Meet Jane. She’s a runner, an Iron(wo)man, a corporate lawyer in a former life and a mother of one. Jane is nuts about running, so it’s no surprise she’s recently started Mums On The RunHong Kong’s first mother’s running group. 

 

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Jane winning the Standard Chartered Hong Kong half marathon this year

I caught up with Jane recently to learn more about Mums on the Run, the inspiration behind it and her own crazy running antics as a mum.

Why did you start Mums on the  Run? I absolutely love running, but understand how hard it is to fit in a run or any kind of exercise when you have kids. It’s a juggling act that doesn’t seem to get easier! I want to share my passion and show other mums how they can enrich both their own and their kid’s lives by being fit and healthy.

 

But why running when there are so many fitness options out there? It’s so important for busy mums to feel fit and strong and good about themselves, and I believe this can be achieved through running. Read More

The running dilemma: too much of a good thing?

Two years ago I gave up full-time work to chase my dreams and a new career; I also gave up my full-time gym membership and made running my “thing”. It’s cheap, it’s cathartic, and if you actually train right, it keeps you in great shape.

Plus, I find my best ideas and stories flow as I float over the trails.

But recently I’ve come to learn that only running can do more harm than good. While I used to think little of clocking up double digits of running hours each week, it’s finally catching up with me.

All that repetitive strain has left me with a string of running injuries, and after months of serious training over winter, my adrenal system and immune system has taken a pounding. I’ve been lacklustre, consistently fatigued and always a little sick.

Long story short: it was time I mixed it up.  

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Mac on a long, cold and wet run

Mac on a long, cold and wet run

Did this conversation happen in your head this morning?

“You should really get up and run.”

“Have you looked outside? It’s colder than Sochi. Plus it’s raining. And this bed is soooo warm. Why the hell would you want to run in this sh*t?”

Good question, brain. Is there any point, at all, to running in this foulness?

Although it’s hard to get going, cold weather = optimal running conditions. Studies have shown your body takes longer to tire when running in the cold compared to hotter weather – so you’ll get more out of your run. Plus, believe it or not, it’s actually good for you. Exercising in the cold apparently increases your immune cell count (good for warding off bird flu). 

But, top of the list? How good does a warm shower and hot cup of tea feel after a long, cold, miserable run? You’ll be appreciative and grateful for the rest of the day, not to mention have oodles of energy.

Right, now I’m motivated, tomorrow, things are going to be different. Here are five things I’m going to do/think to get myself the hell out of bed and go for that run.

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Lizzy Hawker is one of Britain’s greatest endurance athletes – and given the manner and grace in which she approaches her sport, I’d happily say one of the greatest – full stop.

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I had the absolute honour and pleasure of spending an afternoon with Lizzy talking about her achievements and her approach to life a month ago (and she had the annoyance of having to deal with several emails from me post interview following up on fine details afterwards – again – all to which Lizzy responded so honestly, friendly and patiently I felt like hugging her through the screen).

Being not just a passionate runner but a writer as well, I feel a huge sense of responsibility to tell the stories of fellow runners whose incredibly courageous stories don’t play out on TV screens but often late in the night under just the  lumens of a headlamp. And not just to tell them, but to tell them well. Capturing the subtle details that make them who they are and able to achieve what they do. What makes them truly, truly brilliant.

Lizzy’s story was finally published this morning , and I was a little disappointed to discover it wasn’t in the way I’d originally written it. I know I’m a professional, and I shouldn’t worry about these things (I mean, I get paid anyway, right?) But I really wanted her story to be told the way I originally wrote it.

So here ’tis. Lizzy’s story. The way I told it.

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muddyshoes

Last week we learned about trail running races everyone can do in HK. This week, we’re talking about running in the right gear, namely, shoes. So, can you wear your ordinary runners on the trails or do you need a trail specific shoe? And if so, which one?

The short answer is yes but the practical answer is, preferably not.

Trail running shoes are different from ordinary runners in two ways: (1) they’re more robust to handle tree roots, rocks and other obstacles that you may subject your poor tootsie to while on the run, and (2) they provide better grip when running on common trail surfaces, like rocks and, if it rains, slippery, muddy surfaces. So while you can run with your ordinary runners – no problemo – you may find that over certain terrain you’re not as speedy or as well protected as you may be in a trail running shoe.

So, which shoe?

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I love heading out and getting lost on the trails – lost in my thoughts, lost in the stark contrast of the concrete jungle I live in and lost in the beauty of it all.

Because of my passion for the subject, I often get asked what’s the best way to get involved. It sort of makes me laugh as the first time I ran on Hong Kong’s trails was with a US$20 helmet on my head* – and that was only three years ago.

That said, I’ve run many more trails since then (thankfully sans the helment) and have managed to acquire a bit of know how over the years. Since I’ve had many people ask me for more info, over the next few weeks (to coincide with the imminent arrival of the trail running season), I will endeavour to craft HKAB’s Rookies Guide to Hong Kong trails!!

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