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.

Take Lisa for example:

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.

Here's How:

Stop Stress from Sucking Your Energy

Tune in to your body’s natural feedback systems, developing a clear picture of what depletes your energy and what restores it.

Become Aware of the Ingrained Habits Keeping you Stuck

Use mindfulness to become aware of your inner state and how it shapes the way you react to things like training setbacks, injuries, fatigue and other stressful events.

Become More Confident and Self Aware as a Runner and Person

By exercising your “muscle” of attention, become confident that you’re doing just the right amount to reach your goals but not so much that you’re at risk of burning out or sabotaging your efforts.

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:

Mindful Running Virtual Retreat Itinerary

April 9- 16, 2018

Session 1  |  Retreat Orientation + Intro to Mindfulness

We begin the program with an online group coaching session during which we talk through the flow of the week’s virtual retreat program, meet your retreat leader and then launch into our first lesson about what mindfulness is and how it applies to running.
Today’s practice: Strengthen your “muscle” of attention by focusing on your running form to notice how stress-related tension may be hampering your form and draining your energy.

Session 2  |  What Drives You as a Runner? (And Why it Matters)

The answer to this question isn’t always as obvious as it appears. Today’s session will explore what you value most about running and how that shapes your running habits and approach to training. Then we’ll set an intention that reflects what is most important to you about the running experience.
Today’s practice: Consider your intention while running and observe how it influences what you think about and feel while running.

Session 3  |  How is Stress Affects the Runner’s Body and Mind

How does your inner state affect how you respond to good and bad triggers? Use mindfulness to become aware of your inner state and how it shapes the way you react to things like training setbacks, injuries, fatigue and other stressful events.
Today’s practice: Scan your body for physical tension associated with various feelings, notice how those feelings influence the way you respond to things like weather, a challenging running route, leg cramp or other issue.

Session 4  |  How to Instantly Improve Your Running Efficiency

No matter your current fitness level or running volume, the easiest way to improve your running efficiency immediately is by changing how you breathe. Learn how the ancient breathing techniques used by meditators also applies to endurance performance, and how you can use it to turn off your body’s stress response while running faster and stronger with less effort.
Today’s practice: practice breathing mindfully on today’s run.

Session 5  |  Stop Striving and Start Thriving

Today we’ll examine how use this growing self-awareness to make more discerning training habits and choices around training, recovery and self care. Uncover what common human traits prevent us from prioritizing our self care and how those tendencies impact our development as runners.
Today’s practice: Reflect on your training habits and complete a written exercise that will shed light on what you truly need to become the runners you want to be.

Session 6  | The Downside to Expectations and the Role of Self-Compassion

Runners generally *love* having goals. And why not?! Goals in themselves are not bad, however, it’s important to be mindful of how the expectations we create for ourselves around those goals can sabotage our ability to attain them. Today we’ll explore this phenomenon and the role of self-compassion in helping us fulfill goals without compromising our health.
Today’s practice: Notice how expectations affect your running and release those expectations through a self-compassion themed run.

Session 7  | Review and Wrap Up

Today’s final review and wrap up session is just as important as all our other sessions. It’s important that we take time to review the insights and shifts you may have experienced throughout this program so that you can continue to apply them to your running. Mindful running isn’t a quick fix, rather, it is a lifelong practice centered around growing awareness and wisdom about what truly feeds your soul and what you need to be the kind of runner–and person–you aspire to be.

How the Virtual Retreat Works

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Mindful Running Log

Download the 16-week Mindful Running Training Log (full color PDF) and use it to not simply record runs, but put your running into the context of your life. Chart your progress and see how mindful running affects your running and stress levels.

Online Group Coaching Calls

We’ll have daily (except Sunday) online group workshops during which Elinor introduces another mindful running concept and explains how to integrate into your running routine. Join the interactive online platform from your computer or mobile device. 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. 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.

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Guided Audio Downloads

You won’t have to wonder what you should be actually *doing* to run mindfully. These 10-minute guided audio trainings are downloadable to your mobile device and make it easy to start running mindfully immediately.

Workshop Summary Emails

Missed a workshop session? No problem; you’ll receive a recap email each day that includes a link to the recorded session you missed, a recap of what was covered, including the key lessons/takeaways and a link to the guided audio training for to use for your next run.

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Written Reflection

During the workshop sessions, we’ll include time for brief written exercises designed to help you explore ways to apply these mindfulness principles to your running and life. You’ll receive an email summary of your private responses for your reference (for your eyes only).

If you're wondering: Do I have time to learn mindful running?

Don't worry! This program is less about learning and more about experiencing.

Here’s what the virtual retreat format looks like

  • Each afternoon, we’ll meet for a group coaching call (call times vary) to discuss a different mindful running training principle that you’ll practice that principle during your next run.
  • On the next call, you’ll be prompted to reflect on your mindful run experience, as well as complete some written exercise in preparation for your next mindful run.
  • Then practice that principle on your next mindful run… and repeat for eight days (with a break on Sunday). 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.

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 process for discerning whether what you’re doing is truly serving 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.

Join the next Mindful Running Virtual Retreat

April 9 - 16, 2018

This retreat is open to men and women!

Monday, April 9
Retreat Workshop Session #1 at 12:00 p.m. Mountain Time / 2 p.m. Eastern
Today’s run: choose your own distance/route. Strengthen your “muscle” of attention by focusing on your running form to notice how stress-related tension may be hampering your form and draining your energy.

Tuesday, April 10
Retreat Workshop Session #2 at 2:00 p.m. Mountain Time / 4 p.m. Eastern
Today’s run: choose your own distance/route. Consider your intention while running and observe how it influences what you think about and feel while running.

Wednesday, April 11
Retreat Workshop Session #3 at 2:00 p.m. Mountain Time / 4 p.m. Eastern
Today’s run: choose your own distance/route. Scan your body for physical tension associated with various feelings, notice how those feelings influence the way you respond to challenges or unpleasant experiences.

Thursday, April 12
Retreat Workshop Session #4 at 4:00 p.m. Mountain Time / 6 p.m. Eastern
Today’s run: choose your own distance/route. Practice mindful breathing techniques to instantly improve efficiency and calm the nervous system.

Friday, April 13
Retreat Workshop Session #5 at 11:00 a.m. Mountain Time / 1 p.m. Eastern
Today’s run: choose your own distance/route. Practice feeling flow instead of muscling your way through today’s run.

Saturday, April 14
Retreat Workshop Session #6 at 10:00 a.m. Mountain Time / 12 p.m. Eastern
Today’s run: choose your own distance/route. Notice how expectations affect your running and release those expectations through a self-compassion themed run.

Sunday, April 15 
No Workshop Session today.
Today’s run: choose your own distance/route or take the day off.

Monday, April 16 
Retreat Workshop Session #7 at 12:00 p.m. Mountain Time / 2 p.m. Eastern

Retreat Package Price:

Regular Registration: $497 
Early Registration (before March 8, 2018): $397

“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.

What's Included:

  • Support and coaching through an exclusive group within the Healthy Runners’ Community
  • PDF Mindful Running Training Log
  • Complete Mindful Running Program with 7 hours of live group workshops
  • Recordings of every group workshop session (so you don’t miss anything even if you can’t attend live!)
  • Audio guided mindful run instructions for each run throughout the retreat.

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.

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 to the retreat?

You’ll spend more time actually practicing the mindful running techniques than learning about them. 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.

The workshop sessions will last about an hour and include time to answer brief writing prompts. Outside of those sessions, there’s no need to spend a lot of time reading or study written materials; it’s all about getting outside and actually experiencing!

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.

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 April 9, 2018