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Episode 312: JJ Santana – Healthy mindset with racing, 2:17 debut marathon & pacing duties at the Marathon Project for Sara Hall

JJ Santana is on a mission to run his fastest times at 34 and there’s a lot to sit back and watch. He debuted the marathon just two years ago at CIM in a time of 2:17, qualifying him for the Olympic Trials. He also had the super cool and fun job of pacing Sara Hall at the Marathon Project back in December and he shares about how he landed that duty in this episode.

In this episode we dig into his pacing duties pacing Sara at the Marathon Project and we also talk about his big dream goals for his own running career which is blossoming! He has only really raced two marathons and has a goal of breaking 2:14 this summer and even bigger plans beyond that.

One of my favorite parts of this conversation is when he talks about mindset and how he feels about racing. I hope it will help all of us reset how we think about it and enjoy it just a little bit more!

This was a super long conversation so I pulled out a couple of parts and those pieces will be up on Patreon for extended conversation if anyone is interested in hearing more! You can access that at I drop bonus episodes over there every single Wednesday.

Big thanks to listener Gieselle for suggesting JJ for the show!

What we talked about:

4:25- JJ’s recent training

5:05- Having COVID and how he is feeling now

10:40- JJ’s journey of getting into running

16:55- His mindset around racing, embracing the hard parts in races, and getting the best out of himself

28:05- What he was up to while he took a 6-7 year break from running

31:50- Helping kids find a balance between video games and being active

37:20- His current running career, qualifying for the Olympic Marathon Trials, and his pacing duties

40:50- The marathon in Utah that he is preparing for

43:05- The details on pacing Sara Hall at The Marathon Project 

1:02:20- Some of the fun virtual challenges and races that he did over the past year as well as the half marathons that he put on

1:07:40- Looking long term at his running career as a whole

1:10:35- End of podcast questions

Connect with JJ:

JJ on Instagram

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