How My Running Journey Began…and Flourished – Caren Landrum’s Story


Growing up, I was active with dance but never coordinated enough to play team sports. I didn’t make the volleyball team, gymnastics team or softball team in school and running wasn’t even on my radar. In fact, I didn’t start running until I was in my thirties when a family member encouraged me to train for a local 5K. I was satisfied with a sporadic running effort for several years until a friend challenged me to run my first half marathon.

Image of Caren Landrum RunSmart OnlineThat’s when my love of running began and it was the year I turned 40. I’ve run several half marathons since then and found my love of triathlons.

Fast forward to October of 2016 – I’d had enough. I had bailed out on several races at this point and decided it was time to spend some money to figure this out and spending my money more wisely seemed like a better option. I had struggled with nagging hip pain and reached out to someone in my running club that was working with others on run form and training.

Videos showed I was a strong heel striker and that must be my problem. I was coached to switch to a mid-foot strike right away for 100% of my running. I experienced pain in my calves and was told to run less miles more frequently, strength training wouldn’t help me, and to try running on softer surfaces. Apparently I just needed to endure it. I began to hate running but I was dedicated to figuring this out.

Finally over a month went by and I was able to complete a 5k, finishing pain free. I was a half marathon runner and I jumped for joy at a 5k accomplishment! Now, I set my sites on a half marathon just over two months away. As I began to increase my miles, my hip pain would return whenever I hit 8 miles. I completed the half marathon in February of 2017, but walked a significant portion of the latter half. Discouraged beyond words, I started to feel I might never be able to run farther than 6-8 miles without significant pain and maybe that was just a sign of getting older.

I resumed some light running after a few weeks and mentioned to my running partner that I wanted to find an app to stream some strength training. As it turns out, her cousin knew Steve Gonser personally and recommended I check out RunSmart Online. I immediately started the BaseSix strength and balance training and realized this website was going to be much more than just strength training.

Unfortunately, three weeks in I had my most serious running injury to date. On March 11, 2017, I tore my hamstring while running when my dog and I got tangled up. I went right away to the Injury Management Protocol seminar and followed each step. It gave me confidence to remain calm and patient while healing. I felt comfortable that I would be able to return to running as apposed to where I was mentally with less serious running injuries. It took several months for my hamstring to mend and I successfully completed a sprint triathlon nearly three months later June 24, 2017.

Caren Landrum RunSmart OnlineIn July of that year, I decided to have RunSmart Online analyze my run form. My analysis showed some minor areas that needed work; mostly my left hip (the chronic pained hip) was dropping on my right foot strike, and that I likely had weakness on the right side causing over compensation and pain in my left hip.


I felt like a piano had just dropped on my head realizing the probable cause of so much pain for several years! Now armed with several drills and strength training recommendations, I began working towards improving my run form. The Mid-Foot Project in August continued to improve my run form even further. It took a good six weeks to get everything dialed in but the work paid off.

I was running pain free…

I now felt comfortable attempting another half marathon and soon began my first ever RunSmart Online training plan. On December 4th, 2017,  I achieved my goal time on my A Race. I can’t believe I had been running 30 mile weeks and felt great while doing so.

I have big goals for 2018 and the confidence I can achieve them.   I’ve benefited from just about every aspect of RunSmart Online coming full circle from where I was just over a year ago. What started out as a strength training option has become a fabulous resource for my running and other athletic endeavors. I also love the RSO community, the camaraderie of its members and the hands on of the coaches. RunSmart Online has given me the tools to continue to run farther and faster for many years to come!

A forever fan,

Caren Landrum

Start your RunSmart Journey with a 14-day Free Trial.

RunSmart is your one-stop spot to train smarter, run faster, and enjoy running more. Unlock Physical Therapist-designed training with a 14-day free trial today.

Start your RunSmart Journey with a 14-day Free Trial.

RunSmart is your one-stop spot to train smarter, run faster, and enjoy running more. Unlock Physical Therapist-designed training with a 14-day free trial today.