Chase Elliott Clark

Runkeeper: Pace Academy

A mini-training plan to improve your running pace

“Pace Academy” was eventually renamed to “Win the Long Run” to align with marketing goals.

I collaborated with designers, product managers, engineers, marketing, and running coaches to conceptualize, design, and deliver this feature. I was the lead designer, executed all research and created the feature concept.

🤔 Problem

Runners want to improve their pace, but are unsure how to do so, and many don’t have the time to take on a traditional training plan.

🎯 Goal

Give runners a free training plan that fits their schedule and helps them improve their 5K pace with low commitment.

🧛🏻‍♂️ Persona

Any runner looking to improve their pace (spoiler alert: this is most runners).

🥳 Success

Number of users who sign up for the plan, initial target: 500,000 users.

🧢 My role

Lead designer and researcher

Project Kickoff

ASICS wanted to create their first in-app campaign to support their new Flight Foam shoe sole technology. Our marketing team reached out to see what we could do to support the effort.

Initial research

There was internal sentiment that our users were satisfied with their current running ability, so we decided to challenge that concept and run a quick survey asking if our users wanted to improve their running performance, and if so, what specifically.

Based on the survey feedback it turned out that the vast majority of our users were interested in improving their running performance, and again, the majority were specifically interested in improving their pace.

We then scheduled interviews to get some further insights into why our users wanted to get faster.

After our first round of interviews a few clear themes kept coming up. Everyone wanted to improve, but they were only competing with themselves. Pace was a personal thing, one user said it was like salary—you don’t want to share what yours is and you always want it to improve. Pace was a main metric of progress for these users.

The problem we saw our users experience here was that they weren’t sure how to improve their pace. And they also didn’t have time for a dedicated race training plan. They also weren’t doing basic speed work to improve pace either.


After synthesizing our findings, we came up with a concept of a basic speedwork training plan, that was linear, but not scheduled like a race plan. Users would have to unlock each workout to progress through the plan (a small attempt at gamifying the training).

We decided to use a common benchmark for the plan too—a 5K. We would check the user’s 5K pace before and after completing to see if they had made progress.

Further research

We reviewed the solution concept (in an Invision prototype) with a new set of users. We showed them the prototype and had them give us feedback on the usability and the concept.


We hired a running coach to create the plan framework for us. Once the plan was ready for dev, I worked with engineering to build out the solution, keeping the user in mind as we made changes or trade-offs. We had coworkers dogfooded the feature internally before release, to see if the running plans were effective.

Post-launch interviews

After the feature launched, I worked with our data team to identify two user groups to interview:

Most of the users we spoke to who had tried the plan enjoyed it and saw an improvement in their pace. Many of the users we talked to who hadn’t tried to plan yet seemed genuinely interested in trying it out based on their goals and needs.


To date Pace Academy (now renamed to Win the Long Run) has over one million users signed up for it. The majority of people who finished the plan improved their pace on average.

While the feature was a success, there were still opportunities for improvement going forward. Many users not finishing the entire plan, what could we do to keep them motivated and engaged? We could explore adding in triggers to keep users progressing and cooperate with marketing to highlight offering to new and potential users.