When and why did you start running?
Liz Kentish: March 2020. I wanted a practical goal to shake up my fitness habits.
Andrew Hulbert: Around four weeks into lockdown. I had completed Couch to 5km around 10 years ago when I used to regularly complete triathlons, but I had forgotten about it. ‘Hi-Vis Liz’ posting on LinkedIn inspired me to start again. .
How do you fit exercise into your work schedule and how do you deal with missing a training slot?
LK: It quickly became a ‘must do’ task that I diarise each Friday for the following week, blocking out the time. I run with Dave Kentish, which helps as we motivate each other. The key to missing a run is not to stress about it. Just ‘bump’ it to the next day, and that nudges on the following run too, until the schedule rebalances.
AH: The key for me is doing it first thing in the morning before emails, calls and Zooms start. Wake up, take on some water and get ready to run. You don’t have time to get stressed about work as you are out running before new challenges can be brought to you.
What’s your running schedule?
LK: I built up to 5km and then 10km. I run on Monday and Friday at 7am and I go for a bike ride on Wednesday.
AH: Every two days I run for around 12km starting at 6.30am.
In what ways do you think running gives you a competitive edge?
LK: It’s about competing against yourself. I’d done the ‘Couch to 5K’ three years ago, then stopped – I’d achieved my goal. This time I realised that once I’d run 5km, I needed another goal after that. It becomes increasingly empowering and builds confidence.
I post short videos on social media under a nickname ‘Hi-Viz Liz’ because of my colourful running gear. These videos coincidentally generate business for Kentish and Co.
It can help others too. I support the ‘From Me To You Letters’ charity and by running 10km for the first time, with friends donating money, I raised more than £1,300!
AH: Mainly from the positive mental attitude due to the rush of endorphins. It perks you up and you start the day with real vigour. It focuses you and enables you to attack those difficult tasks you may otherwise avoid.
What is your advice for beginners?
LK: The most important thing is to know your ‘why’. For example, is it to lose weight, or do a parkrun? Then it’s skills and behaviours – learn the science. The ‘Couch to 5K’ App can really help. For example, breathe in for four paces and out for four paces. Hydrate before running. I use this interruption-free time for creative thinking and problem-solving. I live in the countryside, so I enjoy watching nature changing with the seasons. If you run in town or on a treadmill, create a motivational playlist. Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run starts mine!
AH: It sounds simple but you just need to start! If you haven’t run for a long time (or ever), you aren’t just going to go out and smash 5km or 10km. You need to start gradually and build up strength and endurance. I’d recommend a heart monitor watch so you can see how hard you are working and the calories you are burning. I love stats and it gives me a boost to see the details of the workout after. You can also see your fitness growing as your heart has to work less hard to complete the same run.
Andrew Hulbert managing director of Pareto FM and Liz Kentish managing director of Kentish and Co