Dr. Jason Karp is a nationally-recognized running and fitness coach and owner of RunCoachJason.com. As one of America’s foremost running experts and the 2011 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, he has been profiled and interviewed in a number of publications. A rare combination of education and experience, he holds three degrees in exercise science, including a Ph.D. in exercise physiology. He is a prolific writer, with more than 200 publications in fitness and running magazines and five books, including Running a Marathon For Dummies and Running for Women. He is a frequent speaker at international fitness and coaching conferences.
MO: Where does your passion for running and fitness come from?
Jason: From the time I ran my first race in elementary school as part of the Presidential Physical Fitness Test, I was hooked. The feeling of moving my arms and legs as fast as they could go to get from the start line to the finish line in the shortest time possible was so liberating and challenging and fun. I’ve been in love with running and racing ever since and became fascinated with the science of athletic performance.
MO: Have you always had an entrepreneurial spirit?
Jason: Yes. Although I took what many would think is a traditional path by spending 13 years in school to obtain three degrees, I knew all along that I didn’t want a 9-to-5 job and wanted to do something different and big.
MO: Can you talk about the inspiration behind and the process of re-branding your company to Run-Fit?
Jason: The inspiration to re-brand my company to Run-Fit came from a desire to bring running to the general public. Running is one of the best methods to get fit, lose weight, and feel confident, so I want people to associate my company with running as a path to fitness, health, and empowerment. Run-Fit is a strong and powerful name. If you want to be fit, you need to be run-fit!
MO: When you’re not busy helping your clients attain optimal fitness levels you’re also an author. When did you discover your love for writing and what inspired you to write your first book and how did the experience motivate you to write 4 more?
Jason: Throughout middle and high school, I excelled in English class and always did better on writing assignments compared to tests. I decided to minor in English in college, to the chagrin of my twin brother who was an English major himself and thought I was copying him. I started writing articles professionally for magazines after I completed my master’s degree, developing the articles around topics I had written about for school assignments. I figured I had all of these papers I wrote for school, why not try to make some money for it! I was inspired to write my first book, How to Survive Your PhD, while I was working on my own PhD. I became frustrated about the PhD process and wanted to give other doctoral students advice that I wasn’t given. I wrote most of the book while still in school. My other four books were simply a natural progression from that. I knew while I was still in graduate school that I wanted to write books as part of my career and I had already developed a number of ideas for books on running, so I started looking for an agent and found one immediately after completing my PhD.
MO: What advice would you give to someone contemplating running their first marathon?
Jason: My advice is to train smarter and more systematically and stop blaming shoes for your injuries. Polarize your training—run hard on hard days to provide stress and run easy on easy days to truly recover. When the training program is designed this way, with both stress and recovery given equal attention and diligence, it is an elegant system that works.
MO: Can you tell us a bit about your upcoming trip to Israel in July, 2013 to compete at the World Maccabiah Games?
Jason: The World Maccabiah Games are like the Jewish Olympics, held in Israel once every four years. It’s the third largest international sporting event in the world. I’ll be running in the masters division (age 40 and over) of the half-marathon, which is being held in Ramat Gan, just east of Tel Aviv. I’m really honored to be a part of Team USA and to have the chance to walk in the Opening Ceremonies in Jerusalem. I grew up in the Jewish capital of the United States – Brooklyn, New York. I attended Yeshiva as a kid with my twin brother. I walked to Temple with my family on the holidays. I played baseball in the street with the other Jewish kids. I chased Jewish girls around the playground. Perhaps that’s where my love of running really began (and my love of girls). My Jewish mother, who attended all of my races and was my biggest fan, worried about me every time I walked out the door to run. I’m sure my parents, who have both passed away, would be very proud of their son. Traveling to Israel for the first time and competing at the Maccabiah Games is a great opportunity to honor them and the Jewish culture I was raised with.
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