Tim Jones

TRACER Success Story

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When I showed up and ran my first marathon (admittedly under-prepared) it did not go well.  I was beat down, extremely humbled and came away from the experience knowing one thing: I want to properly train to come back and do this in a way that I can be proud of. So I embarked on a journey to become a marathon runner. It sounded simple enough, but turned out to be quite complicated and often disappointing. 

For the next two years, the cycle went like this: sign up for a race. Find a static training plan to follow, whether it came from a book or the internet. Start following said training plan. Get a few weeks in, and get injured. Not run for a few weeks while I nurse my injury, and then try to salvage what I could of my fitness. Then, I’d have to decide to either drop out of the race, or show up and try knowing that I wasn’t as prepared as I could be. I started to wonder if there was something wrong with me, or maybe my body just wasn’t cut out for the grueling marathon distance. I was almost ready to throw in the towel, but at this point I have become obsessed with trying to crack the code of the marathon. I knew there must be a better way.

It was around this time, in the spring of 2023 that I began using TRACER as an early access user. I had the St. George Marathon on my calendar for October 2023 (I had to defer my 2022 entry due to injury) and had slowly been building up my base mileage. I figured this would be my last hurrah, and if my training ends in an all-too-familiar injury then I’d be happy to throw in the towel for my short lived marathon career. 

Under the guidance of the King Marathon program, I embarked on a journey of sweat, determination, and a lot of miles. I found the workout recommendations to be intuitive, pushing me hard but never over the edge. Because I was nervous about injury, the ability to input my feelings was invaluable. If I had a hard workout scheduled but my body wasn’t feeling right, I was able to tell that to my coach and have that workout moved to a different point in the plan. This allowed me to keep running throughout the entire plan, never missing a day due to injury.

As a father of two young girls and a full-time job, fitting running into my schedule is a constant balancing act. It is definitely not a sure thing that every single Tuesday I can do a speed run, or every Saturday I can do a long run. So, the ability to tell my coach I’m unavailable, and have my entire training schedule instantly change to accommodate my schedule was a game changer. TRACER gives me an element of control in my training while still being able to trust the process and know that as long as I’m hitting my runs, my coach is getting prepared for my race.

As race day neared, my body was feeling the months of demanding training but yet I had no injuries to report. I followed my plan to the T, all the way through the taper, and showed up to the race feeling nervous but fitter than I ever had before. Every mile that ticked by on race day I was waiting for something to go wrong. To hit the wall or have a muscle cramp. But as I ran through mile 15, mile 20, that never came. I finished the race in 3:25:59, a 19 minute PR and over 4 minutes faster than my dream marathon goal time of 3:30. 

As a true hobbyist runner, I don’t see myself ever making the financial commitment to hire a true coach. But the bridge between a true coach and a static training plan that is TRACER is truly a secret weapon for runners like me. Because of my success, my love for running returned and I am now training (again with the King Marathon plan on TRACER) to hopefully run sub 3:20 this spring. Now that I have the confidence to know I’m capable of staying healthy through marathon training, the sky is the limit! 

Tim Jones

Salt Lake City, UT