‘Vivi Stories’ is a series of inspiring tales, thoughts, tips and tricks from real people. From running marathons to cycling 500 miles across Europe, find out what drives people to get fit and what experiences have been the best. Here, we ask our very own Nicola Meighan about her fitness motivations and why she loves running. 

What motivates you? 

Nicola: A lot of things motivate me. Generally speaking, the obvious health benefits of exercise encourages me to push myself. The feeling I get after a good workout makes me want to keep going. It excites me for my next workout and reminds me how good I feel after. Both physically and mentally. 

Finding a good routine and rhythm is key. Once you lose that you become demotivated and always seem to find an excuse to not ‘work out’. Everyone is guilty of having bad days, I definitely am and that’s exactly why I work out – to enjoy those moments and not feel guilty after a bad meal (or two). 

Over the past few years, as work has become more demanding and my job doesn’t always allow me to be in one location, I have found it really helpful to try and book key dates for events. In my case, it’s always been running events. Having an event on the horizon encourages me to get training and get into ‘fitness mode‘. It pushes me on those bad days and makes me stronger on the good days. 

I recently completed the Great South Run, a 10-mile run, and I absolutely loved it. As soon as I crossed the finish line I couldn’t wait to get another event under my belt. To me, running has never really been about how far I can go, or hitting a PB. It has always been the feeling of achievement and having fun along the way that is my main driver. It makes exercise enjoyable. 

Why do you love running in particular? 

Nicola: I’ve never really been a sports fanatic. I’ve always enjoyed individual exercise like running and swimming. Group sports have never really been my thing. 

When it comes to fitness, running is something that allows me to get into my own head space and have complete control over my workout. It’s probably the only time I really enjoy my own company. 

Putting on my favourite playlist and switching off from the world feels so good – especially when you work with people all day long. I think even if I didn’t work in a customer facing role it would still be one of my favourite things to do. 

Living in London allows for many different routes, locations and tracks. When road running during the week I generally stick to routes I know and feel comfortable. At the weekends, I love being able to escape and try new locations and surroundings.

Richmond Park is one of my favourite spots to date. My weekly Park Run is also a massive hit. I love seeing so many people running together in local areas. It makes me feel part of something even though I technically run alone. 

The fact that running can be completely/nearly free means exercise in this format is very cheap and accessible. The only excuse I give myself for not running is laziness.

It’s not for everyone, I know, just like a lot of other exercises aren’t for me, but the fact that I have been able to find something that I actually enjoy is all I need.

When I can’t do road running I go to the gym. Yes, I’ve just contradicted myself by saying running can be free when I’m paying for a gym. To possibly go running in… But it is the truth, running does not cost more than buying a decent pair of running shoes. 

Enjoying cycling in the Sun

Going to the gym simply allows me to mix up my exercises and build on my strength. Whether I want to do some heavy cardio, a spin class or some HIIT training, it helps me build on body strength in different areas and not just my legs.

What does fitness and exercise mean to you? 

Nicola: Fitness means living a healthier life, longer. Corny, I know, but it’s true. If you look around, the people who tend to live longer are people who look after themselves – I don’t mean exercise will keep you alive forever, but it certainly helps to reduce the risk of serious illness and if that means making the most of your life then it’s something that is a given. 

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