Embarking on the journey of training for a first marathon is a monumental undertaking, filled with anticipation, challenges, and personal growth. Dr. Lisa Mitro, a passionate and dedicated individual, has embraced this challenge with a unique approach that aligns perfectly with the theme “Slow Is Fast.” As she prepares to run her inaugural marathon at the Richmond Marathon on November 11th, her story is one of determination, self-discovery, and finding joy and success in the process.
From Softball to Running: A Surprising Evolution
Dr. Lisa Mitro’s journey into the world of running began in an unexpected way. In high school, she was a dedicated softball player and pitcher, with running serving as a means to build endurance. While running wasn’t her first love, she recognized its importance and maintained a running routine throughout her college years. However, it wasn’t until her time in grad school that Dr. Mitro truly began to enjoy running, discovering its therapeutic benefits for stress relief amid her demanding studies.
Running and a Professional Pursuit
After graduating in 2018, Dr. Mitro’s career took an interesting turn. As a healthcare professional, she found herself treating numerous athletes, the majority of whom were runners. Recognizing the need to understand their experiences firsthand, she immersed herself in running. This endeavor not only deepened her connection with her patients but also enriched her expertise as a doctor, allowing her to empathize with the physical and mental challenges that athletes face.
Setbacks and Learning: The Journey to the Richmond Half-Marathon
In 2018, Dr. Mitro embarked on a new challenge by registering for the Richmond Half-Marathon, despite not having a specific reason to do so. Her running routine consisted of shorter distances, and she recognized the need for dedicated training to ensure success. Following a 12-week training plan, she encountered both progress and challenges. Unfortunately, an injury forced her to withdraw from the event due to a misguided training approach that lacked strength training. The experience, though disappointing, taught her valuable lessons about the importance of a holistic training plan and injury prevention.
The Pandemic Pause and Renewed Ambitions
While the pandemic disrupted many plans, it also provided Dr. Mitro with an opportunity to recalibrate her goals. After participating in the Richmond Half-Marathon in 2021 and 2022, she decided to set her sights on an even more ambitious endeavor: completing her first full marathon at the Richmond Marathon in 2023. With her familiarity with the course and its reputation as America’s Friendliest Marathon, Dr. Mitro found the perfect setting for her marathon debut.
Finding Joy And Success: Embracing a Balanced Approach
The journey toward the Richmond Marathon was marked by careful consideration and self-awareness. Dr. Mitro’s approach prioritized her well-being and long-term success over immediate achievements. Rather than fixating solely on pace, she is focused on the joy of completing the event to the best of her ability. Embracing the “Slow Is Fast” theme, she dedicated herself to training at Zone 2 intensity, fostering both physical and mental endurance.
A Community of Support and Shared Experiences
Joining a training team introduced Dr. Mitro to a supportive community that shares her passion for running. The camaraderie of like-minded individuals, combined with diverse routes and shared experiences, makes her training journey more enjoyable than she could have imagined. This sense of belonging is propelling her through an 18-week training plan, reinforcing her commitment to her marathon goal.
Looking Ahead with Confidence and Flexibility
As the Richmond Marathon approaches, Dr. Mitro’s mindset has evolved. Her primary goal is to finish strong and enjoy the experience, while a time goal provides a secondary objective. Through advice from peers and her own experiences, she has learned the importance of proper fueling and pacing. Acknowledging that execution on race day may not always go as planned, Dr. Mitro has prepared a backup strategy of transitioning to a walk/jog approach if needed.
Sharing Wisdom: Fueling, Patience, and Perseverance
Dr. Mitro’s advice for fellow beginners echoes the wisdom she has gained along her journey. She emphasizes the significance of establishing a fueling plan, underscoring that nutrition is essential regardless of one’s level of experience. Moreover, she advocates for patience and pacing, encouraging runners to find a sustainable rhythm that allows them to go the distance without undue exhaustion.
A Journey of Growth and Fulfillment
Dr. Lisa Mitro’s journey from softball player to marathon hopeful is about finding joy and success through running. Her approach, guided by the theme “Slow Is Fast,” highlights the value of balance, community, and self-awareness. As she prepares to cross the finish line at the Richmond Marathon, her story serves as an inspiration to athletes at all levels, reminding us that the joy of the journey is just as important as the destination.
We cannot wait to follow Dr Lisa’s journey to her finish line in November but until then we will be listening to her podcast: Rehab For Runners. In this podcast, Dr Mitro discusses the secrets to running pain free by integrating current research with her experience as a PT and runner.