Everything I Know About Running I Learned From Star Wars

I am back from a long week of vacation down to Orlando Florida. My wife had a business trip planned at the same time my daughters were on spring break from school.  She had an issue with her flight and had to find a way to get to FL.  So, since most of my clients were also going to be away for the week we loaded our two daughters and drove straight through the night.

I have been a fan of Star Wars ever since I first saw it on the big screen when I was just four. I have been obsessed with it since. My daughters have also become huge fans. So getting to go to the Star Wars Celebration was an amazing experience I got to share with them. The celebration was especially amazing since it was the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars. I cannot put into words how incredible and surreal it was. From the people I met, the things I saw, and best of the fact that I spent I did with my two daughters is priceless. The people dressed up really at times made you feel as though you were in that galaxy far, far away.

I saw a really cool image from the 30th Anniversary of Star Wars that had 30 life lessons from Star Wars. I thought that was a great idea and decided I would create and share with you my own list of things I learned from Star Wars and how that applies to my other love, which is running but with a 40th Anniversary spin. Besides my faith and family, which of course come first Star Wars and running are a huge part of my life. When you are passionate about something it is not just something you do, but something that becomes a part of you. Here is where I warn you of the many pictures and Star Wars puns, pictures and references that are coming. After the first lesson they are not in any particular order of importance. I find #39 particularly insightful.

Everything I Learned About Running I Learned From Star Wars 40th Anniversary

1)      “Try not. Do or do not. There is no try.” –Jedi Master Yoda Put simply if something is important to you will focus your efforts toward that pursuit. Saying you will try implies you are not putting you full heart into it.


2)      There are always two. A Master and an Apprentice. Never stop learning. There are always ways we can make ourselves better runners.

3)      Embrace being a Master (runner). I embrace the fact that I am getting older. However running and taking myself keeps me younger. The alternative is not being able to run.

4)      Anger, fear, aggression lead to the dark side.  Don’t chase the easy oath. Do not cheat, cut courses, compete using banned substances, bandit races, etc. You do not just hurt other but yourself in the long run.

5)      “Size matters not. Judge me by size do you?” –Jedi Master Yoda.  Do not judge others. We are all runners now matter our size or shape.

6)      “Don’t underestimate the power of the Force”- Darth Vader Believe in yourself. You can accomplish so much more with confidence then you can with negative thoughts.

7)      “Great kid! Don’t get cocky”- Han Solo Remember there is always someone faster or that can run farther than you. Do not put others down, instead build them up. We are all in this galaxy together.

8)      Faith in your family and friends is an asset not a weakness. Our families and friends are truly so much a part of our success.

9)      Running has been the best way for me personally to keep myself from looking like the guy behind us. Find modes of exercise that fit your needs.

10)   “I have a bad feeling about this.” (Who hasn’t said this line in Star Wars?) Let’s face it. There are times when we are training when even before we start we are not quite feeling it. We cannot give up in those moments. If we gave up everything we aren’t 100% or into it, we would hardly ever train.

11)   Find new ways to motivate yourself and others. Along this line Star Wars songs from the soundtrack can really help motivate and make a run feel epic.

12)   “In my experience there is no such thing as luck.”- Obi Wan Kenobi Do not attribute your successes or failures to luck. A lot of preparation and work goes in training. Do not minimize your effort and do not make excuses for a lack of it.

13)   “It’s a trap!” Admiral Ackbar You cannot out train out run a poor diet. Do not fall into the trap of thinking you can eat anything. Most people do not have that kind of metabolism.

14)   “It’s the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than twelve par secs.” –Han Solo Speed work is a huge part of getting faster. It cannot be ignored.

15)   “Stop taking my hand! – Rey in The Force Awakens. When I first run with my daughters they have always wanted to hold my hand. I have since let go and though we still run together I have let go and let them run on their own but stay close to support them.

16)   “Is that possible?” -Rey to Han Solo. “I never ask that question until after we’ve done it.” –Han Solo in response. Never sell yourself short and do not be afraid to try new things.

17)   “If you want to be successful in a particular field, perseverance is one of the key qualities.”-George Lucas

18)   “Always pass on what you have learned.”-Yoda to Luke That is why I love training clients and helping people to run faster. I love to share my knowledge and help others achieve their goals. That is another great aspect of the running community. There are so many in the running community who are willing to share things they have learned.

19)   “Your focus determines your reality.”-Qui-Gon Jinn  

20)   “I find your lack of faith disturbing.”-Darth Vader If you don’t believe in yourself who will?

21)   “Be brave and don’t look back. Don’t look back.”-Shmi Skywalker When  you are running focus and run the mile you are in. Do not stress and use energy on the miles already behind you or that lay ahead.

22)   “Never tell me the odds.”-Han Solo Don’t worry about odds. Most runners might never win a race but if they focus on that it takes away from what they can accomplish. You don’t know what you can truly do until you try it.

23)   “Sometimes we must let go of our pride.” -Padme

24)   “You simply have to put one foot in front of the other and keep going. Put blinders on and plough straight ahead.”-George Lucas

25)   Don’t end your training until it is finished. Do not choose the quick and easy path.

26)   “Patience you must have my young padawan.”- Yoda Keep your eye on the big picture but see the many steps it takes to get there.

27)   Be mindful of the future, but not at the expense of the moment. I feel this is so important and goes perfectly with #26 so I put them together.

28)   “There’s always a bigger fish.”- Qui-Gon Jinn There are always more accomplished runners. Do not adopt an elitist attitude.

29)   “You taught me well. I can handle anything.” Ahsoka Tano At a certain point there comes a time where we must let those we love succeed or fail on their own.

30)   Acting quickly does not always yield positive results. Pace yourself and good thigs can come to you at the end.

31)   “Would it help if I got out and pushed?”- The late Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia to Han Solo Sometimes we all need that person helping to push us on those tough days.

32)   “Stay on target,”- Gold Five Stay focused on your goals.

33)   “This is a new day, a new beginning.”- Ahsoka Tano Had a bad race or run? Tomorrow is a new day. Move on and let it go.

34)   “Let them pass in peace.”-Chirrut Imwe in Rogue One When on the track please move to the outer lanes if there is a faster runner or you are walking.

35)   “Nothing will stand in our way.”-Kylo Ren Refuse to be held back. Do all you can to reach your goals.

36)   Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself at times. Don’t take yourself so seriously all the time. Laugh at your failures, learn from them, but it is ok to laugh.

37)   “It’s a chance for you to make a fresh start.”-Mon Mothma in Rogue One. Each race is a chance for a new PR or to get a positive training effect.

38)   “Be careful not to choke on your aspirations”-Darth Vader in Rogue One Do not get tunnel vision where all you do is run, and train, at the expense of family and your loved ones.

39)   “Arrgg grrrrr arrrg”-Chewbacca ( That is deep Chewy)

40)   The Force will be with you…always.

May the Force Be With You. Happy training.

Take Your Speedwork Off The Traditional Track For a Change Of Pace

It’s  time to get speedwork in on the track! I am not sure about where you live Spring has definitely sprung here. We are still having some chilly wet days, but for the most part the weather has been seasonable. Even better yet, the snow is gone except for some stubborn piles pushed into mounds that are doing their best to resist the inevitable.

With the return of Spring comes the ability to get more speedwork in in the local track.The thought of that makes me estatic!  In bad weather, hills and the beach provide the best locations for speedwork. During the week the local high school track is off limits to the public. This is when I bring my speed sessions to the track at the local city hall. It is a mixture or dirt, clay, and crushed gravel. It is by far not the best to use when trying to maintain a certain pace or hit certain splits. If you throw out the pace and other numbers there are a few reasons I love taking speedwork off the road, beach and even the high school track which is made up of polyurethane or rubber.

1)      Running on the dirt/clay/crushed gravel is  less impact on the legs than running on the high school track. It is an ideal way to still get in speed work without the wear and tear and pounding on your lower body.

2)      The track outlines the baseball field. I will sometimes run on the inside edge of the grass. This slows me down quite a bit but I like to use it the instability of the grass to help strengthen the small muscles of the feet, ankle and lower leg.

3)      Running on the grass further allows part me to reduce ground reaction forces even further for parts of my run.

4)      Running on these types of surfaces are like strength training while running. If you can run hard on less than optimal surfaces that can translate to faster speeds when on surfaces that allow for increased speed.

5)      It allows you to focus on things others than your watch. I am sure you are like me and at times catch yourself glancing at your watch too often. Believe me I understand there are plenty of times where hitting certain splits is important. On different surfaces I can ignore paces and splits and just focus on other things, foot turnover, running mechanics, and perceived exertion.

6)      The particular track I use during the week is not your typical oval. This can be a good option for you the runner since unless you need to know exact splits you can do striders on the straightaways and jog for recovery the curves. With the less than oval shape of the shape of the track there are actually three curves and straightaways. If you can find one similar this gives you different options and can provide your running a different stimulus.

With the five reasons I gave above for why I love not always using a traditional track for speedwork I hope it challenges you to try it out. If you are not already using a track for speedwork now might be the time. You might save yourself some wear and tear and start running faster.

Happy training!