Coaching Philosophy

We understand that running my not be your first priority in life, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important to you. You’re eager to improve and willing to work hard to do so.

 Great coaching is all about meeting you where you are, both as a runner and everyday parent, spouse, or professional and then designing a running program that not only fits with your lifestyle, but also your experience level.

 Training should be fun but challenging. Your workouts should motivate you, not scare you. Helping you run faster is more than just prescribing workouts. It’s about encouragement, feedback, and guidance.

 Based on this philosophy I’ve developed a system that works to get you faster while helping you run longer, stronger, and more confidently and we have the testimonials to prove it. This customized approach is just a piece of what sets RunMN coaching apart from the rest.

My coaching is based on every training run having a specific purpose; when you head out the door each day you should know exactly what you are trying to accomplish. Most runners tend to settle into what I call “no-man’s land” where their easy runs are too fast, and their hard runs are too slow. They believe that to get better, they just need to run more. Instead, I’ll work with you to get faster and stronger using a hard/easy approach.

 Unlike many other running coaches, this isn’t my side gig, it’s my main gig. I have devoted a large part of my life to learning and excelling in the art of running. Coaching isn’t just my career, it’s my passion.

 No matter what type, age, or ability level runner you are, I’m here to meet you where you are today and take you beyond where you want to be. Also to me every athlete is “ELITE”, pace and distance don’t matter. Everyone no matter how slow or fast has a goal and I’m here to help you achieve it. I’m dedicated to your success, 24/7.


“Not every great runner is a great coach and not every great coach is a great runner, Kelly just happens to be both of these. Coaching is partially a science and partially an art, and while anyone can learn the science not everyone can master the art of it – Kelly has and it is evident in his approach and in turn his clients results.” ~ John S.

“Over the past 5+ years Kelly has coached me to every PR I own, including a hard-earned BQ at Grandma’s 2016. Through his own extensive elite-level racing and every-level coaching experiences, I received custom, expert coaching from 1 mile to 50k, road + trail. Kelly has played an essential role in all my favorite racing experiences, and I am lucky to call such a successful, humble, and genuine person my coach.” ~ Nordica S.

“Of all of the coaches and coaching techniques I have experienced throughout my running career, Kelly Mortenson is by far one of the best. Kelly is extremely knowledgeable about both running and coaching, and is continually working to expand that base of knowledge. Kelly is an encouraging and positive coach, who is invested in the progress of his athletes. He is helpful in setting attainable goals and shares in the excitement when those goals are accomplished. While being coached by Kelly, I set personal records in distances ranging from 5000m all the way up to the Marathon. During one particular segment under Kelly’s teachings, I set eight Half Marathon PRs in a matter of 10 months, and secured my place on the starting line of the Olympic Trials in the marathon.” ~ Eric H.

“Nothing but Personal Records. That’s how I would best describe being Coached by Kelly. I thought I was a pretty decent endurance athlete before I met Kelly. That thought became a distant memory after my first marathon under him. I PR’d by 13 minutes. I have continued to PR and just consistently gotten better being coached my Kelly. If you truly want to perform at a higher level and are willing to put in the work, then you have found the best coach to be trained by.” ~ Johnny S.

“I worked with Kelly Mortenson as my trusted running coach with the goal of qualifying for the USA Olympic Marathon Trials and various other team and national championships. I qualified in 2004 and 2008, in between which I had my first daughter in 2005. Kelly is a kind, patient wise coach who understood how much I could handle and stay injury free. He was also able to work with me post-partum in the end resulting in my lifetime PR of 2:44:10 at the 2008 Olympic Trials, 1:18:58 at Gary Bjorklund Half, 36:24 for the 10K in Mpls. Kelly is a great collaborator and easy to work with, dependable, valuable resource and an all-around awesome guy!” ~ Melissa G.

“Kelly coached me for five years. He brought me from a 34 minute 10k / high 2:30s marathoner in 2001 to sub 31 10k and 2:23 marathon (8th at Twin Cities Marathon / U.S. Marathon Championships) in 2005. Kelly is one of the Twin Cities most connected, passionate, and personally accomplished distance runners. He was 12th at the 2000 Olympic Trials, ran a PR 2:19 marathon, and has run over 100k lifetime miles. He both knows the science and has the personal experience and instincts that make him a good coach. I literally did exactly the workouts and mileage he wrote for me and got faster than I thought I could get. After a year or so the routine felt easier and easier while I was still getting faster. I know having Kelly as my coach over those five years was a pivotal part of my success.” ~ Mike L.