Athlete Spotlight – Tiffany Henness
Fitness coach, Tiffany Henness, a self-described adult onset athlete, discovered running after graduating college, found CrossFit in her late 20s. She has had many misadventures in fitness, but worked her way from struggling through a single mile to completing a 50k! Tiffany became a personal trainer to help other adult onset athletes who struggle to believe in their potential.
What is your favorite part about running?
I’ve learned to mentally settle into a long run. Sometimes my mind is active, sometimes very clear and calm. Either way, I can be patient with my body and just keep lugging away at the miles. It sounds boring, perhaps, or somewhat mystical maybe. But to me, the one who used to give up and walk because the sound of my own heavy breathing was too demoralizing, this is huge. I run without music, I have no problem being in my own head or hearing my breath and footfall, I can just go. Anytime, anywhere.
How did you get started?
I got a flyer from Team in Training in the mail. My boyfriend (now husband) and I went to an informational meeting and walked out signed up to do a full marathon and a lot of fundraising. It was nuts. But after 4 years of volunteering and running with TNT, I finally learned to enjoy running.
How many races have you completed?
Let me consult my race spreadsheet… I believe 40. Mostly half marathons. Quite a few long distance relays.
How long have you been running?
I started training for my first marathon in 2008. I’ve run fairly regularly since then (minus the 9 months I had a foot injury).
What is your favorite distance to run and why?
Looks like half marathons according to my spreadsheet, and they are surely a good time. Not too hard to train for — you can finish it and still have energy for the rest of your day — but it still feels like a huge accomplishment.
What is your best training tip?
Since I work mostly with beginner to intermediate runners and marathoners, I’d say this is definitely the ONE thing I wish we could all ace in our training: consistency. Frequent, easy miles aren’t sexy like long runs or speed work. Almost every new runner or beginner marathoner I’ve worked with has a very patchy, inconsistent running schedule and it is the #1 reason why they DO get hurt and DON’T get faster or better at running.
What keeps you motivated?
I have a lot of motivational sources that ebb and flow. It’s a goal race, sometimes it’s my running buddies, or it’s my dog. One thing that never changes, though, is the deep-rooted conviction that I live for Jesus Christ, and the knowledge that I’m no good at being a loving, patient, and productive member of my family or community if I haven’t kept up on my physical fitness.
What advice would you give someone who is just starting on his or her fitness journey?
First, be smart about making small and sustainable changes to your diet and slowly increase your activity level. Second, imagine where you could be one year from now if you stick with it. Playing soccer with your grandkids? Finishing your first marathon? Third, write that down on a note card and read it to yourself every single morning. “If I make healthy choices today and get some kind of workout in, then one year from now I will ___________________”. Read it even on the days you don’t have a workout scheduled to just remind yourself. Train your brain to associate the effort of those small, daily changes with the heart-inspiring reward that can only be achieved through relentless forward progress.
If you’d like to learn more about Tiffany’s journey in the pursuit of physical and spiritual fitness, you should head straight to ThoroughlyThriving.com. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @CoachHenness.