Run to the Top Podcast | The Ultimate Guide to Running

Running podcast to motivate & help runners of every level run their best. Coach Claire Bartholic interviews athletes, coaches, scientists, psychologists, nutritionists, & everyday runners with inspiring stories.
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Feb 12, 2020

From War Zones to Ultra Podiums: How Running Makes Joshua Stevens Thrive

In this episode, Coach Claire digs in to find out how Joshua went from that shocking diagnosis to running his first ultra at age 44, and eventually becoming the Badwater Ultra Cup Champion. We also learn how he approaches training and injury prevention, his plant-based nutrition, and how he could run for 24 hours on a treadmill.

Joshua has incredible insight and is an inspiration, even if you don’t plan on running any farther than a local 5K. His experiences overcoming his injury, racing for 24 hours, and helping to pace and crew for friends are enlightening and huge confidence builders.

Questions Joshua is asked:

4:42 How do you look at aging and running performance?

6:27 What percentage of your training goes to all the ‘extra’ things beyond actually running?

7:17 How can people learn to stop worrying and love the treadmill?

9:38 What was it like to go through your spinal injury, receive a diagnosis that you’d never run again, and then actually start running again from scratch?

11:41 What were the steps you took to start running all over again?

12:52 What is the experience of pacing, and being paced, like?

14:49 How do you talk to somebody you’re pacing through the Dark Times of a race?

15:55 What is it like to be running an ultra really hard in the middle of the night and being sleep deprived?

18:25 What other learnings from your military experience carry over into your running?

19:36 How did you develop your running form and what tips would you share with us?

21:18 Is it easier to have better form in the gym than on the road?

22:47 What do you normally eat before and during a run?

26:14 Do you have any mantras that help you get through races?

27:59 Can you develop a positive voice when you’re not racing?

30:11 What advice would you give yourself back when you started running?

31:27 What is the best gift running has given you?

33:03 How can people connect with you?

33:35 What’s on your horizon?


Quotes by Joshua:

“It’s what you do with the other 20 hours. At least two-thirds to three-quarters of everything that I do is in support of the actual running.”


“If you have a negative mindset from the moment you step on the (treadmill) belt, it’s never going to be a good experience.”


“I’m just exceedingly stubborn. If you want me to do something, tell me not to do it, and I will make it my life’s mission; it will become my purpose to do it.”


“I didn’t know what I’d been missing until I got to pace and crew for some of my friends.”


“Where sleep is absolutely imperative is in the training and recovery cycles. I typically get between 8 and 10 hours of sleep a night. I try to be routine in that sometime between 9:00 and 10:00 is when I’m going down and getting up organically between 6:00 and 7:00.”

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Mentioned in this podcast: 

Run To The Top Winners Circle Facebook Community

RunnersConnect Facebook page

Art Loeb Trail

Run Rabbit 50 and 100 miler

Spring Energy Products

Wolf Pack - vegan-endurance-meal-for-athletes

SPEEDNUT WITH CAFFEINE (Vegan) - Extreme Efforts

Canaberry (Vegan)- Any Distance Fuel


Antelope Island 50-Miler

Badwater 135

The Javelina Jundred


Follow Joshua on:



We really hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of Run to the Top.

The best way you can show your support of the show is to share this podcast with your family and friends and share it on your Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media channel you use.

The more people who know about the podcast and download the episodes, the more I can reach out to and get top running influencers, to bring them on and share their advice, which hopefully makes the show even more enjoyable for you!



Feb 5, 2020

Running podcast to motivate & help runners of every level run their best. Coach Claire Bartholic interviews running influencers, scientists, psychologists, nutritionists, & everyday runners with inspiring stories.

Jan 29, 2020

The ongoing search for the best shoe for each of us is a challenge and an opportunity to improve our running. As we mentioned last week, better times, less injury, less pain, and terrain specific characteristics are some of what we are looking for in the perfect shoe.

Is there a best shoe for you? Julie Cattell from Milestone Running, an independent running store in the San Diego area, will give us her perspective on what’s hot and what’s not from a warmer climate perspective. Many of the shoes we learn about from Julie are different models than those Bryan picked for us last week. Because we really can’t have too many shoes to pick from, can we?

With running shoes being so important to us, we have devoted two episodes to this essential subject. Our first shoe episode was from the northern climes in Toronto, Canada where Bryan Smith offered us his thoughts on best shoes for all 4 seasons since Toronto experiences all of the weather elements including snow, ice, humidity, cold and hot days.

Today’s episode takes us to the southern part of California where, except for rain and fog, runners here can appreciate and, pretty much count on, moderate temperatures and outdoor accessibility almost every day of the year.

Jan 22, 2020

Is there a BEST SHOE for you? Bryan Smith is the area manager for Running Room, an independent running store, and he is here with us today to discuss the top 2020 running shoes from his perspective.

Shoes are probably the most important, and exciting, piece of a runner’s equipment. The ongoing search for the best shoe for each of us is a challenge and an opportunity to improve our running. Better times, less injury, less pain, and terrain specific characteristics are some of what we are looking for in the PERFECT SHOE.


Jan 15, 2020

Olympic Marathon Trials

There are few things more exciting than watching those who are the best of the best perform. Whether it’s sports, music, theatre, comedy, or anything else. And it’s a rare occasion that amateurs can compete along with them.

On February 29, 2020 (Leap Day), over 750 of the best American Marathoners will compete in Atlanta, Georgia for a select number of spots to represent Team USA in Tokyo this summer.

The Atlanta Track Club has the distinguished honor and responsibility of hosting the Olympic Marathon Trials in 2020. In this episode, we talk with Rich Kenah, Executive Director of the ATC, who shares some of the history of the Club, his own history as a high level competitive runner and lots of details about the upcoming Olympic Marathon Trials.


Jan 8, 2020

Dr. Eugene Charles experienced a sports injury in his teens that ended any athletic dreams he had. No one was able to diagnose the reason for his shoulder pain and after years of looking into and studying the problem he was no closer to a remedy.

Fortunately, Dr. George Goodheart had discovered a system of using movement and muscle testing to diagnose and treat health problems. Dr. Goodheart was giving a seminar nearby and after listening to this very knowledgeable man, Gene approached him about his shoulder. From watching him move and testing a few muscles, Dr. Goodheart immediately uncovered the underlying cause of pain, and in a few months it was completely healed. It changed Dr. Charles’ life.

Jan 1, 2020

What happens between Jan.1st and Feb. 1st? Why do the best intentions fail to become effective habits?

Performance psychologist, Dr. Michelle Cleere, is here today to discuss new year’s resolutions - How to Make Them, How to Keep them, How to Be Realistic and Still Reach High

Dec 25, 2019

2019 has almost ended and 2020 is all but upon us. This is a great time to appreciate the gift of fitness that has made such a difference in the lives of most of us listening to this podcast. Let’s take a moment to say “thank you” for fitness, especially running, and review the year behind us while also looking ahead with hope and some goals, too.

On today’s episode we will be sharing 2019 success stories from three of our own team members at RunnersConnect and what they had to overcome to create that success.

Listen to RunnersConnect Members Tom Van Ongeval, Francesca Fuller, and Krishna Akkaram tell their stories of 2019 success in running.

Dec 18, 2019

The holidays can bring joy and happiness, but depression, anger, and isolation can intensify at this time of year, as well.

Beth Shaw helps open the door for people to acknowledge major trauma and find help to live with it. If you, or someone you know, suffers more at this time of year, Beth can help. Her recent book, Healing Trauma With Yoga, is perfectly timed for a segment of our year when long, dark days can be even darker for some and when the joy of the season can be erased, instead of embraced without learning some of the tools that can truly help raise our spirits.

Dec 11, 2019

Felix Grewe and Mike Diehl have put together a book that includes many ways to build a circuit training plan and adapt it as your training changes or you become more fit.

Fit Strong Lean: Build Your Best Circuit Training Plan includes helpful photos and a variety of exercises for those of us who want to do our circuits at home or in front of a mirror at the gym, but not with a paid trainer.  This book provides top notch, professional assistance at a fraction of the cost.

In this episode, we learn a bit more about what each of them has to offer us to “build your best circuit training plan”.

Mike Diehl is a certified fitness coach for sports performance as well as health, fitness and sports rehabilitation. He has worked for the German Women’s National Tennis Cup Team for more than 10 years as their fitness coach and has worked with Wimbledon Champions as well as top soccer and ice hockey teams in Germany.

Mike likes to start his day early with an intensive workout. His philosophy is: “Everybody is able to become fitter, stronger and leaner! Pain doesn’t stand a chance against passion. It’s all about finding a goal for which you are willing to accept pain and hard work.”

Felix Grewe is a professional journalist, author, and fitness and tennis aficionado. He worked for many years as a full-time reporter for a German tennis magazine and went on to head up the media department of the German Tennis Federation. He now works as a freelance journalist, author and social media manager. 

Felix and Mike met for the first time about 7 years ago when Felix tried an experiment with Mike for a tennis magazine article. This was the spark for bringing together a workout book of Mike’s exercises and philosophy. Felix, as the writer/journalist and both as tennis and fitness experts put Mike’s methods into words. And, of course, Felix trains regularly using Mike’s workouts. 


Dec 4, 2019

Recovering from Injuries: Body, Mind, and Spirit

Are you currently injured? If not, lucky you! Injuries affect every athlete, from the elite Olympian to the weekend racer. When it happens, it can feel like the most devastating event possible. While some athletes are destroyed by the experience, others emerge from their recovery better, stronger, and more confident than ever. How?

Rebound, a new book co-authored by Carrie Jackson Cheadle and Cindy Kuzma, offers a roadmap to work toward a swifter, stronger comeback from injury using mental skills and psychological tools that allow you to take control of your recovery and ultimately, use the experience to your advantage.

In this episode, we talk to Carrie and Cindy, both runners, who collaborated on this book. Sharing their own personal experiences and stories from close to 50 other injured athletes who came back strong. They will inspire and educate you about the psychological and mental aspects of coping and recovering from being injured.

Nov 27, 2019

Strength Training From Body Weight Exercises to Major Lifting with Endurance Specialist Doctor Alex Harrison

If you are only running every day, you may be hindering your training. Cross training is extremely important to be at your best and today’s guest will speak to us about how to use cross training, specifically strength training, for ultimate results in your annual running plan. From body weight strength training to weightlifting, Dr. Alex Harrison will talk to us about how to use strength conditioning and proper nutrition for better running results.

Dr. Alex Harrison has years of competition, coaching experience, and the education to know how to deal with endurance athletes – from beginners to elite level.

Nov 20, 2019

When done properly, periodization allows for creating calculated major goals, and measured improvement in short, mid, and long-term objectives.

Today Dr. James Hoffmann will break down some of the details of an integrated, annual training plan that can help you peak when you need to by coordinating the three big parts: body, mind, and spirit; that unique individual who comprises YOU!

Nov 13, 2019

How much credit do you give to your feet for making you a better runner?  If you are like most of us, those feet get put into shoes and then you just hope they’ll do their job. 

It’s time to rethink the strategic value of those two extremities that connect you to the ground and push you forward with every single step.

Our guest today is Jay Dicharry and Jay is one of the foremost authorities on running bio-mechanics. Jay built his international reputation as an expert in bio-mechanical analysis as Director of the SPEED Clinic at the University of Virginia, and now as Director of the REP Biomechanics Lab in Bend, OR.  

In this episode, Jay teaches us the difference between Balance and Proprioception and why Proprioception matters so much for running effectively. He also shares with us tools and exercises to retrain our feet to work with us.

He is the founder and CEO of MOBO, a novel product that improves intrinsic foot control and today, Today’s interview will be going over running mechanics and how integral the foot is in the whole process of making running happen.

Nov 6, 2019

Stephanie Bruce is one of the most popular American distance runners competing on the circuit. She has used her platform to build up women, inspire others and uplift U.S. distance running as a whole. And it doesn’t hurt that she’s having one of the best years of her professional career. 

Oct 30, 2019

Spooky zombies and running the Lost Coast

It’s almost Halloween and that means… Zombies… And what do you do when you come across a horde of zombies? Run!

Ultra runner and author Camille Picott has written another suspense filled novel about long distance, endurance running and the dangers that lurk in the apocalyptic, new world of blood-thirsty zombies and renegade survivors. Her newest book features the perilous, fascinating, and REAL Lost Coast on the rugged and isolated northern California shoreline.

Today we’ll be talking about zombies, bears, and other scary stuff in Camille’s Undead Ultra Series. In addition to discussing the newest book, we’ll go into detail on how you can run the Lost Coast (or backpack if that’s more to your liking), and we’ll pick her brain about the Javelina 100, Camille’s longest race yet. The Javelina 100 always happens right before Halloween and is a self-described “ultra-runner’s costume party”.

Camille’s first 3 books were featured in our May 1, 2019 podcast honoring Zombie Awareness month. Take a listen if you haven’t yet heard it. It’s a great interview.

 And now she is about to release another installment of the Undead Ultra Series called The Lost Coast.

Oct 23, 2019

Go, Gwen, Go: A Family’s Journey to Olympic Gold

Gwen Jorgensen won gold in the 2016 Rio Olympics, along with many other wins, and she is currently training hard for another medal in the 2020 Olympics, this time in the Marathon.

We all know, it takes a village to raise an Olympian and today we talk with two of Gwen’s family members, Nancy and Elizabeth Jorgensen. They authored Go, Gwen, Go, a book about the Jorgensen family’s commitment to Gwen’s success and ambition to be a world champion and win gold. Today we have the opportunity to go in depth about “the village” that raised Gwen to this point. We hear about the 2012 Olympic disappointment,  the 2016 Olympic gold medal, and the 2020 marathon hopes and more in this fast-reading story where Nancy and Elizabeth Jorgensen share their version of an Olympian’s life and what that entails as “supporters” of one’s lofty dreams. 

Oct 16, 2019

From almost 500 pounds and a total couch potato to a living example of how extreme health improvements are possible, Marcus Cook talks to us about his own journey of weight loss and athletic discovery and how he was supported by so many along the way. 

In New York, Sunday, November 3, 2019, carrying a large placard of “Fat Marcus”, “Fit Marcus” will run 26.2 miles in the biggest marathon in the world.  He wants to share the message that “anything is possible” and each of us is capable of overcoming seemingly insurmountable challenges.

Oct 9, 2019

Michelle Barton, Ultra Runner and Co-Host of the Training For Ultra and Trail Runner Nation podcasts, joins us this week to talk about her experience and accomplishments with Ultra Trail Running.

Michelle has run some incredible races including Badwater 135, from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney; the Javelina Jundred, a 100 mile self proclaimed desert trail run costume party; and  Caballo Blanco joining the Tarahumara Indians in Mexico. She has also set over 24 course records. 

Michelle’s running appears in a chapter she wrote in Chicken Soup for the Soul, about her experience running Badwater 135 and the extreme challenges she dealt with to finish the race.

In this episode, we talk to Michelle about how her love of the outdoors led to her running and how her running has taken on bigger and longer challenges over the years. And she also has words of encouragement for those who would like to dip their toes into the waters of Ultra Running.

Oct 2, 2019

What makes The Chicago Marathon a special member of the World Marathon Series, and what makes the city that hosts it so special itself?

In 2019 the Chicago Marathon will be held on Sunday, October 13 and in this episode, we are privileged to have Carey Pinkowski, Executive Director of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon talking to us direct from Chicago. 

Carey shares some of the “inside stuff” to help race participants, as well as spectators, understand and enjoy how the race comes together; how to qualify, how to deal with race logistics, where it starts, where it finishes, where to stay, course details, best things to do in the city, etc.

Since 1990, Carey has served as Executive Director and has seen the race grow from 6,000 runners in 1990 to 44,341 finishers in 2017, including runners from all 50 states and more than 130 countries. 

In addition to being an exciting race to participate in with a big purse for top athletes, the Chicago Marathon charity program has raised more than $167,000,000 for local, national, and global causes since 2002.

Sep 25, 2019

What is it about runners and data? Do we love data because it’s simply the most tangible evidence of our abilities? Is it just another way to extend our run experience by reliving a race or training run? Or is it something more, something that can actually change us into even better runners for the rest of our lives?

Today, on Run to the Top Podcast we will speak with Magnus Jonsson, co-founder of Racefox, a wearable, artificial intelligence platform that responds to your running style and gives immediate feedback on how you can run better, faster, more effectively, and with fewer injuries.

Artificial intelligence may sound like something from outer space but, of course, it is with us every day and affects our lives in many ways. Magnus and his company have gone even farther into coaching runners via artificial intelligence. Algorithms, technology and science take us into a new dimension that allows immediate interpretation of massive amounts of data and classification of that data into personal information that can be used for immediate improvement as you run. This real-time coaching can help us stay injury free and improve incrementally by making focused changes, unique to our own bodies, whether elite or beginner.

It’s not as unbelievable as it may sound. Listen as we delve into Magnus’ and Racefox’s world of artificial intelligence and improved running. 

Sep 18, 2019

The San Francisco Marathon is one of those bucket list races for most road runners. Running across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge is such a unique and wonderful experience. Circumnavigating the beautiful City by the Bay with Fisherman’s Wharf, Golden Gate Park, cable cars, and surrounded by ocean is truly magical.

For some folks, including Michael Wardian, 26.2 miles is just a warm-up. In July 2019 Michael won the San Francisco Double Marathon – 2 X on the course for a total of 52.4 miles! And this was after several other races in 2019 including the World Marathon Challenge – 7 marathons in 7 days, on 7 continents! Michael won all of them! And even that wasn’t enough, as you’ll hear about what he did immediately afterwards.

Michael’s running career includes some crazy, funny records, and much, much more.  He is certainly unique in his goals and the running path he follows. We may not all have the same goals and push that Michael does, but in this episode he gives great information and inspiration that even we ‘mere mortal’ runners can use to improve our performance and goals. 

Sep 11, 2019

Dean Karnazes is considered a living legend to many of us runners. TIME magazine named him one of the “Top 100 Most Influential People in the World.” and Men’s Fitness hailed him as one of the fittest men on the planet. 

In this episode, Dean shares some of his favorite stories from this book, his favorite and toughest runs, and his general passion for all things running.

An acclaimed endurance athlete and NY Times bestselling author, Dean has pushed his body and mind to inconceivable limits. Among his many accomplishments, he has run 350 continuous miles, foregoing sleep for three nights. He’s run across the Sahara Desert in 120-degree temperatures, and he’s run a marathon to the South Pole in negative 40 degrees.

On ten different occasions, he’s run a 200-mile relay race solo, racing alongside teams of twelve. His long list of competitive achievements includes winning the Badwater Ultramarathon, running 135 miles nonstop across Death Valley during the middle of summer, and racing on all seven continents, twice over.

In 2006 he accomplished the seemingly impossible by running 50 marathons in 50 US states in 50 consecutive days, finishing with the NYC Marathon, which he ran in 3:00:00. In 2011 Dean ran 3,000-miles from the coast of California to New York City, averaging 40 to 50-miles per day.

Dean is the winner of an ESPN ESPY and a 3-time recipient of Competitor magazine’s Endurance Athlete of the Year award. He’s twice carried the Olympic Torch (2008 and 2018 Olympic Games).

Dean was recently awarded the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award by The President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition. And now, he’s out with a new book:Chicken Soup for the Soul, Running for Good.


Sep 4, 2019

Jeff Gaudette Talks About Another Type of Running Business

Last week we had guests Misa Dugally, Jeff Stokes, and Katie Ownbey talk about starting their running business, STRIDE which is a franchise type of business, geared to runners. Our focus during the talk was to introduce you, as running lovers, to some of the business options out there that cater to runners if you are considering this line of work. 

Today we have our very own Runners Connect Founder Jeff Gaudette to share his story. Jeff takes us through his business evolution of working with runners, culminating in what we now know and have come to love as RunnersConnect.

In addition to the inspiration behind RC, Jeff also shares with us his methodology for his business and has great insight for those considering starting a running related business of their own. He talks about business entities, employees, and the joys (and even the downsides, of being a business owner. 

We think you’ll enjoy this inside look into Jeff’s business and hope it helps you if you’re looking to start your own.


Aug 28, 2019

How many of us love running so much that we would LOVE to quit our day jobs and start running for work and play? It’s not simple and certainly not easy, but many people, including our own Jeff Gaudette at Runners Connect, take their passion and build it into a viable business. 

Today we have three great people joining us who will share their thoughts and experiences on the running business they have developed. Misa Dugally, Jeff Stokes, and Katie Ownbey will talk about their business called STRIDE, the first Indoor Running Franchise, and a “one of a kind, indoor workout studio geared specifically to runners.” STRIDE's treadmill-based cardio and strength classes are perfect for any level of walker, jogger or runner

They will share their personal stories that helped to formulate this dream business as well as the life paths and determination that brought enough pieces together to make it a reality.

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