This episode is our guide to your running journey. Host Louise Minchin speaks to running and triathlon coach and PT Karen Weir, Journalist Bryony Gordon, Presenter and Mental Health Campaigner Shareefa J and Her Spirit Co-founder Holly Woodford. In this episode we discuss:
Give Me 5 https://herspirit.co.uk/give-me-5/ is a FREE programme (available 16th May) designed to help you with everything from breathing to posture, building strength to developing overall fitness, all with the aim of helping you run more easily.
More plans, including Take On 10k are available on the app.
Thanks to our partners Vitality London 10,000 and Sport England for your support.
Her Spirit is a global community of like-minded women all getting fitter, stronger and healthier together. We believe your mind, body and fuel are intrinsically linked and taking small achievable steps will lead to big changes.
Regardless of your ability, location or stage of life Her Spirit has something for everyone. We are an inclusive bunch of women who believe that being fit and healthy shouldn't be a chore but something you love to do. Our mantra is 'Together We've Got This' and together we support each other to live life to the full and achieve mind, body and fuel goals we never thought possible.
Her Spirit mission - INSPIRING EVERY WOMAN TO BECOME FITTER, STRONGER AND HEALTHIER for more information go to http://www.herspirit.co.uk
Hear from mum-of-two Sarah about how running changed her life in her fifties and how much the Her Spirit community means to her.
Find out more at herspirit.co.uk
Hello and welcome to the Her Spirit podcast. I am Louise Minchin and every month, you will know, we sit down together and talk about the small changes we can all make to our lives that can lead to big results. If you are new to the podcast, welcome, if you are one of our loyal listeners, thank you. We love what you say about the podcast. We love that you listen and we love that you dedicate your time to hearing what we've got to say. So Her Spirit is a community of women just like you and we come together to help and encourage each other to get more active, feel stronger, happier, and healthier. You might be nervous, you haven't been on a bike maybe for 20 years or you haven't run since your school sports day, remember that? But it doesn't matter because you're part of a community at herspirit.co.uk.
You'll find there's lots of inspiration support, no judgment. Together we have got this. Now, today, we are specifically talking about running and my mission and hopefully the mission of everybody who is on this podcast, I think to put it simply is to make running, not scary. I have a, let's put it this way, a kind of love/hate relationship with running. I would love to love running, but quite often I don't like it. That's going to all be cured hopefully in the next 35 minutes or so, let me tell you who we got on the podcast today. We have got a wonderful person Karen Weir, who is a runner, triathlete, personal trainer, Ironman endurance coach and she is going be our resident expert. Karen, thank you very much, indeed. I'm going to have to be transparent here because Karen is currently my running coach, but I can't run so we'll come to Karen. Hi Karen.
Karen: Hi Louise.
Louise: We will hopefully get me running.
Karen: We will get you running. We will get you running. Definitely.
Louise: Also on board, of course, Holly Woodford, who is behind Her Spirit, one of the co-founders. Holly you are a runner aren't you? Which is good.
Holly: I love running and whether that makes me a runner, discuss. I think there's quite a lot of interesting stuff about running and identity, but I genuinely love running it's something I enjoy, but it is like Marmite for an awful lot of people. I just like Marmite.
Louise: I like Marmite too. We'll come to you because we've done a little bit of research. We asked out on the Her Spirit community on the app as well and on social media about running didn't we? And the first word that came into people's mind. I'll come to that in a second.
Just let me tell you who else is on the podcast today. We've got Bryony Gordon. Now Bryony, I’m sure lots of you will know as an award-winning journalist author, mental health campaigner, she's been on the podcast before. I'm gonna call you a runner. Bryony, would you call yourself a runner?
Bryony: Yeah. I call myself a runner, flibberty jibbit, I mean, there's all sorts of things I call myself on a daily basis. I don't like to be defined by my sporting activity. What am I talking about? Yes I do. I run and yes, I do like to run. Not very fast, but I run. Yep.
Louise: You definitely do. And you've done, how many London marathons have you done?
Bryony: Only two.
Louise: Listen, I've done none. Shareefa you are also a British model, you’re a presenter, mental health activist as well based in London. Are you a runner, Shareefa? Would you define yourself as a runner? What would you say?
Shareefa: I run and normally, I'm running to something like I'm running to coffee or running away from like an ex-boyfriend or something. So I run for purpose, I like running, I like running medals as well. I have a thing about collecting all the medals that I can possibly get. So it doesn't matter how fast I do the challenge just as long as I finish so I can be like, yes, I did it.
Louise: Do you know what Shareefa? I immediately identify with you because that's exactly my type of running. I don't normally run away from people. I normally run towards people but I definitely run for coffee. I run for buses and I hundred percent get the running for medals. I love medals. I will literally do ridiculous things just to get a medal. And as you say, they're not medals for winning. Anyway, so Holly, let's just start with an honest look at running because you love it. But when I put out on my Instagram, asking “what’s the first word you would say when you think of running?” People were like: no, yes, let's go! I can't, oh Lord (I'm loving doing the voices by the way), outdoors, peace, freedom, release. So there's a whole plethora isn't there. Like you say, there's the hate, the love and the in-between Holly, what did you find on the Her Spirit community?
Holly: I think we found the same. I think it really was a love or hate kind of relationship that wasn’t even an awful lot in between. So for those that just loved it, couldn't get enough of it and just wanted to do more. And for others, it was just a flat, no, nope, not today, not tomorrow, not in my lifetime. So I found that fascinating as somebody who does enjoy running why there is such a, a difference of kind of emotion really, that comes with it.
Louise: Okay. So Bryony let’s come to you first, Karen in a second as the expert. Bryony, so why did you want to run? Why did you even start this kind of running journey that you're on?
Bryony: I mean, I didn't want to run but I sort of had to because I was very mentally unwell. I was suffering from depression and obsessive compulsive disorder. And I had literally tried everything. Unfortunately trying everything included all the alcohol, all the drugs. Do you know what I mean? Which I can tell you now, I did that so you don't have to. It is not an effective cure for mental health issues but then about 6/7 years ago, I kept hearing that exercise is really good for your mental health. And I was like, oh, that is so boring. Does that have to be the case? But maybe these experts know what they're talking about. So I sort of started off literally jogging in a pair of converse trainers with my then three year old daughter's sippy cup for water, because I was terrified that I would drop down dead.
And then it sort of went from there. I set up this thing called Mental Health Mates, which is like, walking peer support groups to get us out of the house. Cause it really did improve my mental health, just being out for just the 20 minutes. And then I got asked to do the London marathon by Heads Together, which is a mental health charity. I sort of accidentally talked myself into doing it. It with the Duchess of Cambridge, it was the launch of Heads Together in maybe May, 2016. And I was introduced to her and I was like “are you gonna do the marathon?” Because they were the official charity of the London marathon the next year. And she said, “oh no, it's kind of hard to secure 26.2 miles.” I was like, if I can do a marathon, anyone can do a marathon. And I was like, I dunno why I said that, I can't, I've never done a, I could eat a marathon, but I can't like run one.
And she was like “are you gonna do the marathon?” And the guy from Heads Together was like, “why don't you do the marathon?” I was like, I guess I’m doing the marathon. I didn't wanna run because I thought running wasn't for me. I was too big, I was not fast enough because I think we have this thing don't we? In Britain, especially that if you're not good, if you're not the best, the strongest, the fastest at something you shouldn't do it, which is just rubbish. And I think the moment that I did it for like the gains and not the losses, I started doing it for the clarity for my head, rather than for it being about being quickest or slimmest or smallest. It really transformed for me.
Louise: I love that the journey from sippy cup to London marathon and I think lots of people listening to that will relate to certainly the beginning of that journey, they really will. And all the things you've talked about, not wanting to perhaps be seen or…there are so many barriers. Shareefa, what about you?
Shareefa: It's a tricky one. I think that movie Yes Man had a real effect on me. I found it really inspirational. Does anyone remember that movie? Yes Man? Where he just has to say yes to everything. He can't say no. So it's like a comedy, but it really resonated with me so I sort of went through this weird phase, which is still happening now where I, if someone asks me, do you wanna do something? In my head I'm like “no” but on the outside I'm like “yes”. So that's pretty much how my running journey started. It sort of started with Bryony and Jada Sezer because they were…about how long ago was it Bri? maybe 2019? 2018?
Shereefa: They were like, we've got this great idea where we're gonna run a 10 K, but we're not just going to run a 10 K, we're gonna run a 10 K in our underwear and it's going to be great. And by the way, Shareefa, you are coming and I was like “what do you mean?” I had plans that weekend.
Shareefa: But we all rocked up that day. There was probably 200 women all in their underwear or versions of their underwear or wearing t-shirts with underwear, like naked bodies, boobs printed over the top…
Bryony: It was 900 women Shareefa
Shareefa: Oh my God. Okay. So there was 900 there, there was a thousand of us and we all ran together that day, this collective group of just different body shapes, different types of people running together. We all ran past the Queen’s house in our underwear, the sun was shining and it was just an amazing day. And I think that's, that's where I got the buzz. That's where I got the excitement for race days, particularly. That's why I have a thing for, I love the medals and I love race days and I love training for a challenge. I do actually find it quite difficult if I don't have a race coming up to get out and go for a run. Like I'm more of a swim, yoga, bike, sort of gal. Running, I find extremely easy….
Louise: Did you say easy?
Sharif: Not easy. I find running, I find it to be my most challenging thing, but you realise as soon as you start doing it, you're like, it's just fast walking and it's not actually that hard, but it's my least natural thing to go to. So that's sort of my running journey .
Louise: Well, I mean I love this also completely different running journey. So Karen, let's just pick up those kind of thoughts because I'm just looking at one of the things that I've had. It's the start, which is key to all of this, isn't it? And there'll be people here who are long time runners and won't need to, won't need to know about this, but let's just start at the beginning. We'll get to the long time runners later. This is for somebody on my Instagram. This is from Sharon. She says “I really struggle with getting started. I always feel a bit stupid”. Have you Bryony and Shareefa felt a bit stupid as well? Just hands up.
Shareefa: Yes. Oh yeah.
Bryony: I mean, yes.
Louise: Okay. A bit. Let's start with a bit stupid. Karen, let's go over that first and I agree. I can feel really stupid.
Karen: All these comments about running in your underwear. I'm just like, ouch chaffing! So I'm not so sure about that running in your underwear but anyway, getting started or starting out. I think we put everybody, and it's a societal thing these days, we put too much pressure on ourselves to be brilliant at everything we do straight away or even ever. I think we need to just accept mediocrity and anything is better than nothing and I really do push that. It's the absolute opposite of a lot of the motivational ‘no pain, no gain messages’ which I find actually really destructive for people in the long term. So actually just get out and do something, anything is better than nothing. And understand where your starting point is.
So if you have never run before or if you know 30 seconds of running is a challenge for you go and do 30 seconds of running and then take a five minute walking break and then do another 30 seconds of running and then go home, you've run a minute, which you've never done before. That is a big tick. And it's your starting point. And if you don't have this viewpoint that “I've gotta go out and run 5k or whatever the distance is and I'm gonna fail it”. And then you feel that you're stupid because you haven't been able to do it. That's the problem. So just start with something that you, that is a very, very tiny challenge, and it could be 30 seconds of running that's it for your first session.
Louise: Holly actually, there's a lot on the Her Spirit app and the community about just that first getting as Karen's talking about just doing little bits and adding it together.
Holly: Yeah, absolutely. Last year we launched a program called Give Me Five with four times Olympian, Donna Fraser and it's a brilliant audio program. It's very holistic. It's all about getting started and running. And I've done it actually as a recovery from injury. And I loved it because I really love the fact that you start with a five minute walk. You start to enjoy your surroundings and they’re really short running periods with then longer kind of walks in between. And it really builds up quite gradually over time. The great thing about Give Me Five is it also starts you on the journey around starting to get a bit stronger using yoga for a bit more flexibility. So all of the things that start to come in with running, the more you do those niggles, we start to kind of address those right from the start.
So my 73 year old mom actually has just finished Give Me Five. She’s had about a 15 year break of running and she wasn't a big runner. She ran the London marathon age 52, that's where I was inspired to start running, which is amazing. She was so chuffed . She sent me a little picture of her watch that says she did 5k in 45 minutes. That came with a cover note that said, but I'm really disappointed. I couldn't do my 5k in 30 minutes. And I was like, Mum, how come you think you have to do 5k in 30 minutes? And I do think that some of the mental barriers, that I think we all have around running, are about some of these myths that are out there around, speed/time/distance rather than just enjoying, running for running sake.
Louise: Shareefa, we just wanna pick up with you because I saw you kind of like roll your eyes when you heard that about her mom mentioning the time.
Shareefa: Oh yeah. My face is very expressive. Yeah, so I think I do have a personal pet peeve of mine where whenever you talk to someone about running or whenever people start getting into running or talking about running, it's always, “ah, so you ran a marathon. What was your time? What was your time 5k? What's your time? What's your cadence?” I don't even know, what is a cadence? I find it to be the least important thing about running because running has given me so much more. And for me it's always been the mental health element, the community element, the taking part in a huge challenge that you think “I can never overcome this. I can never run that half or I can never run that full marathon” but then you do it and you get to the end and you're like, “wow, I did that”. And then you take that into your life. And then that shapes how you see yourself. And so for me, running is so much more than just the time it's the self-esteem builder. It's the building strength in your body and your mind. The time is so irrelevant to me because at the end of every race or the end of everything, we all get the same medal. We've all, we've all stepped the same steps.
Louise: Karen, pick up your thoughts on that one.
Karen: I mean, I completely agree but I think people get into running for very different reasons. And for some people that perhaps are more gifted naturally at running, then time does become important because that's how they achieve. So Shareefa for your achievement it’s the finish, but for other people, it is getting faster. But I think it's being authentic to yourself and honest to yourself and finding the intrinsic motivation for the activity that you're doing and not being dependent on kudos or external motivations, being able to post it on social media or all these kind of things. You need to do it because you love it and I think if you don’t…. So it's coming right back to the very early question, Louise do you love it or hate it? And if you are finding you're getting mental health benefits, it clears your mind. It makes you feel better about your yourself. Then do it. If aiming for that 30 minute 5k and then getting there makes you feel better. Fantastic. But if it doesn't then find something else that you do love or find a different way of doing it. Run/walking strategy. You can be a really, really good runner and still take walking breaks in your running. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, but I know there will be some runners that scoff and say, "well, walking's cheating:. Well, I ran my fastest ever marathon, a sub 3 hours 30 taking walking breaks. I covered the same route as everybody else. I don't consider it cheating and I'm a running coach. So I think you've got to find a way that ultimately works for you. That means you can enjoy most of the time, not all the time, because I would definitely say there are runs, I don't really enjoy, but most of the time you enjoy what you're doing.
Louise: Go Bryony.
Bryony: My point of view on it is that we don't need help. We don't need to encourage people going for a time to run. Those kind of people will always get into running. My thing is that I always thought I hated running because it hurts. It's horrible at first. But I actually found out that I loved it. And what I wanna do personally, as a non-athletic looking person is encourage people like me who are a bit bigger who may be wanting to go out. And it doesn't really matter about size or people that have stuff going on with their body who think running isn't for them, because it hurts their lungs when they go out. But it hurts everyone's lungs and it's like going “no, but you push through that. You can do it”. And I think so that's why talking about times I think is super unhealthy. We need more people talking about the seven hour marathons, the six hour marathons and Karen I massively respect your sub 3hour 30. But how did you do that and walk ? Because people would say to me “Oh you did the marathon. What time did you do it in?” And I'd be like, “oh, what time did you do the marathon in?” And they'd go “oh, I haven't done a marathon.” And I'm like, “okay. So F off!” W hat I am all about is like showing different experiences of people running.
Louise: I've gotta take control of this podcast because it's brilliant, but I just there's so much to say. So let's take the “it hurts” to the expert. It does hurt Karen. So how do we make that better for all of us? Whether we're the sippy cup runners, whether we're the Shareefa ones who, who clearly actually genuinely loves this. How do we deal with “it just hurts”?
Karen: It does, it does hurt Louise. It does hurt. And it hurts for everybody. Exactly. As Bryony says it does hurt. So you have to slow down and take walking breaks. That is the way you stop it hurting until you get to the point that you're a bit more trained. And then you go longer between your walking breaks and you run a little bit faster. So I think when people start out with running, because it's something that you see a lot of these days, particularly people watch the London marathon, they get so excited and they do see all shapes, all sizes running the London marathon. There's dinosaurs, there's all sorts going on there. And they do think I can do that. And you get caught up in the excitement of it. And you go and enter your London marathon, there’s a very slim chance you actually get through the ballot, you get your place or you go and do a charity place and then you start running and you go “bloody hell, this hurts.
How am I gonna run 26 miles?” But if you break it down into little tiny chunks, and as you go back to exactly, as I said, start with 30 seconds of running, then you maybe get to a minute of walking, 30 seconds of running a minute of walking. When you run a marathon, you have to be in the comfortable zone. So you don't go out and sprint from the start. And then when you can't breathe, you stop and feel stupid and then go home. You've got to be comfortable.
Louise: I'm loving the walking breaks by the way, because I have done. So Karen, when I have been able to run, I'm a big fan of the walking break and what I love most I think about this podcast is Karen the expert says, if you don't like it, go do something else. And Holly, we've got lots of ways that people can do something else, but we'll come back to running in a minute, go on, tell us about what, what else you can do.
Holly: Yeah. I mean, there's obviously loads of activities you can do swimming, cycling walking is getting a good rap today. So I'm a particular sort of fan of it but I think that thing about purpose I thought was really interesting , about actually running for purpose, understanding why you're doing it. What's the reason is it to do it with friends? Is it to celebrate a moment in time? Is it to remember somebody, is it to raise money? I think having a purpose really overcomes those moments of challenge. And we've got a phrase here at Her Spirit. We call it being comfortably uncomfortable. The fact that you're in this place that feels uncomfortable, but you can cope with it is actually really a great thing to learn. So that's that whole resilience piece. And that's why I really like it activity because I think it helps you build resilience. I'm just loving this conversation by the way, because I think this is just absolutely shows what running does to people in terms of the conversation. We've seen it on our social channels, such different views about running and what makes it feel inclusive and also exclusive. What I think's really fascinating about running. It's probably one of the only activities that we think we should be able to do innately without any coaching support instruction. You wouldn't turn up a swimming pool, would you jump in the pool and somehow expect to know how to swim? And yet, somehow we all think we should know how to run. So all the things that Karen's spoken about are really great strategies for how to enjoy running, but who tells you this stuff?
Louise: Yeah, that’s a very good point. And Karen, we did meet didn't we, what about a year or so ago? In between lockdowns, whenever it was and actually Karen brilliantly looked at my running style. So I mean Karen, this is obviously individual, et cetera, but what are the kind of top things you would say to people when they are going out there for their first run perhaps in a very long time?
Karen: Okay. The really common thing that you see is a slow, so coming back to cadence, sorry Shareefa, so this is a, this is a technical term, but it's how quickly you turn your….
Shareefa: What is cadence?
Karen: Cadence is how quickly you turn your legs over. So there is plenty of science to support that if we can turn our legs over quicker, that doesn't necessarily mean you run faster, but you are in contact with the ground for less time, it does actually use less energy. And it's a little bit counterintuitive when you start running, because you want to sort of, I dunno whether it's a comfort factor, be in contact with the ground for as long as possible, but actually if you can speed up your cadence and be springy out the ground, so barely contacting it. I use a cue, so to imagine you are running over red hot coals.
So you pick your feet up really quickly. That actually is far more efficient and waste less energy. So what I what tend to see with novice, new runners, people just getting out there is a very slow plod. And I don't mean slow in terms of how quickly they're covering a distance, but in terms of how quickly they turn their legs over. So if you can just work on trying to think short, fast strides, short, fast strides, short, fast strides, turn the legs over a little bit quicker, be in contact with the ground a little bit less time. You will be more efficient. And if you can do that from the very first day, you start running and drill in this good habit, rather than having to break a bad habit where we've got into just a, a slow plod, a slow turnover of the legs, that's gonna help you with all your running in the future.
So that's probably my biggest tip in, in terms of technique. But the other thing I would say and picking up on Holly's point, this idea that people don't get instruction in running, and we just go, well, we ran as kids so we can do it now. But many things have changed since we were a kid and most of it environmental. So we spend an awful lot of time sat down now whether we're driving, sat at a desk, so very sedentary that changes our body posture completely. We’re very rounded through the shoulders and we actually find it very hard to stand upright, to be efficient at running. You need to be able to stand tall and so if we're very hunched over and got that sort of habitual position. It's actually really hard to access the correct movement. So that's why kids run because they haven't yet developed these really bad habits that we as adults have got. So they can run much more naturally and effortlessly, but we not only have to sort of work our cardiovascular system to get fit, we have to undo all these years and years of bad posture. And with the best will in the world, even if you ran every day for half an hour, you don't undo the other eight hours that you've got sat down every, every day. So it's being patient and being kind to yourself and being accepting that it is gonna be hard. It is gonna hurt, but it's worth pursuing.
Louise: I just want to go back to some of the things when we asked the question about running. So just so we can bring in the community as well. Lots of things that we've said echo, thanks so much for the answerS. We asked “What's the first things you think about?” ‘Peace of mind’, someone said ‘sometimes mind over matter’, ‘Womble’, I love that one. ‘The breeze blowing over my skin’ as somebody else also says, ‘it's impossible for me, I've got knee problems’, ‘not something I ever did after leaving school.’ Somebody else ‘running takes me places', ‘head space’, and 'reflection a bit of time with a Her Spirit podcast’. Thank you for the random ad, whoever that was, ‘exhausting and painful’. ‘Yes you can’, ‘uncomfortable’ again, just such amazingly mixed emotions. Karen lots to say about that people do do events over long sort of back to back don't they? So are there any kind of top tips that you give people who are sort of considering that sort of thing?
Karen: So recovery is key. So eating, eating well and rehydrating well is going to be the most important things and when you are eating protein, we know about carbs, but the thing that often gets missed, but is so important for women, particularly once you're over 35 and our muscle mass starts decreasing, you need to load in the protein. So after each event, make sure within the half hour of stopping, you're getting carbs and protein in, rehydrating and then what works for you. So there is the idea of ice baths or massage, all these kind of things. It's whatever feels good for you. There's very little science to prove one thing over another and a lot of them have placebo effects. So just what works for you, but the thing you can't miss out is nutrition and hydration.
Louise: Shareefa, What do you do about protein? What do you eat for protein? Cause that's what I always think about because it's so protein meat is so easy, isn't it?
Shareefa: Yeah. Protein was the hardest thing for me. And also when I first went vegan, I was like, what do I even eat? I didn't eat properly for weeks because I was confused and there was a period of time where I really struggled to figure out what to eat. But actually loads of beans, I eat loads of beans, loads of chickpeas. Like I have a very like heavy bean based diet. I used to have very bad IBS actually, which is what made me want to change my diet. And a lot of people say, well, I have IBS and I can't eat beans. But again, something very interesting happened to my body when I started taking away all the animal proteins and, and introducing just beans and garlic and all those things I never could have before and my IBS completely cleared up, which was great. When I'm training a lot, I do have a protein powder that I'll use it's and it's vegan and it's got no flavour. And I just add in, cause I love a smoothie. So I add things into smoothies. I also use my vegan clear protein, which has a little bit less protein in it, but it's quite a nice refreshing sort of protein drink.
Louise: So that's interesting that you can get in the protein.
Shareefa: Yeah. You can definitely get in the protein. I think it's more difficult to get in lots of protein from plant sources. You have to eat a lot of chickpeas or a lot of beans to try and get it in, but I think it is possible. I'm just probably a bit lazy.
Louise: Listen, we're gonna, we are gonna run out of time soon. So I just wanted to kind of pick up on a few things. Karen you mentioned strength and conditioning and I know that this is something that you think is kind of key don't you?
Karen: Yeah, I'm a, I'm a really huge advocate of, of strength and conditioning. And again I hinted at it earlier saying particularly women over 35. So you sort of, in that decade, we, we naturally start losing muscle mass. There's nothing we can do about it. And unless we actually take action to start putting him back you, you, you, you are standing still or going backwards anyway. So and I know runners have this thing about not wanting to bulk up and all this kind of thing, carry extra weight, but that doesn't happen. I promise you, what we're trying to do is actually underpin or running or cycling or swimming, whatever it is you're doing with a healthy, strong body. That's why you do your strength and conditioning. You've gotta get away from thinking it's cross training. It's not cross training, it's underpinning your health for life. It's making sure we've got sufficient muscle mass. That basically when we are 90, we can still get ourselves up off the toilet. , that's what you've gotta think about. , and if you don't do strength and conditioning, you're not gonna be able to do that. But when you run your, your muscles fire, the more muscle tissue you have, the more resistant to fatigue, it is the longer you're gonna be able to run. The less likely you are to get injured. So you have to stop thinking of strength and conditioning as something you do to support your running it's to support your life overall. And when I work with runners, triathletes or whatever, this is non-negotiable and especially for women, because when we get perimenopausal/ menopausal as well, and we start getting fluctuating estrogen and then lose estrogen, the stimulus to build muscle completely disappears. So unless you are actually lifting heavy weights and it is heavy weights relative to your ability, it's not standing on one leg doing 1kg, dumbells bicep curls that doesn't work, it's doing big lifts. It's doing your dead lifts or your squats, maybe some Olympic lifting. And if you don't know how to do that, this is an important time in life to go and get some help, get a personal trainer. You don't need to be with forever. Get them to show you how to do these fit things, check your form. This is underpinning your health for life as a woman. This is not just about running
Louise: Holly. Let me just pick up, tell us what we've got on the, Her Spirit, a community app for this.
Holly: Well we love strength and being stronger, feeling it and in your body. And we launched couched kilos in January. , and it's been hugely successful. It's exactly, as Karen says, it's three levels. First level is body weight. Second level is starting to introduce hand weights and then level three is starting to use a barbell, which our community have absolutely loved earning how to actually lift some of those kind of bigger weights. So come and give it a go it's a six week program and I think you'll absolutely love it. It loads of fun.
Bryony: I just wanted to say, I have found that doing two half an hour strength training thing was a week two to three at home, and I've got I got a PT and then I got her to teach me how to do it all at home with the right equipment. It has completely transformed the way I run and my exercise. And as, as, also as someone who's Prairie menopausal, it's, it is amazing. It really has just given it that extra boost.
Louise: Which is so encouraging. And also you make the point there, don't you, Bryony that you can, you, and, and you made the point, you, if you get a PT, they can tell you how to do it, and then you can go on and do it yourself. So you're not having to spend a huge amount of money, but also there is all on the, on the app, it's all out there for you. Karen, how important is kind of flexibility and mobility?
Karen Well it's important that you have functional range in your joints. And that just means that the body can move how it's supposed to. And I've already said about environmental issues now, with this all sitting down, that's probably the biggest thing that impacts our mobility. So our hip flex is at the front of our body have got shortened, cuz we sit down so much that pulls everything slightly out of alignment. It means you can't lift your knees as high as they need to. When you run your hamstrings, get overactive or underactive you Glu, I mean, how many people have been injured and been told that they've got lazy glutes or they glutes are inactive? It’s the classic thing. And it's not even that the, the glutes aren't strong. It's just cuz we spend so much time sat on our backside. They just forget how to work. So the, so the, the, the messages from our brain aren't even getting through to our butts anymore. It's like, so just functional movement mobility is, is really important. And, and if you love of yoga and you get something out of it then go and do that but it can just be as easy as just keeping moving. So if you are gonna have a day sat at a desk, set the alarm on your clock to go on your phone, to go off every 20 minutes or something and stand up and do 10 squats, just move, just stop being sedentary. But just coming back to the strength and conditioning again, if you have been taught and know how to do these, these four lifts deadlifting and squat, you're also taking your body through big ranges of movement and that is stretching as well. So some of the time you can, you can tick all these boxes of movement, strength and mobility just by doing some one thing and it might be strength and conditioning.
Shareefa: I think sometimes the gym can be like the place where you lift weights or, or gym or where these establishments can be quite intimidating for people who feel like these spaces aren't for them. So if that, if you are that person trial and error find, find whatever studio it is that you feel most comfortable in, because I think they'll always be certain spaces. You feel more comfortable and certain gyms you go into that feel super judgey. And like, you don't wanna be mansplained over by the weight rack or whatever. Don't be afraid to like, do like a bunch of different trial memberships and pay that little intro offer or whatever it is.
Louise: Think you make a very good point, Bryony, we got to let you go, cause you gotta do to do haven't you, you've got 10 Ks to run in a zoom to go do Bryony, before you do top tip to people who are finding it tough at the moment running just re in 10 seconds.
Bryony: Try it a little bit remember my top tip to you is that nobody wants to go out for a run, nobody, but nobody ever regrets going for one.
Louise: Love that. Bryony, you go, you've been awesome as always. So lastly Holly, we've got, we've got a collaboration and haven't we going on at the moment?
Holly: Absolutely. We were really excited to be working with vitality in London, vitality 10 K , in the lead up to this because we really started to notice within the community that there's a lot out there for running 5k or up to 5k, but there's not really a lot of support and guidance around going to 10 K. When we started talking to our community, there seemed to be a real mental block. And there was a question actually that someone asked about, I've got a bit of the mental block around going from five to 10K, how do I do it? So working with those guys, we've we developed take on a 10K, so it's a great 10 K plan that gradually builds you up and enables you to do a 10 K in 10 weeks. So whatever you are kind of thinking about running wise, I'd really encourage you to take on a 10 K because it is a, is a really lovely distance to run.
Louise: And Shareefa, your advice to people who are thinking about doing that 10 K?
Shareefa: Do something that scares you because that's where you grow but actually remember that running is fast walking
Louise: And finally, Karen so tell us you got so much good advice and that's why I've chosen you as my coach. And one day we will get me through a major run when I've done lots of strength and conditioning. I’ve got my knee better, et cetera, started with walking probably your top tip for people,
Karen: Slow down and take walking breaks. It's that simple, slow down and take walking breaks.
Louise: Brilliant thank you so much. Thank you to Bryony. Thank you, Shareefa, thank you, Karen thanks Holly love to be chatting to you too. If you've been inspired to get your trainers back on, maybe even go for a longer brisker walk or run or set yourself a big challenge, like a 10K or more or beat perhaps a PB on a half or full marathon. There are lots of brilliant tips advice and challenges you can sign to for all levels from beginners to pro runners as well on the Her Spirit app, or go to herspirit.co.uk, click on challenges as well, or sign up to the app for all your running needs. Come in and join our conversations on Facebook and on Instagram, we'll post the links in the episode notes, and we'll also add a link of where you can feel read a post the links in the episode notes.
And we will also add a link on where you can read a full transcription of this episode as well. In case you want to check back on any of that advice, I've loved it. I think I've learned a lot. I am gonna go for a walk today. Not a run, but hopefully I will be back running soon and thank you so much for listening. I'm gonna always mention the next episode of the Her Spirit podcast will be arriving on Monday the 6th of June. This one is gonna be all about cycling until then remember together we have got this.