Life has its ups and downs. For runners, it’s literal.

And for sports entrepreneur Meghan Takacs — who’s #RunWithMeg brand has earned a spot alongside burgeoning athletic brands like Lululemon, Orange Theory, and Soul Cycle nearly overnight. Grit Daily caught up with Takacs in between workouts to get a deeper look at what’s going on behind the brand.

Grit Daily: You had your own adventures from before Run With Meg. Share those.

Meghan Takacs: Yes!

When I first graduated college in 2011, I dabbled in public relations as an assistant, where I learned I’m not so great at doing coffee runs. Great at “running” part, not so great on remembering who got the espresso and who got the latte. Also, I always felt weird working my ass off to make someone else’s dream happen. After that, I took the role as a digital project manager for a marketing agency in Atlanta. That’s where I learned how to execute operations, from start to finish, to create a user experience and brand for a product.

Once I had that knowledge in my pocket, I took a leap of faith and left my “real job” to build my own training business in Atlanta. And yes, my parents were concerned. But I ran track in college, and always wanted to make a living doing fitness, however, for some reason, I couldn’t shake the pressure to get a “real job” out of college.

Flash forward, four years later, I took an opportunity in New York to help develop an audio app. I worked there for about three years, and left in February of 2019 to build my own business (again). #RunWithMeg came from a really passionate place.

Over the past few years, I have dealt with the passing of some friends due to mental health, and so my goal with my app was to flip the script on running. Running isn’t about the miles you run. It’s about the confidence your gain in moving your body forward. My app is all about coaching you to run the right way first (technically), and then teaching you how to develop a work ethic in fitness, so that you can apply it to your day-to-day life to be an unstoppable badass. I empower my members to push their limits physically, so that they can break barriers mentally. I’m not about calorie counting or step tracking.

Instead, I coach you to bring your body to the brink — the right, and safe way — so that you step outside of your comfort zone, mentally, in all other areas of your life. That is how you fall in love with running. That is how your make the sport a lifestyle; not a weight-loss obligation.

GD: That sounds awkward.

MT: It may be weird, but so am I.

GD: For the uninitiated what does Run With Meg “do?” 

MT: #RunWithMeg provides structured monthly programs and race programs which consist of treadmill and outdoor runs, as well as video-guided, runner-specific, strength workouts. I also provide tiered levels (beginner, intermediate and advanced) so that my athletes strive for progress.

Run With Meg members have grown a super organic Facebook page where members have formed a community which serves as a safe haven to share anything from vulnerable stories, to pictures of ass sweat, and I love it. In the app, there is also a direct messaging feature for members to reach out to me to ask any questions they may have, to share sweaty selfies with me, or to just vent.

I love this feature because it provides a very personalized experience for the user. I like making my members feel like a team. And I enjoy being able to help people no matter what they may need. I’m not just a coach, but also a friend.

GD: What does your “signature treadmill” look like? 

MT: My signature treadmill is any treadmill that my user can get to. My members train anywhere from an Equinox, to their home gym. So I consider my signature treadmill to be anywhere my member can get the results I want them to get. They sweat on the treadmill, they say thank you, and then they go home and move on to their next workout. The fun thing about this, is that I can be present in any gym, at anytime. It’s not about the treadmill, it’s about the reason you wipe the sweat off that treadmill.

GD: What’s all this news about exercise (not wealth) leading to happiness? Wasn’t it “travel” and “experiences” that led to happiness? Let’s dispel the confusion here.

MT: Ah yes. I like this question. Admittedly, I used to be that person who would run to “stay skinny” or run because I was obsessed with mileage, or losing “fitness.” And I’m not exactly sure what I was running from, besides myself. And like I said before, my goal was always to flip the script on why people should run. I think when people “travel” or seek out “experiences” they are subconsciously looking for something deeper.

And a vodka and tonic on a beach somewhere is temporary fulfillment; it’s great, but the buzz wears off. It fills a temporary void for a much deeper need which is not being addressed. So, I believe that if the message I send, in terms of the purpose of my workouts, is delivered in the correct way, the epiphanies my guidance as a coach can provide, are more valuable than soaking in the sun on a tropical beach somewhere. And let’s be honest, the economy can be tough for people. Shit happens. You lose jobs, you fall into hardship sometimes (if the start up world has taught me anything, it’s that).

But the cool thing is that, if you unplug for a little bit, and push your body to the limit physically, you start asking yourself “Why am I running?” “What is my purpose in doing this?” And often times, like I do now, going on a run can give me all the answers I need when it comes to questions like how to build my business, or how to deal with my daily problems.

And that run? It didn’t cost me the price of a vacation, but it gave me the solutions I make an educated and purposeful booking on my next vacation. When you start running for the right reasons, you start to run for personal development. And when you start running for personal development, you begin to make better, more strategic decisions.

You begin to look forward to figuring out the hard problems because you know how to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. And in the real world, you are paid in direct proportion to the problems you solve. And the harder the problems you solve, the better vacations you go on. Running gives you that. And that is why we run.

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