Dr. Megan Roche and David Roche on Running, Coaching and Finding your Why


Dr. Megan Roche (@meganroche) and David Roche (@davidroche) have made their mark on the trail running world. While they have street cred through national titles and Trail Runner of the Year awards, it’s their contributions to the running community as coaches, authors and purveyors of the Happy Runner mindset where their impact extends far.

We get into it all in our interview, from self-belief and mental health to overcoming roadblocks. Megan is an MD and is working on a PhD in epidemiology at Stanford to study the genetics of sports injury; combine her experience as an athlete with deep scientific knowledge and you’ve got special insights on training, performance and finding meaning on the journey to reaching your potential. As David and Megan say many times, “a little bit of kindness goes a long way.”

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David Swain (@swain): What did you both have for breakfast this morning?

Megan Roche: I love that question. I’ve recently been on a toaster waffle kick. This morning, I had classic multigrain toaster waffles with a very hearty amount of maple syrup. 

David Roche: I’m a big children’s cereal fan. I had some peanut butter puffins, which are possibly the most delicious snack on the planet. Then we both had a substantial amount of coffee.

Megan: That’s very true. You can get the culinary theme of our family: children’s food.

Journey to Coaching

How did you make your way into running?

Megan: I grew up playing a lot of sports: soccer, field hockey, basketball. I ultimately went to college to play field hockey. I always knew that I loved running. When I was a field hockey player, I got pumped to do wind sprints. After I wrapped up field hockey in college, I took a fifth year to run track and cross country. That was really my first journey into running, and l met David during that time. We found running together. I loved track, but there was just something about being able to connect with nature on trail runs. Having the time to play in the mountains together was so meaningful.

David: I was a middling football player. I went to college to play football and quit. I had always been curious about endurance sports. I remember my first run coming off football. I barely got around the block before I had to stop, and I was sore for days. Fortunately for me, I met Megan right as I was starting to get a little bit more serious about pursuing my potential. I was researching everything I could. Megan is so brilliant, and it was like having a textbook next to me. We both got more serious at the same time.

How did you ramp up from there

Megan: For me, there was a lot of trial and error. Both of us love exploring different training methodologies and trying different things, and we certainly tried a lot on ourselves. That kind of stoked our curiosity for coaching. On the trails, we’ve tried all different kinds of things in terms of speed work and long runs and, we’ve definitely had a hearty mix of successes and fails, which have been equally fun.

David: In terms of a timeline, I would say I picked up running in 2006 and started to realize my potential trajectory by 2012. For anyone thinking about exploring their potential, you have to give it time. I remember back in 2010 or 2009 when I thought, “Okay, this is just what I’m capable of.” I’m so glad that I was too stubborn to accept that. It’s something we see all the time in coaching. Often, your true capabilities lie so far on the distant horizon.

David and Megan Roche in Team USA jerseys
David and Megan Roche in team USA jerseys

What are the most common roadblocks you see that stop people from reaching their potential? 

David: If you think about the time and quantity of work it takes to explore your potential in anything, it’s so daunting. It starts with small actions that add up to really big actions over time. For most people, they reach some point in that process where their self belief foundation gets shaken. That’s where the roadblocks start to hit. For a runner, maybe they build up to 50 miles per week for the first time and they get a fractured tibia. They may think that they will never be able to do more than 50 miles a week, but in fact, the injury is a part of the growth process. They are actually capable of doing 100 miles eventually, and that’s where their true potential would be. Or maybe it’s not. 

In order to reach what you’re capable of, you have to overcome those crises of self belief that we all face in anything we care about. That’s how we view our roles as coaches. We are shepherding athletes through that process and helping them understand that this stubborn self belief is not a choice. It’s not something you can take or leave. It’s the only option.

Megan: Yeah, I love that. What we try to emphasize with the athletes we coach, anyone from top level professional trail runners to people who are just starting out with running, is that roadblocks are common across the board. If you push your body hard enough in training, you will have roadblocks, whether that’s injury, burnout, or feeling mentally fatigued. Normalizing that for athletes is part of what’s going to help them grow as runners. It’s also one of those amazing things about running that transfers to life.

How much of self belief is affected when you look different from the person who beat you at a race? Does genetics play a role in reaching your true potential?

Megan: We’re continuously exploring this in the scientific community. I do a lot of work on genetic predictors of sports injury. I think genetics also apply to performance, and there are probably even genetic predictors of self belief, like the capabilities to believe in yourself. Of course, all of those things can be modified with the environment over time. For runners who are coming into the sport, it’s helpful to avoid that comparison trap. Understand that genetics are genetics, and we all have different genetic gifts. It’s important to work with what you have and harness that self belief to turn out consistency over time. You will truly maximize your genetic potential through that consistency. 

David: Megan explained it to me in a way that has been super helpful. When we talk about genetic talent for running, we’re actually talking about 1000, or maybe even 10,000 different variables, some of which we know and others which we don’t. For example, take VO2 max which probably has several dozen sub-variables, from capillary formation to oxygen processing. Some people will have a very high talent for VO2 max, and others might not. If you look at those thousands of variables, all of us are talented in some of them. Those will only come out with work over time. It might not lead to a VO2 max of an Olympian, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be a total boss. Almost all talents just take time, patience, and self love to fully shine. It’s rare that something shines naturally. That’s where the joy of the process comes in, exploring those limits.

You’ve talked about finding your “why.” Can you talk about the process that you use, either for yourself or for your athletes, in finding your why?

Megan: We mentioned earlier that if you do a sport long enough, you will hit roadblocks. That’s really where the why comes in. Getting through those roadblocks requires a why that is positive. It requires a why that’s internal and not determined by external factors, like comparison or performance. It needs to be motivated by the joy of the process, the joy of waking up and being consistent over time. 

We try to make goals in two ways. One is a why that is structured in long term belief. What do I want to do in three years? Where do I want to be? Then we layer in short term goals. Why am I getting out of bed today? What brings me joy, and how can I be consistent over time? 

David: I love the philosophy end of it. Whether it’s running, athletics or business, it’s all a metaphor for life. If you give yourself fully to your experiences in life, you will have experiences in such a real and lasting way that go beyond successes or failures. It has to be bigger than “I like running” because honestly, no one likes running all the time. It’s a grind for a reason. We like our athletes to have a mix of those big philosophical things and the small things, all that fun stuff that gets mixed in. 

Megan: Some days, my why might just be toaster waffles and syrup. That’s a good enough reason for me to get out the door. It’s really fun to have both the little and the big whys. 

Megan Roche running on a coastal trail

How do you help people if their why isn’t connected to their strengths?

David: Honestly, I kind of like exploring those disconnects. We’ll say to athletes, “We don’t care about your race results.” We say this to draw them to a place where they’re not motivated by what they succeed at, but by what lights their imagination on fire. I personally like athletes to do things that make them uncomfortable, if that’s what they enjoy, or pursue the thing that they’re born for, if that’s what they enjoy. I actually think when there’s offset there, that’s where the interesting stuff can happen. Like with my background, I was a power lifter and sprinter, and I’m not sure I was born for long distance running. To me, part of the fun is that some of my runs feel so bad.

Megan: That’s an interesting point. I don’t see long distance running as one of your weaknesses, even though you see it as one of your weaknesses. I see that a lot with athletes I coach. Often, perceived weaknesses are not necessarily true weaknesses. They’re just an avenue the athlete hasn’t spent enough time exploring. I think those challenges are really unique, and in many circumstances, they do lead to an athlete realizing that their weakness actually isn’t a weakness. Or if it’s truly a weakness, they learn so much from the process that then it gets applied to other areas of life.

For people who have really pushed themselves hard to achieve their goals, where do you see the breakthroughs happen?

David: It’s interesting what happens when you do reach a really big, scary, impossible goal. We’ve been fortunate to see athletes win World Championship-level races when it seemed impossible. Often, that win will be accompanied by post-race depression. That just highlights that the big goals are amazing in and of themselves to structure the process. If reaching, or not reaching, the big goal has any impact on happiness, it might be the opposite of what we assume. Where do athletes have the breakthroughs? It’s being able to find self acceptance, independent of the day-to-day vagaries and uncertainties of life, which being an athlete really draws home. We try to focus on positive reinforcement and getting athletes to say, “I’m awesome,” not just on the days they have breakthroughs, but on the days that they don’t. That’s where they have the space to truly grow to their potential because they’re not constraining themselves anymore. 

Megan: The way I like thinking about it is putting training bricks in a wall with self belief. It isn’t something that you just wake up in the morning and get done. You have to prove it to yourself over time. It’s like you stack little belief bricks in that wall. It’s very similar to training for a marathon. It happens just from showing up and being consistent in going out and hitting a workout, or showing up and racing strong. Working with athletes through that process has been a lot of fun.

David: And realizing that it doesn’t change if you have failures. I think whether we’re talking about running or businesses or anything else, there are moments that feel like the most immense failures, but that’s just where the good stuff happens. That’s where you test the self belief that you’re trying to build. It means that you can bounce back from that moment. The reason that seeking out failure is a cliche in places like Silicon Valley is because it’s so true. Every single super elite athlete we coach is a pro at failure. If they weren’t, they would have never reached where they’ve gotten.

How do you help your athletes maintain that consistency? What do you do for yourself?  

Megan: I normalize the fact that consistency is hard. Getting out the door to run every day is not easy. Once you embrace that, I think it actually helps a little bit in the process. I think another thing for me is keeping things as fun and playful as possible. I try to mix up my running route, or turn on a ridiculous song and do a little dance before I run. For me, bringing that element of play into things is so helpful. I also reward myself along the way. Take the time to celebrate the consistency, whether that’s with toaster waffles or wine or whatever your delight of choice is. Having that incremental reward along the way is something that can be valuable. 

David: To add to that, consistency in small amounts can be plenty. We’ll say to athletes, if all you have is five or 10 minutes, that’s fine. If you can just run up and down the stairs at your work in your work clothes for one day, that’s totally great. Just keep adding little bits. I coach Katie Arnold, who wrote this amazing book, Running Home. Everyone should buy it. Now she’s writing another book. I tell her, just write a few sentences a day, and pretty quickly that’s a book. That’s the way everything works. There are days when you’ll write 2000 words, but those days aren’t necessarily a choice. A choice is writing a sentence or writing a word, and moving forward like that. It doesn’t have to be a binary situation of the perfect day or zero. Instead, think of each day like that little brick that Megan was talking about, and each one of those little bricks is just as awesome as that big huge brick.

Talk about the simplicity that you bring to your coaching and the decisions you’ve made on how to communicate with your athletes.

David: For us, what matters is communication and a context that allows people to feel totally vulnerable, totally honest, and totally heard. I don’t care about the numbers. I care about how someone feels. We do whatever allows that communication of feel without noise getting in the way. The noise will block out the signal if we’re focusing on GPS files too much. We do some of that, but we want to downgrade it from the focus of what we’re doing. Every single day, we expect our athletes to update their training log not just with their workout, but with how their life’s going. We respond every day, and it’s a lot of work, but it leads to meaningful relationships. Megan is the best at this and some of her athletes will write so much to her. I think that’s what we’re all looking for – mentors who believe in us, and let us make those leaps of self belief ourselves.

Megan: We coach a lot of athletes who are doing amazing things in life outside of running. I view coaching and training as going hand in hand with life, so understanding someone’s life stress is so important for me when I’m thinking about designing workouts for athletes. Having the ability to have that full dialogue in the spreadsheet, as opposed to just looking at GPS files, really helps inform my coaching style. 

David: We’re the lucky ones a lot of the time, and I’ll give a specific example. I’ve been coaching a woman named Allison Barr for almost four years. Allison is brilliant, and when I started coaching her, she was working at Uber. I got to see this transition that she went through in life. She decided to join a start-up company called Fast as co-founder and COO, and they just did a $20 million Series A funding round. I posted the TechCrunch article and congratulated her, and she commented, “Thanks to my life coach, David.” But really, she has done great things for me. I specifically remember one time three years ago where I was feeling vulnerable as a coach because of something that was happening online. Alison stepped in like a mama bear just started throwing haymakers on my behalf. We don’t coach for friends, but the pleasant byproduct of what we get is some really close friends.

Cover of David and Megan Roche's book The Happy Runner
Megan and David Roche’s book The Happy Runner was published in November 2018

Mental Health, Training and Nutrition 

Are we making progress with mental health in the sport of running? 

Megan: What we see across the board of athletes is that mental health issues are so common. I think we’ve made great progress as an athletic community in being willing to talk about them. Amelia Boone, for example, has opened up beautifully on SWAP about dealing with mental health issues. She’s inspired so many people on our team and has set the stage for being open to talking about these things. 

The biggest roadblock that I see surrounding mental health is the ability to reach out for help. Reaching out for help, either within the community or with a therapist, is something that’s so powerful and starts that journey of self acceptance and unconditional self love. I wish more people would have the willingness to ask for help. We’re lucky that in SWAP we have a mental health counselor, Danielle Snyder, who does a lot of therapy work with our athletes. It’s great to be able to have her as a resource.

David: Not being okay is okay. It’s a part of the human experience. For some people, you’re born with it and there’s nothing you can do. For other people, it’s just part of what the universe looks like through their eyes some of the time. All of it can add to the beauty of the whole experience. It just means that we need to figure out ways to give it context and to be able to find self love through whatever you’re dealing with in the moment. What we want to do with our athletes is just have them know that it’s okay, we can talk about it. Even at the lowest moments, it’s not something to ever be ashamed of because this is just part of being human.

Megan: I often say to our athletes that sometimes it’s just a byproduct of really caring deeply and being brilliant. We see a lot of truly brilliant people who are empathetic and who struggle with these issues. It’s simply because they’re just thinking, like their brains are in overdrive. Normalizing that for athletes and having them reflect on that has been helpful.

David: This particular time is making it more of a widespread and shared issue than it ever has been. 

Now is the time when we can say, we’re in this together. When we say that, it doesn’t mean we all have the same experience from a specific sense. It means that we all have the same experience in the fact that we’re human, and we’re all going to die. Like the show “The Good Place” said, our brains are screaming every second of every day about that general fact. Our hope is to try to be able to bring some lightness to the conversation about heaviness. We want to be comfortable laughing about it and crying about it when that’s required, too.

On the pandemic side, give us some tips on going outside, how hard to push yourself, physical distancing, etc.

Megan: Right now, things are constantly changing in terms of prediction models and what different communities look like. There’s a lot of variation across the world in terms of how different countries, and different states even, are handling things. Experiences for people are varying pretty widely. I’m encouraging athletes to err on the side of caution with everything. This is for the sake of keeping your own personal immune system strong, but also to support a strong and healthy community. Avoiding putting yourself in situations that may cause spread is just important for protecting our entire athletic community. I’m encouraging people to social distance, and to not push their bodies too much right now. Just be really cautious on the trails, and be kind to everyone. I think we’re all collectively experiencing so much stress, and a little bit of kindness on the trails goes a long way. 

Different news reports can create some friction when you’re outside because people believe different things. Where do you get information you can trust? 

Megan: One of the big challenges right now is that there’s a lot of smaller studies coming out. Studies that have a population size of 10 are very challenging to draw conclusions from and they need long-term validation. A lot of news is being sensationalized and is grasping on to these studies with a population size of 10. Places like the CDC, the World Health Organization, those are great places to go for information. They generally have links to the studies. Whenever you’re reviewing a study, be sure to look at sample size used and whether that’s been validated across other studies.

David: There’s so much uncertainty right now, and everyone deals with uncertainty differently. Some people don’t want to run outside right now. That’s just how they deal with it. Other people are totally comfortable in those states of uncertainty or they rebel against it. Being good at a pandemic is not necessarily a trait or skill that any of us have decided to hone over time. So give kindness because you never know what someone’s bringing in to whatever their decisions are. We should cut everyone some slack about everything we possibly can.

Where has training, nutrition and athletic performance progressed in the last five to ten years? Are there any indicators of new trends?

Megan: Science is totally exploding in terms of the exercise physiology, and even in the mechanical side of things, like footwear. I think this is actually similar to the topic of epidemiology in a pandemic. It’s important when looking at exercise, exercise physiology and scientific studies in this area, to really evaluate the population size that is being evaluated and the long term duration. It’s very challenging in an exercise physiology study to determine what happens when you stack an intervention over time. Most studies are looking at gains that happened across a few weeks or a few months. What I care about as a coach is how these gains stack up in the long term over several years. That’s actually where I see a big downfall in the science. I think we need more science that has larger population sizes and longer durations of follow up.

David: As a coach, I only care about how someone can progress over three to five years, when they actually start to explore their true limits. What that means is starting to be uncovered more and more. Because of that, often what’s most interesting is not necessarily a small study that then drives training philosophy, but to look at existing training philosophy and see if studies validate that over time. That’s starting to be what we’re seeing a little bit more. Coach Steve Magnus has a lot of interesting stuff on validating empirical training methodology, then informing studies later, rather than trying to develop a training philosophy based on a study. This usually goes the wrong direction and just has to miss variables. 

For example, when we started our coaching, one of the things we were known for was heavy emphasis on strides and neuromuscular stimuli. These were very short efforts that were fast, but not particularly strenuous, at least aerobically. At first we might have gotten some pushback for that, but in the years since a few studies have come out that support it. The studies say they don’t know exactly why it improves running economy so much, but it does, even though there’s no aerobic benefit to it. It doesn’t increase VO2 max or lactate threshold.

What is one of your favorite workouts with strides? 

David: I would say don’t even consider strides a workout. Let’s back up just a second. Almost all running should be easy, and actually understanding what easy means for you is key. Once you start going beyond that, most athletes should have things like strides throughout a typical week. What that means in practice are short accelerations, usually 30 seconds or less, on a flat or on hills. A good example in the context of a one-hour easy run is doing four-by-20 seconds fast, like the fastest effort you can go comfortably. It’s not a sprint. It’s like a long distance form. Then do a minute or two of easy running for recovery. Doing that one or two times a week can actually unlock these really big running economy games at longer distances.

Megan: I’ll add that once you have reached that point, the next level becomes extending out those strides and incorporating them into more of a workout setting. I like to bridge that gap with surges on slightly longer runs. Adding one minute at 10K effort every five minutes within the context of a run is a great way to hit that next level after strides.  

David: One great thing about having Megan on board is we gather so much data over time, even though it’s not our focus. The intuitive thing is what we see behind the scenes. Let’s say an athlete wants to run a 6K at six minutes per mile. That’s probably not going to be possible unless the athlete can hit a five minute pace comfortably, not for a long distance but comfortably for a short distance. That’s where things like strides come in. There’s a huge benefit, whether it’s neuromuscular, biomechanical, or musculoskeletal, to actually being able to move fast. The injury risk is low, because it’s actually not that stressful on the body. It’s almost like you’re a kid running across the playground at recess.

Are there strength or mobility pieces that you work on with most of your athletes for longevity and injury prevention? 

Megan: I like to think about this in three simple points. The first one is rest days. Take one rest day a week, and for people over age 40, having two rest days a week can be helpful. That rest day is key for thinking about longevity as an athlete, both mentally and physically. It’s great. The other point I would highlight is protein consumption. Having adequate protein is just so important for injury prevention and longevity. Working with a nutritionist to figure out what that level is for you can be helpful. Finally, focusing on strength and mobility really counts over time. I think those all add up. 

David: Studies are all over the place on this topic, but again you can’t isolate every variable. We have a couple very simple, straightforward strength routines that we have our athletes do. One is three-minute mountain legs and the other is eight-minute speed legs. These are two very simple, short strength routines you can do a couple times a week to provide multi-directional strength. Personally, I’m a big fan of foam rolling, though the science is mixed on efficacy. 

With regard to nutrition, just make sure you’re always eating enough, even going beyond macronutrients. For runners, the most important thing in training is eating enough food. That might be more food than a lot of people think, especially if they look at magazine covers of runners and think that that’s the goal. No, the goal is to find your strong. Those athletes on the magazine covers probably did find their strong looking like they look, but that might look totally different for someone else. And that’s awesome because that’s the version of you that will be the best athlete.

With nutrition, where do you see mistakes being made? 

Megan: One of the biggest mistakes I see is athletes overcomplicating it. I think it’s best to keep it simple and listen to what your body craves, but also make sure to eat balanced meals and a lot of diversity. Right now, there are all kinds of different diets and nutrition studies out there. I think staying consistent, eating enough, getting enough protein, and just being smart works best. Use your brain and keep it simple.

David: And enjoy it. If you like pizza, eat pizza. Eat burgers, if you’re not vegetarian. If you’re a vegetarian, eat greasy foods that are vegetarian. That is important for health, too. With every athlete we coach, we encourage them to have fun with food. It’s one of the more enriching parts of life. So, I think what we mean when we say don’t overcomplicate it is, enjoy it. Usually if meals are math equations, they’re less fun.

Megan Roche enjoying a pizza

For you personally, what have you learned and what mistakes have you made with nutrition?

Megan: When I transitioned from being a field hockey player to going on the track, I actually developed various forms of disordered eating. I just was not getting it enough, thinking that running was this power-to-weight equation. That was a big learning experience for me because I felt terrible during the time. Running up a hill was challenging. Getting out of bed was challenging. That reinforced for me the power of always eating enough, eating diverse foods, and making it fun. As soon as I learned that, it was like something in my brain flipped. My brain totally transitioned out of that disordered eating mindset simply because I felt so terrible, to be honest.

David: To explain why that is, it all comes down to glycogen depletion, which is, essentially, the amount of calories you have stored, though it’s complicated what it entails in practice. Glycogen depletion increases the production of cortisol, a stress hormone. Female athletes, in particular, can’t really perform well if they’re training in glycogen depletion or if they’re living glycogen-depleted at all. Dr. Stacy Sim has a great book, Roar, that goes over some of these general issues. Men can sometimes get away with it, though there’s good evidence that it also decreases output over time. 

What we like most of our athletes to do is fuel efforts that lead to risk of glycogen depletion, so events over 90 minutes. A few years ago, Megan started coaching a man named Rafal Nazarewicz. She didn’t learn until a year later that he was the CEO of a company called Spring Energy, which makes a natural gel. Across the board, our athletes have had amazing success with Spring Energy as a way to fuel these runs in a sustainable and fun way. So if you’re out there and you think you don’t like gels, try Spring Energy. That’s a good bridge to try to prevent glycogen depletion without a purpose.

Relationships and Community

You guys have done a lot together – sports, writing, coaching. What are your tips for managing a relationship when running a business together?  

David: Part of it is respecting the other person’s talents immensely. I look up to Megan’s brilliance so much. Part of it is also understanding that her brilliance leads her to think differently than I might think. That’s one thing I’ve really been working on overtime and I’m hopefully getting better at. When she doesn’t think the same way that I do, it doesn’t mean that she’s wrong or I’m wrong. It just means that we’re coming from slightly different places, and that’s a good thing.

Megan: I think also, in our relationship, we’ve established this baseline of kindness. So even when we have disagreements, or may not see things the same way, it’s always done with a foundation of kindness. Knowing that is so helpful for both of us. Plus, the ability to laugh at each other. 

David: She can tell I’m going to draw it out to something big. With the pandemic, we’re seeing a lot of relationships struggling that haven’t ever struggled before. I think it draws home the importance of not just kindness, but patience. If you’re around someone all the time, whether you’re running a business or not, you’re going to do things that irk the other person. You’re just not going to be on the same wavelength sometimes. That has to be okay. You have to be able to try to work through that together as a team. I think that’s one thing we’re trying to do all the time, and it takes a recommitment to it all the time, too.

You’ve spent time in the Bay Area and Boulder. Talk about how the two running communities compare. 

Megan: We feel so lucky to get to be in both Boulder and the Bay Area. It’s honestly a dream in terms of trails. They’re pretty similar, actually. I think from a logistics standpoint the trails in California are unparalleled in terms of ease of running. They’re just so buff and so smooth and so fast. It’s nice to have the combination of both. I think in both areas, the trail and running communities are supportive. We feel incredibly lucky to have both.

David: I second that. 

What does the word community mean to you? Where do you see it progressing? 

David: Support and love, and all that goes into that. The scientific method is based on people proving each other wrong over long periods of time. Community is based on the opposite. I really like when people are supportive of others and their ideas. One of our big goals now is to try to lift up as many people as we possibly can using whatever platform we have. For everyone we coach and everyone listening, try to manifest that love in the world through whatever means you have. Smile at someone on the trail if you’re comfortable doing that, but also cool if you’re not comfortable doing that. Just be kind for the hell of it. Those little things are really important. I think social media can actually be a force for good if we use it that way.

Megan: I love that. And using kindness and social media to help grow the trail and mountain running community. Trail and mountain running is exploding. It becomes harder and harder every year to get into Western States. I think it’s important to support people who are coming into the community, and to try to expand to diverse communities. We could give people access to trails who may not have access, whether that’s geographic or whatever. Just be open to this massive growth.

What’s been the progression of road running and trail running? How have they evolved over the last few years?

David: I think it’s totally complimentary. At the end of the day, you’re going out and playing on your two feet. Over time, people are starting to embrace trails more, but it’s all just running. When the Boston Marathon winner, the Western States winner, and someone in the back of the pack are all viewed side-by-side as part of the same community, that just lifts everyone up. A bigger boat is always good, whether we’re talking about diversity of skin color or diversity of surface. Let’s go for it together, and let’s make together as big as it can possibly be.

Megan: I seconded that, and I like your bigger boat analogy. 

Any ideas for keeping people inspired when races have been canceled?

David: I think the great thing about running is that it’s a fully independent variable. It’s just you out there. You can find meaning in your individual journey and then connect into a community, whether there’s a race or not. Planning an adventure route, going for a PR, or just focusing on reaching your long-term potential, these things don’t care about this time horizon. What we’re really trying to encourage athletes to do is just figure out ways to go for it. That’s all we really want, that ‘dream big and go for it’ mentality. It’s easier to conceptualize that around a race because races are designed specifically for that, but we can do it without. If an athlete can self motivate without a race, we can just plan hard tempo runs that look like races. But whatever they do, just keep on dreaming.

Megan: I love too that there are these challenges now that support local businesses and race directors who may be struggling. I know Spring Energy is coming out with a vert challenge. iRunFar recently did a challenge and the proceeds went to charity. I think these are great ways to support the community during this time. 

Where can people find you? 

Megan: I think the most important place is addiedoesstuff on Instagram. Our dog is Addie. Also I’m on Instagram Meg_runs_happy and we have a website, swaprunning.com

David: And also if you Google pictures of puppies, in the glint of their eyes you will see us.

On Prokit: Megan Roche and David Roche

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