Pioneering Running Coach Greg McMillan: Extraordinary is in All of Us


Greg McMillan didn’t set out to become one of the greatest running coaches in America. He started diving into the research in high school with a simple goal: to run faster. Fast forward three decades and McMillan has coached over 10,000 Boston Marathon qualifiers, 12 National Champions, and countless elite athletes competing at the Olympics and World Championships.

There’s something fundamentally different about talking to McMillan about his journey into running, coaching and exercise science. He doesn’t differentiate between his athletes running their first 5k and those competing at the Olympic Trials. To him, “extraordinary is in all of us. It just has to be pulled out.”

Maybe that’s why McMillan Running has changed the game. Because McMillan — and the coaches he’s assembled — believe in all of us, not just the few winning the medals.

Listen to our podcast with Greg McMillan on The Common ThreadsApple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify.

The Starting Line

David Swain, @Prokit: What did you have for breakfast? 

Greg McMillan: I had a bagel because my wife bought fresh bagels. So I had a bagel with cream cheese, some sliced apples, water and a cup of tea. 

Is that your typical go-to? 

Not necessarily. I usually try not to have so much bread in the morning, but if she gets the fresh bagels, I’m gonna have one.

Let’s start with your journey to running and sport. As a kid, where were you and what were you doing? 

I grew up in rural Tennessee on a farm, so we played outside all the time. Obviously, we didn’t have neighbors right next door, and I had to get to friends on foot or on a bike. So I grew up very active. I played baseball and basketball, which I really loved.

In our elementary school, we also did a field day. We would compete in different events like the long jump, the softball throw, and the mile run. I would always win the mile run and then got to represent my school at the county championship, which is a big deal.

Running coach Greg McMillan running as a kid in high school
Greg in high school

Of course, the high school coach watched field day and picked his future team. I got invited to participate on the track team quite early because I was successful when I was young. The switch flipped for me in about 11th grade. I really fell in love with running. I was playing basketball and running, but running just became my passion. It’s been over 35 years now and I still love talking about it, love helping people with their running, and love exploring how we get the most from ourselves. 

What kind of farm did you grow up on?

We raised beef cattle, mostly for our own consumption and to raise some money. We would have one cow that we would slaughter each year and that would be our meat for the year. The rest would be sold off to pay the bills. My parents did have regular jobs, so it was more of a weekend farm. We didn’t subsist just by farming. We also had horses, chickens, pigs, a garden and all the things that you might visualize when you think about a farm. It was great for me because we were outside all the time.

Insights from Decades Coaching

Talk about the progression that you went through as an athlete and what that turned into your journey into coaching. 

At that time, books and magazines were all we had, and it was rural Tennessee. There was no Amazon, no Barnes and Noble. It wasn’t easy to get my hands on these things, but I just devoured everything. I even had my own Dewey Decimal system where I had a notebook that tracked each article by topic. I had it all arranged so I could go back to that magazine. I really just wanted to learn everything. It was very selfish at that point. I was trying to find out how I could be a better athlete. I loved hearing stories of successful athletes. I love reading about the science of it. I loved learning about the non-running things that would help, like nutrition, mental training and cross training. I loved all of that. It was all that I thought about and wanted to do. 

Everything since then has been an evolution of that curiosity, that exploration of myself, trying to be a better runner. I studied exercise science in school, and if you’re studying exercise science, people start asking you questions. You start providing them with a workout and maybe a training plan, and then suddenly they call you coach. I didn’t really go into it with the idea that I was going to become a running coach. It was more that I was really passionate about trying to help myself and I was happy to share with others what I was learning through my own experience and through school. 

One of the things that’s so great in our sport is that everybody experiences it the same way. The speed can be very different, but everybody runs the same course and has the same struggles. They have the highs, the lows, that hill at mile five that really kicks your butt. That’s what I really enjoy about the sport. I like working with other people because it doesn’t matter if you’re faster or slower than I am. We can understand each other because we know what it’s like to try to go up against that voice in your head that’s telling you to slow down when you want to run faster because you’re going for this particular goal. 

How has information on running progressed over the years? Where has it improved, and where do you think it still has a way to go?

The concepts are still there. Obviously, the experimenting of coaches and athletes over the past 100 years has taught us what works. But what we’ve learned more and more is how to tweak things for the individual. That’s what I was not good at, originally.

Every coach goes through it. When you first become a coach, you’re a robot. You’re just taking something from somebody else and applying it to another person. Slowly over time, you start to feel more confident of how you can massage the training to better fit that person. You listen better, and you watch better. That begins to help you become more of an artist in your work. Then no matter who shows up and wants your help, you’re able to figure out how to manipulate the general training principles to fit that person in their particular environment. 

That was my coaching evolution. At first, I was just applying other people’s training to my athletes. Then, I began to evolve their training into a modified version that had my input or what I was learning from the athletes. Slowly, you just get more and more confident. 

The first book I ever read on running was by Arthur Lydiard, a very famous running coach. Runner’s World called him “Coach of the 20th Century.” I read his book when I was in high school, and then I got to tour with him on his last US tour. We spent so much time together, and I got to ask him all the questions that I wanted to ask. We would give these talks and then people would come up and ask questions. I would listen to him give answers. Later, I would quiz him, asking why he said something to a certain person. I realized he was just better than I was at listening and at picking up the individual nature from the athlete. 

I learned from that to be open to evolving the set of training principles to really match the person. That’s what exercise science has given us, not necessarily how to train, but how to modify the training for each individual person. That’s what I’ve built my philosophy around. I take a scientifically-based training and make it fit to an individual so they get the most from the training, avoid the injuries, and have fewer bad workouts. The technique really builds a nice motivation snowball because training is going better and better. Then that person can reach new levels of fitness.

Do you picture yourself as a life coach as much as a running coach? The mind is such a big part of getting a person across the finish line at their potential. 

It really is. Running is a 24/7, 365 sport so you can’t compartmentalize it. When you’re running, you’re training. When you’re sleeping, eating or thinking, you’re training. It’s this all-encompassing, lifestyle-type sport. As a result, you do have to take into consideration everything in a person’s life. As a coach, you get really familiar with the highs and the lows and the challenges that a person may face outside of just going for that run. That helps you as a coach because the better you can understand the athlete and the environment in which they’re training, it allows you to modify the training so that they get the most from it. It helps them move toward their goal. 

I have a minor in psychology, and that helps me a lot in getting people past the idea that what they want to do is scary or unrealistic. I think you see that in business, in life and with raising kids. It’s the same sort of process. People want to reach a goal but there are obstacles along the way. What’s the best strategy to achieve that goal?

Finding Your Extraordinary

At the start of a new year, many people have big goals. What are the ways that you help people find their why and help them reach their goals? 

There are two parts to it. There’s the macro goal – the larger goal– that’s the easy part. It’s easy for a runner to say, “I want to qualify for Boston. I want to break two hours in the half marathon.” It’s easy to set those goals. The next layer, the micro goals, is where the coaching comes in. We have to maybe get rid of some habits that you have and reestablish some new habits that will put you more in accord with what you need to do to achieve your goals. 

A lot of the work that I do is less about those macros. I mostly think about what we need to change on a daily and weekly basis to give the athlete a better chance of succeeding. Almost every runner can name two to four things that they can improve on or a limitation that they’ve had in the past that we need to address. Maybe it’s a hamstring issue that keeps popping up. Then our micro goal has to be managing the hamstring. Maybe we have to have mobility and strength sessions that are built into the plan. Maybe they have to pre-schedule therapy, as opposed to reacting to once the hamstring gets grumpy. 

A lot of what I’m doing with those athletes is trying to figure out the goal for the day. What’s a win for today and for the week? I know if we stack successful days and successful weeks together, we only need to do that for 8-12 weeks. In that time, that person can become a completely different runner. They can have a totally different fitness level and a totally different mindset. They can have a totally different body as they go into what will lead toward their goal attempt. I think for a lot of us who work with people who are goal driven, we’re trying to get them to think about achieving these really small goals every day. That goal could be eating a little bit better, doing your rehab stuff, or controlling yourself on a run. If we achieve those, that’s our win. The bigger goals will take care of themselves.

Do you have an exercise that you go through with new members to help figure that out? 

It’s different for everybody. A lot of it is built within the training system. We’re essentially teaching people how to coach themselves. We’re teaching them how to recognize these faults, limitations, and tripping points. We’re always asking about the micro goals for the day. What was a success for today and what went wrong? We’re trying to empower them to do what I would do if I were sitting there with them in person. The first thing I’m going to say is, “How are you feeling today?” Based on the answer, I’m going to decide if we do the training as is or modify it. I have a YouTube video called “Which Runner Showed Up Today?” It’s about making those gameday decisions because you’re a living organism. You’re not the same everyday. You’re not a robot. The more that I talk about these micro goals and habits, I find that over time it becomes second nature to people. Then they really start to see their training take off. So it’s not a specific exercise as it is more just repetition of exposure.

For people who are struggling and don’t feel like they have any motivation, where do you have them focus?

We usually default to discipline. One of the things that’s really helpful about running is you have to be disciplined. You have to get out the door. If I have somebody who’s lost a lot of motivation, they don’t have any races come up, and they’re in that down period, I remind them that they don’t want to stop running completely. Most of us have had to start over and we know it really stinks to have to come back from zero. So even a minimal amount of running will help maintain a base level of fitness. Then we’re not starting from scratch once the motivation does come back. 

The way to do that is to just be disciplined. It helps to set up something that’s accomplishable, like running one day per week or two days per week. If you’re normally running five days a week and you’re really not feeling it, try to get in three days a week. People are happier and more successful when they’re getting their running in, so let’s not abandon all hope. Let’s just make sure to get in a minimum amount. Usually, that goal takes away some pressure because a lot of people, particularly goal driven people, are all or nothing. So we try to work to find that happy middle ground that can work for that person, and then come up with creative outlets, like signing up for a virtual race or going for a run while your child bikes.  

We’re always looking for opportunities. Coaches are looking for opportunities for positive movement and to see the silver linings. It’s important for people who are low on motivation to realize that it’s normal. We all go through it. Motivation has a wavy line to it. We just try to always find something that can help you stay on that line. For runners, I think discipline is an easy way to do it. Even if it’s just going out for five minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, you’ll still feel better. Sometimes that kick starts a routine.

Coach Greg McMillan with an athlete during a track workout

There are many remarkable stories of people who didn’t see potential in themselves who made it to the Boston Marathon or something even much bigger. What does that journey look like when you have somebody come in who doesn’t think they can reach their potential?

I really fell in love with the idea that, with running, if I worked hard at it, I could achieve these really high goals. It’s a pretty direct line in running: if you do work, you will get better. You don’t have to be six foot nine to be a good runner. Everybody has the potential. We’re different shapes and sizes, but we can all improve if we put work into it. If you go to the finish line of a marathon, you’ll see people coming down the finishing straight with tears streaming down their faces. Those people are doing something that they didn’t think they could do just a few weeks or months before. That’s why it’s such an emotional finish line. We have so many examples of apparently ordinary people doing extraordinary things. It just shows us that extraordinary is in all of us. It just has to be pulled out. 

In my world, running is the avenue by which people are pulling out their best self, this higher ability. They love that challenge. They love the scariness of it, but they enjoy the thrill of working toward it. When they actually achieve these things, it’s really emotional. Like all of us, when you achieve something that was really difficult, there’s a lot of satisfaction and internal reward. I think that is one of the reasons why running is so popular. Once people get past the first month of being out of breath and tired, once they fall in love with it, that’s what they get. That’s the real gold in the system. It’s this opportunity to be extraordinary, to be something beyond yourself. 

I’ve coached people in the Olympics. Getting to the Olympics is a really hard thing to do. That person has to work to be better than they are today and to continue to get better to achieve that goal. It’s the same process for all of us. It’s the same if you’re taking your first steps, or trying to finish your first race, or qualify for Boston. It’s all the same. For me, as a coach, the speeds may be really different, but it’s still the same process. How can you be a better you? How can you overcome the limitations that you’ve had in the past that may be holding you back and be open to these things that may really provide an avenue for success?

Reaching our potential in anything is hard work and there’s pain and suffering along the way. How has your thinking on the importance of mindset changed over the years, with both your athletes and yourself as a coach?

Now we talk about it. Before, it was just that this athlete has it and this one doesn’t. We talked about the hard work of training, but we didn’t talk about the mental state that allows that. We didn’t talk about the fact that some people have a certain personality that allows them to be hyper disciplined. And some people are not that way. So how do you work with each of those types of athletes so that they can still achieve their goals?

The mind is the real frontier for success because it drives everything. If you’re not motivated, you’re not going to do the work. If you can find out what motivates you, you can stoke that fire. If you can identify your mental limitations, because we all have our set issues, and then try to figure out the workaround for that, then you can avoid the pitfalls. Every mental state has a pitfall. You can be hyper disciplined, but that can be a negative, too. Say you have an injury that’s coming on and you need to take a day off. A hyper disciplined person might go out and run. So that’s a negative. The reverse is true as well. If you have a big goal and you’re not going out the door because you just don’t feel like it, you’re not going to reach your goal. 

The mental side is super important. I built my training system so that the training plans fit within a life schedule. They have a little bit of wiggle room because life always happens. You don’t want to feel like a failure when life starts to happen.The system is designed for success. I want you to feel like in the first week or two of the plan that you’re getting that coaching feedback, that pat on the back that you can do it. That sets you up for this momentum of motivation. 

I think training should always be set up for success. Not that it’s easy, but just that it’s an identifiable success. If you can build that motivation through the training cycle, that’s where that person starts to overcome some of their negative mental states. They start to live more and more in an optimal mental state for them and their goals. More and more, we’re comfortable talking about that. We’re comfortable saying, “My limitation is I don’t take the time to do that,” or “I need to be more disciplined with my eating,” or “I’m too hard on myself.” Now, we’re more open to saying that’s a thing. We figure out workarounds. You just have to set people up so they start having success. You build that external motivation and then, of course, it moves to internal motivation, which is the end goal.

The Business and Tech of Running

Talk about building your online running coach business. When you look at the tech landscape around you now, where’s it going? 

It’s going to be interesting as we try to automate the human body. That’s always been the challenge because computers like things that are consistent. As we get more computing power, it seems that we’re going to get better and better at helping people make better decisions. The trouble is it’s very difficult for computers to absorb and connect human data. I could meet with a group of runners and pretty quickly tell the mood of the group and how people were feeling. I can see someone and know they’re feeling down or that they’ve got something else on their mind. How’s the computer going to know that? I think we are going to get really good at using certain feedback, whether it be heart rate, pace, or power. That will help make sure we’re not doing the wrong training. 

It’ll be interesting to see if a computer can take over for a human. I hope not because obviously, I’m a coach. I like working with people and it would stink not to be able to do that. My process has always been external, using tools to educate the runner about themselves. You’re the only one who feels the training. You’re the only one who knows everything going on in your life and how you’re feeling. So if I can teach you how to better listen and feel, whether it’s from external feedback or more internal how you’re feeling, then you should better be able to train yourself. Ultimately, runners need to be able to make those game day decisions that the coach would make for them. I don’t know how much computing power we’re going to need on a wristwatch to be able to give them that information.

Do you think tech is adding value right now to the running community and the health of the athlete?

Yes and no. I think tech can add value because it’s able to record things that we may not know, like quality of sleep or heart rate variability. That’s really important for knowing if you’re recovered or not. There’s several of those devices that are really helping us better understand an athlete. 

The no of it is that a person has to learn about themselves. It has to come from within. If they get too dependent on the external with its limitations, they will not be able to know themselves. It’s only by knowing yourself that you’ll be able to get the most from yourself because ultimately, the battle is inside your own head. If you’re running a race,  you’re battling against that voice in your head asking you to slow down. 

One of the things I see in this transition period of technology is that some people can get lured into following the device, even when it contradicts what they feel. We need to make sure we do a better job with that. For example, you can have a person who’s not feeling good but they are following the pace their device has set. As a coach, I would say, “Slow down, your body’s clearly saying you need more recovery. Let’s take it easy today.” So like everything, there are pros and cons to the development of tech. It’ll continue to get better and better over time. 

We can collect so much data now. We need to figure out how we use it, what’s important and what’s not. Some people need to monitor certain things more closely and others don’t. It will be interesting to see if we can have a system to tease that out.

For people who haven’t heard, tell us the story of the development of your running calculator.

When I was in graduate school, I was coaching a very wide range of runners. Some people were much slower than I was, some people ran my same speed, and some people were much faster. If you’re coaching somebody that’s your same speed, all the paces make sense. But once you start working with somebody who’s much faster, or much slower, you’re unsure if that pace makes sense. 

A good example is Eliud Kipchoge. His marathon pace is four minutes and 35 seconds per mile. For the vast majority of us, that’s an all-out sprint, but  he can do that for two hours. As a coach, you have to figure out what pace is appropriate based on that athlete’s capability. At the time I was in grad school, there were several rules of thumb. There were some charts, there were some other processes that coaches were using to come up with the ideal training paces for different types of runs and how to predict performance. I was using a collection of these different tools, but none of them were sort of exactly what I wanted. 

My graduate work was on predicting endurance performance. Through all my studying, I started to figure out a way to optimally prescribe training paces for any level of runner. These paces would be in the correct physiological and psychological zone, no matter if the runner was faster or slower than me, or the same speed. I also could predict their finish times in races. I started creating this system, which was an Excel document at first. I printed out hundreds and hundreds of worksheets, and I would use this binder. If you came to me and said, “I run a 5K in 24 minutes” then I could find your level and your pace for all races. Eventually I put it on the web when that became an opportunity. It’s just taken off as a tool that a lot of runners and coaches use to help get their athletes in the ballpark of the pacing they should use for running.

Your calculator solved a problem for people. How many years ago did you introduce it? 

I created it in graduate school in the mid-1990s, and I put it on the web in the late 1990s. That was a very crude first version. It’s gotten nicer and nicer as the web has evolved, and we’re currently working on a new iteration which is going to be even better.

You’re not just a coach, you’re also an entrepreneur. You’re running a business and have built a large community over a couple of decades. How have you been able to manage it in a way that allows you to still focus on coaching?

Well, I don’t know that I’ve done a great job at that. Obviously, I’m not a trained business person. My background is in exercise physiology and kinesiology. My passion is why I started the business, and the calculator will always be free on the web. I think I just got a little bit lucky with the timing. Other people had the same need that I did, and it became popular. People came to the website and then a certain percentage of them wanted to work with me. I’ve been able to evolve the training and coaching product portfolio to better meet the needs of different people. 

I don’t know that I’ve fully optimized the opportunity. But then again, I was really doing it out of my own passion for helping people. As long as I can live a comfortable life and help a lot of people, that’s good for me. That said, I do wake up in the middle of night, thinking about things I can add or do differently. The world is evolving very quickly on the web. When I first started the website, there were only about two or three of us that did remote coaching. These days, everybody’s a coach, and there’s lots of different avenues for coaches to build a site or have a social media presence. It’s really evolved a lot since I started. As long as I can continue to provide some value to coaches and runners, then I’m pretty happy.

Do you have peers or people you look to across industries or sports that you really respect?

Yeah, I’m always finding people who share my same passion or my same viewpoint and have been successful. I’m pretty open to looking at what people are doing and recognizing that some things are not a good fit for me. Just like as an athlete, there are things that wouldn’t really work for me. This is an era of being overwhelmed with so many things you can do as a business owner. What I’ve tried to do is stick to a core set of things that I feel like I can execute with my personality, my background, and the things I want to do. But I stay open to seeing what other people are doing and learning from them. If you’re a coach, you should be as much about learning as you are about teaching. 

There’s so much information out there. I think one of the nicest things that’s happened on the internet in the last few years is the reestablishment of good newsletters. Podcasts are even a better version of radio. You’ve read the books, you’ve listened to podcasts, you’ve done all of it. How do you get your information now?

Today, you have to parse out who the experts are. You need to figure out who has done it in a way that you feel is grounded and has fundamentals behind it versus experts that maybe don’t have that foundation, but they are well-read or have had success themselves. Where are you getting your information? You can get the same information in many places. I start with thinking about who has the information that’s being delivered in a way that I feel is grounded in the things that are important to me. 

We have this huge global expansion of experts. I think the biggest challenge is figuring out where the experts learned their stuff and what is their background. Maybe that’s why people are going back to being a little bit more in control, choosing to read newsletters, etc.

There are people who have a lot of followers but no real credibility, and then there are a lot of true experts waiting in the wings who haven’t been given a platform yet. 

We can all learn the same information. People write about this information because it’s a breakthrough for them. Well, I learned that same thing and it was a breakthrough for me. So I look for the people who don’t just do that. I look for the people who want to go one step deeper. Like in music, where you have a blues guitarist and he wants to know the influences for his idols. Then he wants to know who the influences were for those people. The real experts are the people who dig deeper and deeper. They almost become historians. They know where we were, where we are now and the potential for the future. That gives them a grounding. Having outlets where you can learn more about experts, where they learned their stuff and what their education exploration was is really valuable.

Staying on the Path to Bliss

Nutrition, sleep, recovery, and longevity are top of mind for many people. Give us your guide on how you think about some of those topics, starting with nutrition.

We’re in a tough time because we live in a way that is not in accord with how we should live. Not getting very much sleep, being overstressed, not exercising enough and having poor quality food is not ideal. Simplicity in nutrition is really helpful. If you start to eat like your great grandparents did, you’re probably on the right track. Go back to more whole, more natural, more basic foods. In those world zones where people are living longer, healthier and happier lives, they all seem to have this basic nutrition outlook. 

That is certainly very possible for us, but it gets more difficult when life gets busy. We often don’t have the time to invest in our nutrition. That’s why you’ve seen this movement back toward eating more natural and moving away from processed foods. It’s a little bit more in accord with how our body evolved. 

The same thing can be said for a lot of those things. We need to make sure that the way we’re living doesn’t get out of control. A lot of people say they feel out of control. One of the things that has been interesting for me as a running coach during COVID is that while a lot of the races have gone away, we’ve seen some athletes that have blossomed during this time.

On the team I coach online through, we’ve had hundreds of personal bests set during this COVID period. I think it’s because while there are added stresses that came along with COVID, we removed some time stresses on some people. They didn’t have to commute. They didn’t have to spend that extra time that they normally did in preparing for their job, being at a job and coming home. They were able to do better prep because there wasn’t a race right around the corner so they actually trained better. They couldn’t get together with their training groups and their friends so they had to rely on themselves and they got more mentally tough at pushing themselves alone. 

All of those things kind of came together. With some people getting more sleep, they’re able to take better care of their body. Their training is better, and they’re running better than ever. So for a lot of these things, I think it’s about just trying to find that balance of what you can control, to keep your life as simple, happy and rewarding, as possible. Those things seem to all go together with the people that have a long lasting life. If you can find that calm middle ground, that’s a really great spot to live in.

Are there people who can find that flow state in their life more often than not? 

It’s different for everybody. If you’re a high achieving person in a high stress job, then your simple life is going to look different than somebody who has a more low key life to start with. But you don’t have to be a monk to make this work. You need to look at your situation and evaluate where you feel like you get a little bit out of control. Where are you not in accord with the ideal life that you want to lead? Then work on how to control that and try to maintain the life you want.  Also, understand that there will be periods where it won’t work, where you will be overstressed and you have to accept that’s just part of being a human. Nothing is exactly the same all the time, but if you can have an eye toward working toward it. 

It comes down to your idea of success. If your idea of success is being happy, satisfied and fulfilled, then you begin to say no to things that normally would pull you off that line. That way, you can maintain that zone that you want to be in. Again, everybody’s different. You can’t necessarily compare yourself to other people. Some people are just super driven. That’s their zone and they’re happy there. For some of us, it’s not. You’ve got to figure out what works for you.

I think we need to be constantly evaluating what our bliss is. It’s that Joseph Campbell Follow your Bliss idea. What is your most fulfilled thing? What gives you that joy in life? How can you live in that zone as much as possible? You’ve got to try to make those micro goals, those daily goals, to try to make it happen. I do it all the time where I can feel myself getting pulled offline. I recognize that I need to make some changes to try to get back in that zone.

Do you have things that help you catch when you’re getting off track? 

It helps to identify what your personality traits are and what you want to be wary of. Then you can see the red flags. You can feel yourself getting pulled away. Maybe you think about it when you’re out for a run or you’re exercising. Or maybe you sit down with your child and you’re having a conversation and that pulls you back to what’s important to you. 

A lot of being a runner is being observant about your body and how you’re responding to training and adapting and recovering from it. The same could be said for life. You need to be attentive to yourself, because it’s easy to lose yourself in the noise. If you can have a system, whatever it is for you, that will allow you to have that evaluation on an ongoing basis. It’s really different for every person. You just have to figure out what it is for you and then commit to staying on that path as much as you can. 

Certain segments of the endurance world, like gravel cycling, are moving away from competition and more towards community. Where do you see running going?

Running did that as well with the charity marathon group movement, like Team in Training. It had nothing to do with time. It  was just about getting across the finish line. But there are always competitive people who want to time themselves. The one thing about the sport is there’s room for everybody. I think everybody can find the zone that will work for them. 

Because of COVID, we have a lot more runners. People couldn’t go to the gym and they want to get out of the house. They’re walking, running and run-walking, and a lot of them have fallen in love with it. I think they’re going to be amazed at how the running world accepts everyone. If you want to get out there and enjoy it and not worry about time, that’s perfect. If you want to see how fast you can go, we got opportunities for you there as well. You can really find what you want. Running always seems to match what the need is. I think there will always be competitive races and  less competitive races. There always has been a strong community. That’ll be the future, for sure.

What are you reading, watching or listening to right now?

I’m reading a lot of my next book. I’m trying to get that done in the first part of this year for it to be out in the spring. That’s what my focus has been. I always like to look at what sprint coaches are doing. I also like to look at what professional football, basketball and other team sport coaches are doing. I like to look at what therapy things people are doing in other sports like golf. There’s a lot of real innovation that’s going on in golf right now. There are different types of non golf training that’s helping their golf. There’s all these ideas that I feel like will bleed into running. I’m always so curious about what’s working for other people and how that may be applicable to runners.

If you like this, listen to our podcast and interview with fellow running coach @mariofraioli, or strength coach Dr. Matt Smith at @everathlete.

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