How Busy, Overwhelmed Runners Reach their Goals Without Burning Out

Work with your inner coach to design a consistent, healthy, joyful running practice that fits with your lifestyle

Running is more than a workout; it’s a vital part of your daily routine for taking care of your body, feeling good and managing stress.

But as much as you enjoy running, are you on the brink of burnout, struggle to find time to run or feel frustrated at your lack of improvement?

You’re not alone in assuming that becoming a better runner requires hard work. Working hard may pay off in some areas of life, but if running feels like work, then it’s not truly serving you.

Running–and staying healthy doing it–shouldn’t be complicated or overwhelm your life, deplete your energy or hurt your body.

You deserve a running practice that makes your body strong, keeps you healthy, energized and motivated. You just need the right tools and some guidance to learn how to design it.

Lisa is a mom and emergency room doctor from Iowa who was frustrated with her poor half marathon training. Lisa could barely run 4 miles before becoming exhausted. The thought of getting up early on Sunday for a long run made her want to pull the covers over her sleep-deprived head.

At first, Lisa berated herself for being lazy. An ambitious professional accustomed to hard work, she’d push through the fatigue, figuring her problem was all in her mind. She questioned her commitment to running and criticized her inability to find a solution. Such self-doubt further eroded her motivation. Constantly tired, Lisa relied on caffeine to get her through her long hospital shifts and sugar to fuel her workouts.

However, once Lisa started running mindfully, she recognized the fatigue as her body’s way of demanding real rest. So she adapted her training routine to accommodate more recovery between workouts. The more she rested, the more her energy rebounded, motivation grew and running felt good again.

What Lisa had attributed to merely “getting older,” she learned was simply her inner coach sending her an important message. Running mindfully helped her use her body’s feedback to design a training plan for reaching her athletic goals in a way that more realistically fit with her lifestyle. As a result, she got her half-marathon training back on track and felt fantastic on race day.

Mindful running is the practice of tuning in to your unique experience: how it makes you feel physically and mentally so you can discern if it’s making you fitter or simply more worn out.

The Mindful Running Training System helps you do just that.

Here's How:

Put your observations into the context of your everyday life, stressors, running routine and health to ensure that your running is sustainable and actually making you fitter. With a clear picture of what depletes your energy and what restores it, you’re able to design a fully personalized and sustainable running practice that supports you in every way.

Instead of operating at the mercy of your hectic schedule, energy dips and spiking stress levels, the Mindful Running Training System puts you back in the driver’s seat of your health and fitness. Rather than worrying you’re never doing enough, have confidence that you’re just the right amount for you.

This process is about experiencing, not learning theory. You’ll receive a new lesson each week you immediately integrate into your current running routine and notice its direct impact on your running and recovery. Feel confident knowing that you’re doing just the right amount of work to reach your goals but not so much that you’re at risk of burning out.

I’m Elinor Fish, a lifelong runner whose competitive career spanned two decades, thousands of miles run and events on four continents. Running has been my life as well as my livelihood, editor of a national running magazine, then founding Run Wild Retreats + Wellness in 2010.

But as I got older and my lifestyle evolved, so did my running. New stressors deeply impacted my health and ability to build fitness such that I could no longer take running for granted. Listening to my inner coach is critical to making running possible due to the fact I live with two auto-immune diseases that cause me chronic fatigue, inflammation and pain.

I had to learn how to run mindfully, otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to run at all. My years of extensive research and testing taught me precisely how and why running and mindfulness are such beautifully complimentary practices.

I can’t wait to share with you what so many runners are discovering at our retreats: that running and mindfulness are two of the most powerful and effective techniques for reducing stress while enhancing physical and mental well-being.

     Elinor’s Methods Have Been Featured In:


How the Virtual Retreat Works

Mindful Running Training System

Over 8 weeks, you’ll receive emails containing your next lesson (may be an article, downloadable audio training, short video or assessment quiz). Apply to the lesson during the week’s runs, then make note of your observations in the 52-page Mindful Running Training Log book (PDF download or order a print copy). You’ll use these observations to design your sustainable running practice in weeks 6 and 7.

Online Group Coaching Calls

We’ll have five online group coaching calls throughout program during which Elinor answers your questions and helps you apply the Mindful Running Training System to your life. Join the interactive virtual coaching platform from your computer or mobile device and interact with Elinor and your fellow retreaters in the chat and on screen. Can’t make every call? Submit your question to Elinor in advance and watch the recorded replay later.

Healthy Runners' Community

Receive support and guidance from your virtual retreat leader as well as your fellow retreaters as part of an exclusive group within the Healthy Runners’ Community. Throughout the virtual retreat, you can share your experiences and find the kind of camaraderie and connection runners at our live retreats enjoy. Once the retreat ends, you maintain membership in this valuable, supportive community of like-minded runners around the world.

Mindful Running Virtual Retreat Itinerary

October 23 - December 15, 2017

Week 1  |  Retreat Orientation + Meet and Greet

We begin the program with an online group coaching session on Monday, during which you receive an overview of the virtual retreat program, meet your retreat leader and fellow retreaters. Then we’ll dive into the first lesson about how running form and posture influence the running experience, efficiency and risk of injury.

Week 2  |  Group Coaching Session + Setting Goals and Intentions

We start the week with an online group coaching session on Tuesday and check in with your experiences and questions about using the Power Posture. This week we’ll learn about setting intentions and how it can actually improve your training outcomes, helps you stay motivated and run more consistently.

Week 3  |  Recover Faster and Reclaim Your Energy

You can’t build fitness without first making sure that you’re supporting the healing and repair processes that keep you strong and healthy. In this section, we’ll explore the effectiveness of the three main aspects of recovery: sleep, nutrition and life stress. You’ll receive an assessment for each category. After you complete each assessment, you’ll receive information about how to improve your recovery in each category.

Week 4  |  Group Coaching Session + Managing Pace and Effort

We’ll have a coaching call on Wednesday during which we’ll review your progress to date and each have a turn on screen with the retreat leader to work through your particular challenges and obstacles. Then we’ll discuss the power of mindful breathing for regulating exertion and pacing to optimize efficiency.

Week 5  |  The Mindful Method for Getting Stronger and Faster

Now that you’ve dialed in your recovery and managing effort, you can start working on increasing your strength and speed with a sustainable training plan that works for you. Identify your “key workout” and other elements of a running practice that you need to reach your goals.

Week 6  | Group Coaching Session + Design Your Mindful Running Practice

We’ll have a group coaching session on Thursday to answer your questions and hear about your experiences with the different workouts types we introduced last week. Then we’ll dive into really designing your ideal running practice: one that supports your health, energizes you, excites you and takes you closer to your running goals without depleting you in any way.

Week 7  | What Is Your Inner Coach Saying?

Take the assessments to find out what’s working and what’s not working with the plan you created and have been following for the past couple of weeks. Use a set of key indicators to measure the effectiveness of your training and you learn what you need to make it more sustainable and effective at building your fitness without compromising your health.

Week 8  | Retreat Wrap Up Group Session + Your Next Steps

Our Retreat officially wraps up with our final group coaching session on Friday. We’ll review your progress, answer your questions and celebrate how far you’ve come! And as with all our retreats, this isn’t the end; within the Healthy Runners’ Community (membership is free), you can stay connected with your fellow retreaters and receive ongoing support and helpful tips for continuing your mindful running practice.

You may be wondering ...

…Do you have time to learn mindful running? I get it. You don’t want to spend a lot of time thinking about running; you just want to get out there and do it. That’s why this program is less about learning and more about experiencing.

Each week, you’ll receive a lesson or tool that you then go out and practice on your next few runs. It doesn’t matter what distance or pace you run; all that matters is that you integrate these techniques into what you’re already doing and notice what happens.

During our group coaching sessions (all of which are recorded in case you can’t join us live), you’ll share your experiences so we can help you decide your next steps.

And no, you don’t need any experience with mindfulness to succeed at this. Simply be willing to pay attention to the experience of running and you’re on your way.

Because this program doesn’t “prescribe” workouts or tell you how far or how fast to run, you may wonder if it wouldn’t be easier to simply download a training plan or hire a coach to tell you what to do.

But you know that wouldn’t work. You’re here because you want to run smarter, not harder.

Mindful running isn’t some newfangled running trend. Rather, it’s the most natural way to run. Relearn how to tune in to your body so you can run the way we were meant to run: with a sense of joy, playfulness and ease.

And best of all, it works regardless of whether you’re training for a race, to lose weight, socialize with friends or relieve stress. You can start running mindfully now, whether you’re a beginner or training for your 50th marathon.

By the end of the Mindful Running Virtual Retreat, you’ll have a system for designing a running practice best suited to your body, health and lifestyle. You’ll also know how to modify that running practice as other things in in your life shift and change to keep running sustainable.

You’ll know when you’re in your running “sweet spot,” running just enough, but not too much to stay injury free and energized.

“I once again enjoy running for the purpose of running rather than as a job. I look at running as a way to escape the other stresses of life. When I first began working with Elinor, it felt like a duty or job to go out for a run. Now when I think about running, I feel strong, relaxed, and refreshed!”

Lori B.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I attend a virtual retreat rather than a live retreat?

For seven years our live running and wellness retreats have helped runners revive their running by taking a fresh approach to training, recovery and their mindset. The Mindful Running Virtual Retreat makes that transformational curriculum accessible to runners anywhere at any time, without having to travel away from home. Modeled after our highly successful retreat program, the virtual retreat experience upholds the same standards of professionalism, design and efficacy. Our goal is to give you the tools and knowledge you need to run well and be well.

What if I can't make all the group coaching calls?

Ideally, you are available for the live coaching sessions (scheduled for late afternoon/early evening depending on your time zone), however, you can still submit questions to Elinor before the call, then watch the video recording later. Our interactive webinar platform lets you even skip straight to the section of the video at which she answered your specific question. Have a follow up question? No problem; Elinor answers your questions in the private group forum within Healthy Runners’ Community.

I've never practiced mindfulness before. Is this retreat for me?

Yes. You don’t need any experience at all with mindfulness or meditation to participate in this retreat. You will not be asked to do any seated meditation, rather the program helps you attain a mindful state while running and then notice the benefits of this practice.

How is this retreat different than hiring a running coach or downloading a training plan?

Coaches and training plans have a place in run training, however, they don’t help you understand what is working or not working for your body, health and lifestyle.

Success and longevity in running isn’t about following what your coach or training plan says to a “T.”

It is about developing self awareness and compassion, and being able to tailor your running routine to always support your health and align with your ever-changing energy levels, stress, recovery rate, schedule and other factors.

By the end of the Mindful Running Virtual Retreat, you’ll know when you’re in your running “sweet spot,” running just enough, but not too much to stay injury free and energized.

How much time will I need to dedicate each week to the retreat?

You’ll spend more time actually practicing the mindful running techniques than reading about them. Each week, you’ll receive a brief email containing a lesson or tool that you then go out and practice on your next few runs. It doesn’t matter what distance or pace you run; all that matters is that you integrate these techniques into what you’re already doing and notice what happens.

Then you’ll spend about 5-10 minutes updating your training log after each run.

During our group coaching sessions that take place every other week (all of which are recorded in case you can’t join us live), you’ll share your experiences so we can help you decide your next steps. Each call will be about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the number participants.

I'm training for a race. Is now a good time for me to attend the retreat?

Definitely. As you ramp up your mileage and/or intensity, it’s more critical than ever that you learn to discern the effects of running on your mind and body. Even when preparing for a big event, running shouldn’t feel like a chore or like something you have to get done. That’s the #1 way to lose motivation.

Mindful running helps you stay engaged in the process of preparing for a race (rather than the outcome), which is the most effective way to peak on race day.

Don’t spend any more time languishing in chronic pain, fatigue or frustration at your lack of progress.

(so you can run in places like this)

Join the next Mindful Running Virtual Retreat October 23 - December 15, 2017

There’s no need to put off signing up for the next race because you lack the health or energy to start training. It’s time to turn things around.

You won’t be left to figure this out on your own. You’ll have the support of me and your fellow virtual retreaters through every step of the process. Join us by signing up by October 21, 2017.

What’s Included:

  • Support and coaching through an exclusive group within the Healthy Runners’ Community
  • Mindful Running Training Log
  • 8-Week Mindful Running Training System
  • Five Group Coaching Sessions with Elinor (a Meet + Greet Introductory Session, then we meet for a live online video workshop every other week).

“Before this program, I tried to do everything 100% or I won’t do it at all. Elinor helped me see how running was an analogy for my life. Now I don’t try to make every run my “best” run, rather, I portion out my energy so that I can run more often but with less mental and physical stress overall. I also am much better prepared for races. Now, I don’t pressure myself like before to make magic every time I lace up my shoes. Running isn’t so much like a job anymore. I am more compassionate with myself.”

Zandra W.

There’s just one more thing I want you to know:

I truly care about you and your running. Why? Because I know how important running is to you, not just as a way to stay fit, but to clear your mind, feed your soul and connect with your true self. This isn’t a shortcut, a quick fix for what’s not working, rather, it offers a way to trust your body, support your body and move your body in a way that is healthy, sustainable and most importantly, feels great.

I’ll be with you every step of the way. I want to hear how mindful running is working for you, where you’re stuck and will work with you to find solutions. You’re not alone in your desire for a better, easier, more mindful way to run. I, and a whole community of healthy runners is here, too.

MY PERSONAL GUARANTEE: I am so confident that you will gain valuable insights and solutions for your running with this course that if, within 7 days of starting the program you decide its not working for you, you may request a full refund.

What People Are Saying

“After a long break from running due to injury and health issues I wanted to get back to the running I love. However, I was feeling frustrated that due to the other demands and commitments in my life I wasn’t able to consistently build up my fitness. After using this system, running is once again a source of joy instead of a trigger for frustration and resentment. I’m clear about why and how I want to run and I have practical knowledge and tools to use which keep my focus on the process.”

Donna H.

“For the first time in seven months, I am now running pain free. It is wonderful how this has translated into other parts of my life. I’m able to go about my days feeling fresh and more at peace.  I now listen to my body to determine what kind of run I will do instead of going off what a piece of paper says I have to do.”

James R.

“I was struggling with feeling guilty about running. This process has helped me see how I’m a better mom when I run mindfully so that it de-stresses my day and feels fun instead of like work.”

Sarah E.

“”Elinor listened to me about my running and worked within that framework to improve certain aspects of what I was doing. I am now running stress free and love mindfully playing with low heart rate training, which is keeping me fit, healthy, and injury- and burnout-free.”

Ed V.

“When I started the course, I wasn’t enjoying running the ways I once did. It was all a little overwhelming. But now I feel much more confident about my first 50k this June. I love the guided audio meditation and use it once a week or so. I feel it was money very well spent.”

Sandee M.

Mindful Running Virtual Retreat starting October 23