I am not a runner. I have never been a runner.
My body had been trained to run 22 yards and back at pace wearing pads, gloves and carrying a bat. Or, it was trained to take off quickly to chase a ball in 39 degree heat at the height of summer. My body was comfortable with this for over 15 years. From an early age I’ve conditioned my body and my brain that I’m not a runner.
But now I am. I am a runner because my head allowed me to be. Sitting fairly and squarely on each of my shoulders is a logical, practical, passionate, perfectionist brain that makes decisions, sometimes in consultation with other parts of my body, but mostly on its own.
I played team sports at high school and took up club cricket in Year 7; I love feeling part of something bigger where everyone is working together to achieve a goal.
So when the group I do personal training with raved about the runs they’d recently completed and the ones they’d signed up for in the coming months, my imagination was captured and I wanted in.
It began with the 5kms Run 4 The Kids in 2013. More nervous than when I walk out to bat, I sooked up a treat at the start line admiring all the families running in memory of a loved one. I ran the 5kms without stopping and cried again at the finish line elated to share in the overwhelming sense of achievement with my friends– I had done it!
Since then, I haven’t looked back and have actually enjoyed running and all that comes with it: the training, the early starts, the injuries and the weather. Mostly I enjoy the group of people I train with. We all come from different walks of life, our fitness levels vary and our availability to run is scattered but we all have the same goal – to run. The support from this group is incredible, which is needed when I feel like rolling over and going back to sleep – I don’t because I don’t want to let the group down because they rely on me to support them too. Plus, the breakfast and chat afterwards makes it even more enjoyable!
- Run Melbourne
- Melbourne Marathon 10km
- Zoo Twilights @ Melbourne Zoo
- Run the Gap at Halls Gap
- City 2 Surf in Sydney and;
The furthest I’ve ever run – The Gold Coast Half Marathon in 2015. In the six months leading into the ‘race’, our group was committed to each other and to training. Every Sunday morning at 7.30am we’d hit the streets regardless of weather, emotion or life circumstance. So often I would feel that there was no way I could run up the hill or 10kms let alone 21km, but as the months got colder, the distance got further and upon returning to the car I’d realise we’d just run the furthest I’d ever run. I had a grin from ear-to-ear and may have done a little ‘look what I just achieved!’ dance, much to the amusement of my fellow runners! The weekend at the Gold Coast is the highlight of my running career, I did it and I did it under my goal of 2hrs 30mins – an experience I will never forget nor could have achieved without the support of the friends I ran with and telling myself that I could actually do it.
We all need support, a text message here and there, a Facebook photo of an injury or bib arriving in the mail keeps us all on track at various stages ensuring that we meet our goals. We support each other on the runs too, willing each other along with words of support or rationale just to run to the next tree or street sign. This is what I love about our group.
You can do it too – it’s all about setting your mind to it and there are three key steps:
- You have to find what motivates you. For me, it’s being part of a group.
You must find what makes you run (firstly) and then to keep running, up the hill, to the next kilometre or simply get out of bed and get there on time. I would never have achieved the 8 runs that I have done if it had not been for the fabulous members of our group and for getting clear about what it was that was motivating me.
2. Look good, feel good.
Splurge on those runners, tights, sports bra and socks. You want to get out of bed and know you will be comfortable. I LOVE my Asics Kayano runners, my Brooks Rebound Racer Sports Bra, my 2XU tights, and socks. I love socks! My 2XU and Balega socks are like running on pillows. Splurge – do it! You’ll feel great when you look great.
3. Become an archer – you need to have a target.
I find when I sign up for a run, I am actually motivated to do something about it. So sign up – just do it and then work out how you’re going to hit the bullseye. I get butterflies in my tummy every time I sign up for a run, but overtaking that is the memory of the feeling of crossing the finish line!
Did I set out to be a runner? No, I joined a fitness group to get fit. But I discovered my brain and my body CAN work together to achieve a goal, whatever that might be.
The perception is that there is a ‘mould’ of runner – skinny, running shorts, singlet, visor and a smooth stride that makes it look easy. I can tell you that this is certainly not the case, you can become a runner – it’s all in your head. Believe you want to do it and you will.
By Tamara Mason
Tamara is an avid cricket player who has a passion for encouraging females to play cricket. She’s also now a runner and She Science Ambassador. You can follow Tamara at @masonte007