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Finding Strength in Movement: Joe Drake's Journey of 18 Marathons with PD

Chronic condition diagnosis has gradual changes in every aspect of your life including physical, psychological, psychosocial, and societal domains. As the body is undergoing changes based on the underlying diagnosis. It’s important for the individual to identify, and recognize the changes associated with the condition and eventually take control of the disease to better navigate the disease process and continuously enhance their quality of life.

Diverse Approaches to Managing Chronic Conditions:

Individuals have distinct approaches to managing their conditions. Some are proactive, always planning and seeking solutions, while others take more time to figure things out. Combining a range of approaches can help individuals effectively manage their chronic conditions, improve their quality of life, and achieve overall well-being.

Let’s explore the diverse approach people take to manage chronic conditions effectively.

  • Active coping: To effectively engage, educate themselves about their conditions, implement gradual changes, and seek appropriate care, and guidance.

  • Collaborative Care: Working closely with a team of healthcare professionals to receive comprehensive care and engaging in shared decision-making processes.

  • Peer Support Networks: Connecting with others facing similar challenges to share experiences, seek advice, and provide emotional support.

  • Mind-Body Approaches: Integrating practices like meditation, mindfulness, and yoga to enhance overall well-being and resilience.

  • Technological Solutions: Utilizing mobile apps, wearable devices, and online platforms for self-monitoring, medication management, and remote communication with healthcare providers.

Self-Efficacy as a Driving Force:

An essential factor in achieving success is self-efficacy, which refers to the belief in one's ability to exert influence over the conditions that affect one's life.

"Esteemed researchers and Parkinson’s patient advocates, such as Diana Cook, describe Self-efficacy as an internal strength that directs cognitive processes, emotional reactions, and behavioral patterns toward managing one's disease”.

Vicarious experiences gathered while learning more about other's work, mastery achieved through setting goals, physiological feedback, and positive reinforcement serve as key components for enhancing self-efficacy.

Joe Drake's Inspiring Journey:

One remarkable example of harnessing self-efficacy is Joe Drake, who received a Parkinson's disease diagnosis in 2018. Following the recommendations of his movement disorder neurologist, Joe embraced medication and vigorous exercise as part of his treatment plan. Despite having no prior experience in long-distance running, he decided to commit to marathon training to meet his exercise goals.

Strategizing for Success:

To prepare for the marathon, Joe took strategic steps. He engaged with fellow runners and immersed himself in the running community, further enhancing his experience by working at a running shop. Through these endeavors, Joe gained invaluable knowledge, gradually achieving success, and completing 18 marathon races. He remained mindful of his training protocol, regularly assessing, and making necessary adjustments.

Inspiring Others and Giving Back:

Joe's commitment to his training plan extended beyond personal achievement. He embarked on a journey of world marathon training, inspiring others and providing support to Parkinson's disease researchers. As an author of the book "Run With It," Joe regularly shares his experiences through his website Joe's Gotta Run & Medium posts aiming to connect, learn, and encourage others on their own paths. Check out his recent interview discussing his journey and path to success.

Managing chronic conditions requires resilience, adaptability, and a multifaceted approach. By actively coping, embracing collaborative care, seeking support from peers, integrating mind-body practices, and leveraging technological advancements, individuals can thrive in their health journey. Joe Drake's inspiring journey reminds us that with determination and a positive mindset, we can turn challenges into triumphs. Let his story motivate and empower you as you navigate your own path toward a fulfilling and empowered life.

We invite you to share your goals and approaches to managing chronic conditions. Connect with us at as together we can learn, support, and empower one another on this path towards enhancing your quality of life.


Amy Stevens and others, Helping People with Parkinson's Disease Build Exercise Self-Efficacy, Physical Therapy, Volume 100, Issue 2, February 2020, Pages 205–208,

Estrada-Bellmann I, Meléndez-Flores JD, Cámara-Lemarroy CR, Castillo-Torres SA. Determinants of self-efficacy in patients with Parkinson's disease. Arq Neurostimulator. 2021;79(8):686-691. doi:10.1590/0004-282X-ANP-2020-0185

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