​Junior Olympic, Regional and National Championship Team

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As I evolved into an adult athlete (ultra runner) and later as an adult and youth running coach, I developed three golden rules of basic criteria for human performance. They have served me well and continue to do so. I hope that they will for you too.

For the other 2 golden rules


 Train the brain and the body will follow. No one is born with mental toughness and it doesn't happen overnight

--THE MIND:  It all starts with our brain. Our mental attitude is the single most important factor in achieving our fitness and running goals. Mental clarity, mental toughness, focus and imagery is the evolutionary process of an athlete.

Our brain is the core processor of the body, and we can not even lace up our running shoes without the brain first sending electrical impulses throughout our body and finally reaching our fingers. Also, the brain intrinsically knows the state of our health.

Many athletes do not realize the importance of training the brain, but we need to. Just like any muscle that we want to make stronger, we must first either push, pull or lift something to make the muscle work hard.

By developing (training) our mind set that we are capable of pushing ourselves beyond self imposed limitations, the brain registers this thought process and starts to build the foundation for improvement. The simple phrase I teach is this. " If I think I can, I can. If Ithink I can't, I can't." Either way you are right, it just depends on how willing you are to overcome fears, and push yourself beyond those pre conceived limitations of mind and body to improve performance.

This process is the pathway for mental toughness, clarity and focus. Have the faith and belief that you can achieve, and once the process is started the brain sets up the necessary pathways to all parts of the body by stimulating our neurons.

The single most important aspect of all this is to properly fuel the brain by eating healthy amounts of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

If you read my blog on carbohydrates you learned that our brain absorbs up to one-third of all carbohydrates we consume. As an athlete, if we are not eating the appropriate amount of carbohydrates, our brain will automatically prevent us from achieving any rigorous physical activity, and we quickly fail at achieving any new goals.

As an athlete we all have the responsibility of making sure that our body has the right tools to achieve our goals of higher performance, and it starts with a belief that we can, followed with a proper diet.   

Coach Richard Burke