I fell in love with running during my 5th grade gym class mile, baby. I was definitely a gym class hero. I remember running 10 laps around Blue Bell Elementary School's playground in my stone-washed jeans and completely dominating in 7:48! It was my first mile and to this day, I love the feeling of running fast. Since then, I've run the Boston Marathon in 2:55 and the NYRR 5th Avenue Mile in 4:48. Big competition just gets me excited.
In 2000, I graduated from Penn State with a BS in Kinesiology and became a personal trainer. I immediately fell in love with coaching. After about 7 years of working as a trainer and obsessing about running in my spare time, I realized I could really help a lot of runners improve performance and lower injury risk by helping them move better and get stronger as most runners assume "just running" is good enough. I'm a Certified Personal Trainer through ACE, a certified running coach through the RRCA, and hold many other certifications that directly help my clients get great results such as the Functional Movement Screen, Neurokinetic Therapy, and Precision Nutrition.
When it comes to my coaching philosophy, I view things holistically, believe in quality before quantity, precision before progression, and have found those who strive to master the basics and move with grace generally win - especially if we take the "long view". I attempt to leave no stone unturned when working with my clients by looking for their unique gaps in performance, movement, and mental approach. I'd say one reason I've been successful is that my coaching philosophy aligns perfectly with my personal philosophy on running as I truly believe in, and live, the principles that I preach.
One question many of my clients ask me is, "Why do you have me rolling around and crawling on the floor like a baby?"
When we were infants, toddlers, and kids we interacted with the ground on a daily basis to build enough strength and control so that eventually we could walk and run. Well, our culture is all about convenience (chairs, tables, countertops, etc) and moving less which is robbing us of the strength and control we once worked very hard to earn. Shocking as it may be, going back and practicing those baby-like movements can help to restore those valuable qualities. It is really important to work on your ability to move well so that your body can handle more training without breaking down.
Just think about it; if you can't roll with grace and fluidity, and you can't crawl like a ninja, how the heck can you expect to run beautifully? Rolling and crawling precede walking and running in development. Go back and work on those patterns daily and see how your walking and running improves.
John Goldthorp is the founder of Fix Your Run, a specialized fitness coaching business that helps runners become faster and less prone to injury. Recently named "Philly's Best Running Coach" by Philadelphia Magazine, he currently works with clients at Optimal Sport Health Club in Washington Square., and leads weekly group speed training sessions at PhillySurgeRunning.com.