Member Blogger Kathleen Bush sits down with Certified Running Coach and Cycling Instructor Extraordinaire Missy Witte to talk about her new running program, yoga, and how she stays motivated to set and reach her fitness goals.
Randy Pausch, motivational speaker and author of “The Last Lecture,” once said, “You have to decide if you’re a Tigger or an Eeyore.”
This quote, a favorite of Midtown Cycling Instructor and Running Coach Missy Witte, an obvious “Tigger,” has served as both her mantra and approach to life.
If Missy’s energy came in a bottle, everyone would want to drink it. As a role model for a healthy lifestyle for both her clients and her three active, young children, Missy’s genuine desire to help others achieve their fitness goals is obvious by both her work and positive demeanor.
Although perhaps best known for her invigorating cycle interval workouts, cycling is not Missy’s first workout of choice.
“Running is my true love,” she explains. “I have a good base, a good background. I have run eleven marathons to date. I’m definitely looking for more.” Missy is so passionate about running that she obtained her running coach certification. Her new running program launches this week.
Training New Runners and Seasoned Race Veterans
Missy’s putting her Certified Running Coach credentials to work in getting the club’s running program off the ground.
“There are three ways to work with me. For private or group training, you’ll run with me and/or a group of other Midtown runners of similar ability. You’ll also have one hour per week of endurance and/or strength training with me, in addition to training tips or support.”
Members who have enrolled in the running program communicate with Missy at least three times a week, and on Sunday, each person receives a personalized training plan for the upcoming week.
There is also coach-only training, with all the benefits of the private or group options, minus the hour-long training sessions.
The program is for runners at all levels, and for those who want to begin running. “Anyone can do this,” Missy explains. “It is a very open, friendly program.Whether you just want to be able to run a mile, or run your first race, or you are a veteran chasing a PR – this program can help you.”
This is Not Your Cookie-Cutter Program
“I’ve had a ton of success with one-on-one tailored programs,” Missy says. “The new running program I’ve created is not a cookie-cutter program you could find on the Internet. Following one of these doesn’t make sense. It’s like ripping a fad diet out of a magazine. It won’t work.”
Pointing out the benefits of training with a coach, she says, “I get feedback from my runners about their bodies and progress and I adapt it to meet their needs. It is very much about what works for you, and not what your friend is doing.”
Best of all? Accountability. “If I’m not hearing from you, you’re hearing from me,” says Missy.
Missy has always set goals and worked to achieve them. “I do a ton of visualizing,” she explains. “As I approach 40, I don’t want to give up doing what I love.” To those trying to stick with a fitness commitment, she offers this piece of advice: “The hardest part is making the decision to just go. Then the rest takes care of itself.”
How a Runner Became a Yogi
To help rehab a potentially debilitating muscle tear, Missy turned to yoga. “If you can find time to do one extra thing, make it yoga,” she says. “Before I started yoga, I thought, ‘Oh, that’s not for me. I need adrenaline. I need to sweat.’ But trust me, you will sweat. What a workout. I haven’t had to go back to the weight room since.” Her orthopedic doctor, also a marathon runner, was blown away by Missy’s increased flexibility and her rehabilitation after she began practicing yoga. She acknowledges, “If I can extend my running into my 70s, this is how I will be able to do it.”
What’s In Missy’s Kitchen?
Missy is quick to share her top foods. “Greek yogurt. My kids like it too – they say ‘Mom, this tastes like ice cream!’ Also I love Kashi cereal. I mix it in yogurt for texture.”
She also adds that she has a stash of dark chocolate hidden away, and a supply of fresh strawberries and blueberries are always in her fridge. She and her family also eat a lot of chicken for protein.
Some might be surprised to learn that Missy had a lucrative pharmaceutical sales job, which she left after the birth of her first son in order to obtain her certifications and pursue a fitness career. “I moved toward something that I really, really loved.”
And she never looked back.
For more information on Missy’s running program, which can help you start running, train for your first race, or PR your 50th, contact her at email@example.com or 461-2300, ext. 324.
Three days a week, my morning begins with a 5am run. I arrive home, get three kids under six (including three-year-old twins) out of bed, dressed, fed, on the bus (or in the car) and off to school. On my off-days, I’m up at the same hour, working before the wee ones arise.
My days are scheduled down to the minute with work, meetings, shuttling children to various destinations, and trying to remember deadlines, doctor appointments, and dinner plans.
I attempt to keep my calendar static, but it never stays that way. I try not to worry about the things I cannot control, like when my nanny’s grandmother died during the same week my son stayed home sick from school and I had a looming deadline, but I never stay nonplussed for long.
Bottom line? I run hard(ish). I work even harder. And I am stressed out.
In the fall, as I was circling the drain of “Too-Much-On-My-Plate” despair, I sat down with Randi Lattimore, Mind/Body Director of Midtown Athletic Club in Rochester, NY, to conduct this interview. Something she said while we were chatting hit home for me.
She said, “Yoga is for everyone.”
“That’s a nice thought, Randi. But yoga isn’t for me,” I said. “I’m too tightly wound. Yoga is for people who are more chill than I am. I can’t relax.”
Then I realized the irony in what I was saying.
And the next day, having never before taken a single yoga class, I enrolled in Yoga School, Midtown’s unique program for those new to the practice or those who have been away from it for awhile. Small class sizes ensure personalized attention, which was something really important to me as a Type A, because why do something if you’re not going to do it exactly right? Who’s with me here?
Over the course of the four-week program, taught by the amazing Lindsay Hildreth, I learned:
Basic yoga poses with an emphasis on proper alignment
The importance of breathing (who knew?)
That I am not the inflexible and uncoordinated mess of limbs I once thought I was (although I have a long way to go)
That shavasana (the quiet time of personal reflection that concludes each class) is like a tonic for the soul
The personal approach to yoga (it’s an individual practice and there’s no “beating” anyone, as I was accustomed to with running races) is one I could totally (and surprisingly) embrace
Yoga School ended two months ago. I’ve practiced yoga almost every week since.
Starting the practice of yoga didn’t eliminate my stress. It’s still there, a product of a busy job, needy young children, and a calendar that’s always packed with responsibilities.
But it has taught me that when I’m in class, on my mat, being present within myself, it’s okay to let go for a little while.
Yoga has allowed me to relax and center my thoughts. To focus on my body and what it can do. To let my breathing guide my movement. To stretch my mind as well as my limbs. To embrace the hour of practice as my own, and to shut out the distractions and pressures that often circle me like wolves.
It’s not the high-energy, cardio-heavy workout I’m accustomed to. It’s still very hard for me to slow down, and to accept that my heart won’t be pounding and I won’t breathe heavily at the end of yoga class.
No, instead yoga is something entirely different. It helps me feel less anxious and more calm. Less like my busy life is spiraling out of control, and more like I am in charge of it, instead of the other way around.
And it’s helped my five-year-old daughter too, who in the fall finished her own first session of yoga at the club, through the Midtown Varsity program, and is starting her second this week. She adores yoga, and the lovely “Miss Jen” (Hess) who teaches it. The benefits of yoga for kids are numerous, including its ability to foster a bond with your three-year-old little sister.
Check out the schedule for Kids Yoga and other complimentary Midtown Varsity classes here.
The Winter Session of Yoga School begins next week. Morning, afternoon, and evening sessions are offered at a variety of times. Grab a registration form at the club, or contact Randi for more information at 585-461-2301 x103 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trust me on this: Randi is right. Yoga is for everyone, even scary Type A’s like me. If I can embrace (and love) yoga, then anyone can.
Yogis, please share with us. Why do you love yoga?