About SRQ Running

Holly Johnson, Coach 

An average-at-best athlete growing up and into early adulthood, I began my competitive endurance sports streak at the age of 30 when I started out training to finish an Olympic distance triathlon. A then resident of Boulder, Colorado, I was motivated by my husband who encouraged me to get off the stair stepper and shift from indoor aerobics classes to the outside arena. This sports-minded community and lifestyle also included a wealth of professional coaches from which to study and learn. I finished my first triathlon in Steamboat, Colo., in 1991 coming in 20 minutes ahead of my target time. It was my “wow” factor  —  I can do this!   

From Olympic distance triathlon where I eventually placed 2nd in the 30s age group at the Boulder Peak Triathlon, I was then lured into distance running.  Despite an almost self-defeating 10-mile run in Vail, when I returned and said “not for me!” — a seed was planted. Shortly thereafter, an article in Runner’s World magazine showcased a marathon-training program by Benji Durden, a well-known distance running coach. This reduced volume-mileage program seemed within the realm of possibility, and my marathon journey began.

I followed the Durden program that focused on more speed training and lower overall weekly mileage to train for the inaugural Denver Marathon in 1993. I broke 3:40:00 and upon finishing said “never again!”. Lo and behold, I come to find out that I had qualified for Boston. And so the journey continued…

Over the past 28 years, I have had the pleasure of working with seven talented coaches who have helped me recovery from injuries and obtain a lot of running and training knowledge. I have competed in more than 200 races, ranging from 5Ks and 10Ks to half marathons and marathons as well as more than a dozen sprint and Olympic distance triathlons.   Of my total 26 marathons, I qualified for Boston at 20 of these and have run six, including my fastest marathon in 20 years in 2017 at the age of 56.  I also took on the challenge of one epic three-day TransRockies Run in the summer of 2016. But nothing will compare to the impact of participating in the 2013 Boston, where a fast finish 15 minutes under my age-group pace time saved me from being in the finishing area when the bombs went off. 

I have nursed and healed injuries, taken up a daily yoga practice, and incorporated pool running, walking, hiking, swimming, cycling, alpine skiing, Nordic sports, strength training and scuba diving as alternate and life-fun diversions and healing practices that I can also share with family and friends. 

So how does one go from average to amazing?  It’s called “Runner’s Mindset.” This practice and formula is one I have developed over the years and fueled my personal, professional and athletic development.  It has enabled me to excel in training, racing as well as in my public relations and marketing career.  It also fueled my courage to face and deal with adversity both in training, racing and life and learn how to embrace every setback as an opportunity to learn, grow and evolve as an athlete, coach, mother, friend, family member and public relations and marketing career professional.

I am an avid cook and traveler and have taken a personal interest in nutrition and fueling and how to incorporate these important tools to maximize well-being, energy and performance. My mantra is to embrace the “one step, hour, day at a time” philosophy, let go of the past and what was, live in the moment and help others embrace this as part of their running, racing and life journey.

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