18 April 2017

On the run ... with Tina Muir

The commercials for Dry Idea® anti-perspirant are famous for their tagline "Never let them see you sweat".

I wonder whether or not Tina Muir would buy into that.

Tina is an elite distance runner and social media personality who in English born but has resided in the U.S. for about 10 years now.  Having competed in distances between 1500m to the marathon she holds a PB of 2:36 over 26.2 miles and has represented Great Britain in the 2016 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships.  She's worked in various capacities in and around the running community, but now focuses on her brand new podcast and the Running For Real web presence.

Known for her candour and down-to-earth approach to training and fitness, Tina recently shared with her family, friends and followers that she is taking a much-needed break (or break-up) from running.  This is just one more way in which Tina invites everyone into an authentic conversation about the place of running in our lives ... and how the individual defines the running and not the other way around.

. . . . .

1.  Your journey has taken you from an MBA to “Community Manager” with RunnersConnect and now to focusing on anchoring your own social media platform Running For Real. Where would you say your greatest passion lies?

(a) As an athlete chasing my own personal goals
(b) Finding ways to creatively dovetail running and business
(c) Empowering others to get the most out of their lives
(d) Ice cream!
(e) Other

TM:   Oooooh I love that these are multiple choice questions, not sure I have ever answered those before like this! Hmmm that is a tough one, I would say (C) … although (D) is very tempting ;)  Haha, in all seriousness, running brings me a lot of joy, when I accomplish my goals, it makes me see how all that time, energy, passion, and love was worthwhile, as I did something to make myself proud and stand out. But I have to say that helping other people to feel empowered is so much more meaningful. Knowing that I have helped another, even in a small way, to achieve something they never dreamed possible, is an incredible feeling, and even from a young age, I have always known that my greatest strength is making others feel good about themselves. Now I get to make it into a career … hopefully!

2.   What do you think is the biggest hindrance to you enjoying and getting the most out of your running?

(a) The bathroom scale
(b) Any full-length mirror
(c) An unending pursuit of excellence because I’m never satisfied with what I’ve accomplished
(d) Other people’s social media feeds
(e) All of the above / Other

TM:   I would say they all play a part in sucking the joy from running. I would honestly say that I deal with most of those on a daily basis. I have now hidden my scale, so that part is at least out of the way, but it does cross my mind sometimes as I wonder where I would fall if I did weigh myself. The mirror is also a constant battle not to hone in on the parts you are a little self conscious of. However, I have been learning to look at myself a different way, and see my body as part of who I am, so I should love it for what it is, and I have learned to appreciate my curves as womanly and strong. Runners are never happy, thats all I have to say about C, and then finally, I think D can be the most toxic of all to our self esteem. We see others accomplishments or happy moments, and allow them to steal our personal accomplishments away from us. That is exactly what I am trying to minimize, by encouraging runners to show that courage of vulnerability, and be real.

3.   If you could teach your younger self just one lesson, what would it be?

(a) Listen to your body
(b) Surround yourself with the right people
(c) Life is all about balance
(d) One more interval won’t hurt
(e) Other

TM:  (A) through (C) are all good answers … (D) is probably a lesson I learned is wrong pretty quick :) But yes the other three are definitely lessons I have learned along the way. I have talked a lot about the effort scale and I truly believe that is the best way to train and race, so that means you learn to actually listen to your body, rather than relying on technology to tell you how to feel. I think being around supportive people who truly care about you and what makes you happy is so important. Thankfully the running world is FULL of plenty of those, so that makes it nice and easy :) Finally, balance, yes, that is something I have been working on over the past few years, it can be tough to find, and sometimes I wonder if I have it all wrong, but I think people often think that the harder they try in running, the better things will be. I actually found that when running became too big a part of my life and identity, that is when things really started going wrong. Running should be a part of your life, not the sole focus of it, there are far more important things in life, even at the very top!

4.  Having hit your big goal (representing Great Britain in a world championship race) what’s next on your radar?

(a) Become a two-sport athlete ... like, say, ultimate frisbee!
(b) Becoming a professional (life and sports) coach
(c) Stepping in the world of ultramarathons
(d) Who knows?! Politics maybe ...?
(e) None of the above / Other

TM:  I know, it’s still hard for me to believe that, and I am still working that part out. Ultimate frisbee huh? Maybe you have chosen a new career path for me there? ;) I would like to say (B) ... (C) might tempt me someday, but I am not there yet. I really want to help others accomplish their own running goals, and create this community where we can support and build one another up, rather than allowing social media to tear us down. So yes, I would love to become a leader and go to source for runners to learn more about living a balanced life as a runner.

*** For more on Tina be sure to check out "Running For Real" on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/runningforreal), as well as Tina's personal feeds on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/tinamuir88/) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/tinamuir)!  Thanks Tina for being you, and for inviting us to do the same!


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