How to Use Suffering to Your Advantage as a Runner

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In this podcast episode you will learn how to use suffering to your advantage as a runner and transform fear into positive growth as we talk with ultra runner and author Akshay Nanavati.

Interview with Akshay Nanavati

Akshay Nanavati is a Marine Corps veteran and ultra marathoner who has set a goal of running across every country in the world. When we spoke with him he had just finished the country of Liberia.

He’s the author of the book Fearvana -The Science of How to Turn Fear into Health, Wealth, and Happiness.

Akshay has set a goal of running from boarder to boarder across every country in the world. When we spoke to him he had just finished a 167 mile trek across Liberia.

What is Fearvana?

Fear and Nirvana (bliss) are seemingly contradictory ideas. But they are actually very complementary. Fear is an access point to bliss and ultimately enlightenment itself. It is the bliss that results from engaging our fears to pursue our own worthy struggle. Without struggle there is not growth . . . so find, live, and love your worthy struggle.

Finding Peace in Chaos

For more context, here is a short talk Akshay gave at Harvard.

Also Mentioned in This Episode

Akshay Nanavati website:

Yoga Trapeze -Yoga teacher Lucas Rockwood has come up with a unique solution called, The Yoga Trapeze. This lightweight, versatile inversion sling can hang in a doorway or from an exposed beam. It is excellent when used for yoga poses, core work, and traction (1-7 minutes upside down daily is recommended). You can try the Yoga Trapeze for 30 days for just $1 by going to, and if you use coupon code “marathon”, you’ll get a free instructional DVD with your order. 

Blinkist -Blinkist is the only app that condenses thousands of nonfiction books into the best key takeaways and need-to-know information. 8 Million people are using Blinkist right now and it has a massive and growing library which ranges from self-help, business, and health to history books.

Mace -When runners hit the road or trails, they shouldn’t have to worry about self-defense. You can stay focused when you carry Mace Pepper Spray, because you’ll be prepared when it counts. Mace actually invented pepper spray – and they offer tons of other self-defense products. Enter promo code MTA for 20% off your kit today.


At age 62 I just completed my first marathon (Disney) in a time of 4:06:09. Couldn’t have done it without the very helpful MTA podcasts. Proud to say I just signed up as a MTA member. Now I can become even more informed! Jeff

7 Responses to How to Use Suffering to Your Advantage as a Runner

  1. Michelle Linney January 31, 2019 at 10:39 am #

    Thank you for your interview with Akshay Nanavati! I was incredibly moved and inspired by his story and plan to download Fearvana to take along with me on my running journey. Thank you for always bringing quality content to your podcast!

    • Angie Spencer January 31, 2019 at 12:29 pm #

      Thanks Michelle! We’re so glad you enjoyed it and know that you’ll get a lot out of his book 🙂

    • Akshay Nanavati February 5, 2019 at 2:17 am #

      Thanks so much Michelle. I’m honored that you found my story inspiring and that you decided to download Fearvana. I hope you find it valuable and it helps you on your running journey.

  2. Andrew Lorenzo January 31, 2019 at 7:49 pm #

    Great interview and i LOOOOVE the “dart” ideology. Amazing guy and such an awesome perspective on getting out of those comfort zones and living with fear.

    • Akshay Nanavati February 5, 2019 at 2:18 am #

      Thank you so much for your kind words Andrew. I’m so glad you found this valuable.

  3. Mauricio Garcia February 8, 2019 at 10:44 am #

    Amazing interview, thank you for sharing. So true about pain…..I try to use pain to my advantage, I have increased my baseline from 5k to 8 k in less than 2 months having to go through difficult pacing runs as well as a lot of physical struggles, however, it feels great to be able to run a 1o k and still be able to be functional in the afternoon and not a couch potato, My personal goals for this year are 2, 1 – Run a sub hour 10k and run my first half marathon. I know I cannot compare myself to other listeners nor Angie for that matter who is a Master runner, but i do my best from time to time . I thank you for this interview, this one goes into my personal vault. Cheers,

  4. Tina February 23, 2019 at 12:38 pm #

    This was really helpful.

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