#WhyWeRun is a subject of many a conversation at Total Sport HQ. People run for all sorts of reasons, and we find all of them inspiring! Assuming that you will, too, we’re sharing the stories of runners and walkers from all over New Zealand.
In this post we hear from the extraordinary Lisa Stainton, who went from no running of any sort to completing one event every month in 2017. How epic is that!?! Read on for a seriously good dose of inspiration . . .
What motivated you to start running in January 2017?
2016 had been a stressful year, I had been working long hours and I had no work-life balance. I had put on a fair bit of weight and was feeling unfit and unhealthy. I finished the year feeling like I really needed to take back some control and bring more balance to my life. I needed to lose some weight, but more importantly I needed to feel strong andconfident again. I felt like I needed something I could do by myself, for myself. I wanted something that would take my mind away from work and all the day to day pressures. I had dappled in the gym before but it never seemed to stick. I had never “been a runner”. I have always loved being outdoors so it made sense to at least try it. It is also free, so that helped!
When did you make the goal of completing one event per month, and what inspired it?
I knew that running would be hard to start with so I decided to set myself small goals in order to actually do it and stick to it. My first goal (which I set myself on New Years Day 2017) was to run every day in January. No matter what I was doing, not matter what the weather was like, I had to run every single day. I had no distance goals and no time goals, I just had to run.
I found a little 2k route near my house and began running that. I could only run 1k that first week before I felt like I would die! Slowly though, I was able to increase my distance every few days by another few power poles. And by the end of January I was running 3k and had run on 24 out of the 31 of the month. This was a really big achievement for me! I needed a new goal for February. I wanted to be able to run 5k non-stop (a tiny goal for most, but a huge feat for me). I also needed a reason to do that, so I signed up for my first 5k at the end of February, and my first running event ever (I am 31… it was about time!). On 26th February, I completed my first ever running event, finishing 5k in 37 minutes. Crossing that finish line was a feeling I will never forget. I cried. I felt such a strong sense of achievement and pride in myself. The vibe at these race finish lines is so full of encouragement and celebration regardless of your distance or time, they make you feel really special.
It was that day that I decided to do one running event per month for the rest of the year. It had a few purposes.
- Get out and see more of our beautiful country.
- Keep me motivated to run.
- Get more of that feeling.
I studiously sifted through runningcalendar.co.nz picking out which event I was going to do (so much fun!). I also chose to slowly increase my distances over the year so I could keep progressing with my running. My mum started joining me as well, doing the walking as I was running. That has been really nice to spend quality time together doing something fun, healthy and different!
I don’t train extensively for my runs. I will sometimes set myself a mini goal like try to finish within a certain time, trying to beat my previous time. But I don’t get too caught up in evaluating my performance. I just run as best I can. I do have one goal for every race…. Regardless of how long it takes me or how much of it I walk (I still don’t run up hills!), I ALWAYS run across the finish line.
What have been your favourite events?
I wanted to see more of NZ and get out more on my weekends. So I chose a different location every event. I have been to Waitomo, National Park, Mt Maunganui, Taupo, Waikato and in park and bush trails all over Auckland. I ended up loving the trail runs as the scenery is all so beautiful!!
For events in Auckland, I loved the Xterra Trail Series. Out of Auckland, my favourites were the “T42 Central Plateau” (I did the 11k) and “The Taniwha” (I did the 14k). These were all run by Total Sport and I have to say they are pros at race events. Every single event was super organised with everything you needed at the event base. They had a secure bag/key drop, transport to start, quick and efficient registration, and the entertaining commentator and Speights and sausage sizzle at the end is a special treat. The trails were always well marked, terrain varied, and the aid stations were always well placed and well stocked.
What do you wish you’d known before starting that you know now? Any other advice for people looking to start running?
- Buy proper running shoes.
I went to Shoe Science where they did an assessment and found the perfect shoes for me. Also buy road shoes for road running and trail shoes for trail running. I am currently using New Balance W1080 as road runners and New Balance WT610 as trail runners and they both feel like slippers.
- Get your running form checked by a professional Osteo or Physio.
When I first started running, my form was terrible. I started to get a sore knee and hip. The Osteo I went to was fantastic and gave me tips to improve my form, along with suggestions for strength training. As a result I could run faster and longer.
- Just start.
Even if you can only run half a k, just get out there and start and don’t give up. I can’t believe that I went through all my 20s thinking “I am not a runner” and within 2 months I was able to call myself one. It will be hard at first, but it gets easy quickly, then it gets really, REALLY fun. 4. Register for trail running events. Even if you are by yourself (which I was when I first started). Everyone is so welcoming and the trails you get to see are always beautiful!
Would you say you’re a running addict now? If so, at which point in the journey did it ‘click’?
Yes!!! Can you tell from my previous answers!!? I love it. There is nothing quite like chucking on your shoes and pounding the pavement in the fresh air. I find this amazing clarity when I’m in the zone, where it is just me and the trail or pavement. The stresses of life drain away. I have so much more energy these days. I sleep better. I don’t run well when I eat crappy food, so I eat a lot more healthy too. I have lost weight. Most importantly though, I am fit and really strong. When did it click? When I finished that first 5k race! I also get reminded once a month when I finish another race that is longer, or faster, or more challenging.
What are your goals for 2018, running or otherwise?
I am going to stick to my goal of one event per month. This is really achievable as it doesn’t take up all my time (I like to have a social life too) and is also easy on the bank account. I am going to increase my distances this year. I am thinking of aiming for each event to be around the 20k mark. I want to complete my first half marathon by the end of 2018.
I am not looking to train hard or get fixated on my pace/timing, just focus on getting across the finish line (always running across of course!) for every race. I am currently signed up for the Taranaki Off Road Half Marathon in January, The Hillary in the Waitakeres in February and The Parnters Life Dual from Rangitoto-Mototapu in March. I am currently running 5k two to three times during the week and have just started doing 10k long runs on the weekend. So will probably try to increase these distances a little.
Basically though, I just want to keep running!