Imagine toeing the line of the Olympic Marathon trials. Imagine glancing to your left and to your right and seeing the best of the best beside you. Imagine knowing that you are the biggest person and the slowest person on that line (which you know because you signed up to be interviewed by Runner’s World magazine and they told you). What would you do?
Attendees who came to hear from elite athlete Tony Schiller at the inaugural Orthology Run Series event on March 31 were left wondering, but not for long. Schiller confessed that he stayed with the main pack until mile 13, and then began to fade. But he did not give up. He crossed the finish line in 99th (out of 100) place.
That sort of determination, combined with a wicked sense of humor, made for a fun night at Orthology’s first Run Series event, held at the Eden Prairie clinic. The evening event featured Schiller, a champion athlete and motivational speaker, who shared the mental and physical training practices that have helped him win 79 triathlons and 85 running races over more than 40 years. Schiller shared his tricks of the trade (cane massager? Strassburg sock?) and ways for runners, triathletes, and weekend warriors of all ages and levels to approach training and athletic life while staving off injury and burnout.
His advice? “Start to identify yourself as a person who loves movement for the rest of your life. Celebrate your love of movement by doing events, setting goals.” Schiller shared that he loves to kayak. Even though it doesn’t do much to advance his training, he feels it’s important to do things that are good for your soul, even if they don’t necessarily translate to faster race times.
Schiller also shared some drills and form advice, leading the audience through proper arm carriage (keep your elbows low!), speed (more your arms faster! they’ll drive your legs), and most importantly, remembering to smile. Smiling relaxes your face, which in turn relaxes your entire body. And a relaxed body is a fast body.
Schiller concluded his talk by addressing the mental chatter that athletes usually have with themselves. He described three voices and sparked everyone’s imaginations by using a race start line as his metaphor. The “Chaser” voice, the one that lines up at the very back of the corral, and wants to lower the bar to keep you safe. It does not want you to take chances. The “Pack” voice, the one in the middle, jostling for space but still apprehensive, feels the pressure to excel. It tells you, “If you (place, qualify for Boston, win), then you’ll be good enough.” The “Breakway” voice is the one at the starting line—at the front, ready to take chances. It is the voice of the true self, the champion in inside all of us. It is the voice celebrating who you are and what you were born with. It is the voice telling you to go for it.
From the audience and Orthology team, thank you, Tony Schiller, for your wisdom, your motivation, and your entertaining stories. We are all excited to use our “Breakaway” voices this race season!