Testimonials from Coaching Clients


I started working with Coach Shannon two years ago after setting a goal to BQ at the Steamtown Marathon. I had been training on my own using a cookie-cutter intermediate/advanced training plan, and while I saw minor improvements in my finish times, it wasn’t enough to take 10 minutes off my PR. 

Once I received my first training plan from Shannon, it was immediately clear why. Shannon’s plans are tailored to each individual athlete and developed in a way to ensure that you are prepared to achieve your goals. Each workout had a purpose and a targeted pace. I not only met my goal, but I exceeded it with a 16:10 minute PR and a BQ with 13:46 to spare. 

Since then, Shannon’s coaching and guidance have enabled me to PR at pretty much every distance from 10k to 50 miles and beyond. Working with Shannon has also encouraged me to try distances I never thought I would be able to run, including a 12-hour race (where I broke the female course record by 5 miles) and not one, but two 24-hour races where despite difficult circumstances, I walked (or rather hobbled) away with 100-mile belt buckles. 

The most amazing thing about Shannon beyond her customized training, is how much she cares about each athlete. Shannon works with many athletes on top of juggling other responsibilities and yet, when you reach out to her with questions, she treats you like you’re the only person she is focusing on. She truly wants the best for each of her athletes and provides the support necessary for us to succeed. 

There are so many times when I doubt myself and my abilities, despite the countless hours I devote to training. But Shannon always believes in me, and her confidence enables me to believe in myself. I can’t thank Shannon enough for everything she has done to help me develop into the athlete I am today.

- Rebecca S., NJ, 2016

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Shannon has now trained me through two transformative races.  First came the 2014 Philadelphia Marathon.  After my marathons 3, 4, and 5 were all run within about 90 seconds, I broke through and improved my PR by almost 5 minutes in marathon #6.  Those races spanned November 2011-November 2014.
So, when I got it in my head to run the Comrades Marathon (actually a 55.3 mile ultra) in South Africa in May 2016, I knew who to turn to.  Here is why. 
Shannon was responsive from the first time I contacted her.  She graciously talked about the coaching experience and the idea of an ultra through multiple emails before the actual training program began.  She also helped me think through how to overcome some iliotibial band issues that I was facing after running a race to qualify to enter the C starting group in October 2015.  
Shannon was thoughtful about my constraints.  I am a father of three.  I have a time consuming administrative job at a major research university.  I expressed to her how difficult twice a day workouts would be.  I gave an honest assessment of how long I could spend running any one day.  I told her that I have specific work things that just have to happen and that I wanted to miss as few performances and sporting events for my kids as possible.  She worked out a training schedule that fit all my constraints.
She developed a plan that was absolutely relevant to the course I was running.  This year was a down year at Comrades.  That meant a lot of long and steep downhills and some steep ups before the downs.  I’ve never had a training program in which I was instructed to run hard downhills before.  I was this time.  Hard down.  Steady back up.  And this type of workout would always come before a weekend long.  My legs weren’t perfect on the day of the race.  But I didn’t stop moving forward (except for a number of bathroom breaks and two places to get quick rubdowns with arnica ice), I could keep up a decent pace even when doing a run/walk mix, and I was able to run across the finish line, walk onto the plane the next day, and be ready for some light runs later the same week.  I was prepared.
She challenged me.  She never said it was going to be easy.  (Comrades advertises that it humbles you.)  And the biggest challenge was a full marathon as part of a 70 mile week during which I was not trying to set a new PR but to come within 10 minutes of the PR so that I could move up a starting group.  And not only did she challenge me but she prepared me for the challenge.  She gave me a plan.  I stuck to the plan.  And I succeeded.
She taught me how to be safe.  This is an incredibly important aspect of preparing to double the longest distance I’d ever run.  How to keep to a plan.  But not just for timing.  For consuming liquid.  And for consuming calories.  
She prepared me to respect what I could not control.  The weather was warmer than it had been when I left the US.  I had stomach issues two days before the race.  But I was prepared to face the unforeseeable.
And in the end, I ran a 9:47:54. Very satisfied with my first attempt at this distance.  And strong enough to take joy in just having the opportunity to chase my dream and experience the adventure.  

Would I turn to her again if I were looking for a third transformative race?  For sure!

- Kevin, Baltimore, MD, 2016

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Shannon, 

You have been such an inspiration to me. Since starting to run with you I have watched myself grow and develop in many ways. When I first started, I remember that I was in a really low point in my running. I had good times in the past year that I was trying to get back to but it was impossible to me. I was suffering from depression and a lot of pain in my body unsure of what was causing it. I had just started a new job working nights and running wasn't an easy task. I remember that I could barely make it through two miles without having to stop and walk. I was so upset with myself and had become depressed.

When I started working with you everything changed, slowly but surely. You started working on my base. Although I wanted things to happen quickly I knew that you were training me and doing what was best, so I listened.

Over time I watched myself develop. I had many set backs in my training, but you never gave up on me and only encouraged me more. I feel that you believed in me even when I didn't believe in myself. When I wanted to give up on the marathon training you encouraged me to keep trying.

For the first time last week I was able to run 14 miles on a very hilly course. I was so proud of myself and I knew I was truly getting better. It was a really rough last couple of months and you have not only been an amazing coach, but an awesome friend and support system. I went from being depressed and unsure of running to being so much happier and loving running again.

When my grandpa got sick, you helped me train harder so I can do this marathon for him. You have been such an amazing help to me. My running has improved, my health has improved, and my life has improved from your coaching. I am not only a new and improved runner but a new and improved person. I have to thank you for that!

I am actually looking forward to running with the team this year and training for my race. No longer do I feel like it is impossible. You have helped me get so far.

I love that you reply to my emails so quickly and understand when I constantly have to change around the schedule you have planned because of work/family life. You never give me a hard time about making changes and are always willing to work with my crazy schedule. Thank you so much for everything you have done. I am looking forward working with you for a very long time! I know that I can do so much with my running because you have helped me discover that. You have helped me realize that I have potential and I can do well with your training. 

Thank you so much!

- Paulette, NJ, 2016


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Prior to 2015, some of the best running I’d done was out in Chicago while in graduate school back in 2007/2008. After building my career, getting married, and having two children I was eager to get back to Boston and a new marathon PR. Getting in the miles was never the issue for me, but committing to a plan was. I hated the sight of those 16 week plans. Every mile was pre-determined 16 weeks in advance. There was no flexibility or accountability and so these plans never really worked for me. My prior training history would have best been described as “run whatever the heck you feel like”.

Needless to say, I came to Creating Momentum with history of very unfocused training despite some seriously lofty goals.

Shannon brought focus to my training for the first time in my 19 running years and for me, the results were instant. 10 days into her training program I PR-ed in the 10K. 8 months later I have PR-ed several times over in every distance. 

You can’t argue with these numbers:

But why does it work?

1. Shannon wants you to succeed
She answers endless emails, writes the most motivating pre-race strategies, and if you are lucky enough to see her at the end of a great race, she is almost as excited as you are with the result. She also knows how to curb the enthusiasm when necessary because there is a point at which the overly ambitious become loose cannons =P

2. The plan is evidence-based
As someone with a science background, knowledge-based training was important to me. I wanted to be able to trust in the advice I am given and I value the time and effort Shannon puts into advancing her education to benefit her athletes.

3. The plan is flexible
If you tweak a muscle sprinting to catch Anthony on the second lap of his road mile, she may take miles away from you. You might be bummed out by this… but she is right and you should rest!

4. The plan evolves with the athlete
My second training cycle is in full swing and as the miles ramp up and the training times come down, I can see all the progress I have made. But just in case I didn’t have hard evidence to back that up, I made sure to complete my assessment at the end of cycle 1/beginning of cycle 2.

Creating momentum has been the missing piece in the pursuit of my running goals. I’m so grateful that I was introduced to Shannon and so looking forward to continuing to grow as a student of the program.

Thank you, Shannon and Creating Momentum for always keeping me inspired to work my hardest and do my best. Now about that extra two-a-day… =)

- Nikki Drader, NJ, 2015

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I found out this fast girl named Shannon McGinn was going to switch clubs and join our running team at the start of the 2014. I was happy for the team, but little did I know it would be so much more. I only knew about the mystical famous Shannon McGinn from a couple of anecdotes at the time. 


I knew she was a speedy runner and a coach. Apparently, she could run 50 mile races and write up training plans at the same time. Above all Shannon is a good friend who would help you with anything. Sometimes goals are set for different reasons. Running goals can be about defeating a rival, overcoming the odds or being the best you can be. 
There are many different reasons to want to run a marathon. I signed up for my first marathon after 4 years of running on New Year’s Day 2015. I probably still had some alcohol in me. As the winter went on I had a rough go of it including injuries and others things. Though I had some speedier times in the past, I was pretty much starting over. 
The great thing about Shannon is she doesn’t just ask your paces, past times and gives you a plan to follow. Shannon has a very unique and different coaching method for each runner. Life is not only about running after all, running is only one part of it. There are always other things going on. If you need to be babied along, Shannon will do it. If you just need a solid rigid structure to follow, Shannon will do it. If you need a dominatrix in your life, Shannon will (?) do it. 
She has daily and constant interaction throughout your training and will use your feedback to constantly adjust the plan if it is needed. Shannon will also put up with constant Yankees and WWE updates in addition to bad jokes. She will help you through anything going on from nursing minor injuries to just feeling crappy. 
The training always had a coherent solid plan to it, even when I didn’t. I felt myself improve throughout the process and getting close to former glory. I really look forward to the next training cycle to meet and surpass my former times. I have confidence in Shannon to guide me there. 
You should know I write this two days before my marathon, gone insane from taper madness. I highly, highly recommend contacting Shannon McGinn for your coaching needs.
- Anthony D., NJ, 2015
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Shannon,

Working with you was one of the most challenging and rewarding things I've done, not only in running but in life as well.

You inspired me to reach levels I never thought possible before I began your training plan.

A couple years ago, I would say that my goal was to run in the Boston Marathon, but believing that would most likely never happen. You changed my way of thinking and got me into BQ shape in 20 weeks. If not for some unfortunate weather, I know I'd have reached my goal.

I can't wait to start up with you again for Chicago. Asking you to coach me was one of the best decisions I made.

Rich Timlen, NJ, 2015


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2014 was a banner running year with completing the 48.6 miles in 4 days Dopey Challenge, an ultra marathon distance PR of 50 miles and finally breaking the 4 hour barrier (3:53:41) at the Steamtown Marathon. Hitting these milestones inspired me to go further. Qualifying for running the Boston Marathon someday didn't seem like such a pipe dream anymore. A 100 kilometer (62 mile) to 100 mile ultra marathon didn't appear as intimidating. Thus I set my sights on working to knock down my marathon times and increase my ultra running distance. Which to do first? After looking at races, I decided to concentrate on the ultra distance goal for a major spring race first. The race I chose - 24 Hour Race at 3 Days at the Fair held at the Sussex County Fairgrounds on May 14, 2015. 

Despite having a lot of triumphs in 2014, something was missing with my running. This was consistency with training. My biggest problem was making things up as I went along. Many of my training weeks were not written or even well thought out. For example, I'd think of running 5 miles and cut it down to 3 because of staying up too late the night before and surfing the internet until the early afternoon. Long runs were even more problematic at times. If I didn't budget my time accordingly for other life tasks, I'd end up saying forget it and do it the next day. I needed structure if I wanted to go further and faster with my goals. After some discussions with friends, the answer was get a coach.

Who to chose to help me with my goals? The answer was Shannon McGinn. I've known Shannon for a few years seeing her at races, becoming friends on Facebook, following her race reports and reading testimonials of happy runners who have gone very far with using her coaching services. Shannon is very knowledgeable, thorough, honest, compassionate and supportive. Her pre-coaching assessment process and wanting to know what I was looking for set up a process to train. After being accepted into her Online Coaching Program, training began at the end of December.

Shannon's training plans were flexible, but rigorous. She wanted to know as soon as possible if my work schedule changed so she could adjust my plans. Workouts were not eliminated to accommodate work schedule changes. No matter my work hours, if I wanted to be ready for my 24 hour race, I had to do the work. Over the months leading up to my 24 hour race, I truly believe I have become a better runner and person. As the weeks went by and the mileage went up, I learned to budget my time to get the workouts done. No longer was I staying up late to watch TV, surf the internet and online games were sacrificed. Every hour and minute saved went to running and I peaked at 80 miles in my last week before tapering.

Shannon's training program was also very interactive. Emails following workouts were required. This also provided a sense of accountability which motivated me more. I wanted to send emails with my workouts, thoughts and feelings as opposed to "I didn't run because..." Her responding to emails was something I really loved about her program. She was always encouraging, addressed concerns and answered questions. A phone conversation reinforced the direction of the plans to the goal. I always felt like I mattered and was always excited to send my workout reports.

All the hard work paid off with a new distance PR of 72 miles at my first 24 hour race. I exceeded my acceptable goal of 100K and have the confidence of reaching 100 miles at an ultra marathon someday. I look forward to working with Shannon for future goals and highly recommend her to anyone looking to go far with their running endeavors.

Thank you so much Shannon!

Dean Giering, NJ, 2015 (See Dean's Guest Blogger Race Report Here).
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As an active runner for the last ten years I have slowly but surely increased the number of races I compete in, while lowering the finishing times of those races. Seeing myself as an ultra-marathon runner, I’ve trained relentlessly for races longer than the traditional 26.2 mile distance. I’ve completed races that range from 50k (31 miles) to 100 mile to 72 hour running events.

Since running my first marathon more than 10 years ago, I never gave much thought into that distance. I would simply show up to the starting line with whatever ultra-marathon training I currently had. Needless to say, this process did not make for quality marathon times.

This spring I had a talk with my mentor, coach and friend Shannon and we discussed a racing plan for the Steamtown Marathon where I would try to shoot for a new personal record. Besides aiming for a new PR, I was also going to look to qualify for the Boston Marathon for my age group, which means I would have to train harder than ever before.

Based on my running goals, Shannon devised a plan that included speed work, hill training, long runs in the range of my goal pace and weekly mileage goals. Over the course of 4 months, we met once a week at the track for speed work, gradually increasing the number of repeats at the pace she set. In the weeks leading up to the marathon we met for long runs and worked together to reach my training goals.

I have never focused so long and so hard on one particular race.  With the research, expertise, commitment and positive encouragement Shannon provided, I chopped 15 minutes off my best marathon time to finish the Steamtown Marathon in 3 hours and 17 minutes. 

Thanks to Shannon I realized I have much more potential than I ever thought I had. Though I didn’t run a Boston Qualifying time, I still took a huge chunk out of a previous PR by more than 30 seconds a mile. I am highly encouraged to continue training with Shannon and look forward to toeing the starting line at the next marathon with confidence.

- Dave "SUPERDAVE" Lettieri, NJ, 2014

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By now, I have been training with Shannon for about a year. Before we worked together, I used to design my own training program, based on the classic 10% weekly increase, putting a lot of hours of research, trials and errors, and the worst part getting, injured following somebody's advice.

The first thing Shannon did for me was to review my running history. Based on that, she then designed a program for me. The program was spot on. Since then, I have PRed in every single race category I have entered, from 5K to full marathon. My previous PR for a marathon was 4:40, my new one is 4:20. The training shaved 20 minutes out of previous record!

I feel sorry for her, because I email her everyday with my run report, race report and in return, she tells me very precisely what I need to tweak. At this point, Shannon has prepared me for 4 marathons (Boston, Chicago, NYC and Philadelphia), 4 half-marathons (NY Half, Queens Half, Brooklyn Half and Newport), and multiple 10k, 10 milers, 4 milers and 5k. All of them successful. Said it once, will say it again, as long as I am running marathons Shannon will be on retainer. This is the best spent money in my monthly budget.

Shannon cannot fix stupidities, but she will smack you in the head when you make one. Big smile.

- Enrique, NJ, 2014 

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Shannon has created an amazing coaching experience that she shares with others for a price that cannot be beaten. 

I have worked with Shannon twice now. The first was a short stint during which she prepared me for a 5K--I was trying to run my best since high school (I'm 44 now so that was a long time ago). I got to know how she shared information, how easy she was to correspond with even in a remote coaching situation, and how fun she could make the journey to a running goal. Despite not achieving my goal, I decided that her approach and her style would be exactly what I needed for my last attempt to hit 3:10 in a marathon. 
My previous personal best was a 3:14:25. So, I was very uncertain of whether I could hit my goal, but I knew that if anyone could get me there it would be Shannon. 

Her pre-training questionnaire helps her to guide her runners along a path that will work for them. And not only did she ask a lot of questions before we started, but she asked questions each day. How had I done? How was I feeling? (Those are standard things to report back.) She asked questions from week to week. I am an extremely busy professional with three sons, who loves to cook, leads an active family life, and is involved in my community. She worked with me to structure every set of workouts during a week to match my crazy schedule. Particularly when I had to travel on one day but not another and we needed to flip which days during the week the harder workouts were on or which day of the weekend I ran a longer workout. And if there was ever a reason that the workouts shouldn't be flipped, she gave me a complete and careful explanation that made sense. Plus, she was perfectly happy to exchange numerous emails each day to "talk shop" about running. 

Finally, as the 2014 Philadelphia Marathon approached, she offered advice on not just how to approach the day but how to approach the whole week. Yes, I could qualify for Boston again if I ran as fast as I'd trained for but I should not focus on that—it would be putting too much pressure on myself. When to eat the night before? How to handle food the morning of, even for a 7 AM race? How to approach the pace, with numerous options for how fast to go out and the implications of different choices I could make. 

She had listened carefully to my stories of failure to hit goals in marathons because of fading at the end. So in the second half of training, week after week, it was about running long miles with the last six being different than the earlier ones. And instead of weekly tempo runs like many plans use, she had me doing weekly progressions to get my body used to pushing harder at the end. 

Well, it all paid off. This runner managed a 3:09:49 in the Philadelphia marathon. It was not exactly "by the book." No, I still went out too fast. I took her comment that "you shouldn't have to rely on crushing at the end" and "run the pace if feels effortless" just a little too far. The official time had me holding a 7:09 or 7:10 pace (faster than the 7:15 I ended up with) all the way to mile 18.6. But I was already slowing down there and continued to slow down through mile 22, running a 7:36. 

Somehow, between Shannon's excellent coaching to prepare my body, and the encouragement of a friend who finally caught up with me after 22 miles, I finished the last 4 in 7:33 (not slowing any further), 7:15, 7:17, and 7:24. Then my Garmin had me at 26.36, and the last 0.36 was run in 2:21 or a 6:27 pace. I could say I don't know where that energy came from. But I do. It came from what Shannon's training had prepared me for. 

This will be one of the most memorable races of my life. Right up there with the 1600 meter race in 1987 when I ran a 4:41, my Boston qualifier, and Boston itself. And my success is due so much to the incredible coaching and accountability experience that Shannon provided. As a final note about her style, she even shared how especially proud she is when one of her runners gets a better time than she's ever managed. I'd recommend her coaching without reservation to anyone who is comfortable with the idea that internet-based interaction with a coach can work.

- Kevin from Baltimore, 2014 

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I had the positive experience of being coached by Shannon for eight weeks.  She helped to set the groundwork for me to aim for a strong 5K goal (I'm 44 and it would have been my fastest since high school) and to think about injury avoidance and more miles for fall distance races.  

She set down a plan and worked with me in a way that did several things.  First, no two consecuctive days were exactly the same--I loved the variety.  Second, each week (aside from one cut back week in the eight) saw progression.  Even the week spent tapering for the 5K was more intenstive on speed.  Third, her communication was exceptional.  Many mornings, I would run by 6, report to her by 8:30, and hear back from her (at least once) by 10 AM.  Fourth, by building the intenstive training plan every week, she was able to adapt on the fly, such as when I had a shin issue at mile 7 in a 14 mile run and she counseled me on how to carefully come back to test the injured shin.  I was fine just two days later. Fifth, everything was about data and communication.  As someone who analyzes data and writes about it for my job, I loved working with her.  All she asks--do the workouts and tell her how it went; I was able to take advantage of that greatly and really benefitted as I think about my future running goals.  

In conclusion, for anyone who loves the running data, who loves to talk about their runs, and who would benefits from feedback from others about their runs, Shannon would be a great coach and resource.  Sometimes having either someone who can both help to design your training plan or someone who listens with a genuine interest each day to your running stories is a good thing.  With Shannon, you can have both in one coach.  And that is what was best for me.

- Kevin from Baltimore, 2014 

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Last year I reached a plateau in my running. I have only been running 5 years but I was stuck. I had goals I wasn’t achieving . My training was haphazard. A little of this plan… some of that. What I had done had worked to a point but It wasn’t working anymore. I need some outside help. So I started thinking about working with a coach. I’ve made contact with some wonderful people in the running community .  But I had someone who was in my circle of running friends who I thought would get what I was trying to accomplish. That was Shannon McGinn. She had being giving me advice during races we would run together. I also knew something about her personally and her worldview kind of fit my own. So I contacted her. 

She sent me a survey to gauge my current fitness level (that brought out some shocking truths) and we then set out upon a plan. Shannon always took into account my current life . Be it busy work schedule, family and life obligations. She always took the time to explain the reasons Why (sometimes in almost too much detail...lol) I was to do such and such workout. 

It wasn’t easy for me to let some tell me how run a training plan. Shannon would not let me simply do what I want do. The first part of our working together was rough for me. She had a clear vision of where we would be going, which was different than what I’ve been doing. (She would tell me to "slow down”… Who slows down in training I thought). But that’s why I decided to work with her in the first place.  So I simply trusted that she had my best intentions at heart and we went forward. 

To say that my training went beyond anything I thought I could accomplish would be an understatement. We had discussed What my goals were, which in my case was a sub 24hr 100 miler. I had run a 100 before but not at the pace I was looking for, so Shannon created a plan that step-by-step would get me to where I wanted to go. She took into account races that I had planned to run, workouts that love to do (the Infamous Bandfield 5's), and at times getting out for the heck of it. 

She always had my physical health as top priority. What good is it to run lots of miles to get injured in the process.  If was sick...she told me to rest so the down would be minimal. If though I was getting some type of injury...she would tell me to back it off till I was able to participate fully. I was able to stay pretty much injury free through most of my training with her. With her Guidance and support was able to run over a 100 miles a week in training (the most I’d ever done was about 65 - 70) while getting through the most horrific winter in recent memory. It wasn’t easy. I was willing to put the work in. But I felt followed Shannon’s plan that it would produce results

So  the proof is the pudding...since training with Shannon I’ve lowered my 100 mile PR by over 3 hours to 21:42: been able to run two 100 milers within 6 weeks of each other, both under 23 Hours. I’ve lowered  Marathon PR without doing any marathon specific training by 15 minutes and my recovery from races is light years ahead of where it was (two days versus a week recovery from a 100 miler). I have few more goals to achieve this year...but I’m sure that by working with Shannon, the are obtainable.

- Stephen Bandfield, NJ, 2014 

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I highly recommend all runners to hire Shannon at least once in their running life. She made a goal for me based on previous logs and finishing times that I had not believed attainable. Strictly following the plan and trusting in it I was able to achieve the goal!! A year and half later I still use the tools she equipped me with!! Forever I will thank you Shannon!!

- Amy Ballard, MS, 2014 (Client from 2012)

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I have been running with Shannon for about a year now with another organization (she donates her time and experience). I am the runner I am today as a result of this (she will deny that).  Every Saturday our group long run is a relaxed, enjoyable, educational experience thanks to her.  Each one starts the same way, with Shannon asking how everyone is doing, what questions they have, or what difficulties they are experiencing. Then, while we are all enjoying each others company, the knowledge flows. I have learned what to do, what never to do, and what changes to make that work for me.  I feel as if I have read novels on how to be a better runner, yet I have never opened a book on the subject.

Shannon knows her runners well; better than they know their "runner" selves. She tailors her suggestions to their abilities. I have followed her advice on hydration, nutrition, clothing, when to walk, when to run, and when and what to eat, throughout the past year and for this race.  As a result, I had the best possible experience I could have had. She said Maria, "You can do this". She was right.  She always is. I was well prepared because I had good coaching.

I picked this race at the last minute.  I was training with the group and realized that I was training well.  I told Shannon that other people were asking me what I was training for and I had nothing planned.  I felt silly.  I was just running for the love of running.  Shannon commented that this is the perfect way to train.  She explained that picking a race AFTER you have trained hard and well, is the smart thing to do.  I no longer felt silly and found a race. I realized that she was right.  It was so much more pleasant and fun to train this way.  The stress of hitting the weekly mileage according to the plan was removed. I was running more miles this way, than I was when I was following a plan.  

Most importantly I have learned how to run injury free by following Shannon's advice. I have noticed that she is never injured.  And with all of the racing she does, this seems amazing.  But it makes perfect sense. She has taught me how to safely increase my weekly mileage and I have reaped the benefits of her instruction. I am proud of my personal accomplishment.  Instead of saying "I could never run that many miles" I am saying "yea lets do that".  Now it is other people who say to me "I could never do what you do"  and I have to laugh. I love the runner that I have become.  I owe a great deal to Shannon McGinn. I am a better runner because of her.  To this, she will say "I'm not doing the running for you Maria. It's all you". 

- Maria Marquette, NJ, 2013

(See Maria's Guest Blogger Report from her first 24 hour race here)

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I think Shannon was an incredible trainer! She listened and really helped work around my issues, needs, and schedule. She helped motivate and push me without ever pushing to hard or expecting more than I could give. Shannon was an excellent trainer. Her workout schedule helped me reach my goal for my first 5k with ease! She helped me realize that I could get back to my "pre cancer self" not only did I lose almost all of my steroid weight just from working out, my self imagine increased, energy increased, and overall health increased! I recommend Shannon to anyone who is looking for a motivational, hard working, and amazing trainer!! 

- Sheralyn Beck, AR, 2013


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I hired Shannon McGinn in preparation for running a marathon in October of 2013 with a goal of breaking five hours. I had a past of slow marathons. Each race was preempted by injuries and post scripted with weeks of recovery as I limped around.

Her teaching and support has taken me from that injured and under prepared runner to a marathoner that set two PR's three weeks apart. It bears repeating: THREE WEEKS APART! I literally cut 34 minutes from my marathon time.

Shannon's insight into running is well researched and professional. Her attention to detail and the individualization of the plan made me feel as if I was qualifying for the Olympics instead of trying to break five hours in the marathon. During my months of training I was injured, sick and tired, trying to balance my life and my running. She accounted for all of those challenges and with unwavering dedication, saw me through to achieving my goal.

She isn't just a running coach, she is a teacher, a mentor, a friend, someone that will change your life for the better through the running experience.

- Joe De Flora, NJ, 2013


(See Joe's Guest Blogger Race Report from the D&L Heritage Marathon!)

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by James Plant, after our work together.
For four consecutive years, I had qualified for the Western States Endurance 100 Mile Run. This year however, a string of poor race results meant that I was running out of time to get a qualifying race done. I finally acknowledged to myself that I needed help; I knew my training wasn't going well and that I was struggling to motivate myself.

I reached out to Shannon, and almost immediately I felt my enthusiasm start to return. Together, we picked out a 50 mile race that was 8 weeks away that I needed to finish in under 11 hours in order to get my qualifier. Shannon put together an aggressive training plan - given where I was at, and the time frame we had, it needed to be aggressive. Shannon's plan was also flexible and allowed for 'life' to get in the way - she would make adjustments as needed. The plan was also designed specifically with the race we had chosen in mind. Everyday, I would provide feedback and would receive emails in return offering additional feedback and suggestions or just motivation.

Shannon's coaching though, is so much more than a simple "training plan", she offers guidance in everything from race day planning and pacing strategies, nutrition advice, and fueling and hydration strategies, all of which plays a huge part in the lead up to an important race.

The bottom line though, is that with Shannon's advice and mentoring, and by working hard to follow her plan, I ended up finishing the race with 24 minutes to spare, and a 12 minute personal best for 50 miles - qualifying for the 5th straight year for Western States. I am delighted with how well the coaching worked for me, and wouldn't hesitate to recommend Shannon to anyone who asked.

- Jim Plant, CA, 2013  

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One year ago I was just finishing up my last round of chemo, I was pushing 280 and my first attempt at a treadmill lasted all of 10 mins, at a pace of 30 min mile.. I was given a THIRD chance at life, and decided I needed to do something with it. So- I got on a healthy eating regime, and started to walk. That moved into a desire to run a 5k. So in April I ran/walked my first 5k. It wasn't pretty-but I finished. That was when the most awesome thing happened... Shannon McGinn entered my training world!

I was apprehensive at first- so many miles between us. And, what could a trainer do for me that I wasn't already doing...I couldn't be so wrong!  
We chatted via email nearly daily. And week after week I hit new personal bests...Time and distance. In my mind moving from an hour long 5K to a 40 min 5K seemed out of reach, but that was my personal goal...We shattered that! 

Now for most people a 35 minute 5K is...so what? But in 3 short months,I nearly cut my time in 1/2. She gave me hope-and belief in myself...That #1-having (had) cancer isn't gonna slow me down..and #2- I can do more than I think I can.


I'm on a running journey now - and though we are hundreds of miles away - I will enlist her help again, as I start my next leg - a 10K.  I can thank her enough! And would gladly recommend her no matter where you are on your running journey.
Thank-you Shannon!

- Jody Larsen, TX, 2013

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Shannon has been instrumental in my progress as a runner. She is the best running coach I have ever had, and also the only one I have never met in person. Her training plans have always made perfect sense to me, and have been formulated based on my current needs and ability.

Shannon has a remarkable work ethic. When you are training with her, you'll get the most out of it if you show up ready to work. The work is hard, but it pays off if you stick with it. She'll go the entire way with you, and if you're ready to go too, the results will be amazing.


She is very responsive and encouraging, while remaining realistic. She is also creative and can handle just about any training scenario that might arise. Working with Shannon has been nothing but positive: I can put the steering wheel in her hands and leave the thinking to her, and at the same time she's always very objective and open to questions and ideas. I would recommend her again and again.


- Wendy Turner, NJ, 2013


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Shannon got me through my first 50. That to me is 'enough said'. For the more curious, I'll provide more information. I had tried and failed previously at a 50 miler before. Though I had completed other shorter ultras, the Potawatomie Trail 50 was seemingly out of my reach. I, like many others are not particularly built for running (is anyone?), but since my first attempt at the run I had fought with recurring injuries that precluded me from even attempting it again. Once I had gotten through those injuries I had decided that I wanted to finish that 50 but I didn't feel I was prepared to do it alone. 

Shannon was recommended to me via a mutual friend, it was probably the best recommendation I have ever received and certainly the best recommendation regarding running. Shannon's methods are solid and her attitude and energy are infectious. On bad running days, I looked forward to her correspondence and it inevitably cheered me up and set me straight for the next day with a renewed sense of purpose and reaffirmed goals. 

Her coaching style is not too prescriptive, nor invasive, she worked WITH me to adjust my workouts constantly and provided great guidance and a fair amount of behavior adjustment. I cannot recommend Shannon enough. I think that anyone thinking of getting a coach should and I believe Shannon is a fantastic candidate for that job.

- Trever M. Shick, NC, 2013 (http://trevershick.tumblr.com,  http://trevershick.github.io)