Coach Jeff

Written by Coach Jeff


Cathy Ahearn from Learn to Run Strong Stealing From RunnersConnect

I can’t believe I am writing these words again.

For the second time in a month I’ve found a “running coach” stealing and selling the RunnersConnect Strength Training for Runners Program.cathy

This time, Cathy Ahearn from Learn to Run Strong is blatantly selling our program to unsuspecting runners.

Here is the email she sent to a RunnersConnect fan after she purchased a personalized strength training plan for her upcoming marathon.


Take a look at the PDFs at the bottom. Recognize the names?

If you’ve purchased our Strength Training for Runners program then you know they are the exact duplicates of our PDFs.

Let’s take a closer look at these PDFs.



Amazingly, Cathy was brazen enough to not only keep the names of the routines exactly the same, but actually use my images as well. She simply removed the header and footer so it no longer says RunnersConnect.

The best part is, take a look at the email receipt for this purchase.

Email 2

$90. What!

She’s selling 1 of the 18 total routines for twice the price of what we’re selling the entire program for. As far as I can tell, this doesn’t include the injury prevention or the video files either.

Like I mentioned in my last post about the theft of our content and products, it’s not about the money. I price the products the way they are so you can get as much value from them as possible.

What really pisses me off is that she’s calling herself a “coach” and that runners are trusting their training to her.

That’s unfair to you and it’s unfair to all the real coaches out there that work hard, attend conferences, and learn everything they can to help fellow runners.

I do apologize to you reading this, our fans, that I keep needing make these discoveries public. But, I strongly believe that whether it’s my content or another coach’s, we need to rid our sport of these charlatans.

You need to be able to trust that when someone calls themselves a coach, they have real experience and integrity behind the advice and coaching they provide to you.

We, the running community, should work together to rid our sport of these frauds and thieves.

Final note: If you purchased a similar program from Cathy, email me and I will send you the full Strength Training for Runners program for free. No strings attached. I just want you to have the full compliment of material.

Free Strength Training Course

The Right Way to Add Strength Training To Your Running to Avoid Injury and Improve Performance

Here’s what we’ve got for you

How the “core” actually contributes to your running and which muscle groups are most important for staying injury-free

Which type of strength training exercises are most likely to directly improve your running performance (based on scientific research)

The 5 most common mistakes runners make with strength training (and how you can fix them)


Connect with Jeff Gaudette on Google+

58 Responses on “Cathy Ahearn from Learn to Run Strong Stealing From RunnersConnect

  1. Hey Jeff,

    So sorry to hear about these “coaches” stealing your product. Having been looking hard at a lot of different sites, yours is a top-notch workhorse of a site for me. I’ve learned a lot and appreciate the work you do.


    Will Green
    Alameda, CA

    • Yup, I have a lawyer and ready to go to battle. I feel that the problem is when it stays under the table, it enables the person to continue pretending to be a coach – just using another coach’s material instead. My hope is that by getting the word out, anyone currently doing things like this will stop.

  2. “Cease and decist” would first stop the harm. Damages would be hard to collect on. With all of the runners on this group, are there no attorneys that would be able to help with a few items?

  3. Unfortunately there seems to be more and more people new to running who decide they can become a coach. No coaching qualifications and no lengthy background in running, and I’ve suspected that some people must try to pass of other programs as their own. . I’m not sure why people would go to people who don’t have the right credentials for coaching, but I guess there’s enough hype there somewhere to get them in.

    • So true, Judy. That’s one of the problems I think in our sport (I am sure other sports have the same issues). The RRCA and USATF try, but when certification consists of a weekend course and open book test, it’s not hard for anyone to pass. Hopefully, these types of situations can at least prevent these frauds from stealing from myself and other coaches.

  4. Jeff, I haven’t used your plans, but if I felt I needed to I certainly wouldn’t hesitate. I’ve enjoyed your articles and insights over the years.
    Having my own website (not running related) it drives me nuts when people steal content without giving proper credit. And oddly enough, it’s sometimes sites that don’t need to.
    Good luck with getting the word out about these “coaches” and keep up the great work!!!

  5. Coach Jeff: As a Chi Running Certified Instructor and a 20-year personal trainer… I commend you on exposing this. You’re truly one of the good guys. You rock!

  6. I’m in my 2nd week of the 16 week marathon program (Legally purchased from RunnersConnect) and I love it! People NEVER cease to amaze me with how stupid and selfish they are. Stealing is awful and I’m glad you are suing her, but what’s even MORE sad (in my opinion) is that she kept your pictures and names of the routines (this lady has ZERO shame!) You have an easy to win law suite, and I hope this doesn’t keep happening to you.
    I appreciate all your hard work, and I love the strength program. Keep it up Jeff.

  7. Feeling duped :(. I paid “Coach Cathy” and entrusted her with my last marathon training as well as this strength training. I apologize for unknowingly supporting this fraud :(.

  8. Jeff, This is sad that the people are trying to make a buck and using the world of running, exercise and health as their next target. I have emails from her for a “free” program she offered back in March of this year if you need this for evidence against her in making your case. All electronic documents can be used in all court proceedings. You should not hesitate in taking this to the next level to not only make her stop but to make an example of her and let others know this is against the law. There are copyright laws also that should go beyond the plagiarism laws. She is not only stealing your work but also your knowledge, experience and intellectual property as a renown coach. good luck Sir.

    • Thanks, Nancy. I may get in touch with you down the road based on what the lawyer advises. She may have used material from the guide for her free program, which would add a layer to the monetary damages.

      I appreciate the support!

  9. I am disgusted by this. what is wrong with people. learn to run strong isn’t searchable on FB or I would have something to say directly to her.

      • Just an FYI, I’m seeing this for the first time, having just subscribed to your emails. I went to her blog and see that she still has the RRCA certification credential listed. I just searched her name on the ‘find a coach’ page of RRCA and she did not show. I don’t know if the RRCA took away her certification or is she asked not to be listed, but if the former I think the RRCA would be interested in seeing her shenanigans.

  10. What a shame. I’m sorry this is happening to you, and I am very glad to see that you are taking the steps to ensure it comes to a stop.

  11. Words cannot describe how much this disturbs me. I’m not a coach yet or a personal trainer, but i want to work towards those goals. I hate that people like her make a mockery of the folks who truly work hard and earn their stripes in the fitness community. I commend you for bringing this fraud to light and for shutting her scam down. And now that I know you’re here, I’ll recommend you to my peeps!

    • Thanks, Rebekah. I know exactly how you feel. It makes knowing who to trust so difficult and it makes it even harder for people like you, doing it the right way. Keep up the awesome work, you’re definitely one of the “good” ones!

  12. This is really sad. I realize coaches might use some of the same strategies and similar coaching plans because some things just work, but to call yourself a coach and just copy someone’s else program, sell it at a high price and claim it as your own, that is not only illegal, it’s really messed up! Sorry this is happening to you and thank you for exposing the truth.

    • Thanks, Gabi. Totally agree. If she wants to use the knowledge she’s gained through the years to write her own plan, great. But, I spent a lot of hours creating the material and money shooting/filming everything too. So happy to have your support!

  13. I got a program from her for free and she’s solicited me pretty regularly thereafter trying to get me to buy her program. Let me know if you need any of that info for your case against her

  14. Wow.. I just don’t have words. I’ve followed Cathy and she has helped me grow as a runner over the last 3 years. I am just at a complete shock and disbelief that this is happening. It is sad to know that there are liers and cheats out there. Unfortunately, you can only trust their words, as you never know what is behind the scenes.

    • Thanks for sharing, Elly. It’s always tough when someone turns out to be different than you thought. Keep up the hard work and now you have “the source” on your side 🙂

  15. WTF? Not again. I feel the pain. Been there done that! All you can do is keep up the good fight and keep exposing them …. as much as it does distract you from the mission.

    On a positive note, it does show you just how good your stuff is, if others want to do this with it!

  16. Keep fighting the good fight–as someone who has been a part of the RC community for almost 2 years now, it saddens me that any running coach would do this as a means for revenue–however, in defense of you–when you are the BEST, that only want to steal from the BEST! Glad you’re not backing down–BTW–I have your article linked posted on my FB and many running friends have shared it as well–

  17. I hired her last winter. I wasn’t able to finish due to an injury. I am absolutely sick over this. Thanks for exposing her. So, sorry this happened to you!

  18. This is Randy Accetta, the Director of Coaching Education for the RRCA. You sort of threw the RRCA coaching program under the bus in your remarks earlier, but we do have a Code of Ethics so if you want to email me directly at I am happy to pick up the conversation.

  19. I also would do a whois on her domain name and find out who is hosting her website and file a complaint with them and they will take her site down…

    • I thought of that, but she isn’t hosting the material on her site. She’s emailing it directly. I’ve been researching whether this matters or not, but not sure.

  20. Not sure if this helps but I got a free workout that she sent me – the workout is stored in Google docs. She solicited me afterwards to pay for coaching. I didn’t (thankfully!). Let me know if I can help in this!

  21. Not again Jeff!
    A different situation but illustrative – A few years back we had a web company build a new website for the company I worked for. They mocked it up with a stock image that they didn’t have the rights to and then took the site live. We got a bill from Getty Images. There was no C&D letter it was a straight out invoice for copyright use. Web Co’s mistake so they paid the bill.

    So, multiple the total number of images by the industry standard fee of $USD1250 and submit the invoice for payment. This, of course, excludes the knowledge and expertise poured into the written content. I know you want this kind of behaviour to stop and not necessarily the damages but if potential fraudsters see the potential costs before they undertake this kind of activity they may think twice.
    Keep up the good work, it’s obviously good stuff if everyone’s trying to rip it off!

  22. Disgraceful. But, as we all know on RC, it’s a testimony to your research based approach to coaching and the articles/ material you develop that other’s find it so attractive to steal…

  23. So frustrating, I never know who to follow and when I do I find out through another source I have been duped! Money gone but I have learned. Thank you for sharing and keep up the good work!

  24. AGAIN???

    They say that “Imitation is the highest form of flattery” but come on, if you can’t be original then join RunnersConnect and go with the slogan “if you can’t beat ’em join ’em!”
    Sounds to me like after you’re done with her, she’s going to wish she had.
    I like the idea of “RunnersConnect – so good you’ll want to steal it!”
    Jeff, this sucks but find some humor in this, go for a run, and let the lawyers do the hard work! I’m married to a trademark attorney and they love this stuff!

  25. I don’t blame you. I’ll be honest…my biggest hesitation on getting an online coach was “how do I really know??” Its scary that people are following advice of someone who doesn’t have the training or knowledge to honestly coach.

  26. I got a similar email from her showing a “complimentary” workout. and after already purchasing from you some time back I was not a happy camper. I quit responding to her via FB and email. Tacky.

  27. What a ‘piece of work’ she is. Not only that; she is ignorant of formal English Grammar, which I find almost as shocking from someone who espouses a higher level of knowledge than most.Bet she used crib-sheets at school. ‘Learn to Run Strong’ uses the adjective ‘Strong’ incorrectly; it should be replaced by the adverb ‘Strongly’.

    Your site is very good, Jeff. I like it a lot, especially the way you approach the short-term (ie Tabata) vs the long-term approach to VO2 max. My take is that Maximum oxygen uptake is achieved in a state of considerable oxygen debt and anaerobiosis, which is exactly why it can’t be maintained for longer than about 8-10 minutes by the highly conditioned athlete. So, in effect, it is just a measure of how much oxygen your body happens to be able to suck in and dispose of in an increasingly acidic environment. It has very little to do with how fast a distance athlete can get from A to B, really. The % of VO2 max that can be covered in an aerobic state is really a much more important measure of efficiency. What people forget about is that below the point where acidosis starts to accumulate rapidly, the aerobic systems dictate the height of the platform upon which this anaerobic exercise capacity rests. The slow and steady development of capillary beds traversing large beds of exercised muscle is directly proportional to hours spent in the those lower intensity zones below the anaerobic threshold areas, which was well-established by Dr David Costill over 30 years ago. In a nutshell, aerobic foundational work over months and years enhances the ability of the body to exercise at higher intensities and recover much more quickly; clearance of acidic metabolites is much quicker during and post-exercise.This simple concept has been well-established with good science, and should no longer even be questioned by any serious athlete or coach. It’s extremely important from the long sprints onwards.

    Even self-coached engineering and maths genius Edwin Moses saw fit to train up to 110 km/wk in his base phase, and he did rather well, didn’t he? Undefeated for 10 years in 122 straight finals, with his 1983 WR of 47.02 still No.2 all time.

    Bit of a waffle here, but I felt obliged to comment further..and to round things off… yes, this Cathy Ahearn deserves the public shaming she is getting.However, that sort of mindset is possibly heading into the narcissistic personality mindsets, where the only regret for her is that she has been caught out.

    Good on you for spreading common sense around!

    • Matt removed the posts explaining what he copied, but no, there was no compensation. All we can do is continue to create more fans that support us, and want to read our content in its true form. Thank you Robin!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Adding new comments is only available for RunnersConnect Insider members.

Already a member? Login here

Want to become an Insider for free? Register here