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Quotes by Joe Henderson


Your toughness is made up of equal parts persistence and experience. You don't so much outrun your opponents as outlast and outsmart them, and the toughest opponent of all is the one inside your head.

- Joe Henderson -

Successful distance running draws on many traits. Speed is a gift from our parents. Physical strength helps, as do leanness of the body and efficiency of movement. Mental strength – sometimes defined as a 'high pain threshold' – plays a big role, as does a strong motivation to succeed. But no trait better defines a distance runner or is admired by runners than endurance. This is the ability to persist, to go the distance, and come back for thousands of tomorrows. The best one-line statement ever written about distance running didn’t come from a coach or author. It came from an anonymous ad writer for the Nike shoe company, who coined the phrase 'there is no finish line.' As a runner, you aren't looking for places to stop but for ways to keep going. You greatest victory doesn’t come at the end of any race but in running that never ends.

- Joe Henderson -
Better Runs

I once thought the best racing memories would center on fast times and long distances run. They don't. They focus on places traveled and people met. My ability to race fast is gone now. But the best experiences of racing are lasting and always being renewed... I don't want to run races just to reach some arbitrary round-number goal in the distant future, but for what each race gives me immediately. It automatically takes me places where I wouldn't otherwise go, and automatically puts me closest to the people most like myself. I can think of no finer way to spend the rest of a running lifetime than at weekly races.

- Joe Henderson -

The challenge in running is not to aim at doing the things no one else has done, but to keep doing things everyone could do - but most never will.

- Joe Henderson -

A main difference between true runners and dabblers at running is how often they obey stop signs. You are a true runner because of the running you do on the days when you didn't feel like starting.

There also are days when feelings lie in reverse. You want to run when your body really needs to rest. But far more often you don't feel like taking the hardest step - the first one out the door - and look for reasons not to take it. These reasons usually have nothing to do with your ability to run. You just feel sleepy, hung over, harried, stuffy, or stiff - feelings that running is more likely to cure than to make worse.

Get past the lying feelings by making them wait to be heard. Plan only to start, reserve judgement for a mile or two, and only then decide where to go from there. The body tells the truth after it is warmed up. More often than not, the voices that conspired against running will have stilled by then.

- Joe Henderson -

It comes with age, of course. The older we get, the greater the shift in proportions from life ahead of us to the living behind us, the more we look back and the less ahead.... But runners can't live in the past. Once we quit looking ahead, we become ex-runners... The past is a nice place to visit, but we can't live there.

- Joe Henderson -
Best Runs

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