VISION21 Athlete Spotlight | Josh Mercado

VISION21 Athlete Spotlight | Josh Mercado

To highlight some of your teammates who'll be following along with Vision 21, we asked some Heartbreakers what their goals are and what they're most looking forward to within the program. Here's Josh Mercado[Black and white portrait by Daniel Portal]

HB: What are you looking forward to in 2021?

JM: I can’t wait to hug my friends and loved ones once we’ve gotten the virus under control. Some say that we need 4 hugs a day for survival, 8 hugs a day for maintenance, and 12 hugs a day for growth, so 2020 has been a tough year for sure. I’m also hoping to make it out to Oregon for the trials (depending on what the world looks like) since I’ve never been to the west coast before!

HB: Which of our athlete consultants are you most excited to hear from?

JM: Oh boy. I know it’s a cop out, but they all bring different things to the table that I’m excited about! Getting to hear from Olympic athletes and local legends is a dream come true, but having followed Tim [Rossi] and the Lost Boys for a while, I’m really excited to hear about success at the amateur level. I won’t be competing for a spot on a team in June, so it will be nice to hear about putting in the work without that big, extrinsic goal. One of the things I love about the Lost Boys is their focus on fellowship. Leaning on friends to chase the dream is something I can definitely relate to.

HB: What’s your big running goal for the year?

JM: Run healthy all year. I got in the best shape I’ve ever been in during the beginning of the pandemic. I was easily running PBs in workouts. I was pushing my long runs further and further. It was great, but the hasty ramp up led to an injury that sidelined me for a lot of the second half of 2020. One of the things that I’ve learned during the pandemic was how important running is to my mental health and how much it sucks not being able to do it. I want 2021 to be about running consistently and letting the fitness flow.

More specifically, I want to see what I can do on the track in some middle distance racing. The mile is such a romantic event that everyone’s familiar with. Working on my weaknesses by learning to love the long run has been great, but now I want to focus more on the distances that play more to my strengths.

HB: How do you expect the Heartbreakers/Vision21 will help?

JM: Heartbreakers as a tool has been invaluable. It’s introduced me to some of my best friends and without them, I wouldn’t be able to train or compete nearly as well. I sure as hell wouldn’t have nearly as much fun doing any of it!

I love the concept of viewing the year as a whole in Vision21. I’ve learned that running improvement isn’t made in individual workouts, but rather in the stacking of weeks and months of intentional training. Fitness has its peaks and I’m excited to have a road map to plan those peaks around. I’m hoping that the event calendar plus the wealth of collective knowledge will keep me focused on the bigger picture throughout the year. I also wouldn’t be mad about making a few new ~famous~ friends.