Podcast Ep 7: Tim Ritchie, US Marathon Champion and Olympic Hopeful

Chasing Goals, Balancing a Career, and Managing Stress

My guest today is Tim Ritchie. Tim is the Head Cross Country Coach for U-Mass Amherst and a professional runner for Saucony. He is also the 2017 US marathon champion and has posted elite times at nearly every distance from the 5k to the marathon. When we recorded this episode, Tim was in the midst of preparing for the US Olympic marathon trials. That race is now just a few days away and Tim will line up this Saturday as he tries to earn a spot on the 2020 Olympic team headed to Tokyo this summer.

In this episode, we talked about what lead Tim to become a marathoner, how his training has changed since beginning a career and balancing his running with a full-time job, the positive mentality he needs to keep in order to keep progressing, the cleanse you can get from a long run, and the impact that stress has on training.

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Show Notes:

4:20 – Background in Sports “We tried to become the best runners in Central Mass, and once we outgrew Central Mass, we tried to become the best in the state, and all of the sudden you can run in college and compete again a nation of athletes.”

12:00 – College Running “Now as a college coach, when I’m talking to athletes, the onus is really on the athlete. You can be as good as you want to be but the coach isn’t really there to force you to do these things, it’s what’s your by-in level, your commitment level.”

20:45 – Getting into Coaching “I definitely draw inspiration from my athletes and I feel like we’re all in this together. But at the same time it’s been a unique challenge to really balance my running goals with the reality of the working life.”

28:00 – A Coach’s Coach “It’s been fun to be seen as a peer and learn from [my running coach] along with receiving his training guidance.”

37:10 – Dealing with Negativity “If you want to become a more positive person, you can do that. That’s a choice that you can make.”

46:00 – Relationships “If I catch myself in a moment of ingratitude or find myself annoyed by something…my wife is great in that it’s good to have a sounding board in that realm to say, ‘Maybe I’m not upset about this one thing.’”

53:20 – Maintaining Focus “The good thing about being a marathon runner is, you get on a couple 20-22 milers and you’re not thinking about much. It’s a mental cleanse.”

1:00:00 – Biggest Mistake in Training “Be aware of life stress, emotional stress, and the impact that has on training.”

1:05:40 – Advice for Younger Tim “I’ve achieved a lot, and I do have this big opportunity coming up. But sometimes [I think], ‘did I really pour myself into this?’”

1:10:10 – Olympic Trials “It’s going to be a battle. Whoever Team USA sends to Tokyo, it’s going to be three amazing marathon runners because they’re going to have to beat some pretty tough guys to get that jersey.”

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