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Home » How to Master and Succeed at Multiple Sports with Melissa Linden! Ep110

How to Master and Succeed at Multiple Sports with Melissa Linden! Ep110

#110 – Are you struggling to train and compete in multiple sports; or nervous about starting a second sport? Listen to my conversation with Melissa Linden, competitive hybrid athlete, as she shares her story from her first 5K that she ran with reluctance, to conquering endurance sports and strength training.

Melissa’s story is nothing short of inspirational and she lays out her secrets on how to set realistic goals, prioritize races, and juggle a busy life without dropping the ball. Her path from reluctant runner to strongwoman champion is a testament to the power of goal setting, diligent training, and a willingness to embrace new challenges.

Topics Covered:

  • Learn how balance training between sports and setting the right expectations
  • Hear tips on how to plan and prioritize races to set yourself up for success
  • Explore the ways to manage recovery when training for multiple sports to perform your best

Today’s Guest

Melissa Linden shares insights on how to train and compete in multiple sports

Melissa Linden

Melissa is a hybrid athlete participating and competing in the sports of distance running, obstacle course racing, ultramarathons, endurance OCR, powerlifting, and Strongman. She also dabbles in functional fitness and CrossFit competitions for fun. She was guilted into running a 5K back in 2013 and fell so hard in love with the idea of setting, training for, and achieving a goal that she has been running ever since. 

Along the way, she equally fell in love with being strong and lifting heavy and is determined to prove that it’s possible to be a high-performing athlete in dissimilar sports. A mechanical engineer by day, she lives in New Jersey with her husband James, who you can find on top of Melissa’s shoulders as she carries him across the Finish Line.

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Resources:

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Listen to Inspire to Run Podcast:

Richard Conner: [00:00:00]

Hey, my friend, I’m excited to bring to you our first guest interview for 2024. We recorded this interview at the end of 2023. And I’m excited about the conversation because we talk about how to balance between two different sports that you’re training for or competing in. And I talked to my guests, Melissa, about tips on how to plan and prioritize races. Learning how to manage recovery. And setting the right expectations for yourself.

So this is a great conversation. I know you’re going to learn a lot and hope you enjoy.

Intro/Outro: 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 [00:01:00] today. I’m sitting down with Melissa Linden, who is a hybrid athlete participating in competing in the sports of distance running obstacle course, racing, ultra marathons, endurance, OCR, powerlifting, and strong, man. She was guilted in running a 5k back in 2013 and fell so hard in love with the idea of setting training for, and achieving a goal that she has been running ever since.

Along the way, she equally fell in love with being strong and lifting heavy and is determined to prove that it’s possible to be a high performing athlete in dissimilar sports. A mechanical engineer by day, she lives in New Jersey with her husband, James, who you can find on top of Melissa’s shoulders as she carries him across the finish line.

Welcome to the show, Melissa.

Melissa Linden: Thank you so much.

Richard Conner: So you’re just going to have to start off and explain the last part of your bio, carrying your husband across the finish line. Like, what is that [00:02:00] about?

Melissa Linden: Yeah, so that became our tradition because of Tough Mudder, which is an obstacle course race. A really common obstacle at that race is called Hero Carry, where you partner up, you carry somebody, and then they, for one half of the obstacle, the other half of the obstacle you switch. Um, so the person who got carried is now doing the carrying.

So obviously it’s best to pick someone who is a similar size to you. A lot of people do it piggyback style, um, but James and I originally, um, did our Tough Mudders at a very similar pace, and we always ended up partnering up because it just so happened that there wouldn’t be anybody else there when we got to that obstacle.

So I had to kind of train myself to carry him piggyback, which I found really uncomfortable on my hips. I found it really difficult to run after I was carrying him because I’m a small person, and he’s not. Um, [00:03:00] so I kind of taught myself how to fireman carry him, and it didn’t happen all at once, I kind of just learned how to pick him up, learned how to pick him up and walk a few steps, , and, uh, eventually I, I got to the point where I was able to carry him across the obstacle, so we finally did a Tough Mudder with a group of people, and there was going to be a girl there.

Who is a lot more similar in size to me than my husband. And I was super excited to partner up with her for Hero Carry. And we get to the obstacle and I go to pick her up and it’s a really muddy area. So I sink into the mud a little bit. So I was like, Hey, let me put you down really quick and reposition you.

And she had absolutely no confidence in me. And she immediately bailed on me and went and partnered up with someone else. And I was left without a partner in a group of strangers. And the person who I paired up with was. A guy who I was pretty confident I could carry him because he weighed less than my husband, but he refused to let [00:04:00] me carry him.

, and that hurt me. That hurt my pride a lot. And I was like, I never want that to happen again. So I’m going to train myself and I’m going to get strong enough so that I can carry anyone across. Any distance and I trained myself to carry my husband and it kind of became our tradition for me to carry him across the finish line because the last obstacle at Tough Mudder is an electric obstacle, which my husband can’t do because he has metal in his shoulder.

So we bypass that obstacle together and I carry him across the finish line. So it’s not like I’m getting a free obstacle. Like I’m not skipping the obstacle. We’re both still doing something. So that became our tradition. I started carrying him across. Um, and so I’m going to go ahead and do that. Um, and then I’m going to go back and forth across the finish line of every race.

That was practical for me to do so.

Richard Conner: Oh, I love that. I love the story. I love the tradition. And I love how you overcame the obstacle, as you mentioned, you know, the, the other runner refusing to be [00:05:00] carried by you, and you just took that as an opportunity to build up your strength and not be in that position again. And, you know, I think that’s really important.

Not so much, you know, as the saying goes, it’s not how many times you get knocked down, but it’s how many times you get back up. And that’s a true example of what you did there. So what a beautiful story there.

Melissa Linden: It’s a fun tradition to, I think I, I feel like people who see us do it at every race, it might be a little stale to them, but, um, people who see us do it for the first time are always like, wow, how cool is that? And I think, , I’ve had women come up to me at events and be like, what you do with, with your husband, that’s so cool.

It makes me want to get strong too. And honestly, that’s all I ever want is if I can inspire one woman to, to lift heavy or to set a goal for herself, then I’ve done my job here on this earth.

Richard Conner: yeah, yeah, for sure. And, and, you know, so I love that, that you said that, because that leads into the conversation that we’re going to have today about, you know, the different types of sports [00:06:00] that you do that, you know, there are some, they benefit each other, maybe they compliment each other, but it’s. At least I found it’s really hard to focus on different sports at the same time.

So, you know, I’d love to kind of get into this conversation with you to understand a little bit about your, your journey, your running journey and your journey to the other sports, and then, you know, share with us some of the ways that you can balance between the two. So let, you know, let’s just go back in time a little bit and learn a little bit about your running journey and how you got into it.

Melissa Linden: Um, so I was not an athlete. Um, I never did competitive or organized sports. I have an older brother, so I grew up playing games with him. I wasn’t good at any of the sports. I, they kind of just him and his friends, but just put me somewhere out of the way. Um, I was not a runner, uh, in high school when we had to do the mile, uh, around the track.

I would run the. Straights and walk the curves because I couldn’t run more than 100 meters without stopping. , [00:07:00] and I made it to college, my final year of college. , I was in a student organization at Rutgers, which is where I went to school. And, uh, one of my, my faculty advisor wanted to encourage everyone at Rutgers, if you’re In a Rutgers funded organization, you’re encouraged to support the other organizations events.

So Rutgers has a 5k every winter that raises money and toys for kids who can’t afford them and our faculty advisor wanted us to all get involved in this race in one way or another, walk it, run it, Donate, volunteer, whatever. So there was going to be a group of us on the executive board, all walking it together because the 5k is a distance that you can, you can walk just fine.

, and one girl on the e board was a runner and she begged everyone in the group, she’s like, well, anyone run it with me, I don’t want to be the only one who’s running it and [00:08:00] nobody volunteered. And I felt really bad and I was like, okay, I’ll do it. And I had never run that far before and I was like, well, if I don’t want to die, I need to start training for this.

And I only had five weeks until the race, so I just looked up a five week couch to 5k trading plan and I started doing it. , and I loved it. , It was a love hate relationship with the running itself, obviously going from someone who was never a runner to now running when it’s very cold outside. , but it was just the idea of, of setting a goal and working toward it.

I had tried to get into running or fitness as a teenager because I just, I wanted to be skinny like my friends, which is not the right motivation. , And it, I was never able to stay on a program long enough to see results because I can never stay motivated long enough. I never stuck with anything until I ran this [00:09:00] race.

I set a goal. I stuck with training for it. And then race day came and I completed the goal. It was like the most amazing thing I had ever done. Like, wow, I set this goal and I achieved it. Amazing. And, , I ran that race. In the morning, and by the time I went to bed that night, I had already registered for my next race.

Richard Conner: Wow. Wow. I love it. I love it. It’s so cool. First off, it only takes one runner, I guess, to spark that fire in someone else and, and create other runners. So that’s super cool. And I love what you said about, you know, the benefits of running or running the races. It was more than the physical benefits. It was more of that kind of that mentality, right.

Of setting that goal and achieving it and getting the satisfaction from doing so. So I appreciate you sharing that. And, you know, so tell me a little bit about. Now you’re, you’re also doing OCR, you’re doing, um, CrossFit like events. So tell me a little bit about that. Like, how does, [00:10:00] how does that kind of fit into your journey or your fitness journey?

Melissa Linden: Yeah, so, uh, that first training plan that I followed from online, uh, for a 5k, it encouraged me to do some kind of strength, which, like, That’s good advice for everyone, full stop. Everyone should have some kind of cardio element and some kind of strength element in their training, whether they’re an athlete or not, um, just for overall health.

So, uh, obviously strength training is really beneficial for runners and, , I had never been in a gym before, so. I did that and I was like, wow, I’m not really that strong, but it’s okay. Cause I’m just a runner. And then I did a Tough Mudder for the first time. And, , it was a race that I had heard about, and I was interested in doing with a group of people for fun.

I was invited, uh, with a group. , the person who invited me said he invited a whole bunch of people. It was going to be a Big group of us running. I felt okay. Cause it was [00:11:00] the Tough Mudder half, which it does. It’s not around anymore, but it was a five mile obstacle course race. And at this point I had already surpassed five miles in my, in my running journey.

So I was like, yeah, I can do five miles. And, , it was only me and one other person who showed up. So it was three of us. We ran together and I was shocked. By how weak I was, uh, absolutely. Like the running part was okay, I guess. , but I was shocked with how little upper body strength I had. And there were plenty of obstacles that I couldn’t do and plenty of obstacles that I needed help on.

But when I finished that race, I was like, this is the most fun race I’ve ever done in my entire life. I absolutely loved it. And it was just different than, , at this point I had done plenty of. Road races. I done plenty of trail races, and I loved that atmosphere, too. But the camaraderie on course was just it was different.

It was a different kind of experience, and I absolutely loved it. And I wanted to do more. [00:12:00] And I told myself, if I’m going to do more of these races, I have, I have got to get stronger. So that’s when I started, , going to the gym and trying to introduce, uh, A more prominent strength element, uh, into, into my training.

And as I started training to do like Spartan races, which I feel, , You need, like Tough Mudders, you can help each other on stuff. Spartan Races, not so much. , so, as I started getting into, uh, ramping up the strength element of my training, , I realized that I really, really enjoyed being strong. , And I Uh, started doing, like, barbell work, and that was as a result of COVID, actually.

, so I, I tried to teach myself how to power lift, , after, as I was training for my first, uh, My first world’s toughest mutter. So I thought I needed a strength element. I had no idea what to [00:13:00] do. My now husband, at the time we were just friends, he put together a, like a beginner’s power lifting program for me.

, and I taught myself how to, how to move a barbell, how to move dumbbells, but that, that was fun. And, but I never really lifted for strength to find out. What’s the most weight I can move. How strong can I really be until COVID, uh, in 2020, all of my races were canceled and some races even into 2021. And I had a complete lack of direction.

So I was like, I need some new challenge to get into before I lose my mind. And I found, , a 10 week, I think it was a 10 week, uh, Challenge where you take before and after pictures and whoever has the most radical transformation wins a prize. , and it was right after it was in the fall, right after my gym had reopened.

So I followed this training plan and it had me doing barbell lifts that I like. Not [00:14:00] paid attention, never even paid attention to in my life. And, uh, you had to test your maxes week one, and then again, week 10. And I improved in every single lift and what a high, like to be able to test your max and be like, I failed at this weight.

This is absolutely the most weight that I can move for this lift. To work hard and then a few weeks later, be able to move that weight. And then some, I was like, this is the coolest thing. I need to keep on doing this. I need to keep getting stronger. I know I can lift more. I can keep progressing like this.

, and then, uh, I was like one day, if I’m strong enough, maybe I’ll do a power lifting meet. , because I saw a girl who is kind of like my size, , on a YouTube competition. I, that was my first time seeing like a small person powerlifting. Originally I thought it was just like big women who, who, uh, who did powerlifting.

And no, there’s People, you can power lift at any size [00:15:00] because they have separate weight classes and you’re not competing with people who are bigger or smaller than you. , and that opened my mind up and I had a friend convinced me to do a power lifting meet. I was like, no, I want to get stronger first.

He’s like, no, just sign up. Don’t worry about being this strong, being able to move this much weight, just sign up. And I did, and I do not regret it. I had so much fun, , and that’s how I got into powerlifting, and then through powerlifting, I also found strongman, because, same thing, like, I didn’t realize that strongman or strongwoman had local competitions that like smaller athletes like me can go and compete with other people, my size.

I had no idea. Cause I’d only ever seen strong man on TV and it was giant guys pulling trucks. And I’m like, cool, I can’t do that. So I’ll never do this sport, but no, they have local competitions and you, you pull weight that’s appropriate for your size. So I got into that too, and I found myself [00:16:00] falling down the rabbit hole where I kept on getting introduced to new sports and loving them and being like, I love this, this introduces a new element to my life.

I want to keep doing this, but I don’t want to give up doing any of the sports that I was already doing. So I was like, I need to find a way to do them all. I just have to do it all because I love it all.

Richard Conner: That’s incredible. That’s so incredible. And you’re inspiring others. I’m sure with everything that you’ve done for running with the strength training, the power lifting. So I appreciate you sharing that, you know, as you’re talking about going back to what you talked about for tough mudder, I had a similar experience, not the same, but similar.

Like it was a tough race for me. My first Spartan race was a tough race. I don’t know if I was excited at the end of it, But I did have to come to the same conclusion. I do want to do this again. I could do better. I need to, you know, train differently. I need to do strength training. I need to train that on technique, you know, to overcome the obstacles.

And that’s when I signed on with a Spartan coach. [00:17:00] Uh, so shout out to Kevin Gregory underdog fitness and that’s, you know, that’s kind of been my journey. But you know what I found over time is, gosh, there’s so much I had to train for, I had to train for the running, I had to do the strength training, I had to do the technique training and I work full time and you know, so many other things in my life and family and all these things.

So. How do you do all those things? And I found myself doing okay in one area, but not okay in another. And I would kind of, kind of move back and forth depending on what my focus was. So, you know, really love to hear from you. How do you balance these things? Like, what are your tips for someone like you and I who are doing multiple sports?

It’s running, it’s OCR and it’s power lifting. How do you balance those things?

Melissa Linden: So, number one is to set priorities. , I read a book a couple of years ago. I think it’s called training for the uphill athlete. Uh, it’s, uh, it was a collaborative effort between some [00:18:00] ultra runners, uh, schemo, Mountaineer. type athletes. And the advice in that book was divide all of your events into A, B, and C goals.

So A would be your number one priority for that year. Uh, you can have multiple A goals, but you don’t want too many. So these are your training focuses for the year. B goals are things that are still, you’re still putting forth some training for, , they might be like a time trial kind of event or an event that you add on accessory work for or something like that.

It’s still an important event, but not your focus for the year. And then a C goal is just like. Your everyday event, your for fun events, your training races kind of events. , and that’s what I started doing is I started prioritizing. What are my top goals for the year? Do I have too many of them? And then, , prioritizing like my A goals, [00:19:00] uh, I set a goals in each sport.

, so I have my running a goals. I have my strength a goal. So my powerlifting powerlifting meets to a year. That’s it. Strongman competitions to a year. That’s it. , I have a lot more running events because, , some events I use as training. So it’s just more fun to do a race than a run on my treadmill.

, but. I try not to do too many A goals, not too many B goals, and most of the events I do will fall into that C goal range, so depending on what, and then I also started dividing my year’s training into blocks and listing out for this training block, this is what I’m training for, this is the running focus, this is the strength focus, so I know going into any segment of the year, what’s my priority, and then Just kind of hone in on that and it’ll change throughout the year.

Like you said, like we’re all busy people, especially [00:20:00] people who are, you know, weekend warriors who we want to be athletes. We want to be competitive or we want to be, uh, enthusiastic hobbyists, but we have full time jobs. We have, we have homes, we have careers, we have families. , how do you fit it all in?

So it’s, uh, all. I focus on what the priority is for, for that training block. , for example, what I’m in right now, I’m training for a marathon, but that marathon is not an A goal for me. My, I’m simultaneously training for, uh, a strongman competition and there are less of those in, in the year. So like my focus right now is strength.

Running is still very, very important, but let’s say I oversleep one day and I don’t have time. I had programmed to do some strength and some running in that day and I really only have time for one. Chances are because of the training block I’m in, I’ll probably do my strength routine and either try to skip or reschedule my [00:21:00] run, uh, for example.

Richard Conner: That’s that’s awesome. And what

Melissa Linden: it’s just like knowing what your, what your priority is and that’ll determine how you focus your time if you don’t have time to do it all.

Richard Conner: that’s super helpful. And I’m wondering like for your training blocks, is it always a set period of time? Like, is it always like 12 weeks or 16 weeks or just kind of depends on when your races are and you define your training blocks based on that?

Melissa Linden: Yeah, it’s, uh, it’s event specific, so it’s just however long the training cycle is for what I’m training for.

Richard Conner: Okay. Okay. Well, that’s super helpful. And I’m even thinking about my own priorities for the year. So I’ve been telling a few folks as we’re entering, you know, close to 2024, I have a draft list of my races. And I’m like, Oh my gosh, I have almost 20 races that I potentially could sign up for next year.

They’re like, that’s like two a month. I’m like, you’re right. Can I really do this? So I probably will

Melissa Linden: Yes.

Richard Conner: probably will scale that back just a little bit

Melissa Linden: I’m [00:22:00] being a bad influence. Sign up for all of

Richard Conner: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Melissa Linden: Okay.

Richard Conner: it’s really interesting the way you look at it, you know, in terms of your priorities, cause I do have my priorities, right?

My priorities is, is really around the running, but I do have, um, hybrid races that I want to do as well. And I want to do relatively well, but it’s not my number one priority. So that’s, that’s good for me to kind of think about that.

Melissa Linden: Yeah, and, um, having a plan, like, like you said, you’re looking at your year and planning your events for your year, and I’m the same way. I think, , I get really frustrated because, uh, brands that I’m interested in supporting don’t release their dates for next year as quickly as I would like them to, because I plan my year all at once.

Like most of my events for 2024 are already written in my calendar, and I’ve already started registering because that is how you get the cheapest pricing on everything. First and foremost, that’s how you get your early bird pricing. If there’s travel involved, that’s how you [00:23:00] book at the lowest. Air prices and hotel prices and everything like that.

But also, I like for all of my events to count for something. So, my A goal for the year, my biggest goal is in November every year. So, I need those dates to be announced so that I can now Add my other events around that. So I plan my entire year all at once and I try to stick to that plan and that’s another like tip for someone who’s trying to do it all is to have a plan and the farther in advance.

You can make that plan the better because having a plan. , is so important to me personally, because it gives me something to stick to. It gives me purpose, uh, every time I go to the gym, I know exactly what I’m doing. Every time I go for a run, I know exactly what I’m doing. And this really only applies to people who are like training for something.

There are people who [00:24:00] just run for fun, and they run without their watches, and run as far as their heart desires, and I, I can’t imagine doing that. But, but I, I need a plan. And I need to know what I’m training for, I need to know how long that training plan is, I need to know what weeks I’m kind of dialing it back, which, which weeks I’m ramping it up.

I like to know in January all the events that I’m doing for that year. , and I feel like knowing the big picture of your year or of your season is so important for trying to fit everything in. Hello,

Richard Conner: Yeah, I 100 percent agree. And it’s funny you touched on that. Cause that’s the third pillar and mindset movement and motivation that we talk about on the show. And it’s the motivation piece and, you know, more often than not, you know, I’ll talk to somebody who may just have kind of fallen out of their routine and one of the common things that they’ll say is, you know, I just don’t have a race that I’m training for.

I don’t have something specific that I’m training for. [00:25:00] So that’s one of our piece of advice is put that race on the calendar. And then you’ll have something to look forward to, um, and train for. So I appreciate you sharing that. That’s a, that’s really great advice.

Melissa Linden: Yeah, and if you don’t have a race, there are other goals that you can set and work toward. Because that’s what happened to a lot of people during COVID, right? So, all of their races got canceled, and they needed to set other goals to keep moving. So. It doesn’t, you can set a goal and that goal can be a race.

That goal could be something else that you could be working on on your own without a race being present. You can still work toward time goals and strength goals. Yeah, like I want to be able to do a pull up. Okay, that’s a great goal. I want to be able to run a 5k in less than 25 minutes. Okay, that’s a great goal.

You don’t need to go to a race to complete either of those goals.

Richard Conner: That’s true. That’s very true. Yeah. So what other advice would you have for, um, so for someone who’s balancing all these different types of sports and, uh, [00:26:00] other things in their life

Melissa Linden: Um, something that I had to learn the hard way is to prioritize rest recovery and fueling. And I feel like so when I started running, I was in my early twenties. And I felt like I could do everything, even when I started picking up the strength aspect of my passion. I felt like I could do anything, and I could recover so quickly, and I could run really fast one day, and the next day I could lift, and then the next day I could run really fast, and it didn’t matter, and now I’m in my 30s.

And I’m starting to feel that the recovery is slowing down and maybe I’m sore a few days longer than usual. I’m also like, I’m doing more demanding events than I was in my twenties. And that’s how I had to learn that if I want to stay healthy and if I want to be able to keep working toward my goals, rest and recovery is really important.

So, um, I’m doing, I’m training for multiple events [00:27:00] simultaneously. One time a person asked me like, how many days a week do you train? And I was like, well, I run four days a week and I do skills work one day a week. And then I do strength four days a week. And he’s like, there’s nine days. That that’s nine days.

There’s only seven days in a week. I’m like, yes. Um, but I, I stagger it. So there are some days that I’m just running. There are some days that I’m doing strength. There are some days that I’m doing both. . There’s some days that I’m resting, but as a, as a hybrid athlete, rest might look a little different for me than it does for someone who’s only concentrated on one sport.

So if you’re just running. You might have a rest day is you’re not going to the gym at all. You might have, you know, two or three of those a week where you’re just not running, not going to the gym, not doing anything at all. A rest day for me might be I’m biking or I’m doing skills work or I’m lifting.

, but not like not a heavy day. , but. It that that’s important for me is to not have every single [00:28:00] day at the same intensity. I need days that I dial it back. And those are rest days for me. , recovery techniques. I just started getting into like pedicures. And it might sound really self indulgent, but what I’m learning is that as a runner, this isn’t self indulgence.

This isn’t like self care. This is like gear. This is like as important. Yeah, it’s as important as having a good pair of shoes, , is, you know, taking care of your body and stuff like massage and pedicures helps, uh, taking the time to warm up. Before a workout, taking the time to cool down and foam roll after a run.

, Those are things that I used to not prioritize, and now I’m finding that I’m going to have a lot more longevity in my interests if I make time for those things. It’s an extra 15 minutes, but it’s going to make sure that I’m not getting injured. , [00:29:00] which, I had a few injuries this year, and it’s It’s brutal.

It’s, uh, you never want to go through that. So if you can do that 15 minute whatever, and, and this is like, this is going to decrease your chances of getting injured. Like, yes, sign me up. I want to do that. And then, uh, fueling. So I’m someone who, , has trouble eating enough protein and I had to start being conscious about eating more.

So I eat plenty, but I eat foods that maybe aren’t, uh, nutritionally dense all the time. I love my donuts and I love my cupcakes and I love my treat foods and that’s fine. Eating those foods is fine, but I had to also make sure that in addition to those foods, I’m getting enough protein. I’m getting enough fiber.

I’m getting enough vitamins. And, , that’s something that I had to be very deliberate about. So [00:30:00] for especially the more sports you pick on or the higher intensity that you go in, in your journey, whether it’s running strength, both hybrid, The rest recovery and fueling aspect becomes increasingly more important to just, it not only optimizes performance, but it just keeps you from getting injured.

Richard Conner: Yeah, yeah. I completely agree with you on all those things. And I can’t say that I personally done all those things very well. I think nutrition I got much, much better at when I got a coach. Um, the recovery part, I really focused on rest and sleep. And that’s been my kind of thing because I just feel like, you know, for a long time I wake up and I don’t feel rested.

So I’ve been a little bit of a student of that part. But the other things that you mentioned around foam rolling and other activities I just started doing. Yeah. And it’s been, you know, maybe a game changer is probably overstating it, but it’s [00:31:00] definitely helped.

Melissa Linden: No, it’s a game changer.

Richard Conner: for, yeah. Okay. All right. All right.

I didn’t want to, you know, I don’t want to, you know, but yeah, so

Melissa Linden: up the foam rolling.

Richard Conner: Cause folks are like, no, no, no foam rolling. But it’s definitely helped me. And I’m like, where have you been all my life? So I do actually quite enjoy it. Um, and I do think that it’s helped me. So, so I’m glad that you mentioned that in one other area that I haven’t done yet, but you know, we’ve had this topic on the show and I have friends that do it and I need to do it is yoga.

So that’s another part of like recovery that I’m trying to incorporate into my routine. Just not there dare yet. I haven’t taken the plunge. So that’s something that, uh, that I got to do.

Melissa Linden: Yeah, some kind of consistent stretching routine. That’s why my, my husband does. He’s probably one of the few men in his yoga class. But, um, it helps him to stay mobile. Yeah, I do, I do dedicated [00:32:00] mobility work. Um, I do hips on Mondays, shoulders on Tuesdays, and back on Thursdays. Dedicated mobility work.

Richard Conner: that’s awesome. That’s awesome. Well, that, these are very great tips. I love this conversation and this is, uh, I’m really enjoying it. Like learning from you and I’m sure our listeners are as well.

Melissa Linden: I’ve got two more.

Richard Conner: right, let’s do it.

Melissa Linden: They’re really simple ones, though. So, first, testing and experimenting because it’s an ongoing learning process. So especially when it comes to athletes who are taking on multiple sports, especially sports that are very dissimilar from each other, a cardio sport and a strength sport, uh, for example, , it’s a process learning what’s going to work for you.

What works for me is not the same. So having input from other hybrid athletes is helpful, but. When it comes down to it, you just need [00:33:00] to test and experiment on your own and adjust. You might find that you need more recovery time than I do, or you might find that, you know, maybe I do my strength aspect first and then I run after.

Maybe you like to run first and then do strength after. So it’s, um, I’ve been running for 10 years and I’ve been lifting like, uh, Lifting for strength for maybe. Three years, three, three and a half years, and I’m still learning, like, even after 10 years of running and trying to incorporate a strength element.

It’s an ongoing learning process. And now that I’ve introduced even more distance in my running, like that’s another ongoing learning process. So you have to be comfortable making those tweaks. Trying out new things and taking advice from others with a grain of salt because what works [00:34:00] for them isn’t necessarily going to work for you, and the only way you’re ever going to know is by trying.

So different training splits work for different people, different exercises work for different people, and that’s why me personally, I am, I am switching up my routines all the time. All the time, because I want to see what’s going to work best for me. So I’m trying all kinds of different things.

Richard Conner: Makes a lot of sense. And, and that’s something that I do when I get into the mode of doing both, right, my strength training plus my running, I find myself doing the strength training part first. Cause that’s not what comes natural to me. So I can really focus on that and use my energy there and then I do my running and then if there are days where it’s a hard run, um, or if it’s a really long run, then I dedicate those days to running and that’s all I do those days.

So that’s what I do personally, but you’re right. You have to see what works for you, depending on, you know, yeah, what works. All right, cool. So what’s, [00:35:00] uh, what’s the last one on the list?

Melissa Linden: Don’t be afraid to suck. Um, and this is with any new sport, of course, but I think it becomes even more difficult the longer you do a sport. When you’re taking on, uh, multiple sports on your plate, comparison really is the thief of joy. So, it’s difficult, , because you can excel in dissimilar sports.

I’m not saying you can’t just first and foremost, you can be an elite athlete in multiple sports that might be different. But, , sometimes I find myself comparing myself to women who are much faster runners than me. And I have to remind myself, okay, they can run a five minute mile, but can they deadlift 300 pounds?

So it’s, you can’t compare yourself to other people who are doing different things than you, and it’s okay. , especially when, you know, [00:36:00] going back to what I was saying about having A, B, and C goals, you go to your C event and you’re not giving it an A effort, and that’s okay. You need to be okay with going to a race and not PR ing if that wasn’t your goal for that.

If it’s a C race. And you’re not there to PR. You’re not there to exert yourself too much. You have to be okay letting other people beat you. , taking on a new sport, you have to be okay with not being at the top. So what was difficult for me is, , going from one sport where, you know, I’m, it came a little bit more naturally to me, like powerlifting.

Um, and I went to a powerlifting meet at a local competition. , Pretty much everyone it, everyone places kind of at a local competition because there aren’t a lot of people. , so you kind of get used to going to competitions and doing very, very well. And then you go to maybe a different sport and you don’t do as well.[00:37:00]

And it’s like, Oh, I kind of got used to winning, or I kind of got used to meeting my goals, even if winning is not a thing that is on your goals list. . I kind of got used to meeting my goals. I kind of got used to feeling good about my performance. And then you, you go to a C race or a C event or a B event and you don’t do as well, and that’s okay.

So I think it’s just. Being comfortable with not being good all the time and making sure to not compare yourself to other people who are doing something completely different than you. That’s okay. , you might not be as fast as people who are lifting less than you. You might not be as strong as people who are running less than you.

That’s okay. Sometimes you will be the best, and that’s okay too. , so I think it’s just the more I do these sports, the more I have to remind myself that it’s okay to not do well all the time. [00:38:00] Because at the end of the day, I’m not a paid athlete. I’m not a professional. Why am I doing these events?

Because they’re fun. So if I’m not having fun, why am I there? And I have to remind myself, you’re here for fun. You’re here to challenge yourself. You’re here to reach for your goals. You’re not here to compete against other people. And yes, I’m a really competitive person, but I’m not there to win. I’m there to beat myself.

And if in the process I beat other people, cool. If not, the most important thing is me meeting my goal for the day.

Richard Conner: 100%. Love it. Love it, Melissa. I love your journey. I love your philosophy and the way you approach fitness and all the tips that you shared. So setting your priorities, planning ahead and all the benefits you get from that, you know, getting the early bird specials and getting your flights and hotels. I love that prioritizing rest and recovery.

And having the right nutrition as part of that, um, test and [00:39:00] learn, see what works for you. And then, you know, not being afraid to, as you say, not being afraid to suck in the beginning. Cause you know, you’re going to start something that you’re not going to be perfect at and just starting from where you are and building from there.

And that’s really important because that might hold someone back from even getting started. So, so not being afraid to, to not be the best, you know, right out of the gate. So. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Thank you for sharing all these tips, you know, kind of, as we wind down here, I’d love to hear from you, you know, what is the one thing that you would say to inspire our community?

You know, I typically, I asked to run, but in this case, what would you say to inspire them to pick up a second sport or, you know, a complimentary sport?

Melissa Linden: Oh, just jump in. Don’t wait until you’re good enough to try a new sport. Just jump in with wherever you’re at right now. , and you can grow. From within, [00:40:00] so it’s okay if, , you’re not good at it right away. You don’t have to, you don’t have to be an elite powerlifter to pick up a barbell. You don’t have to be an elite marathoner to go for a jog around your block.

Picking up something new is, It’s just, it opens up a realm of possibilities because you think about being a goal oriented person and you set goals for yourself in your one sport. And now you pick up a new sport and you have an entire new realm of possibilities, an entire new set of goals that you can, uh, introduce into your life.

, and it not only, uh. The, the challenging yourself in another sport will make you better at your original sport, but it’s just fun. It’s fun to try something new. So I would say just jump in. Go for it. Pick up something new. Go outside of your comfort zone and you might surprise yourself [00:41:00] with how much you love it.

Richard Conner: Okay. Love it. Love it. Thank you so much, Melissa. How can our community find you and follow your inspiring journey online?

Melissa Linden: So, probably the. Best way right now is my Instagram. That’s where I post the most content about my fitness and, and my sports and my interests. So that is melinden_TV.

Richard Conner: Okay. All right. So I’ll put that information in the show notes to make, make it easy for our listeners to find you and follow you, Melissa. Thanks again. It’s really incredible to have you on the show and hear your story. And with that, you know, good luck with 2024 and your upcoming races and, and have a great rest of the day and weekend.

Melissa Linden: Thank you so much for having me.

Intro/Outro: That’s it for this episode 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 [00:42:00] and review. Thanks for listening.