A Running SWOT Analysis

In my old life, most projects began with a SWOT analysis. Strengths. Weaknesses. Opportunities. Threats. As I was out for a recovery run the other day, I started to think about my running SWOT analysis. I’m a bit cynical by nature and often focus on my weaknesses, but it occurred to me that acknowledging my strengths might have some value too.


  • Running Easy Runs Easy: I’ve never been one to race the easy days. Unless my run is a workout or a race, I don’t worry about pace. My long runs are easily 90 seconds slower than my race pace. I wear a heartrate monitor on key recovery days and don’t fret if that under 135 pace is 8:30 or 10:00 pace. I still recall an article from before I loathed Ryan Hall where he talks about running 9 minute miles on recovery days. If it was good enough for Ryan Hall in his heyday, it’s good enough for me.
  • Eating Good Food: I’m not perfect. I love anything gummy and most days, salt can get me too. That being said, I eat a mostly excellent diet with enough energy to power my day. I eat more carbohydrates than most people need because of my training load but balance that with high quality protein and good fat. I always refuel within 30 minutes of my runs. For long runs, I have almond milk with protein powder and a whole wheat wrap with almond butter. For shorter runs, I go with water with protein powder.
  • Basic Strength: I’ve done the same strength circuit before bed since I was a freshman in college and I reflexively do squats when I brush my teeth. What was once an attempt to maintain beach abs is now a habit. It includes Jane Fondas, crunches, bicycles and pushups. When all else fails and my schedule gets crazy, at least I get a little something in.

Weaknesses (so tempting to go on a roll here)

  • My head: I am working on this, but I am the master at mentally defeating myself in workouts and in races. By the time I hit the start line, I’ve already assessed who I’m going to lose to. Not a great way to go.
  • Sleep: Medical school is kind of ruining this for me, but my sleep has been subpar over the past months and I’m starting to feel it in workouts. I really need a solid 7 hours to feel human but often hum along on 6 and coffee. I’m using SleepCycle to try to reign this in. Although I’m not sold on the science, it is a very good measure of what time I got in bed and how many hours I’m sleeping. I’m often amazed at how much I overestimate my sleep.
  • Weight Training: Right now, our gym situation just isn’t that convenient. Because we walk or bus to school, we don’t have a parking permit which means we can’t go to the gym until 3:30 and since one of us coaches through all seasons, this limits our available hours for the gym to about 6 pm til 8 pm, exactly when we eat dinner.


  • Our new house (we’re moving in July) has a HUGE basement which means that I can get a treadmill!!! I know no one has ever been excited for a treadmill, but with our schedule, it offers me the opportunity to train regardless of my call schedule. It’s also a half mile jog to the gym, which will hopefully improve my weight lifting weakness from above.
  • A surgically repaired foot
  • A new PT that I’m really jiving with
  • The explosion in interest in Olde Bones and training partners that provides


  • Medical School
  • Injury
  • Father Time

What is your running SWOT analysis?


3 thoughts on “A Running SWOT Analysis

  1. Ryan

    I’ve never seen a SWOT analysis before, I am going to sit down and legitimately try to write one up tonight. I think I finally have come to terms with the level of effort (not just physically, but mentally and logistically) that it will take to run a marathon in a time I will be happy with and am willing to follow a realistic and effective training plan. Due stubborness (definitely on the weakness list) I have gone into marathon training thinking I know best and followed training plans that existed only in my head (not the best idea). Doing this should be a good first step towards getting and following a real training plan.

    On another note, I think Vermont does not like me. I sign up for a marathon and get temps in the mid-70’s, I sign up for a Tough Mudder and see a forecasted high of 60 on Saturday.

    1. runnerunderpressure

      It’s hard to deviate from what we know, even if we logically know that it might not be our best approach.

      As for the weather, it’s not just you! VCM has been getting worse and worse over the past few years, leading us to have our annual “they should move VCM” conversation again. Great event but fighting poor weather trends.

  2. Pingback: Week in Review 5.26.14 to 6.1.2014 | Runner Under Pressure

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