Today’s guests are a husband and wife duo of runners, coaches, and authors.
I’m looking forward to diving into the different perspectives of their story in our chat today.
I’m excited to welcome Jill and Dave Henry on the show today as we go a few easy miles.
Simple Sport But So Much To Love
Jill Henry was athletic growing up and was a member of both the soccer and track teams during high school.
She was fast but was reluctant to run and preferred to focus on field events when given the chance.
It wasn’t until she got her first job, that she really fell in love with running.
Jill had a background in education and started her career as a high school math teacher.
She thought that she would coach the soccer team but then was recruited to be the cross country coach.
Prior to coaching the team, she assumed she had to become a runner herself.
Jill signed up for her first half marathon having no idea how to train for the distance.
She fell in love with the purity of the sport and has been coaching the high school cross country team ever since.
Jill has been a coach for 15 years and in that time she has learned a lot.
She enjoys working with kids for a number of reasons.
Most of the kids she coaches are not runners prior to joining the team.
Having no experience is often a good thing because the gains that happen are often huge.
When the athletes improve over a season, that is usually enough to keep them coming back.
A blank slate when it comes to running background often leads to more excitement.
The runners have no idea what they are capable of and are excited to find out.
The team has a great culture that is supportive and welcoming of all abilities.
A Similar Path
Dave Henry was also athletic growing up.
He primarily focused on football and ran track to stay in shape during his off-season.
Once Dave was out of college for a few years, he was in full-on work mode.
As a way to focus on something other than work, he began volunteering as a coach at a local high school.
The high school he was coaching at just so happened to be the same one that Jill was teaching and coaching at as well.
That is how Jill and Dave initially met.
Upon meeting, Jill invited Dave to go on a run with her.
Despite his resistance to early mornings, they hit it off and went on many more runs in the years since.
It took Dave a few years of running before he could let go of time as his only marker of how a run went.
Dave experienced a breakthrough moment as a runner when he could run by feel.
Running gradually became a place for him to work through his problems.
Dave blames Jill completely for why he got into the sport from a recreational standpoint.
He has found that the community aspect is unique apart from any other sport.
The running community and culture are infectious and keep Dave coming back for more.
Beginnings Of A Book
Jill has a background in education, math, and statistics.
Dave has a different set of skills from hers that include film, editing, and television producer.
Neither one of them has a background in writing, but that didn’t stop them when an idea began to form for a book.
At the end of a cross country season, Jill was approached by one of her senior athletes.
The student had questions about how she would manage college without sports or team culture and how that would translate to college.
Every summer between school years, Jill would hold a wellness program for all her athletes.
Jill wasn’t a stranger to the topics the student had questions about.
An idea began to form as she realized that there wasn’t an easily accessible guide for those topics and more.
A Problem To Be Solved
Jill and Dave were faced with an interesting problem to solve.
There wasn’t any information that was written in a way to appeal to students.
Jill and Dave wanted to provide the information in a way that was approachable and engaging for kids.
They were motivated by the needs and interests of the kids.
The idea quickly spiraled into a much bigger project than either one of them ever envisioned.
In the early stages, they found that the information was available, but it wasn’t reaching the intended audience.
Jill and Dave were convinced that the topic was worthy of their time and began the long process of putting together a book.
Greatest College Health Guide
Jill and Dave knew that they wanted to attach human stories as a way to personalize the topics.
Along with including health professionals, they also surveyed hundreds of students across the country.
In the responses, they found some “nuggets of gold.”
The surveys from students were often better than anything they could have written.
The peer-to-peer-driven conversation was powerful and added tremendous value to the content of the book.
The struggle to take care of oneself is a universal experience.
College is the beginning of learning to listen to one’s body.
Overall, America is an intervention-based culture, and Jill and Dave are doing their part to add to the prevention side.
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