#100 – Five years ago, I laced up my running shoes and embarked on a journey that has taken me beyond the physical realm of running into the mental battlefield of resilience and determination. Join me as I celebrate this adventure and milestone—our 100th episode! I’ll be sharing the story of my re-entry into running, the personal growth from Spartan obstacle course races, and the creation of this very podcast inspired by pushing my limits.
Ever wondered how to break free from your comfort zone and crush your running goals? I’m laying out ten tips to get you moving, gathered from personal experiences and insightful conversations with other runners and fitness experts. But the journey doesn’t stop at the finish line; I’ll also be revealing how affirmations, meditation, and scheduling workouts can vastly improve your running performance and overall well-being.
Why I started running again and started the podcast
Race recap for the year for my key races
Ten running tips I’ve learned in my journey and through the podcast
Richard is a strategic marketing professional with experience in B2B marketing. Richard is the founder of Inspire to Run and is passionate about helping others reach their goals. He is a Connecticut native and is a husband, dad, writer, Star Wars fan, and of course – runner! Richard recently discovered obstacle course racing and has fully embraced this new obsession.
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Richard Conner: [00:00:00] Hey, my friend, welcome to episode 100. I’m super excited to make it to this incredible milestone. And I couldn’t have done it without you. So in today’s episode i’m going to share with you the lessons that i’ve learned through my running journey and through these podcast episodes and i’m going to share them in the form of running tips hope you enjoy
Intro: Welcome to inspire to run podcast. Here, you will find inspiration, whether you’re looking to take control of your health and fitness, or you are a seasoned runner looking for community and some extra motivation, you will hear inspiring stories from amazing runners, along with helpful tips from fitness experts.
Now, here’s your host Richard Conner.
Richard Conner: Hi, my friend, welcome to inspire to run podcast. This is episode 100. I’m so excited and grateful that we made it to a hundred episodes. I’m grateful to all of our guests who come on the [00:01:00] show, everyday runners like myself, fitness experts, and a few brands to share their solutions to technology for the running community.
And I’m grateful for all of you, all of you listeners who have joined us for 100 episodes, engaged on social media. Left reviews, rating and reviews. I’m really grateful for all of you and grateful for the opportunity to do this, to share my story and the stories of others, hopefully to inspire you to, to run.
And you know what I love to do for this recording. And honestly. It’s taken me quite a while to really decide on what I want to talk about for this milestone episode, episode 100. So, you know, there’s three things that I really want to cover in this episode. First is why I started running and why I started the podcast for those of you who’ve been with us for a while, you kind of know my story.
And if you’re just tuning in, this will be new news for you. A little bit of background on me and the podcast too, is I’ll give you a little bit of a recap. [00:02:00] Of my races this year. One of the things that I’ve realized is I’ve done so many interviews, so many guest episodes. That I haven’t really shared my own journey much this year.
So what I’d like to do for this episode and more often in the future is share a little bit more about my journey, my training, my races, my experiences, all of that, and then the third thing is. I’d like to share 10 running tips or lessons that I’ve learned throughout my journey, uh, and through this podcast and I’ve turned them into a little bit of tips.
So we’ll call it 10 running tips that I’d love to share with you. So that’s really what I’d love to cover during this episode. And let’s just start kind of with why I started running again and, uh, why I started the podcast. So, you know, just about five years ago, I got back into running by running at my old high school.
So many of you know that I started running cross country and track in high school. Took a bunch of years off, only really ran as part of my [00:03:00] workouts, but didn’t run a whole lot of races until I started running the five K’s at my old high school and it was very nostalgic and I really enjoyed it, but I still didn’t start training seriously for those races.
I remember like thinking, Oh, I have a week to go. I should pop on the treadmill and put in some miles. So it really wasn’t a serious kind of runner at that time. And then it wasn’t until I got into Spartan obstacle course races that really kind of led me on the journey that I’m on now, a journey of doing things I never thought I could do and overcoming fears.
And that has been an incredible journey. And through sharing that before the podcast, there is a lot of interest, right? From family, friends, coworkers, and I thought, you know what, I really would love to not only share my journey to help inspire others, but share the journeys of other runners. And that was really the impetus for the podcast.
So it’s been incredible over the last three years to be able to do that. And I’ve [00:04:00] grown a lot and I hope that, you know, you listening, you’ve also grown listening to this podcast and learned and been able to apply these things that you’ve learned in your own running journey. So that’s a little bit about me and my running journey and why I started the podcast and, you know, fast forward to this year.
What did this year look like? Well, I had. One pretty big goal for this year, one big hairy goal, we’ll call it, right? And that was to run a half marathon in an hour and 45 minutes. And that’s a big goal for me because my best time at that time was an hour and 57 minutes on a really great course, relatively flat, beautiful area, and.
I was like, you know, I could do better than this. I’m going to change my training and I’m going to get to that hour and 45. So that was my big goal for 2023. So I’ll tell you a little bit about how that went for me this year and, uh, what I’m [00:05:00] thinking about next. It started with the Brooklyn half marathon earlier this year and the Brooklyn half marathon actually had two goals.
One was to see kind of where I was at. Did I improve with better than an hour and 57 minutes and run a race in New York City. So I’ve been thinking a lot about. Running a marathon, which is a big deal for me. And I’m like, you know what? If I run a marathon, the very first marathon I want to run, I love it for it to be the New York city marathon, but I’ve never run a race in New York city.
I live relatively close, but I love to figure out like how to navigate in the city and run a race there. So I did that. I ran the Brooklyn half marathon. And I want to tell you that. I did everything wrong. Everything I could possibly do wrong. I did wrong, and my time was not very good for that race, although I really shouldn’t have been counting my time because it was the first time I ran the race.
First time I ran in New York City, and I had a lot of [00:06:00] pressure to do so. So my time didn’t end up being very good. But so you know, some of the things that I ran into one is my nutrition was completely off the night before I pretty late. The, and then the day of, I didn’t eat, I didn’t eat very much at all.
Like my normal routine, same thing with hydration. My hydration was, was pretty off sleep. My warm up. I didn’t really have a chance to warm up because if you’ve ever run a race in New York City or any of these large races, there are a lot of runners. And I think for the Brooklyn half marathon, there were, I don’t know, 20,000 runners.
I’m just guessing. It was a lot of people. And you had to go through the airport scanners to get into the corral. Uh, you had to wait in lines for the, for the porta potties. Like it was just a really long journey. From the time that I arrived there to get to the starting line and even when the gun went off I think it took another seven plus minutes to get from where I was in the crowd to to the actual starting line So all in all it [00:07:00] was a great experience because I learned how to get to the city stay over, you know Navigate to the race trains Ubers all of that stuff pack prepare but There’s a lot of things that I didn’t prepare very well, and I’ll know for the next time so that race, you know, I think I did pretty decent.
It was still sub two hours. It was a beautiful course. It was a beautiful day, although it rained a little bit during the during the race. Um, but for me, that was perfect because after the race, it downpoured and that was not great for anybody who was in the later heats. But for me, it was, it was pretty good, pretty good weather, um, for the race.
So, after that experience, that was in May. I was feeling kind of down about myself. I was like, I only have a few months to go for the next half marathon. I had been training for months and months and months, and I really had expected to do better. So the next race was the father’s day race. That’s local to me.
It’s a five miler. I’ve never run this race [00:08:00] before, and I felt like I needed redemption. I felt like I needed to prove that I could run at that half marathon pace and. I could do better than my performance than I did before and do all the things that I need to do, right? Proper sleep, proper nutrition, proper hydration, all of that.
So I ran the father’s day race and. I felt great. And I think, you know, some of it was physical, but I think some of it was also mental. I went into that race feeling pretty good, feeling very positive. It was a beautiful day. Ran with friends, ran with some of, some of the folks within the Inspire to Run community.
And all of that really just made the race very, very special. And it was Father’s Day. So just a really special day, absolutely crushed it. So I not only hit my target time, but I exceeded it, which is, I’ll tell you very rare, I set very high expectations for myself, but this time I set a decent expectation and then I kind of blew it out of the water.
But I was [00:09:00] focused. I felt great throughout the race and I found what I call redemption. And then the third big race for the year was the Gulf beach half marathon. And this is the one, this was the big race for the year. I ran a race last year. Beautiful course, like I said, um, and I was really, was interested in running this again to see how I compare apples to apples year over year, especially with this new training program and in this race, you know, mentally and physically, I feel like I was back at the Brooklyn half marathon.
I feel like. I wasn’t there 100 percent physically. Uh, I know I had been missing workouts lately. I had a lot of work in other parts of my life, a lot of stress in other parts of my life. And I just knew I wasn’t going into it as prepared as I wanted to be. So that affected me both physically as well as mentally.
And You know, just kind of during the day. I felt good. I felt relatively good. Like I felt strong. It felt like it still could push through, but at the end of the day, I just didn’t pull off. You know what I was [00:10:00] looking to pull off in terms of my time. So I didn’t even PR for that race, which was doubly disappointing.
I guess not only did I not hit the hour 45 or hour 50 at a minimum, I didn’t even PR for the race after so much training. But again, I know what I didn’t do right. I know what I needed to do. And that kind of resulted in, in how I performed. So I’m going to acknowledge that and just work on being more consistent with my training and try to prioritize that more, which has been super, super hard for the last, you know, I would say three or four months, um, which is quite unfortunate leading up to that race, but I will say like halfway through the race, I was.
I was feeling still pretty good. I was, I was just at my target time and then, I don’t know, mile eight or so. That’s when things started to fall apart and I started to slow down and, and then I didn’t finish as strong as I wanted to. So that’s kind of how my running races went this year. All in all, I feel like it was a really great year for, for training.
I feel like it was [00:11:00] a great year for these races and for what I’ve learned. And this is going to set me up for success for next year. And I have big goals for next year as well. And then kind of moving on to the hybrid races. So, you know, on the podcast, I’ve been talking a lot about hybrid races with my coach, Kevin, uh, from underdog fitness and some of the other underdogs we’ve been talking about DECA, we’ve talked about high rocks and, you know, DECA was.
there for me kind of during the pandemic when we’re starting to get back out in person, but still not sure if you want to be in big crowds or just kind of, you know, around folks in general, just kind of during that time. Um, and Deco was there as a way for me to kind of keep moving and do something that was kind of still in the sport without running out, you know, running and doing those road races or doing that, the muddy races that I was doing before.
So, So this year I felt like, Hey, you know what? It’s been a while since I put a real strong effort towards DECA. Let me do [00:12:00] that as part of my training. And that can only help me as far as running goes, because there’s a fair bit of running, but also there’s a lot of high intensity work and a lot of endurance that goes into DECA races.
So if you don’t know, there’s three levels of DECA, which is very similar to some of the other Spartan races. So you have the Spartan DECA strong, DECA mile and DECA fit. The strong is 10 stations, sort of like CrossFit. Kind of work, uh, but no running the mile is same 10 stations, uh, with a little bit of variation and.
You actually know the same 10 stations actually, but then you had that mile run. So you run in between each station and then the deck of fit is the 10 stations. And this 1, you do have some variations with those stations and then you do the running, uh, up to a 5 K. This was actually the highlight of the year because I PR in all three races, the strong mile and fit.
It had been a while since I’ve done all [00:13:00] three for the trifecta, but my improvement was absolutely incredible. And I feel really great about it, especially the deck of fit. And this one was probably the one of the more special ones because I saw. So many people from our community, right? From the inspired to run community, from the underdog fitness community and just, you know, kind of Deca in general.
And I really love that. It’s just such a great, positive environment. So that’s one thing that made a special. Two is I went in with a positive attitude, like. I’ve been training all year. I know my running is better. I know, you know, my station work is better and I know how to better pace myself. So throughout the whole race, you can’t tell by the pictures, but I really felt good.
I really felt like, yes, this hurts. Yes. I feel like I’m dying to some extent. But I’ve got more in the tank and I know I’m going to get through these stations one at a time. I’m going to do my runs. I’m going to stay consistent and I’m going to move all the way [00:14:00] to the end without, you know, without stopping.
And that’s how I did it. And I got all the way to the end. I would say I did very well for all nine stations until burpees. I think burpees just stick. So, uh, burpees, I probably stopped a couple of times, but still had an incredible. Uh, improvement in this DECA fit versus the one that I did before and just PRs in all three races.
So honestly, in terms of my running journey this year, my performance at the DECA events were, were really the highlights, but just also a lot of lessons learned for DECA, as well as the road races that I’m going to apply going into next year. And I have pretty big goals for next year, which I’m hoping to share with all of you soon.
So that’s just a little bit of a recap, um, for my races this year. And what I’d love to do now is just take a few minutes to share with you some of the lessons that I’ve learned through podcasting and talking to other runners and fitness experts and brands. [00:15:00] And. You know, I’ve kind of boiled a lot of those conversations into the mindset movement and motivation framework.
And I talked about this a lot where, you know, mindset is a lot about, um, making the decision that you want to make a change in your life and believing that you can, and knowing your why and removing those obstacles and barriers. That just get in the way of progress, right? We, we have a, everybody’s busy.
We have a lot of things going on. I said, because I was busy and stressed, I missed a bunch of workouts, but it’s really about figuring out a way to balance those things and prioritizing your health and fitness, just as you do as other important areas of your life. So that’s around mindset movement is actually moving, right?
Getting out and moving. And I talk about running because that’s what I know. And that’s what I love, but movement can take any form, right? If you say, well, I’m not really a runner. I, I cycle or I swim, um, or maybe I do all of those things, right. And, uh, I’m an [00:16:00] overachiever and I’m a triathlete. You know, all of that is great.
Right. As long as you’re moving. So we talk about the physical part about moving, but we also talk about everything that goes. Along with it, nutrition, recovery. Et cetera, et cetera. And then motivation. Motivation is about how do you keep going, right? Once you started, which is probably the hardest part and you’re doing it successfully, like how do you keep moving?
Cause you’re not always going to get out of bed and be motivated to do your workouts or to follow your nutrition plan. Um, But like, what are those tips and tricks to keep you going to help you reach your goals? Because it’s not going to happen overnight. It’s going to happen over time, and you’re not always going to have successes.
You’re going to have failures like I did this year. So what’s going to keep you motivated so you can reach your goals, whatever those may be. So that’s really the framework of mindset, movement, and motivation that we talk about on the show. And I’m gonna talk to you about 10 tips that are really based on 10 lessons that I’ve learned through conversations through the podcast, as well as my own [00:17:00] journey over the last few years.
So the very first one is get out of your comfort zone. This could apply to running business relationships, even podcasting. Right. So for me, I had to get out of my comfort zone when I started running Spartan obstacle course races, had to get out of my comfort zone when I started running longer distances, 10 K quarter marathon, half marathon, maybe even a marathon next year.
Um, for podcasting, podcasting was a big deal for me. So even though I’ve done presentations throughout my entire career in front of hundreds of people, for whatever reason, getting in front of a mic or having something that’s recorded. scares me. So this has been an incredible experience for me to really learn how to do this and overcome that fear.
And as a result, share my journey, the journey of others, again, to help all of us be better in our lives and our health and fitness journey. So [00:18:00] get out of your comfort zone. That could be whatever it needs to be for you, but that’s really where you’re going to see the growth. So what are those things that, you know, you say you can never do things that scares you, things that you’ve never done before.
Those are the times that you’re going to see growth in your life is when you’re getting after those things. The second thing is take care of your mental health. So we talk a lot about running, but You know, your mind is an important component to this equation, right? Your mind is going to drive your performance.
If your mind isn’t in the right place. Then you’re not going to perform or get the things that you’re looking for in your life. And I talked about this going into some of my races, I didn’t have the right mindset and I could assure you that that impacted my performance or was a part of that. So some of the things that I’ve done in the past and, you know, some of the things I do now, but I really need to get back into this and a more consistent basis to two affirmations.[00:19:00]
And this is the part about, you know, believing that you can and believing you’re, you know, you are where you want to be. And then two is meditation and reflection. So two things that have had a lot of success within the past. And we’ve talked about on the show that I need to be more consistent with, and I believe that these things can help you.
Number three is plan, schedule, and coordinate your workouts and runs. We’re all busy. I get it. And one of the best things that you could do to ensure that your workout, your runs happen, is to plan for it and put it on your calendar. And, you know, we had somebody on the show, I talked about, I think it was Amina Blake, a good friend of mine, we talked about, you know, putting your workouts on the calendar and, well, what happens when you’re busy?
Well, because it’s on the calendar, if something else pops up, you then have the ability to move it or adjust your schedule versus if it’s not on your calendar at all, then [00:20:00] you could just skip it, right? It’s not even there. It doesn’t even exist. So putting it on your calendar is super important and then coordinating it.
With your family, your friends to ensure that you are balancing. Those things are important in your life, right? Cause you have other things that you need to do. How do you ensure that you could still do your workouts and runs and also balance that with the other important aspects of your life? Tip number four, don’t always worry about your time for your races.
So I might sound a little bit like a hypocrite because I just said I had a goal time of an hour and 45 and I didn’t hit it and I’m super upset with myself, but there are so many other experiences that you get from running races, you know, going back to that, that mindset, I’m sorry, the, the. Motivation part running races or signing up for races is one of those motivators to keep you going and I just gave you a tip that I’m going to give you, you know, a little bit later.
So, you know, there’s a lot of benefits to running [00:21:00] races. There’s a lot of benefits to tracking your time, but don’t become overly obsessed about your time. Like that is your. Only goal in life, right? Just like, you know, something like losing weight, that number on the scale can’t be the only goal that you have and becoming obsessed with it.
Although I know that’s really hard to kind of look past that because these are really easy to measure and you base your, your performance on these metrics. But there’s so many other things that you can. You set up as your goals, right? So for me, yes, my time was one of my primary goals, but how did I feel during the race?
Uh, how, how was my form? How was my breathing? How was my heart rate during the race? Um, my mental thoughts, like there’s so many things or that I could focus on to ensure that I have a good race. Um, Just more than just my time. So time can be important for you depending on what your goals are, but set up other times.
And we had someone on the [00:22:00] show, a world champion for, for one of the high rocks races for his age group, AJ. And, you know, he talks about some of the other goals that he has about traveling to different places and traveling with family and meeting friends. It is a lot of goals. Um, even outside of some of his specific race goals to have a more holistic and positive kind of view on what he’s looking to do for each of his races.
So I love that he shared it a couple of times and it’s one of the things that I’ve taken away from the conversations. Tip number five, find a good coach. So this has been a game changer for me. So I started working with coach Kevin from underdog fitness. Gosh, I think it’s been four years now. So shout out to coach Kevin and completely changed my fitness journey.
So Kevin, you know, when I, when I first started working with Kevin, my idea was I just need a coach to teach me. How do I do certain things, right? That’s all I need to know. How do I climb a rope? How do I do monkey bars? How do I do [00:23:00] all the things that you know? I wasn’t able to do my first Spartan obstacle course race and What I realized is having a good coach like Kevin is so much more right helping me overcome some of the mental barriers and fears that I have and doing these things and Also encouraging me and pushing me to do more and do things that I’ve never done before So finding a good coach, I think is super important.
If you’re just getting started, sure. You could follow a couch to 5k plan. You could follow an app, but once you start to progress, if you’re really looking for a meaningful change in your life and you want to prevent injuries, you want to have the, you know, good nutrition plan, like having coaches. Um, and nutritionists and others helping fitness experts helping you is really going to get you to where you want to be faster and more successful.
Number six is fuel your body. This is super, super important. So when we talk about running, it’s, [00:24:00] it’s not just about running. There’s elements of running or working out or fitness that includes proper nutrition. So fuel your body, even if you’re, you know, maybe you’re running or you’re in a, in a position where you’re looking to lose weight.
You still need to eat. And especially if you’re working out, then you need to fuel or replace what you’ve lost during that workout. Right? So it’s, it’s probably, it’s really more about, um, what you’re eating, right? Making sure that you’re eating the right things, um, versus. Like not eating. So I know there’s a lot of different ways to approach this, whether it’s macros and calorie counting or intuitive eating.
And I’m not going to get into any of that. I’m not a nutritionist. I know there’s different viewpoints on this, but it’s just important to know, um, to, to feel your body before. During and after you work out, we had a couple of brands that came on the show that shared really great tips. So we had the founder CEO dot [00:25:00] fit on the show, uh, as well as the co founder and CEO of tailwind nutrition, uh, talk about proper nutrition again, before, during, and after your workouts.
Tip number seven, don’t just run, incorporate cross training, whether it’s strength training, yoga, Pilates, it’s really important to do those things. And that’s something that I didn’t do as much, you know, these past few months. Again, I’ve been missing workouts. I’ve been barely getting in my runs and for sure I have not been getting in my strength training.
And this is a key element to your training that’s going to help you, you know, perform as well as reach your goals and prioritize sleep and recovery. All of that is part of your, should be part of your training plan. So it’s really not just about running. It’s all of these things, incorporating all these things to, to reach your goals.
Tip number eight, train by heart rate and time. So, you know, you’re going to get this kind of support and help when [00:26:00] you sign up with a coach, and this is what my coach Kevin and I, we started to do at the end of last year, and we did this with the support of. Polar watches, which, you know, we had polar on the show, I think just about a week or so ago and just really great conversation around how technology can help give you information and inform you to make the right decisions and inform your training plans.
So polar has been great for me. And then I started wearing their heart rate monitor as well as their watch to help me kind of transform my training. Number nine. So now we’re getting, you know, into the last two here. And this is around motivation. This is how to keep going, keep moving again on those days that you don’t feel like working out on the days that you don’t feel like running.
You just feel like you’re in a slump. Run races, sign up for races. This gives you something to look forward to. This gives you something to train [00:27:00] for. There’s so many benefits to signing up for races. And it’s not just to compete, right? It’s not just to get, get on the podium. Um, there’s so many benefits to doing so.
And if you don’t run for yourself, run for others, run for charity, fundraise. or donate to someone who is, who is running for, for charity. Uh, we had a few charities on the show or fundraise on the show, uh, between pancreatic cancer awareness, as well as arthritis and some others. And these races are really important.
Fundraising events for them. So you’re not only running for yourself and running for your own health, but you’re running to help benefit others during the things that they’re going through, the difficult times that they’re going through and the associations and organizations that are there to support them.
Tip number 10 final tip here is find your tribe and keep learning. [00:28:00] So I’m so excited if you, if you’ve been with us for a while, you’re part of the inspire to run tribe team inspire. Uh, if you’re new, we hope you stick around and join us. Um, this community is really an important part of your health and fitness journey.
Being able to get, receive encouragement from others, see and learn what they’re doing and run races together. There’s so many benefits to finding your tribe and being part of the Inspire to Run community. And, you know, we bring everybody together through this podcast. So again, if you’re new here, you know, subscribe.
Ray and leave a review, check out the other episodes that may be interesting for you. And then also join us on social media on inspired to run podcasts. So every couple of weeks we hold a live, uh, inspired to run Instagram live. And this is an opportunity to bring back some guests, have real talk conversations with them and [00:29:00] address a lot of the questions that you may have, whether it’s related to running road races, uh, obstacle course races, or some of these hybrid races.
So these are 10 lessons that I learned that I’ve turned into tips. It’s not all inclusive. We had 100 episodes. It’s been so hard to kind of synthesize and break it down into just 10 tips, but these are pretty important ones that we’ve been talking about a lot lately. And I wanted to share here for episode 100.
So I just want to close out and say, once again. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for being here. Thank you for listening and supporting the show. Thank you to all of the guests for sharing your experiences and your journeys. And thank you to you, our listeners for, for being here and trusting inspired to run, um, and listening on your runs and your workouts and whatever you may be doing.
So, so with that, I just want to thank you again and have a great day.
Outro: That’s it for this episode [00:30:00] of inspire to run podcast. We hope you are inspired to take control of your health and fitness and take it to the next level. Be sure to click the subscribe button to join our community. And also, please rate and review. Thanks for listening.