The Running Plan is a Malaysian-based brand, founded and managed by Mark Williams and Jeffrey Ross. The Running Plan was launched in October 2017 with the aim of helping runners of all abilities to train in an efficient manner, via structured training plans that are sold via their modern and interactive website.
Mark is arguably one of the best known runners in South East Asia, and particularly so in Malaysia, having held the position of Head Coach for the Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon for the past 9 years. Mark has a tremendous running pedigree, and he has coached thousands of runners over his career, including his business partner Jeffrey Ross!
Jeffrey is much newer to the running scene in Malaysia, but he has quickly become a very regular face on the winner’s podium over the last 4 years. Jeffrey was inspired by Mark’s coaching, and quickly improved as a runner on both trail and road. His website development background meant that he was able to develop the back-end of The Running Plan’s website, which contains complex algorithms of training data which are the backbone of The Running Plan’s end product (more about this later!).
Mark and Jeffrey have become good friends, following their relationship as coach and pupil, and they run several times per week together in Kuala Lumpur at what they refer to as their ‘gossip-pace’ (4.30/km)! It was during one of those ‘gossip runs’ in February 2017 that the whole idea of The Running Plan originated. Mark was explaining to Jeffrey that he was struggling to cope with the volume of training requests that he was getting, and they began to discuss ways to manage this. It just so happened that Jeffrey was at the crossroads of his career, having sold his recruitment business at the end of 2016, and was looking for his next challenge. As regular race participants on the Malaysian running circuit, Mark and Jeffrey were well aware how popular running had become in the country, and they recognised that large numbers of runners had never had any professional coaching, nor had they ever followed any kind of structured training programme. During their run, they discussed ways to set up a business that could cater to this emerging market of runners in Malaysia, and the first ideas for The Running Plan idea were born!
Jeffrey explains that “one of the reasons many people run is because it helps us to clear our heads from our day-to-day stresses and worries. Running also helps many of us to think clearly and creatively, and it was during this particular run in February that Mark and I both had something of a ‘Eureka moment’! We would probably never have launched our business if we had not gone on that important run that particular day.”
Malaysia is definitely going through a running boom presently, and people are getting interested in running for many different reasons. Some are medal hunters or t-shirt collectors, some are podium contenders, some are Personal Best (PB) hunters, some are trying to lose weight or improve their overall fitness, and some just want to enjoy the social aspect of running and races. Mark explains that “it is absolutely fantastic that so many Malaysians have taken up running, and the positive effects of that to both the individual, and to Malaysian society, are amazing!” He adds that “it doesn’t matter what motivates people to run, but the important thing is that people run safely. We all need to train smartly and with structure in order to maximise the chances of staying injury-free. This is the first step towards achieving our running goals, whatever they may be.” And that’s where The Running Plan comes in!
So what exactly does The Running Plan do? In a nutshell, it is a website (portal) that enables individual runners to customise a training plan for them. It teaches people how to train properly, and in simplistic terms, it helps people to become stronger, fitter and faster. Each user will set up an account – which takes less than a minute to do – and via a sophisticated algorithm in the backend of the website, the personalised data for each user will be integrated into a running plan. This means that each person gets a unique training plan which tells them exactly what speeds to run for every different workout, in order to achieve the goal that is agreed at registration stage.
Training plans are available for both road running and trail running, and across a variety of distances. The user can choose which plan type they want, and how many days per week they want to train. The Running Plan system does the rest! A training plan (between 10-18 weeks in length) costs just 50-150 MYR during this launch stage of their business, which is fantastic value.
Other unique benefits of using The Running Plan, are:
– Video library (running workouts, bodyweight exercises, stretching routines);
– Online runner’s resource guide;
– Heart Rate Zone Calculator;
– Treadmill variations (every workout in each running plan comes with a treadmill variation for those that wish to use a treadmill rather than running outside!); and
– Forecast Your Finish feature (a race time prediction tool).
Other ways that The Running Plan will be helping the Malaysian running community will be via the many running clinics that it organises and to which it receives invites to lead. They will also be mentoring and coaching a wide range of local runners (from beginner to elite level) via several ongoing initiatives. It is still very early days, but many exciting projects are in the pipeline!
Mark and Jeffrey are massively excited about the busy year ahead with The Running Plan, and they hope to see you soon on their website or at a future event.
Find out more:
Source – Running Malaysia magazine (Nov/Dec 2017, Issue #24)