I've been a personal running coach since 2009, helping many runners to achieve their goals at race distances ranging from 5,000 meters to 100 miles. I have a strong commitment to helping my athletes improve and meet their near-term goals, while also working on long-term development and enjoyment of the sport. 

If you are interested in coaching, please send me an inquiry to MattAFlaherty |at| with a bit of background information about yourself and your goals. Thank you for your interest!

My Background and Training Philosophy

By way of personal background, I've been running competitively since I was 11 years old (in 1996): beginning with junior high and high school cross country and track; running varsity XC/track at the University of Illinois; and now as a professional trail runner, ultramarathoner, and marathoner.  I've run 2:21:20 for the marathon, competed in over 20 ultramarathons—including winning a U.S. title at 50 miles—and been named to four U.S. Teams for World Championships events.

As a student of the sport, my own coaching education really began under my exceptional high school and college coaches.  It has been developed through years of copious reading, studying, and self-experimentation; and honed through six-plus years of coaching experience.  I take my own continuing education seriously, continuing to read about and study all aspects of training and discussing training theory and practice with other coaches.

I believe in developing total athletes.  This means:
- working on and staying in touch with all components of aerobic fitness
- working to develop your weaknesses while maintaining strengths
- working on efficiency and economy through biomechanical work and functional strength work

As an experienced and objective outside observer, I can craft a customized training plan that is optimal for you, and also tweak and adjust it based on how you are progressing.  Everyone has variable life stresses (illness, job stress, family commitments, etc.) and recovery and improvement rates vary.  Training plans thus need adjusting from time to time, and this is perhaps the biggest benefit in personal coaching—the ability to adjust when things don’t go exactly to plan.  Finally, I find many athletes benefit from the accountability of a formal coaching relationship.

Program Details
  • Introductory consultation to discuss your training history and running/racing goals; time constraints on training; my training philosophies; and a variety of other topics from dynamic and functional strength work to nutrition, all of which will allow me to craft the best personalized plan for you!
  • Personalized training plan designed for your specific needs, updated and refined on a regular, ongoing basis.  
  • Weekly email exchange to review the previous week's work and answer any questions about the coming week's training (along with more detailed notes on specific training sessions for the week in a shared training plan/log).
  • Email/text communication as needed during the week for any training adjustments due to conflicts, sickness, fatigue, etc. The better, more open the contact between you and I, the better the coaching will be. Only you know how you feel on a day-to-day basis.
  • Phone calls to discuss training phases, go over race plans/strategy, debrief races, and go over any other bigger questions an athlete may have (nutrition, hydration, training theory, etc.)
  • $150/month, start and stop at any time (pro-rated if that's in the middle of a month)
  • You are serious and committed to your running.
  • You are willing to be "all in" on my system, following the training schedule I craft for you.
  • You provide regular feedback in your personalized training log. 


"After running ultras for three years, I decided to hire Matt for my second 100-mile race. I had two goals for this race: run sub 22 hours and finish the last 25 miles feeling a lot stronger than my previous 100-mile race. I also had another "would be nice" goal to podium. Not only did I hit all three of these goals thanks to Matt's coaching, I also learned a lot about myself, what I am capable of, and how to run smarter. I'll admit I was a little apprehensive since I was used to the "more miles is better" mentality but Matt taught me there is a smarter way to train. With more quality miles and less junk, I had my best training cycle to date since I started running seriously six years ago. The race went better than I could've ever hoped for but I also ran solid "B" races and had a successful, healthy, and fun six months of training."
Kelly Teeselink

"I brought on Matt as my coach during what I viewed as a turning point in my running — I could either crank up my training and hopefully reach my full potential or begin to plateau. In just 4 months of training with Matt, I cut off 8 minutes from my marathon PR (running a 3:05:38), and 4 minutes from my half PR (running a 1:25:36). I've never worked with someone who paid such close attention to my training progress. He monitored how each run was affected by terrain, weather, time of day, etc. Not only has Matt made me a faster runner, he's made me stronger, less prone to injury, and helped me fine-tune my ability to listen to my body's needs, especially during recovery."
Julia Montag

"I ran my first marathon 13 years ago, my first ultra marathon 6 years ago, and my first 100 miler 2 years ago.  I had been self-coached up until early this year and made steady progress over the years improving my marathon time from 3:55 down to a 3:11 PR four years ago. I learned a fair amount by following on-line training programs and experimenting with things that seemed to work well for me, but I had pretty much plateaued.  I realized it had taken me many years to learn and improve through my own experience using a trial and error approach, and I wanted to achieve more benefit with less effort to get through the training plateau.  I started working with Matt for a better mix of training that was customized to my ability, goals, and time commitments. 

This has been a breakthrough year for me which I attribute to Matt’s knowledge and experience with both his running achievements as well as coaching style. Matt immediately mixed in a dynamic warmup routine, drills, and strength exercises that had never been part of my running training before.  Matt customized my workouts and training runs using periodization to help me hit peak performance for my races, primarily my goal marathon race.  I was able to improve my marathon PR this year to 3:04 (goal was 3:05) and also improve several other PR’s along the way including my 50K, 50 mile trail, and 100 mile PR’s, which were not even goal or “A” races.  My fitness level has been greatly improved and my training is much smarter and more effective than I could have done on my own.  To be honest, I think Matt understands and knows my true ability level better than myself.  There were workouts along the way that I never would have tried on my own because I didn’t think I could possibly hit the target paces and distances that Matt prescribed, so I was shocked when I made it through some of those workouts.  I would strongly recommend Matt to anyone looking to improve your running performance no matter what your ability or experience level."
Jeff Fleitz

“If you are looking for a coach well-versed in all areas of running, look no further. Matt's insight and knowledge provided me with the tools I needed to train consistently and effectively. His methods encompass race-distance specific training, strength training, and drills. I achieved a huge PR at the 50k distance under his direction and will certainly continue to work with Matt in the future.”

Mike Ambrose

"After missing a time cutoff by 5 minutes and a disappointing DNF at the Gorge 100K I decided I needed to get faster to hit my goals. I met Matt in Chicago a few years back and had followed his successful career a bit in Ultrarunning Magazine. I chose Matt because he is an elite runner, but still has FUN.

In the eight months I worked with him, I knocked off 4 minutes from my 10K PR, 7 minutes off my Half Marathon PR, and 24 minutes off my marathon PR (running a 3:17). I also won first overall in a couple of key races, which was exhilarating. Matt does a good job of laying out a flexible schedule, and the biggest benefit was having him there for when barriers to success came up or muscles started to get tweaked or hurt. The advice and experience he offered was key. If you put in the work with Matt, the results will come but make no mistake that the dedication and commitment will need to be there if you want big results. I can't recommend Matt enough, the 'stache and numbers don't lie." 
Chris Parish 

"When I met Matt, I was a 2:50 marathoner, struggling to improve.  Matt taught me how to re-think all of my workouts, with coaching principles from the greatest coaches in the world today.  He also shared expertise on fueling and nutrition, and helped me to take more ownership in my running generally.  With his coaching, I ran 5:55 for the 50 mile and 3:23 for the 50k, and I am now a regional contender in most ultra events.  I have also improved my marathon time to 2:42."
Mark Thompson

"After completing two marathons, I decided I wanted to see what an ultra was all about. I heard Matt on Ultrarunner Podcast and asked him to take me on as a client. As a father of three, and full time health coach/writer/speaker, my time was limited to say the least. Working with Matt was awesome. He crafted a very customized plan for me that was very minimally intrusive to my existing schedule. His style is laid-back, accessible, and highly effective. The process was super easy, and when unexpected travel came up, Matt quickly revised the plan to accommodate. I finished a 50K and 50 miler after 4 months of training and was fully recovered from each within 4 days post-race. I can't recommend him enough."
Sid Garza-Hillman

"Coming off a personal best in the 2013 Chicago Marathon, I wanted to take another step in my running so I worked with Matt to prepare for the 2014 Boston Marathon. Matt's flexible training plan in the 4 months leading up to Boston struck the perfect balance between my running goals and my family/work demands. His holistic approach works all necessary training systems for a marathon so all my weaknesses were addressed and corrected. The workouts were geared to my schedule/lifestyle and when things came up (e.g., busy work week or minor injury), he made appropriate changes to the plan - something you don't get when following a book. In the end, I ran a 3+ minute PR in Boston and felt strong doing so. Matt helped me achieve my race goal and I'm confident he can do the same for you."
Rich Calvario

"I was amazed with what I was able to accomplish in a short amount of time training under Matt.  Initially, he had me running quite a bit less mileage than I was used to.  Yet in six months time, I PR’ed in the marathon twice.  Before I trained under Matt, I simply thought that running a lot of miles, along with some good work-outs would pay off in races; but with Matt, I learned to be a smarter runner.  He taught me how to understand and read my body.  I became the type of runner that can make the most out of training 40 miles a week, or 80 miles a week, depending on what my other life and work commitments dictate. 

After building a base, Matt helped me to establish a two week training cycle, rather than weekly, which helped me to get into a better rhythm and recover better from hard efforts.  I got more out of my training as a result, despite the fact that none of my workouts were really outstanding or over-complicated.  Some of the most helpful changes were workouts with varying paces (but never an easy pace)—I learned how to run tired, and my running improved almost overnight as a result. 

Finally, I appreciated the thorough feedback Matt gave me in response to questions I had.  His knowledge of the sport and the human body—not just workouts, but nutrition, equipment, etc.—is probably better than anyone I’ve ever known in the sport."
Paul Rollet

After a disappointing 2012, I turned to Matt to get my racing back on track.  He provided a highly personalized and comprehensive training program -- not in any way a "one size fits all" schedule.  Matt reviewed my training over the past few years and developed a program specifically designed to target my weaknesses while also keeping in mind my strengths. He tailored every week to fit in with life's other demands and has always been readily accessible for feedback and advice. Matt's coaching has exceeded my expectations, and for the first time in years, has me believing that my best races are yet to come!
Dave Strubbe