Every Runner, A Motivation Source

The Nature of Motivation

Motivation has the tendency to come in unique forms and vehicles. We are never quite sure when it will show up and why we find it motivating. The important part is that it does motivate us and push us to become a better version of ourselves. Every day when I wake up, I start with a motivational YouTube video to get me inspired to take on the day.


The Journey of the Everyday Man

One thing I find disheartening about motivation though, is how many people do not see themselves as motivating. They assume that to be motivating, you have to be an athlete, a strong leader, or someone “important”. This is not the case. I am in love and obsessed with the Ironman recap videos that NBC Sports puts out every year. They put on an hour to hour and a half recap of the Ironman World Championship documenting the journey of the pros as well as the average person. I watch the video, not to see how the pros did, but to hear the stories of the every day man such as Brain Boyle (below).


Being Relatable is Motivational

Hearing the struggles that the common man endures is relatable. We can see ourselves in that struggle far better than we can see it in the elite athletes of the world. They know our pain, struggle, and despair. They are training day in and day out with kids, spouses, mortgages, day jobs, and diseases. They are paying their own way to the race and doing it for their own self-satisfaction. They may think that no one is watching them, but they are wrong.

Passion is Fuel for Others

I love being in the cheering section in the final miles of a race. There is so much drama and human emotion during the tail end of the race. I vividly remember athletes slowing to a walk as the weight of the distance comes down upon them. What I find most motivating is watching them feed off the energy of the crowd and finding a way to turn their walk, back into a run. You can see the determination in their face and eyes. Their passion burns brightly and the surrounding people feed off that energy. The crowd surges with the quickening pace of the runner and all inhibition of human emotion is lost. It is pure and it is real. These are the moments I remember most.


You Motivate Someone Every Day You Run

Keep this in mind, every day you go for a run. Often people are too shy to dole out compliments, but I can guarantee you someone you don’t know is inspired by your run. You are a motivator, a hero, and a leader just because you get out there each day and go for a run. Never underestimate yourself and always push on. You are a motivation source to many. (This means you too Mom:)

Always in Stride,


Superbowl Runday!

That special time of year has come around once again, the time of year when most Americans embark on a day’s journey of countless chicken wings, more beers than they can count, and sitting on the couch. Superbowl Sunday. I enjoy Superbowl Sunday myself and will be cheering for the high flyin’ Seahawks today. However, just because it is a day of sloth for most, does not mean that you get to skimp on your run! Turn Superbowl Sunday into Superbowl Runday!


Running on days when others are likely to take a pass feels just that much better. It’s nice to have the trails to yourself for a while knowing that you’re earning your beer, chips, and dip. If your team is in the Superbowl, run in your team’s gear and show it off. When you’re sitting down, watching the big game and seeing ridiculous commercial after ridiculous commercial, you will be satisfied knowing that you got that run in. Comment with who you are cheering for!

Always in Stride,


Paralyzed by the Critics

In ramping up my website and personal brand, I have grown unnecessarily concerned with what the critics may think. It is unusual for me, as I typically don’t care but I guess for some reason it’s different for me when taking myself far more public than I ever have before. With YouTube videos, increased blog presence, a Podcast on the way, and much more; I am going to be spreading my name and ideas all across the interwebs. I do believe I have a lot to say and share that others can benefit from.

That being said, from time to time I have partially paralyzed myself with fear of the critics and fear of not being perfect. I’m worried that a running science blog post will be torn apart because I don’t have a Master’s and only have a Bachelor’s. I’m worried that a blog will be torn apart because I didn’t edit it enough. I’m afraid of the backlash from expressing ideas that go against the grain or from exposing poor industry standards. From the step back view, it’s quite silly and I laugh at myself. I’ve always been a risk taker and it is something I love about my personality. At this point it’s just a matter of taking the leap and putting it all out there.

No one when they first start something is perfectly polished. It would be impossible to expect that. There are growing pains and learning curves that must be experienced on the way to something great. In creating a personal brand and a place for myself in the running biomechanics sphere, it will no doubt be the same types of trials and tribulations. There will be many who disagree and tear me apart as well as many who love what I have to say and agree with me. At the end of the day the conversation will be pushed along and biomechanics debates will be better for it. A degree can help, but so to can the direct experience I get on a daily basis. I read as much as any student from a variety of textbooks and books by top PTs, doctors, researchers, shoe manufacturers, and anything else I can get my hands on.

When comparing it to running, it would be similar to not going to the start line for fear of not finishing. You must leave it all out on the course and see what you are made of. Give your gifts to the best of your ability and die/finish with nothing left inside. It is the only true way to live a life.

Get ready for The Motivated Runner to take off:)

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Teddy Roosevelt

Always in Stride,


There Is No “Normal”

Since around the time of Thanksgiving I have been stuck in a bit of a rut. My running, writing, and overall motivation have been off and not at the levels they should be. I simply told myself that once things returned to “normal” I would be right back at it, driven as ever. Fast forward to early January and the motivation for all these fine activities was still missing.

See the thing is, there is no “normal”. There will always be disruptions and there is no ideal time to do the things you need to. Distraction and resistance will always be there to meet you in whatever form she decides to take. It could be going out with friends, holiday dinners, cold weather, or any other myriad of options.The perfect time to do something is the least optimal time. When something is done at the least optimal time, you learn something about yourself. You learn that you are capable of doing anything that you set your mind to. 2AM on a Friday evening when everyone else is out can be the perfect time for a run or for a blog post. Who’s to say it isn’t?

If you often find yourself struggling with this resistance and inner battle, I highly recommend you pick up the book The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield. He does an amazing job at attacking procrastination, resistance, and how we put off becoming our true self we were meant to be. It has helped me a lot to overcome my own issues and realize I need to just get started with what I should be doing. The momentum builds from there until it barrels along and I find myself extremely happy that I did what was required of me.


This especially applies to going for a run. It can be so easy to come up with so many reasons why you shouldn’t go for a run. However, all that matters is that feeling you get from going on a run. In 14 years of running, I have yet to regret a single run. Upon returning, I am always glad I embraced the struggle and made it out the door.


Always in Stride,


The Child Custody Battle

I’m in the midst of an ugly child custody battle as we speak. Luckily there are no lawyers involved and both sides are being somewhat reasonable. Ironically enough, you, yes you reading this, are in a child custody battle of your own. The custody battle for your inner child.

When we first start out as little fledglings we are full of dreams, hope, passion, and vigor. There are very few bounds and the possibilities are limitless. However, slowly but surely, the “real world” makes an effort to beat it out of us until we become a compliant drone. There are endless rules that don’t really make all that much sense when you step back and look at it all. “Wear this, do that, listen to that person, you have to get this type of job, work for the man, work isn’t supposed to be fun” … the list goes on. Somehow we have been convinced that life should not be enjoyable for at least 40 hours a week, that all posted rules must be followed, the way things are should just be accepted, and that we should be saving ourselves for retirement. We delay fulfilling gratification and convince ourselves that we need to consume the latest and greatest gadgets. So the vicious cycle continues…

Life doesn’t really, or shouldn’t really, work this way. Nothing is guaranteed with the exception of the very moment you are currently in. Even if only for several minutes a day, you should seek to release that inner child and do what you truly want to. Running is a great way to do so as it is such a rudimentary form of play and relaxation. While running there are no bosses, silly suits, or reports to be created. There is you, the trail, and being the best version of yourself.

The lyrics to the latest Avicii song “Wake Me Up” capture the sentiment rather well. “Feeling my way through the darkness, guided by a beating heart. I can’t tell where the journey will end, but I know where to start. They tell me I’m too young to understand. They say I’m caught up in a dream. Well life will pass me by if I don’t open up my eyes. Well that’s fine by me.” I live in a world where decisions are not made based on money, but passion. A world where silly jargon and outfits used to show intelligence and rank are laughed at. The world where “life is a game for everyone, and love is the prize”. If I am just living in a dream, certainly don’t wake me up. I’ll always win the battle for the inner child because it is a fight worth fighting.


Why Do You Do What You Do?

The question the title poses is simple and straightforward. What is your motivation for doing what you do? Are you doing it so you can look good for someone else, doing it for status, doing it to be recognized, doing it for a promotion, doing it to fit in, or any other myriad of reasons? In my opinion, there is only one true reason to do something and that is because you believe in your heart it is the right thing to do and it aligns with your passion.


When you do something because it aligns with your passion, it shines through and others feed off of that. Too often you see people making purchases to “keep up with the Joneses” or to impress someone else around them. Perhaps a workout routine was started only because you wanted to impress that cute girl or guy in class and not for because you enjoy how it makes you feel?

I find some aspects of our society rather gross with how some people will go into debt just to make it look like they have “made it”. I also find it gross when companies are doing something simply because it is profitable and will do whatever it takes to ensure it stays profitable. I find it far nobler to pursue something because it is what you believe to be the correct thing to do.

This is part of the reason I love running so much, because it most often comes from a very pure place. It is a pursuit of consciousness, of being, and of self growth. At it’s most basic form there is no profit involved except what you personally get from your run. It costs nothings and offers smiles, relaxation, enjoyment, and endorphins.

Think about it with all the decisions you are going to make today and also with all the purchases you are going to be making soon. Is it because it is truly aligned with who you are or are you fooling yourself and attempting to fool everyone around you? Why do you exist, what is your purpose, what do you believe in, what inspires you?

“The more you inspire, the more people will inspire you.” ~Simon Sinek


Always in Stride,


I’ve Never Used Cocaine, I’ve Never Given Birth

“I’ve never used cocaine, I’ve never given birth but these experiences I think are like that. Where everyday is like the day you experience the birth of your first child and then your child dies in your hands. Every day is so vivid and so colorful and so emotional. To live in those experiences is a powerful thing, it’s an addiction.” – Charlie Wittmack

I am often questioned why I choose to enter extreme endurance events such as the marathon, Ironman, ultra marathons, and more. People want to know the mentality behind the madness and where it comes from. It is an inner drive I have had in me since going to college. I am an addict. I am intensely addicted to the rush and adrenaline that comes with pushing the limits of the human body. For those within the sport, they understand the bliss and truth that are attained through these feats.

It is both an addiction and a fear. I have a fear of living a life that I might deem mediocre and uninteresting. The perfect way to combat this fear for me is to enter into these events that allow me to experience the whole range of human emotion and all the world has to offer. For me, life becomes so vivid and so beautiful when I am in these events and when I am outside of the comfort zone. As Krakauer once said “The core of man’s spirit comes from new experience.”

The next level of my addiction will be my first Ultra Marathon, The Leona Divide 50 Miler in Lake Hughes, California on April 27th. I am anxious to see what the race will teach me about myself and to enjoy the beauty of my beloved California.



As with all my events, this one will only be another beginning. Greater goals await in the distance. It is my goal to one day complete the World Triathlon that is shown in the video of the week. Swim 275 Miles (Including crossing the English Channel). Bike 9000 miles. Run 950 Miles (Including scaling Mt. Everest). If history has anything to say about it, I won’t stop there. Why would I? Life is for the living. 

The World Triathlon Course

The World Triathlon Course

Always in Stride,

Coach Jack

Song – Feel Again – One Republic

Quote – “I’ve never used cocaine, I’ve never given birth but these experiences I think are like that. Where everyday is like the day you experience the birth of your first child and then your child dies in your hands. Every day is so vivid and so colorful and so emotional. To live in those experiences is a powerful thing, it’s an addiction.” – Charlie Wittmack

Video – [youtube=””]

Kill Your Heroes

Most every person reading this has some type of hero that they look up to; someone that they are in some way striving to become or attempting to emulate. Heroes can serve to give us hope and teach us to hold on just a few moments longer. A hero sets an example for others to live by, grounded firmly in sound morals and values. At times, heroes transcend humanity and become almost godlike.


The moment a hero becomes godlike is the moment I disdain the hero motif. I stand in a different corner when it comes to heroes. I see heroes as a tool but also as a limitation. Too often heroes are put on a pedestal as someone who is super human and capable of things that nobody else is. As soon as you buy into this notion of the godlike hero, you have set your own limitations of how far you can go. Heroes are just as human as you and I. Heroes will fall and it now happens far more often than we would like in today’s information age. Take a look at Lance Armstrong, Marion Jones, A-Rod, Barry Bonds, the list goes on and always will.

Heroes are imperfect. You must never believe that it is impossible to surpass your hero in at least some way. Perhaps it’s being better at your job, or as a parent, or at a certain race distance, or any other countless measures. With each and every person you meet, you are better than them in some way and they are better than you in some way. You should seek to learn from them, as they should seek to learn from you. Push each other to evolve, the most basic aspect of human nature.

You must evolve to become the hero of your own life. You must figuratively kill your heroes in your mind and realize that you can be better than them in many ways. You need to quit playing the role of victim hoping to be saved and take control of your own life. As our song of the week puts it: “Never let your fear decide your fate. I say you kill your heroes and fly, fly baby.” The way I see it from where I am sitting: Game On World, Game On.

Always in Stride,

Coach Jack

Song – Kill Your Heroes – AWOLNATION

Quote – “We need a hero. Courageous, sacrificing people. Setting examples for all of us. Everybody loves a hero, people line up for ’em, cheer for them, scream their names, and years later tell how they stood in the rain for hours just to get a glimpse of the one who told them to HOLD ON a second longer. I believe there is a hero in all of us, that keeps us honest, gives us strength, makes us noble. And finally gets us to die with pride. Even though sometimes we have to be steady and give up the thing we want most.”

Video – [youtube=””]

I Quit My Job: This Soul Knows It Needs to Run

I have been fidgeting in my mind with how to write this post for the past 4 weeks. This is the fifth attempt, and at this point I’m just going to go with it. The fidgeting and skepticism is no doubt a mirror of the uncertainty I am facing in my life. So here it goes, stream of consciousness:

This soul knows it needs to run. Plain and Simple. This is the single phrase I have found in the world that can best define me and my personality. To run means so many things, and to me it means life. Outside of family, it has been the only constant in my life. I have an absolute passion and desire for it, it drives the major decisions in my life. It simply is who I am. It represents my unquenchable thirst for forward progress and great achievement. It has shaped me into the man I am becoming. It has instilled in me my morals, values, belief in myself, and ultimately my life’s work.

Running is the joy in my life.

Running also helped to lead me to my most recent major life decision. I quit my job as of 2 weeks ago. I hated it and “hated my place in the world” to quote Jerry Maguire. So I made the brash decision to quit without knowing what the future would hold. The job was the epitome of all that I hate and the exact opposite of what I wanted to do with my life. I dreaded going into work everyday and could feel myself slipping into a depression from it. Then the answer came to me on a December evening in the form of a YouTube video.

The video was Salomon Running Season 2011, featuring a song called “Who Needs a Road” by a South African group named Signpost Sound. This song immediately became my favorite running song. It is also the roots of my phrase: “this soul knows it needs to run”. When I first heard the song I misheard “this soul knows who needs a road?” for “this soul knows it needs to run”. A motto was born. A motto that has given my life purpose, passion, and focus.


After hearing these hauntingly beautiful lyrics it inspired  a life reevaluation. I was living in my dream location and was miserable for at least 10 hours a day. A change was in order. My job was quite simply bullshit to put it bluntly. I was being paid to do nothing and felt completely worthless. Another great line from the song is: “I’m not here to hide, I’m here to grow”. Working at this job was stagnant, required zero brain function, and was not making a positive impact on the world. My life will not be defined by simply getting a paycheck and paying bills. It’s uninspired, unimaginative, and in my opinion a horrible way to go about living a life. Call it youthful arrogance or unrealistic enthusiasm, or whatever else you like, but it’s who I am. My career will serve to make the world a far better place and reflect my passions, of that I can be sure.

I have always paved my own way and will continue to do so. The future is extremely uncertain at this point as I don’t know where I will be living or working 40 days from now due to a multitude of choices and decisions that must be made. I am at a crossroads that will most likely decide much of the rest of my life. I have faith everything will work out the way it is supposed to. As my father puts it: I’m like a cat, “throw me up in the air and somehow, someway I land on my feet.” I will make a way, with running to guide every step.

This Soul Knows It Needs To Run.

Always in Stride,

Coach Jack

Well-Done Wednesday (8/8/2012)

Happy Wednesday to you all! Here are this Wednesday’s picks!

1.Support System – We can’t always do it all on our own. Sometimes we just need someone waiting at the finish to get us through. – from risscon

from PostSecret

2. Perseverance is a noun. – “Souls are like athletes, that need opponents worthy of them, if they are to be tried and extended and pushed to the full use of their powers, and rewarded according to their capacity.” – from OzBooks Weblog

3. Don’t Have Time for Your Run? Prioritize – from Live.Travel.Eat.Run.

4. Greatness Jogger – There is a good chance you have already seen this, but just in case. Nike Running’s new campaign.


5. Mark Cavendish, Find Your Greatness – My favorite cyclist outside of Lance.


Happy Wednesday All:) Tune back in for next week’s picks and feel free to send me any you may have found to!

Always in Stride,