"William J. Pierce Furman University"

Bill Pierce, Professor of the Health Sciences department and lead author of Runner's World Run Less Run Faster, joined the Furman faculty in 1983 and chaired the department for three decades. During his tenure as chair, the Health Sciences major grew into one of the most popular on campus. Pierce led the department through curricular changes to its present emphasis on wellness and health sciences.

Pierce is co-founder of the Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training (FIRST). He is listed as one of 10 marathon “supercoaches” by Runner’s World magazine, has made hundreds of presentations on fitness, wellness and running.

Pierce has been actively involved in promoting wellness in Greenville as a co-founder of community-wide health promotion programs Greenville Walks, Get Fit Greenville and Activate Greenville, year-round healthy living awareness programs that preceded the present coalition, Live Well Greenville.

Pierce serves as Furman’s Faculty Athletics Representative and is the Past President of the Southern Conference.

The West Virginia native played on nationally ranked basketball teams that won three Southern Conference championships at Davidson College. He also was a successful half-miler on the track team. Pierce’s post-graduate athletic accomplishments include leading his Master’s basketball team to the National AAU Championship at age 40, capturing many age-group awards in his 250 road races and completing 42 marathons.

His past professional experiences include teaching positions at Bluefield College (VA), Clinch Valley College of the University of Virginia, and Idaho State University. His wife, Marianne, is a Professor of Business Administration at Furman.


Name Title Description


Sport in Modern Society

Study of sport as one of the most pervasive social institutions in our society. An investigation of the social aspects of sport and the relationship between sport activities and the social system in which they are embedded.

Pierce, B., & Murr, S., Runner’s World Train Smart, Run Forever, Rodale Books, publication date, April 7, 2017.

“Bill Pierce Running Tips,” appear in Pace magazine in the Fall, Winter, Summer, and Spring editions, 2012-2018

Pierce, B., “Leading and Managing Kinesiology Departments: Leadership and the Development of the Undergraduate Major,” http://www.americankinesology.org/monograph-series, 2015.

Pierce, B., “INDIA: Racing Into the Future,” PACE Running Magazine, Winter, 2015.

Pierce, B., “Aging and Running,” OOLRUN.com, September, 2014.

Pierce, B., “First Steps,” OOLRUN.com, August, 2014.

Pierce, B., “Steps to Half Marathon and Marathon Success,” OOLRUN.com, July, 2014.

Pierce, B., “The Mental Aspect of Running,” OOLRUN.com, June, 2014.

Pierce, B., “The Joy of Running,” OOLRUN.com, May, 2014.

Pierce, B., “Hitting the Wall,” OOLRUN.com, April, 2014.

Pierce, B., “Can You Qualify for Boston,” OOLRUN.com, February, 2014.

Pierce, B., “Realistic Race Goals,” OOLRUN.com, February, 2014.

Pierce, B., “Run FIRST®,” OOLRUN.com, January, 2014.

Pierce, W.J., “Marathon Training: Effectiveness of Low-Mileage and High-Intensity Training Regimens,” American Kinesiology Association Collquium, February, 2013. 

Pierce, B., “Running Buddies: My Brother, My Buddy,” Running Times.com, September, 2012.

Pierce, W.J., “Title IX Opened Doors for Women,” Greenville News, June 25, 2012.

Pierce, B., “Toor’s Training: A Report from the Coach,” Runner’s World, January, 2012, p.38

Pierce, B., “Running Tips from Bill Pierce,” Pace magazine, January-March, 2012, April-June, 2012, July-September, 2012, October-December, 2012, January-March, 2013, April-June, 2013 and July-September, 2013 issues.

Pierce, B., Murr, S., & Moss, R. Run Less Run Faster, revised edition, Rodale Books, publication date, April 12, 2012.

Pierce, B., Murr, S., & Moss, R.  Treine Menos, Corra Mais,(Portuguese translation of Runner’s World Run Less, Run Faster), Brazil, Editora Gente, 2009.

Pierce, B., Murr, S. & Moss, R.,   Lauftraining Mit System,(German translation of Runner’s World Run Less, Run Faster), Aachen, Germany: Meyer & Meyer, 2008.  

Pierce, B. “Train Smart for the Long Run,” in GO, Vol. 3, No.5, June, 2008, pp. 20-23.

Pierce, B. “Fast Results”, Runner’s World, June 2007, pp. 40-42.

Pierce, B. Murr, S. & Moss, R.  Runner’s World Run Less, Run Faster, Rodale Books, publication date, May 15, 2007.

Pierce, B., Moss, R., & Murr, S. and McCauley, M. “Three Days to Faster Running,” Marathon and Beyond, January/February, 2007.

Pierce, B. “Get Fit Greenville Is Next Best Step After Shrinkdown,” op-ed article in The Greenville News, March 7, 2007.

Pierce, W.J. “Running Fast for the Long Run,” Marathon and Beyond, January/February, 2006, pp. 109-112.

Pierce, Bill. “Once Again, It’s Time to Shrinkdown for our Health,” Greenville News, January 5, 2006

Pierce, W.J. “From Poland to Germany Along The Baltic Sea,” accepted for publication by Marathon and Beyond (2005)

Pierce, W.J. & Donald E. Pierce, "Who Runs Even Marathon Splits?" Marathon and Beyond, May/June, 2003, pp. 65-72.

Pierce, W.J. and Donald E. Pierce, “Do Marathoners in Pacing Groups Achieve Target Time?” Marathon and Beyond, May/June, 2003, pp. 77-86.

Pierce, W.J. and Donald E. Pierce, “The Effects of Aging on Marathon Performance,” Marathon and Beyond, May/June, 2003, pp. 86-101.

Pierce, W. J. Visionary Leadership: Translating Abstract Ideas Into Concrete Objectives, Journal of Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, April, 1997.

Feature editor for the Journal of Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, April-June, 1997

Pierce, W. J. A Process for Assessing Faculty Performance, The Xchange, Spring, 1996.

Zakrajsek, D. & Pierce, W. Academic preparation and the academic consumer. The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, May-June, 1993, 20-23, 31.

Bryant, J.E., Pierce, W., Zakrajsek, D., Passmore, B., Swanson, R., Conn, J., & Mawson, M. Academic Preparation and the Academic Consumer: a change is needed. Chronicle of Physical Education in Higher Education, December, 1992, pp. 4-5.

Pierce, W.J. Spectator Attendance Factors at NBA games. Abstract accepted for Sports Management Symposium sponsored by United States Sport Academy. Presentation made in Eugene, OR, July, 1984. Abstract accepted by South Carolina Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance Research Section of State Convention. Presentation made November, 1984, Myrtle Beach, SC.

Pierce, W.J. Socialization and stress factors of youth sport participants. Abstract accepted and presentation made at Olympic Scientific Congress, Eugene, OR, July, 1984.

Pierce, W.J. An analysis of the effects of stress and rewards on youth sports participation. Idaho Journal of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance and Athletics, Fall, 1982, pp. 7-9.

Pierce, W.J. Competition: its effect on youth sport participation. The Professional Reviewer, V. 10, No. 1, November, 1981.

Stratton, R.K., Pierce, W.J., Sebolt, D.R. Motivation in swimming: some answers. Swimmers, V. 4, No. 3, June-July, 1981, pp. 12-15.

Driscoll, M.L. & Pierce, W.J. Why students take one credit hour physical education classes. Foil, V. 63, No. 2, January, 1981, pp. 21-26.

Stratton, R.K. & Pierce, W.J. Motivation and rewards in youth sports. Journal of Sport Behavior, V. 3, No. 4, November, 1980, pp. 147-157.

Pierce, W.J. Perceived sources of stress in youth sport participants. Abstract accepted and poster presentation made (by R.K. Stratton) at the annual conference of the North American Society of Sport and Physical Activity, Boulder, Colorado, May, 1980.

Pierce, W.J. Psychological perspective of youth sport participants and non- participants. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, June 1980. Available from University of Oregon Film library on microfiche.

Pierce, W.J. A study of the effect of success on attitude modification. Unpublished master's thesis, West Virginia University, August, 1973.


In 2003, I co-founded with colleagues, Dr. Scott Murr and Dr. Ray Moss, the Furman Institute of Research and Scientific Training (FIRST). FIRST promotes running as a healthy physical activity by providing training based on scientific principles and research. The aim of the Institute is to assist runners of all ages and abilities achieve their goals and potential. FIRST has chosen to focus on helping average, not elite, runners reach their competitive potential while avoiding injury and burnout.

The principal finding of our research and underlying concept of the FIRST training approach is that runners need to emphasize quality over quantity. Most runners measure their training by the number of miles run, rather than how those miles were run. Our “Training with Purpose” programs provide structure and specific workouts tailored to the runner’s current fitness level. Another important finding of our research, which is incorporated into the FIRST training program, is the benefit of cross-training workouts to increase fitness while providing quality recovery from running workouts.

Our research led to the publication of Runner’s World Run Less, Run Faster, which has been a best-selling running book since its publication May 15, 2007. The revised edition of the book was published in April, 2012. It has been translated into German with the title of Lauftraining mit System and in Portuguese with the title of Treine Menos, Corra Mais. The Institute has received messages from thousands of runners using the FIRST training programs detailed in the book.

My running research prior to establishing the Institute focused on the effects of aging and pacing on marathon performance. This research led to multiple publications and presentations and a desire to formalize with my Health Sciences colleagues a structure for continuing to investigate the variables influencing running performance. We made it a priority to share our findings with runners through public lectures, popular running publications and running retreats and clinics. Hundreds of runners have traveled to Greenville to have their fitness and running evaluated and to learn how to train efficiently.

We have appeared at major marathon expos – Boston, Chicago, and New York – describing the FIRST training programs and promoting our book. FIRST has been featured in articles in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Business Week, Men’s Journal, Runner’s World and many other newspapers and magazines across the country.

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