I was so excited when Prana Protein approached me to ask if I’d like to write a guest post for them on their blog, and since it coincided with Global Running Day I thought I’d write about my running journey so far – “so far” because I hope it’s nowhere near over and that I have a long way to go 😊
Where to start? I could start from the beginning, how I used to classify myself as a sprinter or how I wanted to follow in both my Dad and my brother’s footsteps with middle-distance running… but I think that’s probably a bit boring for you and I’m sure I’ve written about that before on my blog. Instead, I’m going to focus on the motivation behind my running, my routine and how I manage everything in my day-today life.
“Do you like pain?” Probably one of the most-asked questions I receive from friends and family who are perplexed by my passion for running. Funnily enough, I don’t enjoy feeling light-headed, weak, dizzy queasy, physically and/ or emotionally exhausted… need I go on? You get the picture. There’s a lot of pain associated with running, and I’m no superhuman (although sometimes I’d like to think that I am!) so I’m not immune to this either. However, for me, the pleasure I get out of the sport isn’t derived from experiencing the pain, but from overcoming it. Proving to both others and (more importantly) myself that I can do it, that I am strong enough, and I can get even stronger. Pushing myself mentally and physically so that I break barriers I didn’t even know existed, and then breaking them again and again until I reach another one. And finally, learning throughout the experience a bit more about myself, about the body I inhabit and the limits of my mind. For me, running is an incredibly personal experience and every day it brings something new to my life which keeps me motivated as I’m constantly aspiring to reach greater heights – with the aid of my training partners and coaches of course 😉
My running routine
Since Prana is a food/nutrition-focused company, I think it’s only apt that I approach this from a nutritional side. My training sessions tend to be in the early evenings, around 6pm, meaning they’re significantly after lunch and before dinner so I always fuel up with a pre-run snack. These vary but tend to be wholegrain toast/ rice cakes topped with a nut butter of some sort (coconut and almond is my absolute favourite at the moment 😝 ) and banana coins, providing me with some slow release energy from the toast/ rice cakes, accessible sugar from the banana and some healthy fats and protein too! If I’m staying late at school and won’t have time to prepare something elaborate then I’ll have an energy bar. Matcha green tea is my must-have, go-to pre-training drink because it provides me with a necessary caffeine kick to boost me through my session – especially necessary when I’m tired from a long day at school! Post-session I’ll fuel up on a protein & carb rich dinner (if it’s dinner time), or if my workout is earlier in the day I’ll prepare a post-workout shake using Prana’s pea protein, almond milk and frozen fruit, or I’ll have their protein bars. The cacao & vanilla one is my absolute favourite and I could eat this for breakfast, lunch, dinner and all my in-between meals.
As a 16-year-old (turning 17 in the summer), balancing my running with my school-work, social/ family life and blog can get pretty difficult, especially as I suffer from perfectionism and the inability to give myself a break, however I’m working on that and am trying to manage it all so that my stress-levels don’t go through the roof like they usually do when things get on top of me. What I’ve found helps me manage my time (and stress-levels) the most is planning and prioritising. Rather than frantically attempting to finish my homework before training and handing in a rushed, sub-par piece, I write down all my tasks in my homework planner and sort them by due-date & importance so that I make the most of my time and maintain the quality of my work. From a social-angle, running and all the associated training can be extremely time-consuming, but it’s important to keep everything in perspective and sometimes I have to remind myself that I am not a professional runner and can’t take myself too seriously. It’s ok to miss training from time-to-time to go to a party/ meet up with a friend/ attend a family event… I would say to build your training programme around your work and social life, because then it won’t take over your life and (hopefully) you’ll be able to strike the right balance. It’s different for everyone, though, so experiment and find out what works for you!
I hope you’ve enjoyed my post, and please don’t hesitate to check out my blog if you’d like to see more of my content!