Run Your Own Race
Start where you are – run your own race
By Rachael Mackenzie – World Thai Boxing & UK Boxing Champion
“I ran the London marathon” feels like the most ridiculous statement I’ve ever made, but it’s true, we’ll sort of true, there were bits where not a lot of running happened! It all started with a very innocuous conversation with the charity the Youth Sport Trust, who I’m extremely passionate about and am an ambassador for. They were looking for one of their team of athlete ambassadors to join their marathon team and no one had volunteered. I’m a serial joiner inner, it’s a character flaw, I once drew a face on the floor of a stage, with my own face, using melted chocolate because no one else volunteered and I felt so bad for the presenter just stood on the stage with their brilliant idea going so terribly wrong. As the deadline drew near with no volunteers my left hand raised itself to say I’m in, whilst my right hand tried to punch it back down, but too late my “thanks for joining our team” arrived and withdrawing felt like I’d be letting down all the young people the charity work with.
“It’s ok, you’re an athlete” they said, yes, yes I am, I’m an athlete who gets a sit down and a drink every three minutes and has not run for more than the length of a hockey game in as long as I can remember. So my preparation began, well that would have been the ideal scenario but in reality I had a masters project to complete, conferences all over the UK and abroad to speak at, kids to look after, a trial for the north of England hockey team alongside a never ending to do list, and if I’m honest I don’t actually like to run……so I didn’t.
The real runners in marathon pen three told me conditions were perfect, to run how I feel, to enjoy the day, and so I did, for the first thirteen miles. At the half way point, having only once run beyond thirteen miles and only twice up to that distance, I found myself feeling great and ahead of the 4 hour marathon marker. Half a mile later I was broken, caught up in running the race of all those around me I’d given myself a stress fracture in my foot and made myself physically sick. The next 12, very slow, miles were a time of reflection.
As we approach the never ending bombardment of advertisements ensuring our “bikini body” is a mere £99 programme and 20 star jumps a day away we need to ask the question who is this benefiting? Who gave someone else the right to decide my body isn’t ready for a bikini? How did we get caught up in believing the Instagram fakery? Most importantly why are we always trying to run in someone else’s race? I understand the science and I still find it hard not to get drawn in. So my plea to you all as we head towards summer is to run your own race, but let’s make it a race towards health, strength and celebrating how fabulous we are, whatever our bikini of choice.
My top strength tips:
1) Strengthen your knees – knee issues are one of the primary reasons reported in my clinic for women not feeling able to do the exercise they wish. Try some simple straight leg raise, hamstring curls and wall squats to get you stared.
2) Squat – the mother of all exercise in my opinion, when done correctly maintains mobility, is infinitely variable so provides functional strength gains difficult to get from another single exercise and provides metabolic benefits that go beyond the time you are exercising.
3) Strengthen your heart – start where you are, can you walk then run a bit, maybe you prefer Zumba or cycling but every day we need to accumulate 60 minutes of exercise that raises our heart rate.
4) Strengthen your mind – start with your self talk, is what you say to yourself lifting you up or making you feel bad? Start every day with a mantra of self love, and whilst it might feel cuckoo to begin with, if for no other reason than this, your children learn about how to treat themselves by observing what you do. If they see your morning self talk as you get ready in a morning speaking of your awesomeness they’ll model and believe that in themselves. If you’re struggling for a cheesy mantra you can borrow ours
“I am brave, I am strong and I can do anything if I try”