In our latest interview, we’re joined by running evangelist Bethan Hammond. Bethan is a marathoner, a fitness blogger and a general healthy living advocate. Here, she discusses how her journey began, her best running experiences, what a healthy lifestyle means to her and more.
Hey! Thanks for joining us today, tell our readers about yourself and what we should know about you?
I’m Bethan. I’m a keen runner and a bit of a fitness enthusiast. I started running whilst at school but took it up properly when I joined the cross country team at the University of Leeds during my time then and the rest is history!
When did your love of running and fitness begin? Tell us about your journey.
My running journey started way back. My dad has always had a passion for athletics so my brother and I spent many hours down at the track as kids watching him train and I suppose the love of running came from there. As a young child, I was really focused on dance and it wasn’t until I was leaving school that I decided to take up athletics for myself. I started running on the track and slowly progressed to the road during my time at university. My first proper road race was the Great North Run in 2012 which I agreed to run thinking it was a 10k! It was only a couple of weeks later that I realised it was actually a half marathon and from there the real training began.
What would you say is the best thing about running?
100% being out in the fresh air and running off the stresses of each day.
What’s your best training tip? How do you fit your running and training in around every-day life?
Being organised and setting goals. I like to plan out my week every Sunday and decide where sessions are going to fit in around work and social commitments. I also love setting mini goals so that I am always working towards something.
What motivates and inspires you / what keeps you going when it gets tough?
Knowing what I want to achieve motivates me. If I am just training for the sake of it I lose motivation quite quickly. But if I have a race or a goal time to work towards I find keeping going much easier! I need to have something to focus my brain on, especially when it’s feeling tough!
You’ve run multiple marathons, half-marathons and 10ks, but what’s been your best experience to date?
The Manchester Marathon this year. I worked my socks off in the lead up to the race and I knew that a sub 3:45 marathon was within reach. Race day was incredible from start to finish and getting to mile 20 knowing that I was going to absolutely smash the time if I could hang on was an amazing feeling. The last 10k of the race was the best 10k of my life and the feeling of pushing and achieving what I worked so hard to achieve was incredible. The best moment was running past my family with around 400m to go knowing that I had done it!
What does exercise in general mean to you? And how do you define a ‘healthy lifestyle’?
A healthy lifestyle to me is being happy and exercise certainly makes me feel that way. For me, exercising has never been a quest to be thin, it’s more about how it makes me feel. It’s my way of burning off steam and there is very little that a good run cannot fix.
Lastly, how do you perceive the state of the fitness industry in the UK today?
I think the fitness industry is changing. There are lots of people out there doing incredible things and although there are still opinions out there of what a healthy body should look like it seems to be becoming much more inclusive. parkrun is a fantastic example of this! If you want to see inclusivity within running get yourself down to a local parkrun!
Thank you! You can follow Bethan’s journey on Instagram (@bethanham) and check out her blog here: http://positivelybethan.com.