Tom Hale on fitness

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Backroads Founder Tom Hale in the hills of the California coastI used to be pretty serious about the whole competitive running thing. I’ve run my whole life. And I’ve run myself into the ground–quite literally. I’ve had plenty of injuries. Too many, in fact. I’ve spent a lot of time figuring out what works for me, and I’ve learned a few things over the years. For instance, I am still only too happy to take a 10 mile trail run, but now I do it without getting injured.

Below, you’ll find a quick list of some of my favorite fitness tips. Hope this helps!

  1.  Measure everything (see my post on Quality Obsession)
  2.  Motivation is key
  3.  Make goals and work toward them
  4.  Keep your goals in mind, but be flexible and allow for change
  5.  Balance is essential
  6.  You’ll need to rest sometimes, and that’s okay
  7.  Make your fitness routine fun
  8.  Get your family on board; it’s easier to maintain if they support you
  9.  Choose healthy friends
  10.  Invest in good shoes–be careful with the minimalist craze. I prefer the new maximalist
  11.  Diet matters
  12.  Buy a great light for night running/walking/biking
  13.  Develop a system that’s sustainable
  14.  Be honest with yourself–if something isn’t working, ditch it!
  15.  Identify your bad habits, your challenges, and learn to overcome them
  16.  You’re never too busy to exercise
  17.  You don’t need a gym membership
  18.  You don’t need a personal trainer
  19.  You’re never too old or too unfit to get in shape
  20.  The weather is never too cold, too hot, nor too inclement to exercise (you just need better gear)


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Tom Hale

Tom Hale

Founder and President at Backroads
A native of Moraga, California, Tom Hale possesses a passion for two seemingly divergent interests—business and back roads—which he has powered into the world's most successful active travel company, Backroads. It was the back roads that first attracted him, as a competitive runner at Campolindo High School (where he still holds the two-mile record at 8:57.2) and at the University of Oregon, where he was a teammate of legendary runner Steve Prefontaine. Armed with a Masters in Environmental Planning from UCLA, Hale was six months into an environmental planning position in Las Vegas when the back roads called again—big time. A middle-of-the-night inspiration to start a bike touring company motivated him to pedal 5,000 miles alone through the West, all the while formulating plans for his new business. Settling in Berkeley, Hale washed fondue pots by night and built his fledgling travel company by day. In true entrepreneurial fashion, he did it all—designed the itineraries, maintained the bikes, led the trips, produced the catalog.
Tom Hale

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