Coach Joseph H. is a passionate runner who specializes in marathons! With over 24 years of distance running experience and almost 100 marathons under his belt, he is truly an expert. Coach Joseph sees the ups and downs of running as a microcosm of life and loves sharing and teaching from his experiences. He uses private coaching to help others reach their running goals because he knows the amazing feeling of accomplishment firsthand.

Tell us about your running history.

I have been running since the early 1980s and ran my first marathon (New York) in 1989. I have completed 97 marathons to date and am planning to run my 100th marathon in November 2013 in New York. Besides NY, some of my favorite marathons are Boston, London, Stockholm, Chicago and L.A.

For me, running is more than just a form of exercise – It is a passion. Running provides me with peace of mind, a sense of accomplishment, and a fun way to counter my enjoyment of eating! Before I took up running, I was a heavy smoker and when i stopped i quickly gained 30 pounds. I really believe running saved my life! I have finished every marathon I have started, something I credit to running injury free. I have gained great insight about myself as a result of my running, and I feel I am a better person for what I have learned. It is the perfect merger of the physical and mental components of life. This is something I try to pass on to my clients.

Why did you decide to become a private coach?

I had been coaching informally for many years, offering advice when asked (and sometimes when NOT asked!) and I realized that becoming a teacher – the profession I originally pursued – could still be achieved by becoming a private coach. After 97 marathons, I can assure you that I have made every running mistake in the book! However, I have learned from each and every one of them, and I have come to realize that my “body of work” has provided me with a unique perspective for teaching: Not just doing things by the book, but also helping others avoid the simple and sometimes silly mistakes I have made over the years!

What do you enjoy most about coaching?

I enjoy so many things about the coaching experience. I enjoy working with people of all ages; I enjoy working with individuals who want to achieve anything from once around the track to a marathon; I enjoy teaching form and technique that will help a runner perform better. More specifically, I like working with the psychological aspects that some runners need to deal with, e.g. confidence, self-image, weight issues, etc. Running involves puffing out one’s chest as well as one’s mind! However, what I enjoy most about coaching is helping others to achieve their goals. The satisfaction I derive from that is priceless. The clients are so appreciative, yet it is I who wants to thank them for allowing me to be part of their running experience!

Do you have a motto and how does it reflect your running philosophy?

I believe that you can lead a runner to the starting line, and then (s)he must have the physical capability and mental fortitude to accomplish his/her goal. My job as a coach is to prepare my client in all aspects, and to maximize his or her abilities and potential. I never force a client to do anything, because I want them to awaken mental toughness within themselves. I started running marathons rather late in the game (first one when I was 39). Over the years I got faster, then I got slower, and in the last 2 years I have gotten faster again (maybe I am the Benjamin Button of running!). I have a tee shirt that I wear ONLY on marathon race day. On the back is listed every marathon I have run. On the front, across my chest, is my mantra: “You don’t stop running because you get old. You get old because you stop running.” It’s a mantra that I plan to grow into.