All American & ranked 1500 meter masters runner. SDSU XC/Track alum. Write about running, health & well-being. Editor at Runner’s Life. amywallauthor.com

The best advice I’ve been given.

Image for post
Image for post

It was February 2016. I was preparing to race the 1500 meters at the USATF Masters Indoor National Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico. With only one month to go, it suddenly occurred to me I had no business running at a national event.

Three months before this event, I ran my first ever mile race. I was totally inexperienced at racing this distance. In college, I ran the 5k, and when I graduated, I started trying out longer distances. I even ran two marathons.

When I had my kids, I stopped racing altogether. While I kept up my training, it was too difficult to commit to a race while raising young children. My husband traveled for work and had an erratic schedule. Besides the one race I had finished a few months prior, I hadn’t raced in over ten years. …


The pandemic brought the industry to its knees

Image for post
Image for post

For runners who like to participate in road races, this past year was difficult. Some runners use races for motivation and some, myself included, like to use them as a performance test. There is nothing like the adrenaline rush that comes from standing on the line with thousands of others who have a similar goal. It’s hard to replicate that energy in a time trial.

With races canceled due to the pandemic, runners like me wait anxiously for the announcement of their return. …


Why it matters to the rest of us

Image for post
Image for post

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has found its way into every corner of our lives. One segment hit particularly hard is the world of sports. While it is easy to see our favorite football, baseball, and basketball teams finding new ways to operate in this changing environment, we don’t hear about sports that operate outside of the spotlight. Cross country and track and field are among them.

Cross country and track and field athletes spend years, even decades, training to compete, and for some, to pursue a career. Like all professional athletes, career runners often start in high school, are recruited by colleges, then advance to professional teams. The ultimate goal for these runners is to represent the country in top races like the Goodwill Games and the Olympics. …


How runners like Cormac O’Brien are finding creative solutions to the problem.

Image for post
Image for post

Runners in high school rely on their senior year cross country and track seasons for college recognition. During this time top runners get offered a spot on college running teams, perhaps coupled with scholarship offers. While many runners have experienced disappointment having races canceled due to the pandemic, these kids may find their dreams of college running crushed.

With schools and school sports no longer in session, colleges can’t see these runners in action. They are holding back team placements until races start up again. The trouble is, no one knows if and when this will happen. …


But perhaps you never gave it a chance

Image for post
Image for post

If you are reading this because you hate running, I am going to go out on a limb and say I don’t think you do. Chances are you have tried running several times throughout your life and claim you just can’t stand it. But unless you’ve remained consistent and taken your time over the course of a year or more, I’d argue you never got the chance to enjoy the fitness of running. The best part about the sport is when you are able to relax and run efficiently.

Three killjoys in running I see are:

  1. The pressure to race a certain time or…


Creating new habits for new circumstances

Image for post
Image for post

Fifteen paces. That is how many steps it takes to reach the refrigerator from where I am sitting at my desk. It’s no wonder gaining the COVID 20 is so prevalent.

So many of us are working from home (WFH) now which means all of those crackly packages and crunchy chips are waiting to be consumed — spilling on our computer keyboards while we work.

For those of us who are not in the office anymore, the good news is we are no longer being tempted by the never-ending birthday cakes, chocolate for pretty much every occasion, or the Friday Krispy Kremes people happen to bring in on the way to the office. …


The best time isn’t during your regular training sessions

Image for post
Image for post

There are many articles out there about good running technique. The problem is few discuss the best time to implement the adjustments. Making sweeping changes to your running style in your program can lead to injuries since you are using your muscles differently or even muscles that haven’t been used much before. Additionally, it can be burdensome to focus on your form when you are trying to work on speed or pacing.

So when is the best time to work on running form?

Before we talk about that, I need to segue here for a second and talk about whether it is a good idea to make changes to your running style — something hotly debated by many coaches and exercise professionals. Many have argued that Michael Johnson had horrible form, but he was the fastest in the world at one time. There is a long list of professional runners with imperfect form. In short, there are styles of running that may not be optimal in a perfect world, but work for some runners. …


Tips for using it effectively and legally

Image for post
Image for post

Click. It’s the sound my tape player makes when I press play. The triangle on my machine is worn into a now unrecognizable symbol after twenty-five years of pressing it, over and over again. Billy Idol’s voice dominates the room with his 1982 top hit, “Dancing with Myself.” The music rides the sound waves through the living room and into my office. When it makes its way into my ears and the beat drops my heart rate increases. I’m at my desk writing — fingers rhythmically typing away as if my ten digits have a secret dance of their own.

The power of music is a mystery to us all. It moves us. The beats cast a spell on us as listeners. …


Morning runs don’t work for everyone

Image for post
Image for post

I just read another article touting why running first thing in the morning is the best time to run. Ugh.

I consider myself a morning person. On top of that, I’ve also been running for 28 years. However, I hate the idea of rolling out of bed and hitting the trails first thing.

While I like the idea of getting sweaty before I start my day so I can shower and be fresh afterward, there are too many things I’d rather do at that time. …


Time to shift your thinking

Image for post
Image for post

I’m sitting at my desk right now with a giant ice pack on my shin. Under the ice pack is a goose egg, with a bright-red, oozing cut going down the middle.

Just thirty minutes ago, I was riding downhill on my mountain bike and I took a spill into the dry Southern California brush. The pedal hit my leg as I landed in the bushes. When I looked down, I could see the bump rising on my shin.

While riding home, goose egg still growing, I suddenly remembered an incident that happened about twenty years ago.

I was on my first mountain biking outing with my husband. It was a regular trail, nothing too difficult, but at that point, I had not experienced trail riding with rocks, crevices, and the like. …

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store