My guest today is someone that I’ve gotten to know a little bit via social media over the past few years and I’m excited to dig a little bit deeper into her story.
She’s a runner, a therapist, a dog mom, and the resident expert on all things San Fransisco running.
I am looking forward to going a few easy miles today with Ava Martinez.
Running Chose Her
Ava Martinez was surrounded by running communities while growing up.
Both her parents were runners and therefore Ava was exposed to all things running from a young age.
Ava was athletic, but she wasn’t immediately drawn to running.
More than anything, she enjoyed the social aspect of sports and participated in various activities.
Once in high school, Ava’s dad pushed her to try cross country for at least one year.
He encouraged her because he could see her potential in the sport and knew that she would love it if she gave it a chance.
Ava’s dad was not wrong and she stuck with both cross country and track for the entirety of her high school years.
She even became the captain of her cross country team as a senior.
Ava jokingly says that she was, “tricked into liking running.”
Various Running Personalities
Running has provided Ava a way to channel her competitive nature.
She loves racing and generally has time expectations for most road races.
Ava prefers road to trail mostly due to convenience.
Her favorite distance to race is a marathon, but she enjoys other distances as well for a variety of reasons.
She especially enjoys non-traditional race distances, often because there is no benchmark for her to compare herself to.
Ava has run the New York City Marathon 3 times already and this year would have been her fourth time had it not been for the pandemic.
She is drawn to the race for a multitude of reasons, including the energy and how well organized it is.
Forced To Get Creative
Ava, like so many other runners, had her race plans altered or canceled for 2020 and therefore she was forced to adjust.
She has found it challenging to get motivated by virtual races because she enjoys the in-person experience so much more.
This year has forced Ava to find new and unique ways to inspire herself when it comes to running.
She is part of the Oiselle Volee team and has found a great deal of motivation through their online groups.
Ava has leaned into the online communities and participated in various group challenges.
Until she feels that races are safe, she is trying to simply reconnect to the joy of running.
Running Is NOT Actual Therapy
As a licensed therapist, Ava takes offense to the common phrase, “Running is therapy.”
She understands as well as anyone that running does provide mental benefits.
Those benefits do not in any way equal actual therapy.
Each serves a different purpose for mental health and she understands that not everyone can always afford a therapist.
Ava explains that it can be dangerous to conflate things that are beneficial to things that are life-saving.
Regardless of the topic, it is often best to leave professional advice to the professionals.
The Secret Is There Is No Secret
From her years of being a runner, Ava has learned that there are no quick fixes or secrets to success when it comes to this sport she loves.
Consistency is everything and cutting corners is not an option.
All of Ava’s success in running can be directly attributed to doing the “boring” work.
The “boring” work according to Ava is the everyday things that aren’t necessarily exciting or flashy.
That work includes strength, speedwork, stretching, and showing up even on days when you don’t want to.
Throughout the pandemic, Ava has continued to put in the work so that when races can safely resume she will be ready.
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