Chapter Summary of Run Strong, Stay Hungry by Jonathan Beverly

Run Strong, Stay Hungry by Jonathan Beverly contents RSSH

Run Strong, Stay Hungry reveals the 9 keys to running strong and staying fast. Jonathan Beverly taps 50 lifetime runners—from America’s elite to consistent local competitors—to reveal the 9 keys to run strong and stay fast. Run Strong, Stay Hungry features priceless guidance from Bill Rodgers, Deena Kastor, Pete Magill, Joan Benoit Samuelson, Roger Robinson, Colleen De Reuck, Dave Dunham, Kathrine Switzer, and dozens more.

This chapter summary of Run Strong, Stay Hungry offers short overview of what Beverly learned from these runners.

Run Strong, Stay Hungry by Jonathan Beverly


Jonathan Beverly shares his inspiration for taking up the challenge to research a book on lifetime competitors and their secrets to running longevity and reveals how the 9 keys he discovered have played through the stages of his running career.

1 Why They Stop

Many runners don’t continue in the sport after a few years of dedicated participation. Why? Drawing from a survey of a large selection of runners who no longer run or compete, Beverly discovers their reasons and explores the key transition times in life and common obstacles that runners must navigate in order to continue as runners.



2 Consistency: Making running a habit

As any coach knows, consistency is key to performance. But as Beverly discovers, consistency is also key to becoming a runner, getting fast, developing durability, and staying a runner. He examines how consistency—not rigidity—makes runners into lifetime competitors.

3 Variety: Mixing things up

Lifetime competitors mix it up, in training and racing. They run long some days and short and intense on others. They run on trails, roads and tracks, over distances from the 800m to ultra-marathons. This variability keeps them healthy, improves their stride, range of motion, overall fitness–and keeps each day fresh.

4 Training by Feel: Letting go of the watch and schedule

Perhaps one of the most valuable chapters of Run Strong, Stay Hungry, Chapter 4 reveals that lifetime competitors have mastered training by feel through a finely honed perception of effort and ease. Beverly discovers practical ways to learn how to train by feel and the wide-ranging benefits it brings to experienced runners.


5 Humility and Hunger: The promise of humble beginnings

Great runners are made, not born. Many lifetime competitors express a variation on the theme, “I was never really very good.” While all of them have been relatively successful in running, they almost always started out unathletic, and remain keenly aware that, even at their best, many others were better. Beverly shows how a desire for improvement and mastery drives these humble runners to great heights and personal bests throughout life’s decades.

6 Adaptability, Part 1: Setting goals

Setting goals is important, but how you set them matters, too. Lifetime competitors continuously adapt new goals and definitions of success, both in racing and training, based on changing circumstances and abilities as they age. As lifetime bests and overall wins no longer become possible, they find creative goals that keep them challenged and motivated.

7 Adaptability, Part 2: Flexing with the times

Over the course of their lives, lifetime competitors have successfully made transitions to new patterns as they aged, moved, changed jobs, and others changed around them. To flex with the times, they have learned to trample on the past and detach emotions from their results. To adapt to new situations, lifetime competitors aren’t tied to strict patterns in terms of when and with whom they train. Many like to run with partners or on teams, but all know how to run alone, which allows flexibility in their training, and gives them the chance to tune into themselves, learn to train by feel and identify the types of training and racing that they are best at.

8 Students of the Sport: Knowledge that directs and excites

All runners are an experiment of one. Successful runners become students of the sport and often act as their own coaches. Some never had a coach, others had mentors who fed them books and helped them learn how to train. They draw from tried and true methodologies and experimentation to devise the best training program for themselves, and continue to stay current with the latest research and thinking in the sport. Coaching themselves allows them to personalize the training to match their abilities and adapt as those abilities change.

9 Staying Connected: Nurturing the ties that bind and motivate

Running is a solitary sport yet a social activity. Runners who find ways to be involved with other runners enjoy the sport more. These connections keep them close to the sport, reinforcing their passion as they watch others develop and enjoy great races, forging relationships with others that have the same passion, and providing an ongoing role to bridge times when they can’t participate or their participation role is changing.

10 Hope: The power of optimism

Every runner encounters obstacles to continuing running, from changes in lifestyles to major injuries. Beverly finds that runners still in the sport have overcome challenges just as great as those who have quit. What differs is an attitude: those who continue never consider an obstacle permanent, never even entertain the thought that running might be over.

11 Love: It makes the world go ’round

The final, and most important, characteristic of every lifetime competitor is that they love to run. At some point—and they can often tell you that moment, down to the day—they discovered that running is something they were born to do. Some enjoy the simple, daily activity more, others thrive on training for a goal and the thrill of competition. Most enjoy both training and competition, and find the two mutually reinforce each other. They find in running a means of escape, a way to stay sane, a never-ending inspiration to be better and a way to prove to themselves that they are alive and competitive. For all, running is a part of their identity and an end in itself, something worthwhile regardless of any benefits, something precious, the best part of their day.

Afterword: Why be a lifetime competitor

Beverly sums up the many reasons we as runners want to continue in the sport for a lifetime. From the habits we form that carry into other parts of our lives to the lessons we learn from running success and failure, Beverly explores the authentic love for running that every lifetime competitor shares.

Contributing Runners

Includes bios, accomplishments, and lifetime miles for the 51 runners featured in the book.




About the Author

Run Strong, Stay Hungry explores 9 ways any runner can enjoy a lifelong, healthy running career as well as boost enjoyment of running and improve race performance.