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Meet Janet Hamilton of Running Strong

Today we’d like to introduce you to Janet Hamilton.

Janet, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started out working in orthopedic physical therapy clinics and became interested in doing more than just treat symptoms (which was what most PT was at that point). I pursued a master’s degree in Exercise Physiology and then focused on biomechanics and functional movement analysis and the use of specific exercises to address the underlying factors that were contributing to the injury patterns I was treating.

I eventually moved from the north Alabama area out to Portland Oregon and got involved with a group called “Team Oregon”. This was a group of coaches who were training runners for distances from 5k up to ultra-marathon distances and I helped design training plans and helped injured runners get back in their groove. After several years my husband’s job moved us from Oregon to the Atlanta area and this is when I really got Running Strong spun up as a coaching business.

I took a break from clinical rehab work to write a book about treating and avoiding running injuries (“Running Strong and Injury-free” no longer in print) and focused on getting the coaching business off the ground. It was a part-time thing initially because at that time I was traveling around the country teaching coaching certification classes for the Road Runners Club of America and was also an Assistant Professor teaching at Clayton State University.

While at CSU I was instrumental in initiating and developing their bachelor’s degree program in Health & Fitness Management and taught a variety of Exercise Science courses. I left CSU in 2007 but continued to travel around the country teaching the RRCA coaching certification and at this time the Running Strong coaching business was very much a full-time thing and I had clients from around the country as well as several international athletes that I was coaching for a variety of distances.

I feel very fortunate that I followed the path I did. Each piece of it has played a role in making me the coach that I am today. My passion is helping my clients achieve their goals and avoid setbacks due to injuries.

Has it been a smooth road?
For the most part, it has been a smooth road. There were some interesting twists and turns along the way but it seems like each opportunity opened a door for another one. I am fortunate in that my master’s degree in Exercise Physiology along with my previous rehabilitation experience gave me the background I needed to do what I do. I would never have predicted that this is where I’d end up but I love what I do and I love knowing that I am able to help my clients achieve their goals and come back from sometimes very challenging injuries to be able to enjoy the gift of running again.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Running Strong – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Running Strong provides coaching for runners training for distances from 5k up to ultra-marathon distances (distances longer than a 26.2-mile marathon). Coaching can be provided in person for those in the Atlanta metro area, but more than half of my clients are from other states and I’ve coached athletes in Australia, Canada, Russia, Italy, South Korea, and Germany. The beauty of the internet is that we can video conference if we’re not in the same town. I specialize in helping runners of all ages and abilities recover from injuries and return to their sport. I work with those who aren’t currently training but want to get started.

I also work with those who are already training well and want to take their performance to the next level: Want to qualify for the Boston Marathon? We can help with that. Want to try a trail-race? We can help train you for that. Want to transition from walking for fitness to running your first 5k? Yep, we can help with that too. Want to complete your first half marathon or full marathon? We’ve helped literally hundreds of athletes with that goal! Running Strong was awarded Best Running Coach in Atlanta in 2015 by Atlanta Magazine.

What sets us apart is that training plans are all fully individualized based on the client’s unique physiology and their individual goals. No cookie-cutter plans here. Your plan is built around where you are right now, where you want to be, and what time commitments in your life you need to work around. Training and life have to coexist. There is a strong emphasis on injury prevention through smart, physiologically based training plans. Every workout has a distinct physiological goal in mind and this helps you not only avoid training errors and injury, it also streamlines your training.

Whether you’re at the front of the pack or somewhere in the middle or even bringing up the rear – we can help you achieve your goals. I’m most proud of the fact that the entire focus of Running Strong is on the clients we work with. You won’t find any statistics about the coach’s latest races on our website… it’s not about how fast the coach is – it’s how well the coach can work with you to help you achieve your goals. By focusing on your unique strength and weaknesses the emphasis in training can be fine-tuned to YOU.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Atlanta has so many opportunities. I love the fact that trees are a big part of our cityscape and that we’re only a short distance from mountain hiking or a weekend at the beach.

You can get anywhere in the world from here. On any given weekend there are places to enjoy music, great food, a quiet hour or two in a museum, hike or bike or participate in any number of other hobbies.

The gift of Atlanta is all that it offers. The curse is that tends to attract a LOT of people. The traffic is the thing I like least! Getting from one end of the metro area to the other can take over an hour even in good traffic!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Carmen Mandato, Sally Boyd, John Schiffert, Paul Sorace, Jason Korzan, Caroline Burum, Philip Fishbane

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