Andy Farina doesn’t like to be told that he can’t do something that he enjoys doing.
At birth, doctors wondered if he’d be able to walk. Several years down the road, after a back injury there he was told he’d never be able to run again.
Yeah, about that…
Andy is now in the homestretch of his training for his first 100 miler, so clearly he isn’t one to accept the limitations that others have placed on him.
Starting the Running Man Club
Before Andy got back into running seriously after his back injury, he started running the bleachers at the University of Florida football stadium with a buddy.
As the group has grown, they started calling themselves the Running Man Club (named after a movie, the ladies are totally welcome as well!) and they’ve grown over the past 11 years. RMC participants have gone on to complete ultra marathons, triathlons, obstacle course races, and all manner of other shorter race distances, but the main focus is just having fun and getting healthier.
An Uphill Battle as a Runner
When Andy was born, his legs were deformed and he spent his early years in and out of casts and braces for the first 5+ years of his life.
While the doctors questioned whether he’d be able to walk “normally”, let alone run, he overcame.
As an 18 year old, Andy was playing football and ended up with an injury to his back. The injury healed, but he lived in near constant pain for years or so until doctors told him (once again) that he’d be unable to run any more.
He listened to the doctors, but refused to give up on the idea that he’d be unable to run again.
Eventually, Andy decided to go out and try to run a mile and see what happened. He made it, but he was hurting for the next week. A week later, once the pain subsided, he did it again.
Then he added another mile.
And another mile.
And another and another… with no plans of stopping anytime soon!
Andy views mental toughness as one of the most important components to the success of any runner.
I’ve talked several times about my lack of mental toughness at times, so I had to ask Andy for tips to improve my mental game going forward.
- Slow Your Breathing
- Assess the Situation, Start Positive Self-Talk
- Have and Use Mantras
There’s no “easy” way to develop mental toughness. It’s a process that develops over time, just like building your endurance as a runner.
I’m going to keep on working on building my mental grit, and hopefully these tips will help me see some progress.
If you’d like to connect with Andy, you can find him on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. And if you’re ever in Gainesville on a Monday evening and want to run in THE Swamp, the RMC door is always open!
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