El_Run_Shoot (24 of 26) (1)

Elinor Fish is a professional writer and speaker whose mission is to lead runners to better health through mindful running.

In the following essay, Run Wild Retreats + Wellness
founder Elinor Fish shares her personal journey
leading to the creation of her company: 

Over my 15-year career in running and wellness, my articles, programs, workshops and retreats have helped thousands of people make their running a mindfulness practice in order to reduce their stress and bring their best selves to their roles as parents, professionals, caregivers and leaders.

But there have been plenty of moments over the years that I’ve asked myself, “Who am I to talk to people about their health?”

I ask that question because I’ve had a chronic auto-immune disease for 21 years. I’ll come back to what that has to do with mindful running in just a moment, but first, here’s a little more you should know about my background as a runner.

I grew up in British Columbia, Canada, and began competing at age 15 in cross country running and track, which culminated with the thrill of standing atop the dais with my University of Victoria teammates at the national xc championships in 1998.

After college, my love of running led me to the Canadian Rockies, where I began competing in domestic and international trail races up to 125 miles, launched my first coaching business, Peak Fitness Experiences, and was freelance writing.

When Colorado-based Trail Runner magazine recruited me to join its editorial team, I moved south of the border and started a dream job of visiting and writing about some of the world’s best trail-running destinations and most colorful characters.

Yet, my relationship with running hasn’t always been about competition and adventure.

Running has also served as the means by which I have coped with my chronic auto-immune disease for over two decades, survived the tragic loss of a loved one and overcome adrenal fatigue and chronic stress.

Elinor savoring the sun at the 2016 Iceland Running + Wellness Retreat for women.

Elinor savoring the sun at the 2016 Iceland Running + Wellness Retreat for women.

These difficult periods made me deeply curious about what exactly it is about running that makes it so healing, transformative, de-stressing and uplifting, even under the most difficult of circumstances.

The answers I found—and incredible results I got from putting them into practice–inspired me to dedicate me running practice, my profession and my life to learning, writing about and embodying the principles of mindful running.

Over the years, my ideas and articles have been featured in the Los Angeles Times, Runner’s World, Outside, Women’s Running, The Huffington Post, Trail Runner, Shape, Self, Women’s Health, Yoga Journal and many more.

Running and mindfulness have been the two most impactful, empowering practices I’ve found for supporting my health, managing my stress, overcoming fatigue and making me a better, happier person.

And I want you to have those things, too.

The effects of stress on our health—individually and as a society—are so widespread that the World Health Organization declared stress an epidemic of the 21st century.

And yet, for many of us, it remains incredibly hard to put our health and self-care at the top of the priority list.

Which is why, in 2010, I founded Run Wild Retreats + Wellness, which offers transformational mindful running immersions in some of my favorite trail running destinations around the world.

Participants often tell me their retreat experience created positive changes in not only their running, but other aspects of their lives, too.

In order to bring the benefits of mindful running to more people, I created the Mindful Running Training System, an online program that helps runners around the world end the frustrating cycle of chronic overuse injury and burnout from overtraining or under-recovering.

Now more runners than ever find their own balance between run training and self-care so that they have the time to run no matter how hectic their life, feel more confident in their ability to meet challenge, are motivated to run consistently and have the health and durability to run for decades to come.