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Thoughts from the Road: A Mental Warm-Up

Making a plan and doing the mental prep for your running.

Run with purpose? What’s the purpose? Do you know what you’re running for?

Not all runs are just physical workouts, many times a run workout is actually more for training your mind. You mind controls your body, so to have a stronger, faster, better body you have to control your mind.

We know when running to do a warm up. perhaps that’s a walk first, maybe some stretching or just starting out running slow. This is the physical part. It’s quite brainless. It ofter results in good runs but it can leave you untrained for when the going gets tough. Practicing a mental warm up, getting your mind right, anticipating obstacles, understanding the purpose of the run, this can enhance our running by building a stronger mind to fight when the going gets tough.

What’s the purpose of the run/workout?


Build Endurance?

Learning to Run on Fatigued Legs?

Interval Training?

Speed Work?

Threshold/High Heart Training?

Each one of these types of run demand a specific mindset. A social run allows us freedom, while a Threshold workout is designed to make us uncomfortable. Interval training and speed work test our capacity to perform under stress, Endurance Running and training to run on fatigued legs test our mental endurance and our discipline to just keep going.

We have to prepare our minds if we want to get the maximum results from these types of runs. For example: when doing speed work, I tell myself: ”it’s time to go to work” I prepare my mind that the task ahead is WORK. It will be difficult, challenging and it must be completed. When training for endurance, I prepare my mind knowing that I will be testing a limit, there will come a time I will want to stop, that’s the point…to build endurance past the point of comfort! The way to better achieve that is to enter the run with the mind prepared.

I practice a deep breathing meditation to focus and ”warm up” my mind. Training smarter to maximize every workout, even the easy and social runs:)

So remember: along with warming up the body, when you’re walking or stretching, be sure to set your mind up for the purpose of the run ahead. Plan for what the workout is designed to achieve. Then Execute the Run! Run With Purpose.

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Thoughts from The Road: The Road to Italy.

Oh the places we will go! While covering miles on the roads and trails, running has recently taken me across the sea! From small town Ohio, across the U.S.A. over to Germany and now Italy, running has gifted me many great travel adventures.

So how did I get to Italy? While sitting in a spa 2,500 feet up in the Tuscan mountains at 11p.m. I was reminded by a good friend and client of how this trip came to be. Rewind life 9 years and enter a little 5 mile race in South Florida. The Marco Island 5 Mile Hill Run.

You see, it was this race that introduced me to a client and friend who has changed my life and brought me to Italy. The story goes like this: during the race this guy was trying to pass a female runner who was a current client of mine. He chased her up the hills and passed her however she kept catching him and passing him back on the flats! They began to chat and the competition heated up! Finally she said to him “I can’t let you beat me because my coach would kill me!” She beat him. After the race he asked her who coached her and that was how the connection was made.

Over the years since I’ve coached him through many races: marathons, ultra marathons, triathlons, long bike events…we’ve accomplished a lot over the course of years. As in any coach/client relationship a friendship was formed.

Fast forward to last week. He has experienced a lot of success in his life, not only in athletics, but in business and personal. He was going to renew his marriage vows, 30 years with his lovely wife, in Italy! He asked if I could join with my family.

Who knew that from that one race, that little competition, that referral from a female client, would lead to not only a strong and valuable friendship, but also to a trip to Italy?

Fun facts from that trip: of the guests invited, almost 1/2 of them are also running clients of mine who have all met through various trainings and athletic events. The gentleman renewing his vows is still achieving running goals (you know…the get in shape before your wedding goals:) And while in Tuscany I was able to get some serious uphill running in. Funny as I think about it, a ”Hill Run” in South Florida…to running up the Tuscan mountains! Oh the places we can go! It all starts with that first step…


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Thoughts from The Road: Running Un-Inspired.

When the mind struggles, the body follows.

A sluggish start.

Those first steps…UGH. Ever have the running slump when your legs feel like concrete? Your mind knows what to do yet struggles to lead your body into action? I’m currently in that phase and it’s not fun.

The importance of habit.

Being a running coach I’m blessed that I am surrounded by motivated people. In addition to working with clients 1 on 1, I host 3 group workouts each week. It’s these workouts that I can rely on to keep me going physically when the mind has no drive. I have to practice what I coach! We all cultivate a life of habits, though our families, our jobs, and our friends. These habits will have consequences! The habit of my job keeps me moving forward even in my slumps.

The reward of just showing up.

I’ve said it often and it’s still not overstated: Consistency is Key! Despite feeling in a running slump, I still show up. I show up for the practices I coach, for the runners who rely on my knowledge, guidance and motivation. I show up to my family walks, to my scheduled gym times. I don’t sleep in. Inevitably, once I get moving things get better! Crazy thing is, although I know this to be true, I still have to battle the urge to give in…I still have to overcome the mental obstacle telling me it’s to hard and I should just skip it, just rest. Being disciplined in the habit is by the hardest thing!

The takeaway.

Being fit isn’t easy. Being happy isn’t always easy. Being motivated isn’t always easy…We must be deliberate in building our fitness, our happiness and keeping ourselves motivated. Who we surround ourselves with matters, as does what we read, watch and listen to. Living an inspired life has to be purposeful, deliberate actions must be taken, even when we don’t want to. So yes, at this moment my running my feel un-inspired, but I do it anyhow. I give thanks to those around me who support and motivate me, even unknowingly! Be a leader, display your fitness, your happiness, your motivation…you never know who may need to see it:)


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Thoughts from The Road: Where you look matters.

Volume 17: Posture.

Hey all, I’ve been thinking a lot about posture and running lately, it’s always been a huge focus at practice. Here are a few thoughts on why we spend so much time practicing run form & good posture.

Posture matters: 

Posture Matters: posture has the greatest impact on your endurance.  If you struggle to run far, focus on better posture.  Good/Strong Posture will also do the most to prevent injuries.  Poor Posture puts greater stress on parts of the body and that extra stress eventually leads to injury.  Think stress fractures, lower back pain, neck pain/headaches, shin splints, hip pain…these pains/injuries can all stem from poor posture. 

Where you look matters:

                Where you look matters: This is true for all your running however it is most important when running intervals.  Where you look effects how you think.  Keep your eyes up and forward.  When you look towards the ground your posture collapses.  You reduce your ability to recover and thus to continue to perform.  You want your eyes to stay up and your thoughts to remain positive.  Eyes up and focus.  Units you can handle.  Keep your thoughts positive.  Even when trail running, try to keep your eyes are far forward as you safely can.  I know some trails are technical, but still try to remember, head up and eyes look down if you need to, try your best not to tilt your head down.  This also shows in race pictures!  A great cue for runners is to “take a good picture”  This should help you run tall, look forward, and find that shoulder/sternum/shoulder we talked about.

Eyes up: 

                Eyes up:  Where you look effects your posture.  If you look down eventually your shoulders will roll forward (Collapse)  If you look down your wrist will drop and you will eventually develop a lean forward at your waist.  These things both reduce your endurance and inhibit your speed.

Spectator Cues:

                Spectator Cues:  You can learn a lot about your posture from what spectators tell you when running.  If they say: You’re looking strong, then Congrats!  You do look strong, great job!  If they say:  “You’re almost there”  they are telling you you look like crap!  You look tired and struggling…They are giving you a cue to fix your posture!!

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Thoughts from the Road. Vol 17

Running & The Wind…

What’s the weather? As #Runners we like to know what the weather is. How shall we dress? What should plan for our route, will we need a water stop? To sunscreen or not? To wear a hat? All these wardrobe options that really depend on the outside conditions. It’s another layer to running and it can be another excuse NOT to #Run…

“You can tell the size of a man by the size of the obstacle it takes to stop him.”

I like running in the rain! I love the focus I achieve by pushing through wet conditions. The extra effort needed to lift my wet and heavy run shoes, the feeling of the raindrops pelting my skin! I love how all the external conditions force me to focus on my internal mechanics! My stride becomes more powerful as I lift my shoes, my breath becomes sharper as my face feeling the rain washing and massaging my cheeks. The external rain brings me completely internal into my body. It forces more focus.

“May the wind always be at your back?”

Ah yes! The love for a tailwind? I’m not so sure! Yes, a headwind makes running harder, but when your challenged, it forces focus! Truth be told, I love a headwind! Once again, it’s the battle, it’s the external force forcing me to go internal that I love! Finding new discoveries about my own strength in difficult times, this is one of the joys of running! (Plus, I live in Florida…a headwind helps keep me cool, a tailwind can make a run feel particulary hot!)

Anyhow, the takeaway: Run in all types of weather! Be stronger than your obstacle, gain strength of mind and body by not letting the weather be the obstacle that stops you! #RunStrong in all conditions, not just the ideal conditions. Actually, try to train in the worst possible conditions! This way when #RaceDay comes along you’ll have the advantage of not losing any focus because of adverse weather conditions!

As for Running in the Wind, train to LOVE a Headwind! Change your mindset and strengthen your Running!

Love the Wind, Rain, Heat, Cold, Humidity…Love the Uphills! Embrace the Challenges and Always Be Stronger Than Your Obstacle!

Cheers! Run Strong!