Veronica Amele has lost 21 kilogrammes through running.
Ms Amele, now a certified running coach, takes us through her journey of falling in love with running and provides insights into how best it has worked for her.
“Grit and determination are not enough to make you run. You have to want to run to be able to do it,” she says.
Before she began running, she was unhealthy and overweight.
“I constantly battled fatigue and mental exhaustion. The idea of changing things was unfathomable, and the voice of my self-doubt was so loud that I quit trying to change things altogether,” she says.
Getting children was the awakening moment for her.
“I had to get healthier for them, and I could not allow my inner self-doubt to hold me back from trying. I started walking and then later developed a passion for running. Running has changed my life,” the mother of two tells BDLife.
When she started running, she weighed 77 kilogrammes.
Ten years of consistent running has shed her weight to 56 kilogrammes. She runs between four kilometres and 32 kilometres, four to six days a week, depending on whether or not she is training for a race. Consistent running as a form of fitness requires discipline. “I normally start my day with a good run. I am blessed to live in a neighbourhood surrounded by trails and paved sidewalks. So I do both trails and road run.”
Benefits to her body
Running has helped Ms Amele maintain a healthy weight, get stronger bones and help her experience healthy ageing.
“My waistline has benefited the most from the constant running that I have been doing. From 37 inches to 27 inches,” she says.
On what keeps her going
She says: “It is easy to make fitness resolutions but finding the motivation to sustain the exercise can be difficult. But to be honest, we all make time for what we feel is important in our lives.”
She says listening to good music also keeps her motivated while running.
“I enjoy Afrobeat music and hip-hop music. It gives me that extra energy boost.”
The certified running coach says that the must-haves are good running shoes.
“The single most important piece of equipment for any runner is the shoes. Wearing shoes that fit comfortably and are the correct type may prevent injury and promote performance.”
When choosing your running shoes, consider how much you pronate, the type of cushion you prefer and the surface you will be running on. Her go-to-shoes are ASICS, GEL NIMBUS, New Balance, Fresh Foam 1080V11 and Hoka One.
“My indulgence is shoes and clothes. I cannot get enough of them.”
Dealing with Knee pains
On avoiding knee pains, Ms Amele says: “Stretch your leg muscles before and after running. You should also take it slow while starting and increase the mileage gradually.”
She also urges one to take a well-balanced diet.
Life lessons from running
“Since I started running, I have never looked back or had any regrets. Getting used to running can be brutal, but once your body and mind start to adapt, running can be blissful and meditative and provide a sense of freedom. Running has taught me I can do anything I put my mind to. It has moved me from couch potato to a proud marathon runner.”
Running also helped Ms Amele regain her mental clarity leaving her more energised. Her advice to people looking to begging running is, “If you want to start running, lower your expectations and start small. Don't be too hard on yourself; give yourself permission not to be perfect”.
One reason she has kept running even though it's hard? “Running is my happy place,”she says.