cross training & return to run


Grit Coaching’s Cross Training and Return-to-Run programs are expertly crafted to help maintain your fitness and facilitate a smooth return to full training following an injury. We understand the challenges of overuse injuries and design these plans to keep your progress on track, even when running isn’t possible.

Led by former pro runner and Exercise Physiologist Jessica O’Connell (who is no stranger to running injuries!), these programs offer structured support and help you stay on course towards your running goals when adversity strikes.


Consider your cross training program to be a “Backup Plan” when a running injury arises. This is a customized program tailored to your unique needs, aiding in a smooth transition back to peak performance:

Navigating training during an injury can be confusing and isolating. A cross-training plan from Grit Coaching provides invaluable workouts and coaching support during a challenging time, helping you smoothly return to kicking butt in the sport you love! 

Coach Jess in 'GRIT' athletic attire confidently poses with crossed arms.


jess o'connell


Jess O’Connell, an Olympian and seasoned national team member, brings a unique blend of professional running experience and academic expertise to her coaching. With a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology and a history of competing in track, cross country, and road running, Jess is well-versed in the science of sports and athletics. Her personal journey through various injuries has honed her skills in effective cross-training, making her an invaluable guide for athletes navigating their own recovery and return to peak performance.

how it works

Embarking on your personalized coaching journey with Grit Coaching is straightforward and simple. Here’s how we guide you towards your next personal best:

Number 1

Questionnaire & Book A Call

Fill out our questionnaire via Google Forms and provide background to information on your goals and training history. Then, you’ll be prompted to schedule your first meeting effortlessly using Calendly. 

Number 2

Initial Consultation call

We’ll use this initial phone or zoom call to get to know each other and ensure we’re a good fit. This initial consultation is your opportunity to discuss your goals, challenges, and preferences, laying the groundwork for a great coaching experience. This call is free – there is no obligation to sign up!

Number 3

customized plan

Based on the insights from your consultation and questionnaire, we craft a customized training plan that aligns with your individual goals, lifestyle, schedule, and current fitness, ensuring that every aspect of the plan is tailored just for you.

Number 4

ongoing support

Your journey doesn’t end with receiving your plan-we’re just getting started!. We provide options for ongoing support, feedback, and adjustments to your plan as needed, ensuring you stay on track, overcome challenges, and continuously progress.


$130 USD / MONTH

$160 CAD / MONTH*

cross training / return to running for injured runners*

Navigating training during an injury is challenging, but Coach Jess specializes in maintaining fitness and facilitating a return to running. She crafts custom cross-training plans centered around your specific needs, injury, and available resources, aiming to preserve your fitness during recovery. Additionally, she offers progressive return-to-run plans. The coaching process starts with an initial call to understand your injury and requirements, followed by a tailored four-week plan. Options for extra communication support are also available to ensure comprehensive guidance throughout your recovery journey.

What's included?

*Terms and Conditions apply
*CAD + gst per month

The back up plans: A guide to Cross Training

The back up plan

A guide to cross training for injured runners
*Free e-book for download by anyone!

*Grit Coaching and Coaches are not medical professionals. As an athletic coaching entity, Grit Coaching does not provide healthcare, medical, or nutritional therapy services, nor does it attempt to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any physical, mental, or emotional issues. A cross-training program is not meant to replace in-person physical therapy or medical care.
The information provided on our website and materials is for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before undertaking a new athletic training program.
Do not disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of information you have read on our materials or website. Do not start or stop any medications without speaking to your medical or mental health provider.

After qualifying for the Boston Marathon, I struggled with injuries for several months and became concerned I may not be able to compete in the race. At the recommendation of my physiotherapist, I reached out to Grit Coaching and I couldn’t be happier. In 6 months with Grit, I went from not running at all to hitting a PR in Boston! Jess and Faye provide thoughtful, science-backed, programming that's personalized to my needs and schedule. I've learnt so much from them and can't wait to hit my next PRs with them in my corner. ​

Johnny T Runner

When I first reached out to Grit Coaching I was stuck in a cycle of injuries and frustration, about to give up on my athletic goals. Working with Jess and Faye I have been able to build up my mileage and strength sustainably, loving the process and gaining confidence along the way. With them in my corner I am reaching for new goals that I would never have thought possible previously!

Amelia Stuckey OCR Athlete & Runner

When I first started working with Jess and Faye I had been in a pretty bad injury cycle, that made it impossible to get any consistency in my training. But in my first year working with Gritt I had a full year where I went injury free! Their strength and running programs always complemented and never competed with each other which made stacking weeks and months of training together very sustainable. Their programs are individualized and adaptable to your goals, I have nothing but good things to say about the dynamic duo...just make sure you're ready for a push!

Arielle Fitzgerald Dream Team Athlete and 2021 Spartan Canadian Series Champion

Jess O'Connell

Coach Jess in 'GRIT' athletic attire confidently poses with crossed arms.

Though Jess spent much of her free time growing up competing in Irish dancing, once she hit the track, she never looked back! As a specialist in the 5000m, she boasts a personal best time of an impressive 15:06.66. Her accomplishments include competing in the 2016 Rio Olympics in the 5000m and formerly holding the Canadian national records for the indoor 3000m and 2 mile races. Jess’s career is further highlighted by being a 15-time Canadian national team member across track and field, cross country, and road running, a four-time National Champion, a Pan Am Games silver medalist, an NCAA Division I All-American, and achieving a personal bests of 32:22 in the 10km (road race) and 4:30 in the mile.

Jess has always been “nerdy” about her training, which shows through in her impressive academic background. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University and a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Calgary. As a CSEP-CEP (Clinical Exercise Physiologist) with a High-Performance specialization, Jess holds the highest level of certification available in Canada. Jess also holds NCCP Performance Coach certification for endurance events. She applies her vast athletic experience and educational background to her role in Grit Coaching, and also serves as the distance track and cross country coach at the University of Calgary. 

Jess’s commitment to sport extends beyond her personal achievements, as she actively works to inspire and uplift the next generation of athletes. She has passionately volunteered for Fast and Female, an organization dedicated to empowering girls and young women to remain active and engaged in sports, and has served as the athlete representative on the board of Athletics Alberta, the provincial governing body for track and field. Jess believes that balance, health, and FUN are essential for longevity in sport, and she loves sharing her love of running with others.


Coach Faye in 'GRIT' athletic attire confidently poses with crossed arms.

Faye’s journey in athletics is marked by dedication and impressive achievements. Throughout her high school and university years, she was deeply engaged in running, competing for the University of Calgary’s track and cross-country teams. Her standout moments include earning the “All Canadian” cross-country status and participating in the 2008 Olympic trials for the 5000m. After obtaining her Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology, Faye embarked on a career as a personal trainer, where her passion for fitness and a healthy lifestyle became a source of inspiration for her diverse range of clients.

Transitioning from competitive running, Faye soon discovered her next athletic passion: obstacle course racing (OCR). Her strong foundation in running and strength training quickly propelled her to success in the OCR world. Faye’s talents were recognized in 2016 when she joined the Spartan Pro Team, and her athletic ability was furthered with a bronze medal at the Spartan World Championships.

Continuing to compete among the elite, Faye has consistently demonstrated her skill and tenacity in OCR. She has secured two 4th place finishes at both the Spartan North Americans and the Spartan World Championship. Her record of Spartan podium finishes over the past decade showcases her enduring excellence in the sport.

Beyond the thrill of competition, it’s the OCR community that deeply resonates with Faye. The opportunity to travel, share her passion for fitness and adventure, and connect with an array of positive, inspiring individuals fuels her year after year. Faye embodies the essence of the “work hard, play hard” ethos, living it to the fullest in both her professional and personal life.