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 As runners within the SIR community, many of us are used to the challenges and hard work of managing a mental health diagnosis on a daily basis.

If you’d like a little assist with making the running part of your life a bit less daunting, read on to find some of the best coaching advice I’ve received over the years, along with some of my own advice as a veteran coach myself. My hope is that some thoughts from this sampling will hit home for you whether you’re training for a race, hitting the roads solo in search of peace, enjoying socializing with others on the run, or lacing up to do laps in your backyard.

  1. Are you overthinking your running?  Know the whys and hows, but remember. It’s basically a simple sport.

  2. You don’t need to feel good to get going. You need to get going to give yourself a chance to feel good.

  3. Experienced runners understand that a focus on the non-running things (nutrition, hydration, sleep, strength work, stretching, life balance, rest) is what’s needed to be a lifelong runner with a long- term love of the sport. Surround yourself with these runners and learn from them.

  4. A vital part of running well is overall consistency; not any one particular workout, race, or training week.

  5. It’s not necessarily hard effort exercise that does your body good. It’s the spirit in which you do it.

  6. Avoid the urge to sabotage your training with poor “reward” eating. Create a list of non-food related rewards that are ‘Wow Worthy’ for you as an individual.

  7. Keep up the core workouts and strength work and you’ll get to the Starting Line healthy, and the Finish Line faster.

  8. Slight dips in motivation or missed runs can happen across a training plan. All is not lost. Just get back on it and resume your plan when you’re able to do so.

  9. Running doesn’t have to be a punishing grind. It’s something that can expand us and grow our sense of who we are, not limit it.

  10. Runners often dwell on the bad running days.  Instead, learn to invest heavily in the good running days.  Savor them and think of them often.

  11. With core and strength work, take note of the movements that are particularly difficult for you.  They offer insights into your weak areas.

  12. Racing for time is hard.  Expect it to be. This mindset anticipates the challenge and can bring out your best.

  13. The #1 way in which runners undermine their success is by running too fast on easy training days.  Stick within the prescribed pace range to avoid overtraining and injury, and to reap the very specific training benefits of slower paced runs.

  14. No excuses—You’ve got to put in the work to achieve your goals.  It won’t come easy but will be well worth the discipline and dedication.

Be patient. Let fitness come to you.

  1. Achieving fitness takes time.  Be patient and let fitness come to you.  When you keep your paces within the recommended training ranges you can rest assured that success will happen.

  2. It’s all about stacking successful week after successful week.  Avoid getting ahead of yourself.  Just focus on one training day and week at a time.

  3. “Life” can often get in the way of training, so it’s vital to prioritize your workouts.  Most of us find that when we get in our workouts, everything else in life is better.  So be disciplined and get them in and other areas of your life will likely benefit as well. What’s not to love here?

  4. Preventing injury is a more efficient process than rehabbing an injury.  Core work and overall strength and flexibility work will help create a stronger, more supple runner out of you.

  5. If you’re training hard and running has lost its joy, step back and think about how you want to feel during a run, versus what you want to accomplish. Take steps to reconnect to that primary feeling.

  6. And if there’s one final gem that I continue to learn out on the roads every day it’s this:  No matter what your running history or goals may be, every mile can take you somewhere better than where you began.  Pretty good deal, I’d say.

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