Once Mary Johnson Focused on Running, the Results Came Quickly


Mary Johnson started running when she was in “the worst shape of her life”, and it didn’t take her long to find her stride as a runner.

Mary Johnson

Mary Johnson

The more times she’s run the marathon, the more respect Mary has developed for the distance and the challenge that is inherent in running 26.2 miles.

It’s never easy, and there are times when things don’t go well, but Mary loves the feeling she gets when the finish line comes into view for the first time and the race is drawing to an end.

And I can totally relate.

Learning to Listen to Her Body

In the past year, Mary began working with a coach that really encouraged her to listen to her body especially during recovery runs.

Until then, Mary regularly did her recovery runs too hard because she was so focused on pace.

Now, she has become more comfortable with the idea of slowing down and keeping her easy runs easy, similar to the principals I talked about with Matt Fitzgerald last year.

It’s been a process to get to this point, but it has paid off. And it is a lesson that can be learned in other areas of life beyond just running. Slowing down to rest/recover in all phases of life is important.

The best way to be healthy, in the whole all around perspective, is to have balance. ~@itsamarython Click To Tweet

Mary’s Introduction to Running

When Mary was in high school, she had the option of running track to avoid having to take PE in high school.

So she signed up for a year of track, and found that she actually enjoyed the sport! 

In college, Mary didn’t do much running but she did row competitively. She enjoyed being a part of the team, and was probably the only person on the team that actually liked the dry land/running workouts that the rowers had to do.

After college, Mary ran a couple of marathons, and did the yo-yo training plan: train for a race, run it, and then stop running for a bit. 

Once Mary had cycled through this routine for a couple of races, she made the decision to stick to the training and she has definitely seen the fruits of consistent training.

mary-johnson-finish

Thoughts on Cross Training

Mary made some great points when we went off on a tangent related to cross training.

We both admitted, as running coaches that should know better, that we too regularly take the easy way out when it comes to cross training.

As runners, we want to run. So we make running a priority. And too often, we devalue (or skip altogether) our cross training because our lives are so busy.

While talking with Mary about this, she had a suggestion that I had honestly never even considered: doing agility drills.

As distance runners, we spend virtually all of our training running straight.

But what happens at the start of a race, especially a race with a lot of runners?

We run anything but straight!

We are zig zagging for at least the first few miles of a race, and by doing some agility exercises on a regular basis we are allowing our bodies to improve our ability to change directions on the fly.

That may sound like a little thing, but it sure beats rolling an ankle 1.25 miles into a marathon!

Spring Races: 2016

Click To Tweet

Mary tried something this spring that maybe wasn’t the best idea: racing two marathons about a month and a half apart.

And as if that minimal recovery period wasn’t going to be tough enough to overcome, Boston and Buffalo were both unseasonable hot/humid races so they were even more difficult.

Mary felt that she was pretty well recovered physically going into the second race, but mentally she wasn’t there.

Mary Johnson Finishing Buffalo

Mary Johnson Finishing Buffalo

Going into Buffalo, she had already given herself permission to DNF if it got difficult. And that isn’t a good place to be at the start of a marathon.

Lesson learned. The next time she signs up for two marathons in the same season, one will be a workout and one will be a race.


If you’d like to connect with Mary, and I highly recommend it, check out her website and/or say hi to her on Twitter or Instagram.

As Always, I’d Love to Know What Stood Out to You From this Episode! Let Me Know Your Takeaway in the Comments Below!

 Want to Support the Continued Growth & Production of the Show?

Check out the support page for ideas and suggestions of ways you can help me grow the show. And remember, not all support involves money. Some of the best ways you can show your support are 100% free.

Subscribe to the Show

Never miss another episode of the Diz Runs With podcast by subscribing to the show, and for my fellow Apple fans out there, it’s never been easier now that the podcast app is native on the new operating system. iPhone/iPod/iPad users click here. Android users click here. SoundCloud users click here.

Please Give Me Some Feedback!

Take the 6 question listener survey to help me shape the future of this podcast.

Register for a Free Race Training Plan

Every month, I’m giving away a FREE training plan for the race of your choice. For details/information, and to sign up, just click here.

Join The Tribe!

There’s always room for more members of the tribe! Both the Facebook group and the email group provide opportunities that can’t be found anywhere else. The Facebook group is still small, but it is a great way to connect with fellow runners and foster community amongst like minded individuals. The email group is THE way to stay up to date about future guests on the show, as well as getting some other freebies and offers that aren’t available to anyone else. If you’ve got questions about either/both, just let me know!

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *