the tender age of 56 after 3 decades of not doing a lot physically and a wake up call from the Doc, lipids, and sugar heading in the wrong direction. As is my nature( a little obsessive) I said game on and quickly got into a routine of over 40000 steps walking a day, that’s not a typo.
In three months I lost 20 kg and bloods were looking amazing. Looking for a new challenge, inspired by my nephew who is a Cross-fit Wunderkind I headed off to the gym dropped the body fat to 14%, and put on a few kilos of much-needed muscle.
In late 2019 I thought why not try running, it can’t be that hard, I will just do the couch to 5 km thing easy!? So yeh let’s just start at 5 min a km pace, no second guesses how that went! Continuous calf problems, but perseverance paid off and after about four months I was finally getting some consistent runs in 3 to 4 times a week, but with no plan or system, I would often finish a run unable to walk up the stairs to get my towel for a shower and literally had to ask my wife to get it for me.
Needless to say, I wasn’t fully enjoying my new activity and things had to change. I had perused the local training options previously and remembered TSRC, so delving into cyberspace it was actually the TSRC FB Group page that swayed me to take the plunge. I was immediately impressed and uplifted by the all-inclusive community feel and comradeship of the members with lots of genuine encouragement of runners of all abilities and ages, so many runners pacing others to PBs Tony Smith has fostered a wonderful safe training space, I have yet to see any negativity amongst the crew. Anyhow, I put my name down on the waitlist and in June 2020 got the call.
Almost immediately with Tony’s structured plan I was running for the first time without injuries and in a matter of weeks did my first real hit out a 5km solo TT, getting home in 23.29. With Tony you never feel in a rut, the structure of hard days, easy days, and variety of training methodology keeps you engaged week in week out. Unfortunately while planning for my first half marathon I injured a hamstring and lost nearly 3 months of training. Throughout this Tony was always there with support and generously put my training plan on halt so I wasn’t incurring any charges, this was unexpected and appreciated.
We are up and going again and I know with Tony in my corner I will be able to achieve things that I once thought impossible. Tony is a true gentleman generous with his time to a fault, his passion for running and people shines through in all his interactions with his crew. The guidance he gives while still allowing you to to make your own decisions is of great benefit to helping you become the best runner you can be. Cannot say how blessed I am to be part of the wonderful TSRC group.
I approached Tony Smith to coach me after running my first sub 4 hour marathon at the Perth Running Festival 2019. What struck me about Tony as we chatted post-race was how kind he was and his utmost belief in my ability to reach my goals. Tony believes in me, especially when I don’t believe in myself. He doesn’t however tell you what you want to hear, he is always realistic in goal setting and I respect his opinions as an experienced marathon runner and running coach.
With Tony and the team he has brought together I enjoyed one of the best training blocks I’ve had while training for the 2020 Bunbury Marathon. Unfortunately the marathon was cancelled and I didn’t achieve the result I had hoped for in the time trial we ran, but I did run my second fastest and still sub 4 hour marathon. Although I didn’t achieve the goal I was after, it doesn’t alter the months of solid and enjoyable training we did together, and I am stronger and faster than ever and looking forward to my next challenge.
If you told me 2.5 years ago whether I would be having a running coach – I’d say you’d be crazy. I am not a born runner nor was I even passionate about running longer than even 1km.
Fast forward to today – after 5km, 10km & Half Marathon PBs I don’t think I could imagine any other running coach but Tony Smith by my side.
I started running at 30 after 11 years being a gym junkie and recovering from sub-acromial decompression shoulder surgery, and all I wanted to do is a sub 60 Min 12km at the HBF Run. Annoyingly I finished at 60:03. Now, 12km in 56min is considered an easy run.
Before I met Tony, I was pounding pavement 3-4 times week and reading articles on how to improve my 5km and HM times. I was also so focused on my social media profiles as likes and views were taking priority above anything else.
Then when I decided to do a Marathon thinking 330 was going to be a walk in the park, brought me back down to earth at the 30km mark (I think you know how that story ends). At the end of the Marathon, being in endless amount of pain and ITB issues, fellow runner and friend Adam suggested I join Tony’s team. I was dwelling on it for a while but then my heart actually told me it was the right move. At that moment I decided I didn’t just want to mess around anymore I wasted to run a sub-3 Marathon, I need a coach that would identify my strengths and weaknesses, to coach me to see where I went wrong and guide me to the right path. I knew the way I was going, sub-3 would take me forever to achieve.
My first meeting with Tony was positive, he looked at my Strava profile and did good research before our meeting, and he was a great humble professional. We had a good long chat about my long term goals and where I was, we were both excited to see where this was going to take us.
Even though the first few months with 5km time trials when things weren’t working, I knew he was building a base for me, in particular my aerobic base, threshold and steady runs. Another big thing I noticed was that my long runs pre-Tony were way too short (too much internet research) so we slowly started doing 10km long runs and building the mileage from there. I was also having very bad habits of stopping in between runs (bad podcast advice). It was so frustrating! There was even a stage I couldn’t even run a 10km steady run without stopping! I knew results can’t always be instant, I had to be patient.
Tony was even more patient than me, he knew I could get the goals I wanted to hit. Then all of a sudden, all the PB’s started flowing-
5km - pre-Tony PB 19:51. (went from 19:46 to NOW 19:01!)
10km - pre-Tony PB 45min (went from 42:32 to 39:59 to NOW 39:37!)
HM – pre-Tony PB 1:37min (NOW 1:28min!)
There was a stage before these PBs I considered giving it all up but sometimes life throws you test to see how badly you want to achieve these goals. Life gave me a sign which was Tony. His support was massive for me, the comments he gives on most of my workouts were very valuable, I really needed THAT someone to tell me what I did right and wrong. Any feedback is crucial to any runner.
Seeing him interact with other runners with such a humble approach is very inspiring because it makes you want to be a better person and leader yourself. The community he has built with great and equally approachable people for guidance and help.
Even when he paces you at a TT or race, although he does push you to the limits it also makes you realise you are actually better than what you mind thinks. Ultimately it takes you to another level in running you never thought possible. I also stopped caring about my social media profiles as much and decided to put my energy into more the running aspect of things which makes it more enjoyable than the perfect Instagram shot.
Thank you Tony, even today I am even more excited to see where our journey will take us. The Marathon PB is imminent. I guess you are stuck with me for a very long time J
I have been running for what seems like forever but had never really given anything longer than a half marathon a try as my go to distance was anything from 5 to a half. After a trip to New Zealand's South Island with the family 2013 a Mountainous 60km ultra piqued my interest.
My first attempt at this ultra (Kepler Challenge) in 2014 was a bit of a disaster and only really survived to finish. I came away pretty determined to come back for a better attempt, get my training right and learn from my mistakes. From my 2014 results, it was pretty clear my training was inadequate, and I had a lot to learn. Over the years between I watched Ben Harris success over longer and longer distance and watched him grind out some amazing results beyond 100 miles with some ridiculous elevation. It was obvious he knew how to train for these specific events and had the mental toughness to keep going when things got hard.
First step in the training was to extract as much information from Ben as possible. Soon enough he had directed me to amazing training ground at Bickley and helped me formulate a plan with the race conditions in mind. He was also invaluable to talk through race strategy and all the challenges that I was bound to face at some point during the race. After some long sessions up the hills with Ben and focusing on elevation I managed to return to NZ and knock an hour of my time in much harder conditions and feeling good throughout the race.
I'm not sure there is a better local resource than Ben when it comes to trails and ultras.
I would like to tell you about my running coach, who has managed to take my running to the next level in a very short amount of time. His name is Tony and he runs Tony Smith Run Coaching. We met four years ago at the Lake Joondalup Parkrun. He knew I had recently completed the Comrades Marathon (90km) and was always amused at how scared I was at the start line of a little 5km. Four years later he would help me to overcome that fear.
In November 2019, a mutual friend had told him that I was looking for a local coach. We met to discuss this; and my most recent race, the Perth Marathon which was another of my failed sub 3-hour attempts. I had been running a little ahead of the sub 3-hour bus, which he had been pacing. This gave him a ‘front row seat’ to my race, which he was able to share with me at our meeting and detail exactly where I'd lost valuable time. He was very well prepared and knew exactly where I currently was as an athlete. There was just enough time for a training block to prepare for the Australian Day Marathon 50km Ultra Race in January 2020 and we decided to give it a go.
We met a week before the race to discuss my race plan, nutrition and I felt mentally prepared for the task ahead. I was really happy how my fitness had improved over the 12-week block and I knew I was in for a good day out. I ran 50km in 3h36 (3 minute PB) and a new course record. Most importantly, I felt strong from start to finish. I would have run a sub 3-hour marathon, had I not required a toilet stop!
In April, the 2020 Comrades marathon was postponed without a future date. This was my main race and I was in peak training for it. It was also the start of COVID-19 isolation. He offered to accompany me on one of my long runs in the hills as we were limited to groups of two on a run. He messaged me the Tuesday before the run and said, 'Let’s get that sub 3 out of the way instead!’. He believed that I was in the shape of my life and with no race in sight we should give it go. He managed to convince me and we ran a 2h56 marathon (5 minute PB). The last 3kms were super strong too! I will forever be grateful to him for that. (Thank-you coach)
Tony has also helped me to overcome my fear of speed (the running kind). His enthusiasm is contagious, and he has the patience of a saint! He personalises the program to suit each individual and is a great communicator. If you are lucky enough to be coached by Tony, you will already know this. My confidence has also improved and my running feels peaceful (even during a 5km).
I also want to send a shout out to Tony Smith Running Group. We are a diverse group of runners with different abilities, strengths and goals. You'll see the faster runners helping others achieve time goals and newer runners completing distances they never thought possible. We always meeting up for a coffee afterwards, sharing happy snaps and stories, You will always feel welcome on one of our runs, the invitation is always open. Happy running!
I initially started running in 2015, in the midst of a long period of inactivity that had followed moving to Perth from the UK. Going from being unable to jog 500m without having to stop for breath, to being able to run 3k, then 5k, then 10k, I quickly became hooked on the feeling of self-improvement. The following year I began participating in races, and by mid-2019 had achieved PBs of 19:49 in the 5k, 42:37 in the 10k and 1:33:21 in the half marathon. However, during the latter half of that year I hit an inevitable plateau and was no longer seeing the same consistent progress that I had experienced previously. Numerous disappointing race performances left me feeling as though I was running and running but going nowhere.
So when Christmas came and I found out that my boyfriend had gifted me coaching with Tony, I was ecstatic. I knew of Tony through the Perth running community (he had actually paced my boyfriend to a debut sub-3hr marathon a few months prior) and had seen the success that he has had with his athletes. Everyone who trains with Tony goes on to run massive PBs. I was excited that that might be possible for me, too.
Our initial catch up only fuelled that excitement further; Tony’s enthusiasm was infectious. We talked through my goals, potential target races and how best to structure training around full time dental school and work. Tony works diligently with his athletes to formulate a training plan that is truly tailored to their own unique circumstances. He even let me keep a two-year streak of running at least 5k every day.
I quickly found that I enjoyed being on a plan even more than anticipated. The sessions build in such a way that you can see yourself progressing, and they are varied enough to keep things fresh and interesting. Tony is an incredible mentor and is always quick to provide detailed feedback, supporting you through every session whether it goes well or not. It has given me so much confidence to know that there is always someone in my corner, letting me know I’m on the right track. After only 4 weeks on the plan, with reignited motivation and passion for training, I was back under 20 minutes for the 5k, a barrier I hadn’t been able to break in over a year. Another 4 weeks passed and I had run an almost 30 second PB of 19:21, paced by the wonderful Kat Watt, another of Tony’s athletes (and human metronome).
While we had initially planned the WAMC Bridges 10k and Joondalup half marathon as goal races, widespread cancellations due to COVID-19 meant that it was necessary to switch to time trials. Our first attempt at the 10k (again paced by Kat) was eventful, and featured getting chased by the world’s fittest pug (apparently named Günther) for more than a kilometer mid-run, resulting in an unexpected U-turn in order to return the dog to its hysterical owner. Despite the circumstances, I pushed through and came away with 3 second PB of 42:34 and valuable lessons on the importance of being adaptable as a runner.
Our second time trial was a half marathon attempt, for which Tony was kind enough to give up his time to come and pace me. Conditions were less than ideal, with humidity, strong wind and at one point torrential rain creating an additional challenge. Stomach issues followed a gel at around the halfway point and the run quickly shaped up to be one of the toughest of my life. The goal time had slipped far out of reach, but Tony never gave up on me and refused to let me quit. The time I ran was far from what I had trained for, but what I did gain from the experience was mental resilience and grit, which is arguably more valuable.
Looking forward, it is a privilege to be able to continue training with Tony and I know that with consistent hard work the results will come. More importantly though, I have learnt to truly love the process, not just the end result, and have gained so much more from training than just PBs. With Tony’s unwavering support I have been able to build confidence not only in running but in myself. I am beyond grateful to Tony for this and cannot recommend him highly enough as a coach. You can tell he truly loves what he does, and that shines through in his willingness to go above and beyond to help his athletes succeed.
I have been running long distance for about 8 years but had gotten into an inconsistent cycle of training for a marathon, doing nothing for a few months, training for another, doing nothing for a few months. Since my daughter was born three years ago, I have trained in the same way for two marathons in two years….all in with training for a few months and then nothing again. I did ok in the marathons but felt I wasn’t reaching my potential and starting from scratch each time.
I really want to set a marathon PB – my current one is very rusty – and a good friend said she knew the coach to keep me consistent and hit my goals – one Tony Smith. After a coffee catch up and a great chat, I was onboard. I imagined I would get some updates with my monthly running schedule and off I would go and run. Any of you who run with Tony know you get a bit more!
Endless time and attention; he is always ready with a quick response on Facebook messenger, text messages, final surge comments, Strava updates – there isn’t a form of communication I haven’t hit Tony up on. He reviews and analyses each of my runs and supports me each week.
I get endless tweaks to my program as I try and shuffle everything around work and kids and partners and infinite humid days. All of this led to a huge PB in the half marathon just 7 weeks after joining the crew. 7 weeks! And that included a taper week.
Just a few weeks more I was lucky to have Tony pace me to an even huger parkrun pb, encouraging me literally every single step of the way. Massive shout out to the crew he has built who welcomed me so warmly and even ran with my toddler whilst I went for the parkrun pb. I am just so excited by how much I have improved in 12 weeks, how my confidence in myself as a runner has grown and know this is down to all the above.
No matter what you have done in the past or what limits you set on your running, Tony will prove you wrong and help you realise your potential.
I’ll finish up with a very genuine and sincere thank you for being such a great coach, mentor, and person. I am so grateful to have Tony pushing me to achieve my goals and believing in me. If and when the Perth marathon is scheduled I can’t wait to see what 40 weeks of training can do.
I started running in 2013 slowly getting up to 5k without walking and then seeing gradual improvements in my parkrun performance over time. Then came the inevitable question of ‘I wonder what I could do next?’ The running community is very enabling and keen to support ‘development’; 10km, half marathons, marathons, trail marathons and 50k’s. Not to mention the odd multi-sport event, always with a running focus.
My goal race was the Boston Marathon which was due to be held on the 20th of April. It is an iconic event with 124 years of history, with the added significance that this would be my 6th Abbot World Marathon Majors Star. As such I wanted to run Boston to the best of my ability and I considered that Tony Smith was the best gentleman to help me achieve this. I hit Tony up at the end of last year about training for Boston and Tony was happy to help.
I have known Tony for a number of years through the local running scene and Tony’s incredible running skills are well recognised, combined with this Tony has successfully coached a number of runners to their goals, including friends. At our initial meeting in January, Tony was very thorough in examining my running history, training history and volume, average training pace and my best performance of 3:52 at the London Marathon in April 2019.
We set our goals in terms of times for Boston and Tony prepared a comprehensive plan to deliver the best possible performance. There was a combination of steady, threshold, hill, long midweek and long runs. Combined with Tony’s mantra of ‘Train how you race and race how you train’, this included not pausing the watch and not stopping on runs. (Note- Tony has his graphs set to duration so don’t try and get away with this).
In discussion with Tony, I reduced the number of gels that I took on long runs and also found that through hydrating before and after runs I did not need as much water during the run. This had a positive effect and running without feeling full felt great. We hit every session that was on the training plan and I had good volume in February and March of 280km and 330km. Tony provided feedback after each session and was always available when needed.
Then came the Covid-19 global pandemic and Boston was canceled. Tony was onto this early and recommended Bunbury on the 5th of April as a plan B. Tony adjusted the training plan accordingly, only for Bunbury to be canceled. Both cancellations are completely understandable, as was 6 Inch a 48km Trail Marathon in December due to the bushfire. That said I was beginning to feel as if I was a little cursed.
In discussion with Tony, we decided not to waste the training and that we would run a time trial. No crowds or a medal however we do get to run and put the training to good use, 2 and a bit laps of Lake Joondalup (17km per lap). The ‘A’ plan from the beginning was to run 5:20 average pace for the first half and then see if I could improve on this. I ran with Tony, my wife and number 1 supporter Amanda manned the aid stations at 8.5km, 17km, 25.5km, 34km and finish.
Tony and I set out from Neil Hawkins Park at 6:00 am on Saturday the 4th of April. The first km was the slowest at 5:55, km 2 was 5:25 and then the body settled into the rhythm of running. We came through the first 2 drink stops and I felt ok, by the time we hit 21.1 we were sitting on 5:20 average pace exactly. From the drink stop at 25.5km to complete that lap was not my favorite, we all know it’s going to be hard and Tony did a great job of helping me stay positive. From 34km we had a 4km out section, hit the turn around and headed home, I was tired but felt strong and finished at 3:42:50.
That is a 10 minute PB on a time trial 2 weeks ahead of when Boston was due to run. I am really happy with the result that Tony has achieved. Obviously, I hope that we can all race again soon, with the support of the crowd, fellow runners and the communal sense of achievement. The time trial has given me tremendous confidence in Tony’s coaching and what I may be able to achieve.
I wholeheartedly recommend Tony for anyone who is looking to improve their running or gain a deeper appreciation of running. One thing that is abundantly clear is that Tony absolutely loves this sport.
What started as a bush walk in the outback turned into a slow jog back to my FIFO camp. The running bug had bitten at the old age of 38! Once a week I would run a lap of the 2 km ring road around camp and each time it would get a little easier.
Over the years I got faster and ran longer distances until I was running marathons. I ran a marathon PB of 3:24:26 when I busted my ankle playing footy and required surgery. I managed to get back running within 4 months of the surgery and ran the Pipeline Marathon last year (2019). It was great to be running marathons again but I was at the crossroads of whether to try to run faster marathons (my dream was to run a sub 3hr) or start running trail ultra marathons. I entered the Albany Ultra Marathon last November and halfway through it realised it wasn't for me.
I knew that to get anywhere close to a sub 3hr I would need a running coach. That's where Tony came in. We had an initial meeting to see if he could help me achieve my goal. He was honest and told me that faster half marathons were required first before attempting another marathon. It wasn't what I had planned in my head but I knew it was the best strategy and be the end of the meeting I knew that Tony was the right coach for me. Being in Bunbury he assured me that we could communicate through the different methods such as text, phone, in person and also through Final Surge app where my training plan was. Also, Tony walks the talk as he is a regular sub 3hr marathoner and being close in age to me helped me realise that age was no barrier as long as the hard work was put in.
Tony has worked with me as a FIFO worker to ensure that my training plan was tailored to my hours and he adjusted it when there were times that I couldn't achieve the runs needed. The Final Surge app was fantastic for me to keep a training journal to note down how I felt during the training runs and he was able to offer advice where needed.
I recently achieved my first goal of a new half marathon PB of 1:34:14 at a 4:28mins/ km average pace which was something that in mind I thought was way off but Tony's training plan and methods helped me get there!
I started my running journey 7 years ago. Having never even run a km, signing up to a fun run as a way to keep fit was the start of a new way of life for me. I am certainly not a natural runner, nor did I have any idea how to train effectively. A year after I started running, I completed my first half marathon, it was after this I lost the passion for long distance running and started to mix my training with swimming and cycling. Fast forward to late 2017 and I got the long-distance bug back, enjoying the training and participated in the Perth running festival half marathon. My times had slowed, and I was determined to challenge myself, I completed 4 half marathons last year beating my PB but then plateauing in my last 2. My last being the Perth Running festival where I found as always, I struggled in the last 5km. It was then that I read a FB post from Tony’s page about a female runner similar age to myself, running across the finish line looking strong- finishing strong. That was what I wanted, to finish strong.
I read Tony’s testimonials from his awesome crew and knew it was Tony’s guidance that I needed to achieve my goals. I had always been running blind, reading and listening to fellow runners but having no clue on how to train effectively, I had it Oh so wrong.
I contacted Tony and after meeting up with him and chatting he gave me confidence that I was able to achieve my goals. I loved that he was genuinely interested not in just my running but my family and life so that we could work my training schedule with my commitments, with an ability to shuffle at short notice if required.
From week one I knew my past training had so many errors. I loved how Tony mapped out my weekly training with distances, times, pace, without me ever having to think, I just put on runners and do what was in the days schedule. Within weeks I could feel the change in my strength, completing runs I previously never thought I was capable of. Tony’s belief in my abilities gives me confidence to tackle those scary schedules and his words “what distance excites or even frightens you?” gave me the push I needed to start training for my first full marathon. I now look back each week and are amazed at what I am achieving thanks to Tony’s great coaching.
Seeing Tony out on the course at local runs is always a highlight as his genuine interest in his team with all abilities makes him a one of a kind coach who is adored by all.
I love that I have made a commitment to Tony and myself and have an accountability to run every session to the best of my ability. Tony is so flexible and always there at the end of the phone to answer questions or shuffle a run at short notice if need be and nothing is too much trouble for Tony. His comments and feedback on my training runs are always a boost, knowing he is with me for the whole journey. I have so much to thank Tony for.
I initially took up running after the birth of my 3rd child in 2014 with one goal in mind, to lose weight. Like many others, it didn’t take long before I was hooked. Never really serious, running simply for the joy of it.
I have been very lucky, having had the opportunity to of moved to so many destinations around Australia and have met so many like-minded people on my journey. It wasn’t until I arrived in Perth (2016) that I really found my feet in running, the Perth running community really sucked me in and it was here that I decided to give running a good crack and see what I was capable of. With a bit of guidance I was hitting paces I had only dreamed about for a while there, finally breaking 20min in the 5km, a sub 40min 10km, sub 90min half but this was at the expense of the joy I had for running, fast forward a year or so and moving to the Gold coast the struggle got worse. I didn’t adapt well to the heat and humidity and what already felt like a chore only got 10X worse, at this point I decided to go at it alone and “find the joy” once again. I found the joy alright, I found it in a 3:06 Marathon in Sydney in 2019, running solely the sessions I love, sessions that keep your mind busy I like to call them.
This is the part where I was introduced to Tony’s coaching methods, I had met him and knew who he was from my time in Perth but never watched his training style till now. He listens to his athletes, focuses on their strengths, works with them to achieve the best possible outcome! Oct 2019 whilst living in the Gold Coast I signed up with Tony, running is no longer a chore, the love is back and it shows! Running an unofficial 17:58 5km in a training run, to more recently a half PB of 1:23:19 to back it up with a 10km PB the following week of 37:30. Whilst I have moved on again and am now back living in my home town of Geelong, VIC I feel as though I am still a big part of the Perth running community I left behind. Forever supportive the whole Tony Smith run coaching crew, and although sadly missing their group runs being on the other side of Aus I know I still have Tony’s support 100% and he is only a msg/ph call away. Being a busy Mum of 3 and working hospitality and its crazy hours, Tony has been nothing but supportive even with the constant msgs changing sessions around to fit in with life. He gets me as an individual and I am looking forward to the remainder of 2020 working with Tony, skies the limit!
My running journey started January 2017 kicking off the new year at Rocks River parkrun soon turning to a weekly ritual. Not long after I started running three runs a week which helped improve my fitness and turned running into an activity I really enjoyed.
2018 saw me attempt various races 10k, half marathons and even the 96k Kokoda team challenge on the Gold Coast. Without a huge influence and in hindsight I went into that very under prepared for such a race. I left that event excited of what I had just achieved but inspired to go much quicker. So, I reached out to Ben for some advice and guidance on how to improve my results. I then entered the Blackall 100K running to a provided programme but without the regular coaching which worked out well with a 7 hour Pb from the Kokoda challenge.
Learning from Blackall and pumped about my PB I entered many races in 2019 gaining more experience and having fun along the way. I entered The Guzzler100k and ran basically to what I had learned from my last 100k race and I managed to shave an hour off my last time on a much tougher course. I entered a few more ultras for the year improving with every experience managing pretty good results for an amateur runner with some help and guidance form Ben.
The end of the year was looming and earlier in the year I had entered the Old Ghost Ultra in New Zealand. Knowing I had run further then 50 miles before I thought maybe this would be a good idea to put my best foot forward travelling overseas, the thought of failing was not an option. So, I once again sought out Ben for more in depth coaching. A full 12 week coached program. He quickly checked out my volume and how fast I was running and put together a programme. Ben asked me various questions taking in my work and home life situation which was incorporated into the programme to reduce the risk of injury. Ben checked in with me mostly daily on Strava and weekly on the phone to find out how I was feeling.
Ben got me to the start line of my A race the best prepared than any previous race and I completed the 85km race in 10hrs 20min which was faster than anticipated. I was incredibly happy with my results and Ben’s Coaching. I continue to work with Ben on a weekly basis to keep my running journey moving towards bigger and better results in the future.
Tony Smith, a great coach, a great human being.
I started running back in December 2018 as a way to fit in physical activity into a full life (so it seemed) with 4 kids, my fiancé and I work fulltime and struggling to continue social sports in the evenings.
Running meant I could just throw on a pair of shoes, run out the door and be back within the hour. Whilst this started at just 2-3 days a week, around 5km, I soon realised that I wanted more. Coming across this “Strava” App, I soon started to follow some close relatives of mine and some fellow runners in the area to understand what everyone else was doing. I then threw some more constructive speedwork into my routine, along with a long run in the middle of the week.
Come 6 months later, I had worked my way up to the half marathon distance on my long runs and entered the HBF Half Marathon. My goal was to run around 1hr 35, this was before I met Tony.
I had been following Tony on Strava and I could see just from comments how much energy surrounded him and the support he gave out in the running community. Struggling to further my running endurance past the half marathon, I was looking for some support to get to the next level, to run the almighty Marathon! This was when I reached out to Tony.
We met up at a coffee shop, the day before my HBF Half Marathon race. He came well prepared, had done his research on my running for the previous 6 months and we discussed my ambitions and goals for the Marathon. It wasn’t just a discussion about my running though, he was interested in my family life, my work life, what was important to me, how we could fit the training sessions into my life. It was personal.
Having looked through my history, Tony told me with confidence that I could better my half marathon goal for the HBF Half the following day, to target 1hr 30. Come the following morning, I did just that, I went out with confidence, finished strong and came away with a time of 1:28:26. Wow, if this is just the beginning… I couldn’t wait to kick off the training.
The goal race for my training was for the City to Surf Marathon, August 2019, an ambitious goal to not only finish the race but to finish in a respectable time. Tony put together a 12-week plan and introduced me to great runners to help build with the training. Each session Tony provided feedback on how I was going and allowed flexibility to allow me to get the most of the training around my schedule.
Fast forward to August 2019, getting to the start line injury-free and in the best shape of my life, I finished the Marathon at City to Surf in 3:03:31.
The experience working with Tony on my training has been nothing but fantastic and has helped me to not only grow athletically as a runner but also mentally in life.
Since meeting Tony I have continued to share many Personal Bests with other small goals within the training plans all under his guidance and motivation.
All of my current PB’s have been gained working with Tony:
5k – 17:09, 10k – 37:25, Perth Half Marathon – 1:24:06, C2S Marathon – 3:03:31, 50k ADU Ultra: 3:39:02
I recommend to anybody looking to improve as a runner to contact Tony Smith, you’ll be nothing but impressed and astounded with the results and the community around him! I’m greatly thankful for Tony in guiding me on this journey and look forward to setting some new goals for 2020!
I first took up running in 2009 when I was 42 and ran the Gold Coast Marathon in 2013. I continued running on and off and done a PB 10k 51:29 in 2017. In June 2018 I ran a 2:03 half and then my body said enough. Fast forward to mid-2019 after slowly getting back into running I decided that I wanted to get back to where I was. I was running and wasn’t really getting anywhere. So, I put out a call on FB to see if anyone could recommend a Running Coach and Tony’s name popped up a couple of times. I sent Tony a message to see if this would work considering I’m 3,500km away.
I had this crazy idea to complete a local run “Challenge the Mountain” 5km continuous 10% incline, so in August 2018 my training adventure began. Working long stressful days, not having to worry about planning my running made life easier. It was so easy, click on the app and it was all there. Well, I got up that mountain in 46:38:697, third place in Female 50+, so a podium finish. I now have a time to beat in 2020.
After the mountain, my running goal quickly changed to completing half marathons. Tony has devised a training plan for me now not only to get my distance up but my speed as well. Two months into 2020 and I’m doing something that I didn’t think I would be able to do again, running long distances.
I have had days when my run hasn’t gone to plan, and Tony has always been there with the right words to stop the doubts and I have had days when my run has just been spot on and the again Tony is there with the right words. Tony is always only a message away.
When I first started, I did wonder what I had gotten myself into, I look at my training schedule and I think “What The!”, and there are some days when I see what the training is and “What The” still comes to thought, but it works. I’m getting, fitter and faster and now have faith that I will reach my crazy goals.
I am very much a sole runner as I’m not into big groups so being coached long distance fits like a glove. Just knowing I have someone that is encouraging me, pushing me, keeping an eye on me and believing in me is massive.
I never thought of myself as a runner and sometimes still don’t, but I am 🧡
Running started for me as a way to exercise, and a form of escape, a place I could leave problems behind and give my soul some rest, beginning with the odd lap of lake monger only3.5km but we all start somewhere right? Over time this relationship has evolved, running is who I am, I run, I am a runner therefore I am, I reached a point where the next stop for me was to seek coaching, and this would be a significant choice, now that running meant so much to me.
I am no natural athlete, and will always in my head be the fat kid from school, so becoming a middle-level run runner felt like a great achievement. Then I met Tony Smith.
My original appeal to Tony Smith as a coach, revolved around the small strong community base his team offer, tightknit, very supportive and all levels, with athletes making massive gains in their own performances, he had the runs on the board.
Tony is a regular at events throughout the state, so bumping into him on the starting line was becoming a common occurrence before I would be left in his dust. A gospel of running knowledge and passionate about a sport he loves.
Of particular interest to me, were Tony's wrap-ups of his athlete's performances, it is apparent that he gives as much praise and attention to a runner running their first sub30 minute park run as a runner winning a marathon. I feel he finds a way to make each athlete feel they are special and significant, it's easy to forget he coaches a host of other athletes. This vibe that he brings to the athlete's training is fantastic, you know he has your back.
Now as a coached athlete I feel Tony is super attentive to my program, he sets challenging but realistic training goals, and provides feedback on almost every session, processing the data and building the bridges to get over the bumps. The opportunity to join the coach on regular training runs is another fantastic feature, as I can pose questions and queries delving into his wealth of knowledge.
Significantly in my time under Tony’s instruction, injuries have become a thing of the past (touch wood), with no niggles, I feel like he helps manage my body, and keeps me on a leash before I do something stupid, which I’m sure I have an adept talent for.
In my first marathon 2 and a half years ago I came in 423rd, under Tony’s tutelage I would expect to press for top 5 in the same marathon today. Since training under Tony, I've run my 3 fastest marathons and my 2 fastest half marathons, paced friends to PBs and event wins, my fastest 10k, my fastest park run. Including 3rd place at Busselton marathon, and recently winning my first marathon whilst overseas. I've come a long way from being the fat kid at school, and I feel like there's a lot of room to keep climbing. I'm in no way an elite runner, but I’m pretty good now, I love what I do, I will never be the fastest, but I feel Tony will help me be the fastest/strongest/happiest runner I can be, and that's all that matters at the end of the day, our biggest competitor will always be ourselves.
As runners, we focus so much on numbers and times, but there is so much more to this adventure then just PBs, be the best you can be, hit the goals you give yourself, and enjoy every moment. 2 of my finest achievements under Tony include successfully holding a race pace for the full 42km without hitting the wall, it took 21 to get there. Secondly the art of recovery, on a recent half marathon, after a hard work week in the heat, I mentally dropped and had in my head pulled out at 10k, but then I found something out of nowhere, I woke up and rose from the ashes and pulled off another PB, finishing fast and strong. Both these things I attribute to my coaching, I'm a stronger smarter runner, I have a wonderful community around me and a great coach!
In 2019 I ran the Busselton half marathon in a time of 1:44:11 and cried when I crossed the finish line. After bilateral knee reconstructions in 2017, I never thought I’d run that kind of pace again.
Fast forward to the end of 2019 and I decided I wanted to put a big goal out there. Run the same race again but sub 140, which would be a huge PB even pre knees.
I enlisted the help of Tony, told him my goal and got the simple response of yes we can do that.
His training was easy to follow and he is always available for questions or to move sessions around if you need flexibility. I think most of all for me is how he is genuinely invested in your success. Tony is endlessly positive and so excited to see others achieve.
11 weeks after starting with Tony I lined up at Busso more prepared for a race than I’ve ever been. I managed to sneak in at 1:34:58, almost 10minutes faster than last year and felt amazing!
Last year I decided to focus some time on me and recognised that I needed the support to keep my track with my running goals, whilst balancing life, family and work.
My previous last event was in 2015 – at the Goldfields Pipeline Half, which with a sporadic approach to training and a knee injury, made this race rather difficult. This was followed a few weeks later by the Perth C25 Half – completed in 3hr 6 minutes, due to helping another runner – so not the result I was aiming for. Following more foot issues, apart from the odd Parkrun, my motivation for running rather slipped.
During this time sport was still an integral part of my life and I found myself watching the joys, tears and pain of other athletes from the sidelines.
Fast forward to July 2019 and I decided to give the Bibra Lake Running Works Festival 12km ago, this is where I met another runner being coached by Tony. We chatted about being able to have the control during a race not to go out too hard and the benefits of Tony’s coaching. Further to this conversation and talking with my husband, who encouraged me to train for a marathon, I decided to contact Tony.
Tony helped me with a few strategies to get me started and back into training - encouraging me to get off the sideline and start taking part!
Balancing my day to day plans around training has never been easy, including eating and drinking more water – a constant struggle. So some days were good and others I just wanted not to move but having a set training plan has pushed me to limits- feeling that each run was bad, Tony would point out just the little things. Together with the training plan and Tony’s support, has pushed me to my latest run ADU 25km – my longest run ever!
The lead up was not the start I wanted or planned for but I felt I was ready. I felt rather blank the night before – not knowing how I was feeling – but also having a sense that it would be OK. So then the normal runners worries, took over - which trainers should I wear and ended up taking 3 pairs in the end – have never owned so many before in my life! Race day started with little sleep and waiting to start - Tony’s fly pass in his race gave me the boost I needed, saying how great I was going to do. This encouragement continued throughout the race, as each time Tony passed me, he gave the support and this helped push me along.
Thanks to Tony’s support I achieved 10km, 10mile, 20km and Half Marathon PB in the one race!
I would recommend Tony to all – he has always been flexible with my plan, listening to me when I need to change it when I felt things were not going right and then taking the time to follow up with me the next day.
Tony’s coaching has allowed me to step outside of my comfort zone and enjoy running again.
Tony has been my running coach and mentor for coming up to two years, shortly after completing my first marathon in 3:43:16 without a coach in early 2018, 13 minutes OVER my goal time of 3:30:00.
Having only been running consistently since 2017 and been immensely obese at 143kg prior to running, Tony’s structured program and evolving sessions are truly tailored to the individual athlete’s current level of fitness and training goals.
I was so eager to develop/learn get faster that early in the program I overtrained myself against the coach’s advice and hit an injury set-back of a torn plantar fascia. Sheepishly I was forced to rest and resume training after an appropriate rehabilitation program was completed.
From that point, Tony provided a 6 week training block for the Perth Running Festival Half Marathon 2018 with a goal of completing under 1:30 (my previous personal best was 1:40). After sticking to the plan diligently this time, and adding in strength and conditioning work, I finished in 1:27 and was over the moon.
A few weeks later I participated in the Runningworks Spectacles Trail Half Marathon and placed overall 2nd in a time of 1:29.
In the subsequent months under Tony’s guidance I’ve gone from strength to strength and gain more confidence with every event I participate in.
I ran the ADU 50km race with a 2nd place finish in 3:46 in January 2018, only behind the man himself, Tony. Shortly after that race, I ran a PB 17:53 parkrun 5km followed by PB 10km 37:28 a few weeks thereafter.
Earlier this year I decided to attempt to qualify for the Boston Marathon 2020, which requires a qualifying time of 2:59:59 or better and having not run a marathon since Bunbury 2018, with the exception of the ADU 50km, I had to dig deep in training to realise this goal – the rec-runner dream of a sub-3 finish.
In the Bibra Lake marathon I executed the race as Tony and I planned with a 1:29 first half and a 1:25 second half, including running the last 10km (km 32-42) in 39 minutes and placing 6th overall with a time of 2:55:11 - well beyond the 2:59 goal and an absolutely massive PB!
Since Bibra Lake, I was selected by Athletics WA to represent the state in the Australia National Marathon Championships in Sydney, which was the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival. I ran the event in the WA colours for the first time and came home with a 2:49:28 finish only 10 weeks after Bibra Lake and placing 54th overall. This was by far one of the great experiences of 2019 for me and I am so grateful for the support Tony provided before and after this race. Sydney marathon is a tough course and having done it before, Tony was able to offer some apt advice.
Just recently at the Perth Running Festival 2019 (2 weeks after Sydney) I ran a PB 5km parkrun again with some friends coming in at 16:30 and the following week, paced a good friend to a 2:57 marathon finish and State Championship at the Perth Running Festival. This was by far the most rewarding experience of my running career to-date and far outweighs the excitement from getting a personal best.
There is no way I would be at the fitness, strength and confidence to accomplish this pacing session without the guidance of Tony.
Tony has been a fantastic mentor over this past year, teaching me more every time I step up a level, there’s more to learn and understand about running, training, race strategies and even mental strategies to break through negative self talk, high heart rate/breathing techniques- you name it.
For any runner, of any ability that wants to grow and develop their skills, reach new levels of fitness and achieve personal running goals - Tony is the “go-to” man.
First parkrun: 22 July 2017 - 32:58 (6:36/km) no coaching
Best parkrun time before coaching: 21 April 2018 - 19:56
PBs under coaching:
5km - before coaching 19:56
3 November 2018 - 18:13
1 December 2018 - 17:59
2 March 2019 - 17:53
15 June 2019 - 17:25
27 July 2019 - 16:46
28 September 2019 – 16:30
10km - before coaching 41:25
30 September 2018 - 39:43
23 October 2018 - 39:14
14 April 2019 - 37:28
1 August 2019 - 36:59
Half Marathon - before coaching 1:40
6 October 2018 - 1:27:01
April 27 2019 - 1:23:06
Marathon - before coaching 3:43
19 January 2019 - 3:09
7 July 2019 - 2:55:11
15 September 2019 – 2:49:28
I began running in 2014 at 33 years of age as a way to keep fit after I stopped playing local rugby and immediately became addicted. Between 2014-19, I completed five marathons and slowly lowered my personal best time from 3:22 at my debut event (Barossa Marathon) to 2:42:40 at the 2019 Adelaide Marathon. My training approach over those five years was formulated primarily through reading various running books. However, I was always curious about the benefits that coaching might bring.
I first heard about Tony through a friend at work whose wife had seen significant improvement under Tony's tutelage and decided to take the plunge. Tony came to our first face to face meeting well prepared. He had analysed my Strava data from my previous marathon build-up, identifying two key areas for immediate improvement. Tony provided an honest appraisal of what he thought we could achieve. I came away from that first meeting feeling extremely excited (Tony's passion for running is infectious).
Tony tailored a 16-week program for me which differed significantly from my previous training plans. The program included an extra speed session each week and considerably more mileage than my previous marathon preparation. In the build-up to the Perth Running Festival (PRF), Tony regularly provided feedback and encouragement for my completed sessions through the online training App. Tony was very flexible if I needed to swap or shift sessions due to other commitments. In the final weeks before the PRF, I ran some key sections of the course with Tony, and we discussed my race day strategy.
On the start line for the PRF, I found myself surrounded by other runners who are in Tony's program and who I have had contact with over the past 16 weeks through Strava and in person. It was a great way to start a race in almost a family atmosphere. I ran a controlled race at the PRF with regular encouragement from the three-hour pacer (Tony) and smashed my PB by seven minutes to run a 2:35:35 and finished 4th overall!!
Before I met Tony I’d been searching for a coach for a couple of years I was asking around and sending emails and I even practically begged my friend to train me and was shoving money into his pocket!
I nearly gave up altogether before I found Tony through social media. I saw him at the Twighlight Half Marathon in early 2019 and soon after, he started coaching me. He was extremely professional and kind, and I was super excited that he was really keen to get to know my running background and help me with my goals. He showed great enthusiasm and seemed just as excited as I was which was all I wanted!
We set a long term goal race, the Perth Running Festival Marathon for October 2019, but it wasn’t all smooth sailing for me. I had to battle with severe anxiety which had a huge affect on my training, Tony was very understanding and supportive when I told him and I was really grateful for that! I also had to back off in the Perth Half Marathon in August and he showed no sign of disappointment and was really kind about it.
Tony made me feel comfortable to ask him or tell him anything I needed right from the start. He always comments on my training sessions and listens to all my crazy requests, for example he agreed to me adding a 7 km race into a 30 kilometre training run which I ended up coming 2nd, and then an obstacle course race (something I’d never done before) two weeks prior to the PFR Marathon! I got pretty beat up but still managed to won the event outright!
He has always done his best to keep me happy and been very encouraging to make me want to work hard!
Just before the main event, the Perth Running Festival my goal race that we had been working towards for almost 6 months, I couldn’t have felt more confident and ready. I asked Tony for some final words of wisdom the night before the race and his words “You can do this” imprinted in my head like a permanent tattoo! Tony got me through that race without even having been there because those four words would pop up in my head whenever things got tough.
I finished the ‘Perth Running Festival Marathon in 3hours 36minutes, a 7 minute PB and the best race I’ve ever done. I owe it all to my fantastic coach and new found friend Tony Smith. I couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you again :-)
I first met Tony at a local parkrun, at the very start of my running journey. At parkrun Tony was my yard stick, I would see how far I could go on the out and back course before he passed me on his return. Then I would have another chance to see him as he went out for a second lap. This became my measurement of my progress, the further I got before I saw him, the better I must have done.
So when I made the decision to find a running coach, Tony was a fairly obvious choice; I already knew just how supportive and motivating he was. Tony started coaching me in March of this year. This was not only to improve my running and achieve some time goals that I had set for myself - that I thought was about the limit of my ability - but also to help me reduce the risk of injury caused by incorrectly training myself.
I had two goals this year: to complete the Rottnest Marathon and the Perth Running Festival Marathon and achieve a personal best time over the marathon distance. At the time, my PB was 3:56:31.
Tony set my plan after reviewing my results from past events and listening to my goals, he used his experience and knowledge to encourage me to stretch my goals and push myself further than I thought possible. Tony believed in me, that I could achieve what I thought was out of reach.
Tony’s training plan helped me achieve a personal best time at the Rottnest Marathon (3:54:41) in June and then to run the Perth marathon in 3:46:41 - a time that in March I really didn’t think was possible!
Along this journey he also encouraged me and planned for me to run personal best times at parkrun, over 10k and also in the Perth Half Marathon when I ran a time of 1:44:44. (Had anyone else told me that I would run a half marathon in that time, I would have laughed at them, but when it was Tony, it made it realistic!).
Tony’s coaching strengths are not just his knowledge of training techniques and mixing up the variety of training drills to keep it fun and exciting but also his motivation, encouragement, endless positivity and flexibility. Tony understood that I have other interests and hobbies and always made sure that the plan was able to be changed to suit my life, holidays and my love of cycling.
He really did make me feel that my impossible was really possible.
I have really enjoyed this journey with Tony and while I am a little scared about what happens next, I am also really, really excited!
Thank you Tony, thank you so much!
I never thought I’d have a running coach. I’m just an average 40+ runner who pounded the pavement three times a week before heading off to work. In a burst of euphoria after the Perth Running Festival in 2018 I set a crazy goal of getting a BQ time for 2020 so I bought a book on training, booked a spot at the Bunbury Marathon and followed the regimented plan. During this block, I was fortunate enough to meet Tony through another running friend and he invited us to do some long runs with him as he trained for the Bunbury Ultra. Tony has an infectious passion for running and seeing others achieve their goals and I learned more from these runs than I learned from the book. He was happy to listen to how our training was going and offer advice and also introduced me to other runners with the same goals. Through this, I got to know what an amazing runner he is and about the athletes he was already coaching and what they were achieving.
After just hitting my goal at Bunbury I wanted to see if I could do better but I needed help to do that and I knew Tony was the right coach for me. We sat down in May and he listened to me talk about my running so far and what my goals were. He got to know what type of workouts I enjoyed and how running fitted into my life so I could balance family time and work. From that he worked out a plan that would fit around my schedule and that he believed would increase my speed and endurance. I remember saying at that meeting that a huge goal for me would be to run a 2hr 50 mins marathon at Perth Running Festival and Tony saying that it was a big goal but he thought if I worked at it I could do better.
Tony publishes my plan using an online tool and which has an app allowing me to see my training schedule wherever I am on my phone. Every workout includes notes and target paces and when I’m finished a run I can comment on how it went for Tony to see and offer feedback. Sometimes life takes priority over training and if I know I’m going to miss a session I can just drop him a message and we can always work out a new schedule. For races, Tony gives guidance on pacing and mental strategies which I’ve found invaluable and he has given me different experiences of races by approaching the build-up in different ways. Because he’s not too far from me on Sundays I often meet up with Tony and some of his other athletes for a long run. It’s great to catch-up on how we are all doing and talk with Tony but if I’ve not been able to make it Tony will often ping me a message to check-in. It’s hard work sticking to a plan but the rewards come quickly and you can see the progress you’re making.
With Tony’s coaching I’ve achieved results I didn’t think were even remotely possible for me. As I reached the end of my first big training block with him at the Perth Running Festival Tony’s prediction from May was right as I finished 7th in the marathon in 2hrs 40 mins, 17 minutes quicker than I’d run in Bunbury. It was great to hit that time but most importantly for me, as one of his athletes, I’ve also learned how to love running, even when it’s hard, and I’ve met a fantastic group of supportive athletes and friends both in-person and online, coached by him, who all inspire each other to be better. I have more goals for 2020 and I know Tony is the right coach to help me achieve these. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Tony to any level of runner who wants to be better or achieve a goal and wants to join a supportive community of runners. Thank you Tony.
I first met Tony in the finishing chute of the Bunbury Marathon in April 2018. He was finishing the 50km (with a 30min head start), but graciously let me pip him on the line, so I could celebrate my Marathon win and new PB. A friendship followed from there. It wasn't until May 2019 that I asked Tony to coach me. I was desperate to run a sub 3 hour Marathon and I knew that Tony was the coach to get me there.
Tony not only sets my training and gives me the timeliest feedback, he has helped me transform the mental side of my running. Tactics to keep the mind positive when things get tough, how to reduce my pre-race anxiety and plans a race strategy for me that works to all my strengths.
Four months of marathon training under Tony and I had hit next level, and better yet, the training and recovery was so well planned that it was the first time I got through a marathon build without any serious niggle or injury. I was extremely confident of hitting my sub 3 hour target in my goal race of the Sydney Marathon. Unfortunately, I fell ill in the days leading up to the marathon, but nothing would stop me from starting or finishing, with the last 24km of the race turning into survival mode as I was sick on course multiple times. A 3:08 marathon was not what I'd trained for, it was not what I was capable of. I was devastated.
Tony was the biggest support to me in the days and weeks post-marathon. He encouraged me to be resilient, to not let this destroy my passion or my dreams. We talked about the possibility of me running Perth Marathon which was 3 weeks post-Sydney. We had done the training, it was home soil, my family would be there, and my friends would be there. We had nothing to lose and Tony's belief in me was unreal.
Tony planned a very strategic race for me, and I trusted him and my pacer Ryan Shand whole-heartedly. There was only one goal and that was to run a sub 3 hour marathon. No risk taking, no racing for a podium, just run the time we all knew I was capable of. I ran the Perth Marathon in October 2019 in 2:57:41 which was good enough for the win and the 2019 WA Marathon State Title.
This is just the beginning of a very long and successful partnership with Tony. Not only do I know that Tony will help me hit all of those running goals, but he will always make sure the journey there is an enjoyable one.
I already knew Tony and what an amazing runner he was through our local running community. I've always found him to be a really supportive, friendly person so I decided to use his individual training plan because I had a set time goal I was chasing for my next marathon.
I wasn't new to running and had trained myself through a couple of marathons before but I was very curious to see what difference having a coach guide me would make.
Tony's plan was really good it was simple, easy to follow and completely tailored to what I could fit into my life. If a workout couldn't happen because of something I was doing he just changed it around no problems.
The main thing I was missing when I trained for events before was hard sessions that take me to that uncomfortable place that we all dislike. Tony made sure those sessions were done every week and having someone to be accountable to afterwards made sure I actually did them!
Training for this marathon with Tony's plan I felt stronger than ever in the build up and was surprised at how easy the longer runs were getting. I loved the accountability of a coach, it definitely helps to push you and I really enjoyed the feedback after every session. Knowing what you did well/not so well straight away means you immediately know what to work on next time.
Thank you so much Tony for helping me achieve my goal I'm over the moon with my new marathon PB. I already knew what an inspiration you were and thoroughly good bloke but having you coach me has just confirmed that.
After running Busselton and Melbourne marathons last year with a goal of sub 3.40 and running 3.41 and 3.44 respectively, I decided to ask Tony for some coaching in the run-up to an unknown marathon this year.
It took me a while to decide on one - originally I planned to find a super flat, fast course but then I entered my first Ironman for December and needed something by the end of August. So City to Surf became the goal. Although I would be lying if I said I actually expected to hit anywhere near my target on the challenging course.
I got into the training which kept me motivated through the three month build. The main thing that was different this year was consistent intervals and hill training. All my long runs included hills, Tony also threw in weekly hill reps and some of my 'favorite' interval sessions and provided ongoing encouragement.
I spent two months not missing a session and then work got manic and things started to slip. I started to feel pretty run down and the last few weeks saw me fighting to stay in the game. What I loved about Tony's approach was the constant support and flexibility that came with missing the odd session here and there. Tony continued to stay positive (very much for both of us at times), shifted things around and gave me confidence that I had done the hard work I needed to.
Race week came around and I caught up with Tony where I think he realised how nervous I was and how much I doubted my ability. So he gave me lots of strategies to help throughout the week leading up to the race and for race day itself. These included positive words of advice on my workouts for the week, adapting my training to add more easy runs to take the edge off race day and using music as a reward in the race.
All of this advice worked so well. I've run about 10 marathons and I've never experienced getting to 35km and not feeling like throwing in the towel. At City to Surf it just didn't happen. I was still loving it, still confident I could run my sub 3.40.
That was until I got a bit carried away (ok, I was in a world of pain and didn't see any signs) at 39km, ended up running into Perry Lakes reserve with the masses and added on about 300m of weaving. I hadn't quite left myself enough time and finished in 3.40.38 chip time. That was a PB on a hilly course compared with last year's Busselton time on a pancake flat course. And importantly I loved it! Best marathon to date by a long way.
Thank you so much Tony, for your expert coaching and belief in my ability when I didn't. Next one WILL be 3.3x!
The first time I ran a marathon, I trained with long, slow runs, building up gradually because I had no other option, and I succeeded, running the 2017 Pipeline Marathon in 4 hours 58 minutes. Buoyed by my success, I had another go in 2018, but this time I felt much more confident so I decided to train harder and faster, increasing my runs to five or six per week (as part of a very active running community in Kalgoorlie, there were always group runs to be enjoyed and FOMO had me pounding the pavement almost daily), and I decided to try barefoot running shoes in the hope they would help me shave a few minutes off my time. Cue … a stress fracture in my left foot (two weeks before 2018 Pipeline). I was completely sidelined, reduced to taking photos at the finish line. I knew it was all my fault. I endured 6 weeks in a moon boot and even went to the pool and did some laps (urghh, I know) and then finally it was time to start running again. The physio made it clear my comeback should be slow and steady. Which I tried to do … and screwed up completely. After a reasonable start I entered for a race I could never have been ready for (Bloated Goat) and tried to cram the training for it into the two weeks prior to the run. After 7 hard runs in 6 days (FOMO was responsible for a few of these, as usual) during which I had the bright idea of taping my ankles to stop them getting stiff and sore after every run, I wound up with retrocalcaneal bursitis. I got a cortisone injection, took photos of all my friends finishing the Bloated Goat (and I’m just not that good a photographer), and called Tony. I didn’t need motivation, I needed someone to STOP me from overtraining. I explained to Tony I just wanted to run the marathon again, I wanted to get back to where I was, and I wanted to do it honestly and in a dignified fashion without wrecking myself and finishing in 9 minute kay territory and being unable to walk for six weeks after flopping over the finish line (if I was lucky enough not to re-break my foot before I even got there). I said I only wanted to train every second day as backing them up was giving me bursitis, and Tony said: “yep, I can work with that”. Despite knowing in my heart that I needed help to get my training under control, I was surprised – nay stunned – when the first week of Tony’s program was easy. And so was the next, and the next. In fact, the whole 14-week training program he put together for me was easy, from beginning to end. My injuries all started to clear up the moment I started training with Tony. I got to run with my friends as Tony was happy to work around our usual group runs, with only minor adjustments to what I did on those runs to build my strength and fitness (and of course I only did three of them, not five). I realised that under Tony’s guidance I was running the minimum amount of kilometers per week that were needed to achieve my goal (reducing my vulnerability to injury) but every kilometer I ran counted towards my goal as Tony knows exactly how to make them count. By the time the 2019 Pipeline came around I was fit, strong and injury-free and I not only did the marathon again but I knocked 24 minutes off my 2017 time.
Others have talked about how supportive and encouraging Tony is. We met in person for the first time on the marathon weekend (last weekend, as I write this) and seeing him 100 meters out from the finish cheering me on to a great PB was magic but it always felt like he was in my corner from the start. You get so much from Tony for your dollar. I don’t know how he does it. So if, like me, your instincts about how and how much you can or should run are letting you down, and you don’t know how to do better, get Tony on the job. He’ll straighten you out and if the goal you’ve set for yourself is actually achievable, he will be the one to get you there.
I am a 66-year-old Masters athlete. Between 2014 and early January 2019, I suffered an ongoing, acute, debilitating Achilles injury which just didn’t seem to go away. I was unable to compete or train seriously.
In January 2019, depressed over my injury, and on the verge of giving up running completely, I approached Tony Smith and asked him if he would be prepared to coach me. He readily agreed, sent me off to a physiotherapist (also a marathon runner), specializing in such injuries and in the meantime, Tony devised a low-impact training program of mainly running on grass to return meet basic fitness. Within weeks my achilles improved and now completely symptom-free. In the meantime, by following Tony’s training program, I have steadily, each week, increased my pace per kilometer, at all training distances, and am looking forward to achieving some new PB’s under his guidance in due course.
Tony, apart from being a qualified coach, is a great runner. His knowledge of distance running is unsurpassed. He has adopted state-of-the-art running technology (Strava and Final Surge) which has enabled him to immediately monitor each and every workout you do and provide almost instantaneous feedback.
Tony is extremely positive and supportive. He welcomes feedback from his athletes as to how they are coping with his workouts and is always prepared to consider making adjustments to the training program, based on the individual responsiveness of each athlete he coaches.
I highly recommend Tony’s coaching if you are interested in improving your running and achieving PB’s.”
I had been running since I was about 20 and always playing football. This was up until about 18mnths ago when I realized that my England call up wasn’t coming!!!!
Anyway, I wanted to start doing something else and had intermittently attended parkruns and thought I would like to start pushing myself in that arena. I started running again last year but was having issues with injury and a lack of motivation and accountability.
I had met Tony a few years earlier when Joondalup parkrun was just an idea and thought he may be the guy to push me forward. After a sluggish and frustrating start for both Tony and I we found what I needed.... that’s the royal we..
Tony explained to me the importance of the mental aspect of distance running and since then I have been concentrating on my goals and improvements, not comparing myself to others and pushing forward.
Since then I have completed the Joondalup half, Light Horse 3hr and Perth 32km, each time getting quicker. I am now looking forward to my first Ultramarathon at the end of July.
Cheers Tony for sticking with me!!!!
I started running long distance around 2018. Regular life duties got in the way and with the birth of my lovely girl, my running went downhill. Doing the HBF run in 2018 and finishing at 2hr18 min, I felt I could have done much quicker and needed the motivation
My friends spoke highly of Tony and going through the website I decided to go for the 3-month premium package. As for a beginner runner like me, there is nothing to lose really even if it goes wrong so I thought it was definitely worth a shot
As soon as I had my first meeting my viewpoint completely changed. We started in Feb 2019 with a goal to complete HBF under 2 hrs in May. I loved to see the passion in his eyes to help beginners like me and I was ready to follow his plan. What I loved the most is the accountability factor. I just wanted the plan and needed someone to push me. Running suddenly became simple again as all what I needed to do was to complete the plan for the day and not worry about anything after that. Doing the plan over and over again, I managed to complete the HBF in 1hr 55min. I shaved 23 min of the last HBF run. I was completely shocked and immediately texted Tony of how stoked I am.
I highly recommend Tony to all beginners as all that you need is to just follow the plan and not worry about everything and anything what the experts online have to say. Leave the hard job to Tony and enjoy the best part of your life with family which is the most important aspect of life
Our son, Tom, applied to join the Royal Australian Navy last year. As a dad who enjoys running and who, like Tony, had also served time in the military, we knew that getting and staying fit before he joined would only benefit him.
Tony put together a training program for Tom and gave him loads of encouragement throughout. Tom has just recently enlisted in the RAN and as a result of Tony’s help and assistance he completely aced his ADF fitness test.
We have no hesitation in recommending Tony to anyone who is thinking of enlisting in the ADF or the emergency services.
I started running in my 40s to try and combat middle-age spread. Participated in a couple of fun runs, then decided to run a marathon before I turned 50. I picked a training plan off the internet, ended up injured and ran a very slow and painful first marathon. Since then I’ve improved my time, running over a dozen marathons and 50k events, including two New York Marathons and Berlin. It was a poor showing at Berlin in 2018 that prompted me to seek out some structured training and assistance. I had been just coasting along, running a lot of miles, but lately, my times had been dropping off, culminating in a 4:20 at Berlin.
Tony has provided me with a training plan tailored to meet my needs – I have a goal of running a BQ – Boston Marathon Qualifying Time. This has always seemed out of reach to me. My marathon PB at this stage was a 3:50:15 at Perth Marathon in 2016. My BQ time would be sub 3:35 – a gulf that seemed insurmountable. We locked in the Perth Running Festival marathon as the goal event to attempt the BQ.
Under Tony’s guidance, I have trained harder than ever before. We built my speed and endurance. He has guided me through the inevitable injuries, running some solid, though not-quite-fast-enough trial races. A few weeks out, we decided that I wasn’t quite there, and would run about 5:15 pace on race day, leaving me just short of my BQ time. The final few weeks of training were really solid, and we decided to roll the dice and let the result fall as it may on race day.
So, race day I lined up with the 3:30 pacers and hoped that I could hang on throughout the race. The training really paid off, culminating in a 3:32:31 finish – an 18-minute PB and BQ time with a 2 minute 29 second buffer.
*******Update 19 Oct 19******
All that marathon training paid off with a 25 second parkrun PB of 21:20 at Canning River, smashing a 4 year PB drought.
As a regular runner, I was already clocking up the kilometers consistently each week but wasn’t really seeing much benefit in terms of improvement. I sought Tony’s services to provide me with structure, purpose, and discipline. After only 16 weeks, the difference in my confidence, strength, and capacity to run harder than I thought I could have been remarkable. Tony has taught me to be comfortable with the uncomfortable.
As a regional client, living 600 kilometers from Perth, I do not have face-to-face meetings with Tony and have actually only met him once. His method of feedback is always timely, effective and personal. I receive very regular communication from Tony. This is predominantly via a message component in an APP but I have also received phone calls, messages and have been sent supporting materials such as links to Podcasts and running articles. Tony always highlights areas where I have done well; but he is also honest and tells me what I need to know to improve.
As a very busy mum with a highly stressful job, I often need to switch sessions around. This is never a problem for Tony; he provides great flexibility and options between sessions depending on the time and resources that I have available. Overall, Tony’s coaching has exceeded my expectations and I would have no hesitation recommending his services.
Tony has been my running coach and mentor for just over a year, shortly after completing my first marathon in 3:43:16 without a coach in 2018, 13 minutes OVER my goal time of 3:30:00.
Having only been running consistently since 2017, Tony’s structured program and evolving sessions are truly tailored to the individual athlete’s current level of fitness and training goals.
originally planned to try for a 3:30:00 at City To Surf marathon in August 2018 but an injury set back caused me to withdraw and refocus on some shorter distances.
After appropriate rehabilitation and return to running program, Tony provided a 6 week training block for the Perth Running Festival Half Marathon 2018 with a goal of completing under 1:30 (my previous personal best was 1:40). After sticking to the plan diligently and adding in strength and conditioning work, I finished in 1:27 and was over the moon.
A few weeks later I participated in the Runningworks Spectacles Trail Half Marathon and placed overall 2nd in a time of 1:29.
The next goal was even bigger: The Australia Day Ultra 50km road race in Australind January 2019 and my goal was to complete it in 3:50:00-4:00:00 - the training plan was 12 weeks of enjoyable but challenging work, including running a 3:40 marathon long run (a PB in training) amongst other super sessions.
One of the awesome things about Tony’s plans are the mini goals along the way - in December 2018, about 6 weeks from race day, I was set a 5km Time Trial and hit a PB of 17:58, down from 18:12 months earlier!
I ran the ADU 50km event in fantastic conditions with some great runners and placed overall 2nd, only behind the man himself, Tony - with a time of 3:46:17, which also included hitting the marathon distance in 3:09:00!
The PBs just kept rolling in throughout the training program. Within a month or two after ADU, I ran a 17:53 5km at Joondalup parkrun, then a 37:28 10km Time Trial in April 2019.
My training for the Bibra Lake Marathon in July 2019 was in full swing and this event meant a lot - as an IAAF certified event, it was a Boston Qualifier. In order to qualify for my age category I needed to run a 2:59:59 or faster.
The training program went up a level and I committed hard to completing everything required, including a full Lactate Threshold and VO2Max Assessment to ensure the training zones were precise and my fitness was on track to achieve the recreational runner’s dream: Sub 3 marathon.
My half marathon time trial during the training block dropped my PB from 1:27 to 1:23:06 and my 5km down to 17:25 in June 2019, about 3 weeks from the race.
In the Bibra Lake marathon I executed the race my way with a 1:29 first half and a 1:25 second half, including running the last 10km (km 32-42) in 39 minutes and placing 6th overall with a time of 2:55:11 - well beyond the 2:59 goal and an absolutely massive PB!
From marathon to marathon it is a difference of 48 minutes within 12 months or from ADU to Bibra Lake a 14 minute PB over the marathon distance.
I’m just growing more and more confident in my running capacity, ability to understand and feel my level of fitness and know what I should & shouldn’t do during training to extract the optimum benefits from my training program.
Tony has been a fantastic mentor over this past year, teaching me more every time I step up a level, there’s more to learn and understand about running, training, race strategies and even mental strategies to break through negative self talk, high heart rate/breathing techniques- you name it.
For any runner, of any ability that wants to grow and develop their skills, reach new levels of fitness and achieve personal running goals - Tony is the “go-to” man.
First parkrun: 22 July 2017 - 32:58 (6:36/km) no coaching Best parkrun time before coaching: 21 April 2018 - 19:56
PBs under coaching: 5km - before coaching 19:56 3 November 2018 - 18:13 1 December 2018 - 17:59 2 March 2019 - 17:53 15 June 2019 - 17:25 27 July 2019 - 16:46
10km - before coaching 41:25 30 September 2018 - 39:43 23 October 2018 - 39:14 14 April 2019 - 37:28 1 August 2019 - 36:59
Half Marathon - before coaching 1:40 6 October 2018 - 1:27:01 April 27 2019 - 1:23:06
Marathon - before coaching 3:43 19 January 2019 - 3:09 7 July 2019 - 2:55:11
Tony provides individualized training programmes, regular feedback, and encouragement. As an ultra marathon runner, my running has improved under Tony's guidance and he has motivated me to achieve all my goals. He is approachable and friendly and I would highly recommend him as a running coach.
I started running in 2017 by joining the local parkrun to support my husband in his "get fit" goal. I initially hated the concept of "running for fun" but parkrun was a very community oriented event and I made friends with Tony who was there regularly cheering on everyone and lending a hand.
Over the course of the year I really began enjoying my running and decided I needed to complete a half marathon - having never run further than 10km before, I reached out to Tony for some guidance.
Tony was amazing - really encouraging and made a customised program just for me - based on my running history in Stava, my available running time as a stay-at-home mum with travelling husband and my goal of doing the event in under 2 hours.
The program was easy to understand - all the details I needed were available for me in Final Surge, and when I had any questions, Tony was great at responding to my questions in the Final Surge app to clarify some of the sessions. The feedback I got after runs really helped me improve over time and come race day I not only finished under 2 hours, but got a half marathon PB of 1 hr 52 minutes!
I am so encouraged by the experiences I've had, and the community of people that are also trained by Tony, that I'm looking forward to my first marathon in 2019.
I started running - purely for fun and a little extra fitness in 2015.
Late 2017 I decided to take it a little more seriously but was a little lost and overawed with the size of the task ahead of me. I’d fixated on a 3:30:00 marathon time which seemed like an impossible dream. I was only a touch faster than 5min per km over 5km – I’d need to maintain that for 42km!
Cue Tony Smith. Tony built me a plan, which I was able to fit around my family life. The plan was tough but structured in such a way that it was easy to follow and broke the journey up in such a way that it made my target achievable.
Early on it challenged me physically, mentally and emotionally whilst my body adjusted. Tony’s support through this period was fantastic. I talked myself into quitting a handful of times but Tony talked me around and made me trust in the plan. He helped me refocus and told me that I was capable of everything in the plan - otherwise, it wouldn’t be in there!
This weekend I ran the Perth City to Surf Marathon in 3:25:12, taking half an hour off my previous best. In Tony you don’t just get a great coach – you also get the support of a really great bloke. I can’t thank him enough for all he has done for me in helping me smash my goals and am looking forward to hitting a few more in the future!!
On August 16th, 2015 coming home from work, I got knocked off my bicycle and the driver ran over my leg. It was broken very badly and had to be pinned back together. Previous to this day I had completed my fourth marathon and just done an ultra 48km marathon.
I spent three years building myself up and heard about Tony Smith who coaches people to run to their own level. I followed a three-month programme and loved the structure and the feedback given. Sometimes I ran too fast and that is when I realised it was important to have recovery runs. On July 22nd, 2018 I ran a marathon almost 3 years after my accident. Tony has simply helped me to believe in myself. He taught me mental strength and physical strength and bit by bit I got stronger to do it.
The Kalgoorlie Marathon is incredibly friendly very well organised and very small and friendly only 57 people ran it so you were very much put on your own.
I loved the coaching and am really looking forward to going back to Tony for my next coaching programme. It's a life-changing experience and doesn’t matter what your injury is you can do it and with a coach that really believes in you. ( incidentally my coach Tony has run this Marathon and he was no 1 I believe. ) So one feels privileged and very special to be coached by someone so dedicated to the sport of running. Thanks Tony
Tony Smith is an amazing coach! He is patient, kind and understanding. His plans are tailored specifically for you individually and are adapted and varied according to your progress. Tony ensures you stay on track with valuable feedback and motivates you continually. I would highly recommend Tony to anyone wanting to improve their running and enjoy their training.
Tony first coached me towards The New York Marathon in 2018, I had already been running for 3 years but had no idea what I was doing. I learnt all about the importance of the long slow run, intervals, tempo runs and how to train smarter and not harder, and Tony learnt all about me and how hard I am on myself and my running! The New York Marathon coaching included 5 weeks of training, on holiday, over in the US before the marathon (not one of my best choices)! Tony was incredibly flexible with the plan and I stepped up to that starting line fitter than ever before. I came away running one of the most iconic marathons in the world with an insanely strong finish and a PB! After this, we then worked on my 5km time, which resulted in a PB I thought was unreachable for me. Earlier this year I trained for Bunbury Marathon on my own, missing crucial runs, not respecting recovery and not understanding the art of the marathon training plan. During the Bunbury Marathon the wheels came completely off at about 22km and I vowed to never run a marathon without a coach again! The most recent training cycle that Tony coached me through was this years Perth Running Festival. We met for coffee to discuss some ideas about improving my running and I casually mentioned that I had already signed up for the Marathon distance and I uhhhhh, needed some help. I had been injured, but we jumped straight into training and Tony took me from 0 to 1000 in 16 weeks! We added a lot more volume this time building a bigger base than I have ever had, and I experienced not only feeling fitter than ever (which I had not felt since NY) but I felt so strong in my running abilities and with that comes confidence. I stepped up to the PRF start line strong, with a solid game plan and came away with an almost 7 minute PB, running the strongest marathon I ever have and performing better than I ever dreamed of. Tony is an amazing coach who understands how to get the best out of each individual. His training plans are completely flexible to fit around your life and outside running commitments (unfortunately, we all have them). He is good at being realistic about the time that you have to train each week even if you’re not! We all wish that there was some magic pill to take to make us faster, stronger runners or to get that PB, but there isn’t. Having a coach like Tony who completely understands the mechanics of what it takes to achieve your goals is as close as you can get to that pill. Let Tony set the sessions, show up and do the training and you will be rewarded! After finishing the PRF marathon this weekend I feel like my Potential has been unlocked and the trajectory of my running accelerated beyond measure! Tony! You will never know the extent to which your coaching has changed my life! Thank you for giving my Running; purpose, strength, confidence and listening to my long winded accounts of how my runs went each and every session!
As a beginner to the sport of running; Tony has been able to create a flexible training plans to suit my busy lifestyle, and with no hesitation is willing to adapt it when needed. His knowledge extends past that of running; assist me with my rehabilitation from a TFL injury, nutrition advice and knowledge of multidisciplinary sports. Tony generally cares for his clients and there goal they wish to achieve and I can not recommend him enough to entry level runners; no goal is to high to succeed with Tony.