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Coach Jay Stephenson

Jay Stephenson is the Founder of GoGoRunning. Jay served as the Head Coach for cross country and distance track at Shorter University in Rome, Georgia from January 2006 through March of 2012.  Currently Jay is CO-Owner of GoGo at The Shoe Box (a local running and shoe store) located at 1018 Martha Berry Blvd, Rome GA 30165.  Jay is currently coaching all levels of athletes.

With over 15 years of competitive running and coaching experience, Jay has acquired a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience in coaching people of all ages and abilities. As an athlete Jay was the 2004 USATF Club Steeplechase National Champion and a 3-time All-American in cross-country and track and field.  He has PR’s of 29:43 for 10k, 14:18 for 5k, 8:53 for 3k SC, and 4:12 for the Mile.

  • B.S. Marketing, Berry College 2003

  • M.S. Exercise Science, Georgia State University 2009

  • USATF Level I, II certification (Endurance)

  • USATF Vice Chair, Long Distance Running Georgia 2011 – 2012


Coaching Philosophy:

It does not matter if you have the goal of being a top athlete or if you are looking to run your first race, the process for starting is the same.  Just get moving.  Every journey begins with a single step and sometimes getting out the door is the hardest part.

While we recognize that people are motivated by different things here are a few thoughts to help you to get out the door.

  • Encourage yourself (have a positive attitude, believe and dream about your goals)

  • Take a quick inventory of what you will get out of your personal running.  Usually the positives outweigh the negatives.  Here is a quote that works for even the laziest runners:  “The more you run the more you can eat!” – anonymous

  • Create a good atmosphere (live with hope, exercise patience, show love, work hard)

  • “hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies” – Andy Dufresne, Shawshank Redemption.  Never give up on your goals.  We were meant to live extraordinary lives not ordinary lives.  Dare to dream big!

  • Celebration (enjoying success and putting failure behind)

  • If you reach your goal then make sure you celebrate and tell someone about it. Email us.

  • Relationships (with coach, other athletes and with self)

Invite others to train with you.  Running alone is not a fun as running with someone and building a bond that will last. Stay consistent with your fitness and running goals.…And keep moving. Need some help with your training? Check out our coaching and training plans.

Check out the coaches that have influenced Jay's Training philosophy:

Arthur LydiardHe is known as the father of running in the US and perhaps the most influential coach ever. I had the very unique opportunity to be coached by Arthur Lydiard through email before he died in 2004.  Arthur and I emailed back and forth about training and coaching.  In 2002, after emailing back and forth, I had not heard from him in a few weeks when I got a typed letter in the mail from Arthur.  His computer had gone down and so he typed a letter to me on a typewriter.  Here is an excerpt from that letter, Arthur said,

“It is important to understand that it all takes time to develop potential to it’s maximum.  There is no quick way.  That is one reason that the U.S. is not developing good distance runners anymore.  Too much anaerobic training, and not enough aerobic.”

Arthur taught me about the importance of training volume.  He also taught me about the importance of mult-paced training.  People associate Arthur’s training with lots of volume at an easy pace, but the true Lydiard system is far from that.  He includes lots of sprinting, hills, fartlek, and even advocates running races as short as 200m for distance runners.  I am hoping to write a blog about Arthur that includes some hand written workouts that he wrote for me sometime in the near future.

Joe VigilCoached at Adams State in Colorado and is an incredible motivator.  He had the only perfect score at a collegiate national cross country meet ever.  His top 5 guys were an incredible 5 seconds apart at the NAIA championships.  I asked him how that happened and he said that “the guys decided that they were never going to be outside of an arms length of each other during training.”  Two things that I think this teaches.  Number one is that if you commit to an extraordinary task and work hard you will have extraordinary results.  Number two is that the responsibility to do something is on the athlete.  It was the athlete not the coach who decided to go above and beyond and they got an above and beyond result.

Jack Daniels - I learned from Jack the importance of recovery and the ability to cross train and still have success.  I developed our levels of athlete volume by talking with Jack about the different types of runners at a clinic he put on in Rochester NY before the Club Cross Country race in 2005.  One of the things that Jack suggested with my training was to take away one workout and make one bigger for a greater stimulus.  This has been confirmed by talking with Janet Cherobon’s husband about her training under Jack Daniels in 2011.  Also, he suggested increasing my recovery time between hard workouts and taught me how to recover with ice baths after hard workouts, and incorporating extra recovery sessions of easy running, pool running, biking, and other modalities to hasten recovery.  I also learned about how to incorporate altitude training with altitude tents and altitude training into a successful training program.

Irv Ray - I met Irv Ray while still in college but got to know him really well in Mammoth Lakes, CA while serving on staff with the Altitude Project in 04-09.  Irv did an interesting study on the difference between Haile Gebrselassie (World record holder at the time for 10,000m) and Meb Keflzighi (U.S. record holder for 10k) where he timed for a 10k the amount of time that both athletes spent on the ground.  He concluded that Haile spent .001 seconds less per stride on the ground than Meb and that adding this up for 10,000m accounted for the nearly 1min difference in the World and U.S. record.  After spending time in Morrocco and Kenya observing their training programs he concluded that one of the main differences in U.S. runners and Foreign runners was the amount of time and attention that was given to drills and form running.  The Kenyan’s focused on never straining during training and always having good form where the Moroccan’s did extensive drills and uphill sprints to improve economy.  I have incorporated all of these ideas in my training and coaching.

Scott Simmons - Coached me in 2005 while I ran PR’s for 800m to 10,000m.  His focus is on increasing the volume of training to result in greater aerobic ability while still maintaining speed by including hammers (designated intervals in a workout where you do exactly that, hammer).  Also, he taught me to include Long Runs all year round for continued aerobic development.  He also taught me to include all zones of training all year round in the diamond “upside down pyramid” philosophy.  Predator runs are a key ingredient in his training philosophy that teaches you how to progress effort over a race.  This program is challenging and will teach you how to race in a very short time.

Daniel Hill - Daniel advised me in 2005 when I missed the U.S. Trials steeple standard by 8 seconds and ran several PR’s.  Daniel taught me that you must get out of your comfort zone in big races and see what you can do.  He had me go out in some insane paces that I did not think I could run and this really opened my mind to the influence of positive thinking.

Matthew Birir - Olympic Steeple champ in Barcelona in 1992 taught me to never give up.  He fell with one lap to go in the Olympic Final and clawed his way back to the lead and won with one shoe on!  My steeple workouts are modeled after his preparation for Barcelona.

Paul Deaton - Paul is perhaps the greatest influence on me when it comes to viewing running as a sport that is a mirror to life.  He taught me that if you are successful in the sport while in college you will be a success in life after as a wife, husband, father, in your job, and in relationships.  This is the most important lesson from a coach that any athlete can learn.

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