Serious training in North Austin? Meet Karen Smith.

by Colin Moss

For your consideration: Karen Smith’s Rogue Roadrunners. There exists a performance group that trains in North Austin that is looking to add some new runners to their ranks. They are coached by a very dedicated individual named Karen Smith. Rogue Roadrunners is a select group of athletes who train together under the supervision of a coach who also happens to be a certified Chi running instructor, Ironman finisher, and marathon runner who has completed 29 of them.

Karen Smith is serious. She is serious about running, training, and coaching. She is even serious about her off season. Karen is a hard core, asphalt eating, pavement pounding phenomenon. A marathoner, who when she is in her “off” season, trains for Ironmans to relax. Make no mistake, Karen is the real deal and will help you take your game to the next level. She is a coach who doesn’t handhold her athletes all the way to the starting line of their race. Instead she pushes you past your limits into the dangerous territory of the unknown.

Karen believes in the art of “tough love”. Her affection for her runners is best expressed by how much of her heart and soul she puts into her group. She tailors an individuals training schedule based on specific needs. There might not be a better assessor of biomechanics in the Austin running community. She can take a seasoned marathoner and show them ways to go faster for a longer period of time. If you have Boston aspirations or you are somebody that is looking to focus on your running in a way that might be considered on the wrong side of obsessive then find Karen Smith down at Rogue Running for a meeting to see if you have what it takes to be a Rogue Roadrunner.

The best assessment of a coach is from their runners. Andrew Webb who is a Rogue Roadrunner writes, “Karen has pretty much taken me to the next level in my marathon training.  She brings a lot of experience that she is able to pass on.  Instruction is catered to the individual as she learns what seems to work best for you.   She shows great attention to the details, and for those that are serious about progressing, she holds you accountable.  As she learns or experiences new techniques she incorporates that into the group, mixing up the daily running grind with performance focused methods like core exercises, agility exercises, strength exercise, injury prevention, stretching, etc…

Another one of Karen’s runners, Megan Sue Ballard says, “One of the reasons Karen is a great running coach is that she has an open and honest personality. She is interested in the people she trains and pays attention to their specific needs and goals. Over the past year and half that I have trained with Karen, she has taught me to improve my running form to increase speed and decrease risk of injury. As a result of Karen’s training, I have improved by half marathon pr by 20 minutes. Additionally, before I started running with Karen, I had begun to have problems with knee pain and I feared I would have to give up running.  By correcting my running form, Karen made it possible not only for me to continue running, but also to run further and faster than I ever had before.  Last year, after training with Karen’s group, I ran my first marathon and qualified to run Boston. Karen’s training program is challenging but it has made me a better runner.  Although the improved performance has been fantastic, the most important result for me has been that I enjoy running even more than I did before.”

As you can tell, Karen Smith’s Rogue Roadrunners is not an entry level running group. It is a group that focuses on individual performance through the efforts of a collective group. The team gets all of its individuals to race day faster than when they started. If this is something you want, meet with Karen, talk about yourself and what you want to achieve and make it happen.

Karen’s Rogue Roadrunner Spring Performance group will begin on November 30 and will focus on the Boston Marathon and other spring marathons or half marathons. Full details and Karen’s contact information can be found here.


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