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When I first started running, it helped me face personal issues and deal with life’s stress. Which was at
first good mentally. But two things happened: I was told that small meant fast and I was told that the
way to be a better runner was lots of mileage. Those misconceptions gave me body image issues and
injuries. And that just decreased my self-confidence and made me feel like not a competent runner.
And I see it over and over with the other runners in the marathons I race. I hear things like “I don’t want
to get too big” or “that’s too much weight to carry to run fast” or “I would have PR’d or done better if
not for this injury or the wrong thing I ate.” It doesn’t have to be this way. There’s a reason why the
running world has one of the highest injury rates of all the sports.
When I first started incorporating strength and agility into my training, I wasn’t sure if it would work. In
adding muscle, I also added weight, which at first made me anxious. But then I noticed what else
happened. I increased my core strength by working on other muscle groups than just quads and
hamstrings, which gave me better posture, which helped me breathe better. And my body stopped
relying on my joints and ligaments to support or propel me—it was my muscle that was supporting the
intensity I was putting on my feet.
Suddenly, instead of having to slog through the miles, I could train just as hard with fewer miles and get
better results. For so long now, I’ve been seeing the success of running with muscle and how it makes
me feel—going from a PR of a 3:40 marathon to 3:01 by adding strength and cutting mileage. And hands down, the recovery is unparalleled. I can run a marathon and the next day do a one-rep-max back squat and feel great.
I wish I had known about incorporating strength and gymnastics when I first started running—it’s
changed my life in such a positive way, just the self-confidence that it’s brought to my life as a person
and as a runner has changed me. It opened my eyes to a whole different perspective than what I grew
I want people to know there’s a healthier way to run. Running with muscle fits all molds of people—it’s
for everyone, every body. It doesn’t matter what size you are or where you start from. The people I’ve
worked with so far have seen some great success too—I’ve seen some people do endurance workouts
with one-mile runs as just a small part of the plan, but they PR each mile within the workout without
even realizing it. Two of my clients wanted to break a 4-hour marathon and wound up qualifying for
Boston. This really, really works.
And not only that, strong is beautiful. Strong is sexy. It’s definitely a new way for the traditional runner
to think, which can be scary, I know. Shifting away from the idea that, to run a 5K or 10K or half, you
have to churn out the miles. Running with muscle lets you see a variety of ways to get better; it’s not
just running anymore. And with adding new benchmarks to achieve, you can celebrate more successes
and enjoy what you’re doing even more. Instead of spending all your time out there logging the miles,
you’re freed up to do what you love, like spend time with family or friends or do another hobby.
The best thing I can say about this is that it’s the healthiest I’ve felt and fittest I’ve been all my life. And I
hope to help as many people as I can to feel this way too.