Running from yoga October 11 2014, 4 Comments

In recent weeks, I've been running from yoga. Yep! My beloved yoga has taken a back seat to running. The reason why? I was training for Connor’s Run. A few weekends ago now I ran 9.6km in the annual running event raising much-needed funds for research, care and development into brain tumours. Connor’s Run includes an 18.8km run starting at Sandringham or a 9.6km run starting in St Kilda, both ending with a party at the boat sheds by the Yarra in Melbourne.

I don’t know about you but I was definitely NOT a born runner. I used to run around the block at school as a youngster puffing after 100m and wanting to give up! I used to look at others who seemed to run with ease and wonder how on earth they could hold a conversation while running?! I would run, struggle to chat at the same time and go beetroot red in the face, which would then (and still does) take hours to return to normal.

It was about 12 years ago that I decided to give running a proper shot. I started running with friends and entered a 5km fun run and soon after a 10km run. After my first 10km event I felt such a sense of achievement and a real buzz. Around a year later a close friend and I who were living over in London at the time, crazily shook hands and decided to enter our first half marathon (21km) in Dublin. It was tough and the training was a much bigger commitment than training for a 10km but I made the distance in just over 2 hours. I’m not a super fast runner but I am totally ok with that. A few years later I ran the Melbourne half marathon and improved my time. 

Why is Connor's Run so special to me? Connor battled with a brain tumour for 16 months and I was blessed to be able to work with him as his Occupational Therapist in rehab. Connor (who wasn’t a big runner) decided to run from his home in Sandringham in September 2011 to the boat sheds on the Yarra. He wanted to start training for the rowing season early. He was determined to be the best he could. Little did he know at that stage, that he had a brain tumour. Connor passed away in April 2013. The Robert Connor Dawes (RCD) Fund was set up as a tribute to him and other brain tumour fighters in June 2013, with the first major fundraiser being Connor’s Run in September 2013. If I needed any motivation to keep up my running this was it! In 2013 I ran the full 18.8km. I thought of Connor, his courage, his beautiful sense of humour and his awesomeness every step of the way.

 

Many non-running friends have asked how I got into running. Here are my top 10 tips!

1. Just start! Almost anyone can run if there is the desire and determination. I know of stroke survivors who never ran pre-stroke and are now running marathons despite their limitations. If you have any medical conditions be sure to speak to your GP before starting out.

2. Take it slow. Go for small, slow runs so you don’t become disheartened or conditioned to dislike running. You want to feel good after a run, not like you want to throw up in the nearest bin! If that means stopping and walking that is a-ok. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

3. Build up gradually and be consistent. Each week try to run for a few more minutes or aim to run to a certain point before you start walking. If you are running more than once a week your running time will increase quite quickly. Aim for 2-3 runs a week if you can. If you have a bad day don’t be hard on yourself. That won’t achieve anything.

4. Put your tunes on. Try running with and without music and see what suits you best. I have found music helpful for motivation and distraction when training for longer runs. Make up a fun playlist to get you grooving and moving!

5. Grab a friend! Go for a run with a bestie. Motivate each other! Plan a destination run in another city or country and take a weekend break or a holiday at the same time. Consider joining a running club.

6. Sign up for a running event to keep you accountable! There are so many running events over a range of different terrains. Starting off on a flat course is easier. Some great runs are the Mother’s Day Classic, City to Surf, Portsea Twilight, Run for the Kids and the Melbourne Marathon. My new favourite (for many obvious reasons) is Connor’s Run. 

7. Nourish your body. Eat well, sleep well and drink plenty of water leading up to the event. Cut out processed foods and stick to fresh, nutrient dense whole foods. Limit your alcohol too. 

8. Fundraise! Encourage your family and friends to get behind you and boost you along. Running for a loved one or a cause adds extra motivation.

9. Be prepared. Get some decent running sneakers, comfy socks and a good sports bra (for the ladies). Getting fitted with the right footwear is essential. 

10. Reward yourself! Give yourself a few days off after longer runs. After achieving important milestones or completing an event treat yourself with a bath, a massage, a yummy meal or a sleep in. 

Some people may think running and yoga don’t go together but I find the combination works well for me. Yoga helps stretch out my muscles, improve my breathing and be more mindful while running. In return running has strengthened my will power and self-efficacy. Running turned my “I can't into I CAN.”

I really love the rush of endorphins after a run. I love the cardiovascular work out and the challenge of running. Both yoga and running improve self-awareness, clear the mind and improve fitness. Both also require determination, patience, practise and consistency. 

Are you a runner? A yogi? Or both?

Would you like to run but is self-doubt or fear holding you back? 

Couch to 5km is a helpful resource if you're looking at getting into running at a beginner level. I also like to use MapMyRun to track my runs and keep me motivated.

Like to find out more about Connor’s Run (more fun than run) – perhaps in preparation for next year or to donate to the Robert Connor Dawes Fund? To find out more about the awesomeness that was Connor watch this awesome video