Thoughts out on a run…

I recently stumbled across a running article that had me nodding my head in agreement a few times. It’s a brilliant piece with nuggets that I’d recommend every runner start their New (running) Year off reading.

My favourite line from the article is this one:

“People run where they want to be at instead of running where they’re at.”

I see countless runners uploading frustrated runs to Strava because they expected to be running faster each and every time. Hey, I’m guilty too! The runs are recorded as, “My run is super slow, I’m irritated.” or “Legs like lead” and even, “Don’t know what’s wrong with me, walked on my run.”

Sound familiar?

Instead of focusing on where I am with my running, I’m focused on where I’m aiming to be and somehow expecting that each and every run recorded must be an improvement. That’s an awfully tough high expectation set.

How absolutely ‘gawjuss’ are these Vivolicious tights! #unsponsored

Which leads me to this…

At last week’s track session, my running coach Michelle went into detail about the Jack Daniels (no, the other one) pacing methodology which she uses in her training.

With a pen & paper in hand, she drew a couple of circles to explain what we’re doing and why the need for different pacing for different runs.

It’s important, she explained, that we respect an easy run to be just that. Easy. 

And that when we do our track sessions, it’s a quality session where the focus is more often than not, on speed (I & R paces) and form.

That was the lightbulb moment for me.

There is a time and a place to be running different paces and for different purposes. Your training program needs to be broken up into these phases so that you’re reaping the full benefit for your long term running goals.

It really is okay to be running my long run at an E pace which is over a minute slower than what I’m used to running. Not only is it okay, but it’s also expected. What a relief!

It is about running where I’m at now, instead of trying to run where I’m aiming to be.

That will come. For now, I’m going to be enjoying those easy Sunday long runs.

Post-run cool downs. These are CW-X tights. Still gutted we had to close down our business.

Me too, Eliud Kipchoge!

No matter what kind of runner you are – trail, road, track, jogger, Parkrunner – when you watched Eliud’s incredible run on that Saturday morning, you felt it. The anticipation, the nerves, the pain, the glory!

In these final moment, seeing him sprint to the finish and the pacemakers cheering him on, I cried like a baby!

I hung on to every word he uttered. It was magnetic. That sense of determination, the positivity and the conviction that it was possible. #NoHumanIsLimited…I wanted more!

Sport unites people. And in my bond with running, I’ve learnt over the years that runners are united by common experiences and emotions. You don’t have to be Eliud Kipchoge, Ann Ashworth or even Ryan Sandes to experience the same fears, ups and downs and personal victories as they do.

In the many pre and post record-breaking run interviews with Eliud, there were three times where I caught myself nodding my head and thinking, “Yes, me too!”

1. The nerves.

According to Eliud, the hardest hours in his life were between 5 o’clock and and 08h15 waiting to run. For me, this is the hardest part of running. Waiting for the race to get going. Waking up in the dark after a sleepless night, the chilly morning, the queues at the loos, the countdown to when that gun goes off. Longest hours ever!

It’s mentally shattering. I don’t know about you, but my stomach goes into overdrive and I get “running coughs” which sound like I need to vomit. I am yet to fine tune my body’s ability to control my nerves. Eliud must’ve been a bag of them!

2. It’s taught me patience

One of the Google questions posed to Eliud was “what has he learnt about running?” His answer was being patient. Yes, me too.

Improvement comes with consistency and discipline. But with these two is also patience. It doesn’t come immediately. In fact, I’ve seen that it has taken a few years to get to the runner I am today. And I’m not only talking about the physical results, but more mentally.

3. What do you love most about running?

What would your answer be?

When Eliud said, “It can make your mind think properly” it nailed it for me. When you’re out on the road, especially running your long run allowing your head to wander, you think about the big and small issues in your life.

You have the debates, you ask the questions and often, by the end if the run, you have your answers. Having conversations with yourself out on the road is one of the most rewarding gifts as a runner.

Running unites. But runners unite.

I found this quote which sums it up for me: “In a world separated by distance, time, language barriers, financial hardships, family obligations, and political views — I find we are more alike than we know as I run down the road. We are all out on our journey to whom we want to become; we find we are all moving forward, at our own pace, on a path called life, together.”

Ps: Was it just me or did it look like everyone was trying to get a PB on their Sunday morning long runs on Strava? LOL

Thank you Eliud Kipchoge.

Photo credit: REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

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!

Thoughts on my run: how I survived #Januworry

#Januworry is over and it’s a new month. Phew.

I knew when I left Standard Bank last year in November that we were entering into a really difficult phase for most businesses. Starting my own small business was risky. Diving into the rush of December, followed by the deathly quiet and stretched out January, my chances of finding work and clients were said to be slim.

I didn’t have any expectations, but it didn’t stop me from hustling as hard as I could. With my business card in hand, I visited the retailers in my ‘hood. I networked via social media and sipped over 100 cups of chai latte, meeting prospective clients and others like me who have also made the jump into entrepreneurship.

Emma watching me at work in my office.

It’s comforting to talk about my journey and reinforce my vision with as many people as I can. I have found other entrepreneurs incredibly inspiring and encouraging. Compared to the corporate culture I left behind, other small business owners go out of their way to help me be successful.

If I could sprinkle just a handful of this dust into the team I left behind, what an amazing difference that would make.

But I’ve moved on and survived.

Every day has been wonderful. Every day has felt new. Every day has come with its own challenges. But it’s been difficult. Difficult like you have no idea! It’s been exhausting. I’ve been thrown miles out of my comfort zone. The fear has been crippling. But strange enough, there was hidden confidence inside me I didn’t think existed.

I survived. And hey, look, it’s February.

I have two clients on my book who have trusted me to manage their social media accounts. I have consulted on a huge project and I have sat in as an advisory on interviews for a social media role in the mining industry – ironically where I started out 20 years ago. I have an inbox full of proposals awaiting replies. What a ride it’s been. My head wants to explode because my heart already has.