A champion NCAA runner, Jon Green joined the Saucony Freedom Track Club to pursue a professional running career.  When one of his friends there, Molly Seidel, left the club, he offered to coach her.  The two worked well together – very well.  Molly finished second in her first marathon, the 2020 Olympic trials, and took home the bronze medal from the Games.  In addition to coaching Molly, Jon is the head coach of Atalanta NYC, a new non-profit founded by elite runner Mary Cain.

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“Take a break and let your body heal, let your mind heal a little bit, have some fun.”

After turning professional, Jon found himself in an injury cycle and burned out.  He stopped running and has only recently started again, but now, instead of competing, he’s focusing on rediscovering the joy in running.

One factor that contributed to his burnout was that he had started coaching himself.  It made him realize that “somebody with a little bit of experience can go a long way in just helping you get some perspective on your own running.”

“I think everybody needs somebody to just bounce ideas off of and that person kind of needs to know the sport of it.”

That was how he and Molly began working together.  He would send her two-week training blocks, and she would give him feedback.  He says,“it was just that open line of communication which made life really easy and made coaching her really easy.”

“It was just really leaning on my resources at the end of the day and not being afraid to ask people for help.”

Besides respecting Molly’s opinions, Jon didn’t hesitate to reach out to his mentors for advice. He tries to “be a sponge” and learn from his peers, but at the same time, he’s confident in his choices. “I would say my training is probably a little bit more conservative than other coaches in the athletics world, but so far, I’ve had some good success with it and yeah, I’m going to continue to coach that way until I find a better way, essentially.”

 “We weren’t even necessarily concerned with making the team in the marathon.”

Jon and Molly had been looking at her marathon build as training for the 10,000 meter trials.  Going into the marathon, he told her, “If we’re back in 20th, that’s fine too. We’re having a great day. You’re coming away with the PR, as they say, no matter what.”  

“It was like telling a child on a winter day, let’s bring the winter coat.”

Molly was looking strong going into the Olympic marathon.  Still, when she saw that Jon was bringing her award ceremony kit to the race, she told him that he should take it back to the hotel.  He insisted on keeping it, and needless to say, was very happy that they did.  He brought it to her at the award ceremony, where they told each other, “We did it.”

 “We want to be this team that is kind of changing the industry.”

Jon and Molly have a lot of plans together, and he’s also taken on the role of head coach at Atalanta NYC..  Founder Mary Cain approached him with her vision for the team, and their values meshed.  “I didn’t want us to be kind of a cutthroat team or anything like that,” Jon says.  Rather than receiving stipends, the team members are full-time employees of Atalanta, with the goal of being successful in both athletics and their careers.

Atalanta is a team in more than running.  They’re “a group of women who are supporting women, and a group of women who are better because of their teammates and know that.”

In addition to coaching the professional team, Jon creates the plans for members of Atalanta’s Training Team, open to men and women nationwide.  He sums up his advice to all runners:

“The results will come if you just kind of constantly listen to your body, and then also relying on friends or mentors within the sport. Yeah, if you’re looking to succeed, I think that’s a recipe for success there.” 


Thank you to Tracksmith, Generation UCAN, and InsideTracker for sponsoring this episode.

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“Thank you” to Jon.  We look forward to hearing your thoughts on the show.

coaching, elite runner, marathon, Olympics

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