Running influencers don’t lie but can disagree

Two running influencers caught my attention this week. They were sharing their views about a pair of running tights.

Both of them posted reviews of a popular local brand of running tights from Vivolicious. But here’s the difference… For a change, the reviews were completely opposite – one was positive and the other negative.

Comrades green number runner and Catch Me If You Can (CMIYC) leader, Tanya Kovarsky has been raving about her pairs of Vivolicious tights for a few weeks now. And gosh, go check out her Instagram feed. They look amazing!

(Even though Tanya’s tights are sponsored, I don’t hesitate to believe that her review is honest. I believe that she would only align with a brand she believed in 100%, especially when it comes to anything to do with running because it’s ultimately her reputation at stake and so many aspiring runners look up to her.)

Instastory wine celeb, photographer and runner friend, Jenty has also posted her experience with Vivolicious. But not as positive. The tights look stunning, even matching her toenail polish, as she pointed out. But the fit is uncomfy. They keep falling down when she runs and she’s questioning if she even has the right size for her body shape?

I’ve appreciated their honesty. Both credible fitness fanatics, runners and social media reviewers, I have found it refreshing to find two opposite reviews of the same product with equally relevant and important factors to consider when making this purchase decision.

Two different views for a change.

It’s impossible that every single influencer has the same experience and personal taste as the other! But knowing that one pair of tights can be a totally different experience on two different bodies builds trust in my eyes, both for the two runners and the brand.

But more importantly, runners don’t lie. And when it comes to being comfortable out on the road, we do look for the best and what works for our bodies.

So then? Will I buy a pair or not? Damn them both… I don’t know!

What my coaches taught me about running

I’ll be quite honest with you. When my CMIYC running partner (who I had only met 5 mins before the run) plugged her earphones in her ears into the 2nd kilometre of our 5km run, I was quite relieved. I was pushing myself so hard that I had started to grunt and pant like a bear and hoped her music would drown it out. I didn’t feel like chit chat.

Something else was on my mind. I had somehow managed to run the Randburg Harriers time trial route the entire way without stopping to walk once the week before. I was aiming to do it again but was already negotiating with myself that if I stopped to walk, it was okay. I mean, I had run the 10km Vitality Series road race on Sunday at Wanderers so was entitled to some rest time, right?

As we slipped into a rhythm, I started to question why the run felt so easy. Not once did I feel the need to stop or slow down. What had made the difference to previous runs? It’s then that the lessons from my previous running coaches made sense…

Coach Dave would repeat the same thing over and over: Consistency and discipline. Just go out and run, he’d say. Even if it’s 20 minutes. Do it. And yes, I have been doing that. Working from home has made it easier to close my laptop and run from home instead of sitting in traffic. The runs have been consistent and I’ve been kinder to myself for accepting that even a 3km run is still a run.

Track session with Coach Dave and his Running Junkies 2013. Best running years of my life hanging out with this bunch of amazing friends twice a week.

Coach Neville made the statement, “You can’t be training for a 21km PB until you’ve run your best 5km and 10km times. Start there.” His running programme started me out on 4km runs which is what I’ve mapped out around home. My fastest road race times have been while training with Neville.

So yes, I’ve focussed more on the shorter distances: between 4 – 7km runs during the week, running regularly, and only running the 10km races on weekends. Mentally, it’s felt a whole lot easier to commit to and I’ve bravely stepped it up along the way knowing that 10kms is pretty manageable.

Both coaches taught me valuable lessons and I was pretty thrilled when my Strava showed that I was trending faster. That’s always a good sign. I’ve also found another CMIYC group where the girls run closer to my pace – meaning I can still see most of them in front of me along the route.

As a runner, as in life, it’s not about giving up. It’s about finding what works for you and sticking to it. Only then will you see the results…

Catch Me If You Can (CMIYC) Randburg group

Spring has arrived! Yesss! New beginnings. New goals. New running races. It also means shaving legs. Happy running everyone!

Looking ahead, 10kms away

I’m excited for this Sunday’s road running race at Old Eds. The crowds. The vibe. The stench of Voltaren gel. The queues outside the loos. All of it!

It’s just a 10km race but I’m looking forward to the adrenaline and satisfaction one gets from crossing a finish line.

I’m one of “those people” that (over) analyses the course before the race so that I know what I’m in for. To be prepared, I tell myself. But it’s usually a mental mind fuck because almost every race in Jo’burg is hilly.

KK and I have run the streets of Jo’burg for so many years that I have the routes logged in my Strava history. The Old Eds route is daunting! Yowzer, check out these hills!

It’s a crazy downhill fall followed by a staggered 8km uphill climb to the dry, grassy finish at the club.

I realised looking back at my Strava history that there was a time when KK and I ran a race almost every weekend. A time when I desperately wanted to run a 21km in 2:30 minutes and was absolutely gutted after each and every race when that goal seemed completely unobtainable.

Old Eds road race 2014.

So much as happened in the last couple of years which has changed my views on what really matters with running and in life. People and things come and go…Running coaches, running friends, running partners, running races, running injuries.

Weight loss, weight gain. Pffft….

Shorter distances have led to achievable goals. The runs around my neighbourhood have been so good for my soul. There’s a time and season for everything and those days of chasing 21km PBs have been shelved (for now).

CMIYC (Catch me if you can) photo stop

Runners don’t always give themselves credit for their running ability and so one of the other things I’m changing about my running is the narrative.

So yeah, I’m really looking forward to Sunday. It’s not “just” a 10km road race. It’s a 10 kilometre road race with 6 000 other amazing, strong runners through the beautiful tree-lined streets of Houghton on a fresh pre-Spring Sunday morning!

See you there!

5 lessons from the Two Oceans half marathon for new business owners (aka me)

Let me dive right in. This year was tough. Not only for me but for KK running the Ultra with a last minute route diversions through Ou Kaapse Weg. Here’s what 21.1kms taught me about running my own business.

Lesson 1: You can’t predict what’s coming.

Route changes, rain, water stations running out of water, niggly ankles. Nothing prepares you for hard times. And there’s nothing you can do about them either. They will be there. Deal it and move on. You will get through whatever it is!

Lesson 2: Training is important.

Those long Sunday runs with Tamryn made the difference to my race. When I got to the 16km mark and knew I had 5kms to go, I didn’t stress. I had enough fuel in my body and energy in my legs to keep going and even ran the last few kilometers where I could.

Preparation, learning, up-skilling is everything! And you owe it to your clients so that you both win.

Lesson 3: Sometimes it hurts. But don’t stop.

The argument in my head about quitting when it rained, crying because my ankle hurt, the fear of missing cutoff was intense. Was I really cut out for running?

The imposter syndrome of claiming to be this great half marathon runner is quite similar to the feelings I’ve experienced as a newbie entrepreneur. You have to push through those feelings of doubt and negativity! You are and will be successful, believe it!

Lesson 4: The rewards are phenomenal.

I found my run was a mix of ups and downs. When I felt like quitting, I’d rise above it and get to the next kilometer and rejoice. The victory of getting over Southern Cross Drive, the success of making the 3:20 cutoff, the medal I could finally hang around my neck.

If you take the time to look, you will find that there are many successes along the way. Owning your own business is incredibly rewarding.

And finally,

Lesson 5: There are supporters along the way.

The support and belief in me from my family has been incredible. The work that has come through friends via word-of-mouth has totally surprised me. It’s been touching and has meant the absolute world to me.

When you’re running (or crawling) up Southern Cross Drive and someone shouts out, “Go Bronwynne, you’ve got this…” it’s just the best feeling in the world.

I realized that after 5 months of being a new business owner, nothing will ever prepare me. It’s a journey. A moving target. A hard one. A fun one. Ups and downs. Highs and lows.

But the reward at the end is priceless! And this is only the beginning. Many races still to come…

Celebratory drinks