Overcoming Your Self-Doubt: Marie-Louise Stenild Interview

Marie Louise Stenild Heading Picture

Have you ever wanted to do something, but you allowed self-doubt to stop you? C’mon, you know what I’m talking about. Some idea popped into your head, excited you and made you feel alive, but then a part of your mind quickly shot it down and said, “impossible.”

“I can’t.”

“It’s too hard.”

“It wouldn’t work.”

“I’m not THAT type of person.”

We’ve all been there. Perhaps what separates the truly successful from the unsuccessful is that they choose to ignore this voice.

Marie-Louise Stenild ignored hers.

In October of 2010, Marie-Louise embarked on an “impossible” mission: to run 7 marathons, in 7 days, on 7 different continents.

Marie-Louise Stenild's Marathon Challenge Route

In this interview she shares with us everything she went through: physical, mental, and emotional. We also talked about her training, diet, and the running gear she uses, including her trials using barefoot running shoes.

Marie-Louise Stenild Interview

Key Learnings

  • Sometimes you just need to take a chance and go for it. Dreams won’t come to you, you need to run out to your edge to get to them
  • Common advice for runners and other athletes is to load up on carbs before any athletic activity. This has adverse effects for Marie-Louise, so try out different pre-workout/running meals to see what your body reacts best to

Marie-Louise Stenild Profile PicMarie-Louise Stenild is an avid runner and traveller. She was born in Aalborg, Denmark and is currently based out of London, England. She holds a Master’s Degree of Law from Copenhagen University and a LL.M. from Kent University.

Post-Interview Thoughts

Put yourself in Marie-Louise’s shoes (not her marathon ones, they may be a little stinky). Imagine suddenly having an idea to do something, something BIG, and feeling the excitement that comes with that idea.

Then imagine yourself saying no, I can’t, because of this reason or that reason.

Now, imagine yourself to be 80 years old, getting close to the end of your life, sitting alone on your front porch in a rocking chair. It’s a warm and sunny day, and you’re reflecting back on various moments from your life.

You then remember that time, when you were younger, when you had that idea, that spark of energy, and you remember how it scared you, but how it energized you at the same time. You remember the excuses you made, how you rationalized yourself out of taking that chance, and most of all, you feel the deep regret of having never even tried. A tear runs down your face, realizing that now it’s too late, now it really can’t happen, and you passed by a chance to do something really incredible.

You’re not in that rocking chair yet…

It’s easy to get swallowed up by the mundane activities that distract us in day to day life, and it’s even easier to let yourself use that as an excuse… And while excuses may feel good to you now in this moment, they’ll haunt you as time goes by and opportunities have passed.

Full Transcript

Spencer: What was it that changed in you five years ago when listening to Sir Ranulph Fiennes give that talk?

Marie-Louise: Well since I was a child, I always wanted to be the first to do something, but it’s quite difficult to come up with something to be the first. So when I went to the talk with Sir Ranulph Fiennes, he was talking about motivation and everything. He’s a really excellent speaker and he’s the first man to have run seven marathons in seven days in seven different continents. Something just clicked and I thought, that’s what I want to do. I want to be the first woman to do it. So that was sort of the main motivator for it.

Spencer: And what was your training history like prior to setting out to do this?

Marie-Louise: Well, I’ve always been a very keen runner and I’ve always run a lot. I’ve used it when I did my studies because I studied law so you spend a lot of hours reading and studying so I started using it as a way of de-stressing and getting some fresh air and clearing my head. So I had been running about 80k per week since I was early twenties. And I think that’s one of the main things that helped me because I had lots of muscle memory. So when I started training for the seven marathons, I kind of had a good basis already.

Spencer: And had you ran marathons prior to that as well?

Marie-Louise: Yeah, I’ve done a few marathons. I’ve done lots and lots of half marathons. And it’s only within the past five years that I’ve started to do marathons.

Spencer: And what was your experience like running marathons? Did those crush you or were you kind of confident that going into this, you’d be okay doing seven in a row?

Marie-Louise: The thing is, because for the past ten years I’ve done three runs every week that’s 20k because I used to run home from work. The thing is I’m not a really fast runner as you can probably see with the times that I’ve done. But I normally run a marathon in four hours so I’m still pushing myself. And I must admit that I’ve never thought to myself ‘oh my God, I’m never going to finish’. I’ve always had more energy; I’ve not been completely dead when I’ve finished a marathon. And that’s why my trainer said to me ‘you’re not pushing yourself hard enough’. The thing about running and going for long distance doesn’t really scare me, I enjoy it.

Spencer: What does scare you? Is there anything that does scare you as far as running?

Marie-Louise: Well, I’m climbing a mountain in July so that might push my boundaries a bit.

Spencer: What do you think of these ultra marathons where it’s like fifty miles, a hundred miles? Is that something that you’d ever think of doing?

Marie-Louise: Yeah, I’d really like to do, I don’t know if you are familiar with the Comrades in South Africa?

Spencer: No I haven’t heard of that.

Marie-Louise: It’s eighty nine kilometres and it’s near Durban and I really would like to do that. I would like to try an ultra marathon to see if I can do that because the thing is I really feel confident in doing the marathon distance and I don’t feel the day after, you know, I’ll walk perfectly, I’m not completely shattered or anything. So, it would be interesting to see if I could do an ultra marathon. I had looked into a desert marathon so I would like to one day do a marathon in the Sahara but it’s so difficult to get in so I’ll just have to wait a bit.

Spencer: Do you follow any specific dietary principles or a specific diet that you feel helps you recover or gives you energy while you run, anything like that?

Marie-Louise: I have a very protein rich diet. I eat lots of chicken and turkey and fish. My main protein is fish and a bit of egg as well. And then I have dairy products as well. The only time I’d say I had a hard time with a marathon was when I was running Luxembourg marathon with some friends and they kindly made food for me and it was all pasta and lots of carbs. And that’s the only time I had a really hard time. I felt it when I came to about thirty five, I just had no energy. And for me having a carb rich diet and doing a marathon just doesn’t work for me.

Spencer: So you have to have protein beforehand?

Marie-Louise: Yeah, the evening before I always have fish or chicken or something. But I’ve never been very good with carbs, that’s probably why it doesn’t really work for me. Because I know people who eat lots of pasta and rice before they do marathons or long runs but it doesn’t work for me.

Spencer: That’s interesting. There are a lot of people that are going towards low carb diets today so it might be something in there.

Marie-Louise: It’s not because I’m thinking that people are doing these various diets where you are cutting out completely carbs and everything. I have porridge every morning so I do get some but I just find that having too much rice and pasta is just not working for me at all. It doesn’t really work for my stomach. I think that’s why I’ve focused more on doing protein and then lots of vegetables as well.

Spencer: Motivation. What motivates you to run and train in general? I guess it was like a stress relief back when you were in law school?

Marie-Louise: Yeah, it’s just that I feel like, that’s my time. Nobody can ask me to do anything. It’s just a way for me to clear my thoughts. I put on some music and I go for a long run and I completely disappear for two hours. I just think about everything. But the thing is now, there is another motivator for me. I would like to, I would really like to do a marathon sub-4 hours. I’m sort of doing lots of interval training now so that’s a completely different way for me to train because I’m just used to putting on a pair of shoes and then going for a long run. But now it’s much more about running to times and speed and so on. That’s a bit of a difference for me to do that. The thing is, whether it’s raining or it’s cold or it’s sunny, I’ll still go out for run because I just feel sort of like a new person when I come back from a run. I just completely clear my thoughts and I’m full of energy and everything.

Spencer: Do you ever have times where you know you want to do a run in the morning, the day before. You’re like ‘maybe I’ll go for a run in the morning’ but the morning comes and your comfy in bed or whatever it may be and you just don’t feel like running. How do you jump over that hurdle?

Marie-Louise: Well, because I know that I feel so much better and of course if I look out and I see that it’s pouring down with rain and you’re thinking ‘oh, I have to go for a run’. There’s a few times of course I’ve skipped and I think ‘I’m going to take another hour in bed’ or something but then I just feel absolutely rubbish. I just don’t have that energy for the day and that’s what motivates me or that’s what gets me out of bed. It’s that I know I just feel so much better when I’ve done it so that’s really the key for me. But I have to say, it’s not like I run every day. I also do other sports. I do spinning or something but it’s just that doing some kind of exercise in the morning really does help me.

Spencer: On your website, you mentioned that your training was designed by Juan Pablo Garcia, a personal trainer that specialized in running who has a long track record with long distance running and had participated in marathons himself. Why did you pick Juan and how did you reach out to him?

Marie-Louise: It’s quite a funny story actually because I moved and where I live there’s a gym in the basement, a really nice gym. So I went down and I joined and they said ‘oh you can have some free personal training lessons when you’re joining’ and I was like ‘oh okay, it’s for free, so I’ll go ahead and take them’ and then Juan called me up and said ‘do you want to have your training lessons and I was like ‘yeah, yeah, okay’. And then he asked questions about what is your training history and everything and then he said ‘do you have any goals’? And I said to him ‘really, I would like to run seven marathons, in seven days, in seven different continents’ and he is the first one who didn’t laugh. He just said to me ‘well, that means you have to do a lot of training’ and he’s the first one that actually took it seriously. He said ‘it’s a tough thing to do but if you train properly and you’re committed, we can do it’. And from that moment on, that’s when I decided ‘okay I’m going to do it’ and we then found a time when it was best because I had to consider the weather as well because I had to run in some pretty hot countries so I wanted to run at the time of year when it was most comfortable for me. So we decided the time for doing the seven marathons and then I did a test where I ran three marathons in three weeks. Three official marathons and it went really well and then we started really the core training of the running.

Spencer: And what was that training like for you?

Marie-Louise: Well it’s like if you consider it’s a valley training. So I had four weeks where I did up to a 130k a week and then I had four weeks when I went on a lower level, up to eighty kilometers a week. Then I went back up to 130 for four weeks and then back down and then back up and then the sign is that I would peak that week that I was doing the seven marathons and it really worked. He did it spot on.

Spencer: Where there any points in your training where you felt like ‘oh this might be too much’ or ‘am I not recovering fast enough’ or did you feel pretty spot on?

Marie-Louise: The things is because I was working full time whilst I was doing the training and I remember this one evening, I was sitting at nine o’clock at night in the office knowing that I had to do a 30k run. I said to myself, ‘oh, I’m just going to skip it and go home’ and then I thought ‘no, I can’t really’ because I thought, ‘if I can’t even go running for the training of 30k, how am I going to do the seven marathons’. It was only once in my training I had that thought and thought to myself ‘no, you can’t do the training, you’re not going to achieve the goal’. So that really kept me going the whole time, just saying ‘if you can’t put in the hours, you’re not going to succeed’. But I had two days a week where I didn’t do any running. So the weeks where I did the 130k, I had three days of 30k runs and what we did is that I would do lots of differences. Sometimes I would run 30k in the evening and then 30k in the morning to see how I would react. And then of course, also sometimes I would be running in the morning one day and then running in the evening the next day so I had so I have as much recovery as possible between the runs. So there was lot of testing myself, by seeing stressing debility, doing the runs really close and then far away and then having the days of complete rest as well. And I did some core training as well for the upper body and so on.

Spencer: You received quite a bit of news coverage. Did that add on any pressure to how you were already feeling before the run?

Marie-Louise: One thing that was very important for me from the beginning was that I took control of the whole thing myself because I found the route myself. So for me it was quite important to control the whole process myself because in that way, if I succeeded, it was a victory for me and if I failed, it would be my own fault. I couldn’t blame anyone so sort of like the victory would be bigger and also the failure would probably be bigger. So I sort of took control of the whole process and then by chance I was at a birthday party where somebody who writes for a magazine, he said ‘oh I have a friend of mine, who sort of wants to start writing. This might be a good thing for her to pitch, to see somebody running seven marathons’. And by chance, she has been working in marketing for many years, so she had all the contacts, she had all the channels, to put it out to a wider audience that somebody is trying to do this. And this is how I got some of the sponsors as well. And she also contacted various newspapers and so on. I did have quite a lot of news coverage in Denmark as well and that was by chance. I think somebody picked up on it, it was very random and they came over here when I did the last marathon in London. They came and filmed and did a story on the news about it. They also followed me. The Danish radio followed me during the seven days. So I would home or call them and we would do an interview and because of the time difference it couldn’t really be live. I think there was one time it was live on radio but otherwise they recorded it. It was just amazing because the news coverage gave me so much energy and so much support while I was doing the seven marathons. I had emails from people that I’ve never heard of, I’ve never met, just saying ‘what you are doing is amazing. We heard about you on the radio’ or something and there was a gentleman from Denmark, five years ago, he was paralyzed from his upper body and down and he was told that ‘you are never going to be able to walk again’. Well he’s recovered and he came over and ran the last marathon with me. That was amazing. I contacted different running clubs and some of them wondered ‘is it okay if we contact a news station because we think it’s an amazing thing you are doing’? And I was like ‘you’re doing this for me, you’re helping me so whatever you want me to do to help you, please do so’.

Spencer: Can you take us through the entire experience itself. And especially touching on the mental side of it because I noted that in the BBC interview, that you said that the mental side was one of the tougher sides of it.

Marie-Louise: So you want from when I did the seven days?

Spencer: Yeah, the actual seven day experience.

Marie-Louise: So I started on the Falklands, and I must admit I landed late in the evening. I almost didn’t land because it was really windy. So when I got up in the morning and had to do the first marathon, I looked in the mirror and I remember thinking to myself ‘oh my God, what have you done, what is it that you’re supposed to do’. So I out, and because it was on a Saturday, the local running club, there was lots of people running with me. And one thing I hadn’t considered before doing the seven marathons was that. So I contacted loads of running clubs and people were so supportive. What people did for me for those seven days at the local running clubs, I could never expect it. If I expected one percent, I got a hundred percent. People picked me up at the airport, took me back, supplied food, drinks, everything. It was just really, really unbelievable. But one thing I hadn’t considered when I was doing the planning was that I just wanted people to run with me. They said, if anyone wants to run with me, that would be greatly appreciated. So when I did the marathon in the Falklands, there was somebody running with me who did the full marathon. And I thought ‘oh, that’s actually really nice’ because you’re having someone you can rely on for the speed and so on. So when I’d done the marathon in the Falklands, I then flew to Santiago in Chile, and I had a night’s sleep. The thing is, it was really odd because I knew that it was the last time I would be able to sleep in a bed between the marathons because I knew from then on, I would either be on a plane or I would be running. So I did the run in Santiago on the Sunday morning. I felt really good. I thought I was going to have more pain but I was actually feeling quite well. So then took off via Toronto actually to LA. I was lucky, I was flying economy but I got four seats so I could lay down and get a bit of rest. And when I landed in Los Angeles, when I opened my mobile, I had fifty messages from friends and family. And that just gave me the kick, that support from people you knew, colleagues. That support just gave me that booster and I thought ‘I can do this’ so I did the run and came to Sydney, which was a really long flight and I didn’t get enough food on the flight because what happened after the run in LA, I completely lost my appetite. I just did not want any food. But I knew of course I needed food as well so I must admit from doing LA and then on till London, I pretty much lived off bananas and Coca-Cola. Which is not really what you’re supposed to do when you are doing sports but that was sort of the only thing I could stomach and then landing in Sydney, people you never met before just standing there with open arms taking time out of their busy schedule and just giving you a big hug and saying ‘what you are doing is amazing, we are so pleased and honored to be part of what you are doing. You’ll do good.’ So for me, when I was doing Sydney, when I was half way through the marathon, I also knew that I was half way through my challenge so that gave me another booster because I think that the one is Santiago or the one in LA were probably the toughest ones because you just started and you’re thinking there’s still a long way to go but as soon as I passed that half way mark in Sydney, I just knew ‘I’m not counting down, I’m on the way home’. I then flew on to Singapore, of all the marathons, the Singapore marathon was the toughest for me. First, I only had seven hours rest between the two marathons. It was really, really hot, and very, very humid. And it was also the slowest marathon for me. Five and a half hours I spent. I could feel it a bit there. Then came to Cairo and one of my knees started hurting half way through Cairo but you are still having all the support and everything. And then finishing in Cairo, the adrenalin just went completely. As soon as I finished the marathon, I checked in at the airport. I was just so hyper because I knew that ‘I’m going home and even if my legs are broken, I will finish this thing’. I had a bit of a setback in Cairo because my flight got cancelled so I had to re-book on another flight. So all the time that I had planned on resting and taking it easy, I was running around trying to sort out getting another flight and also because I had left already with the stamp of immigration and everything. And then landing in London, my parents came over, family came over at the airport and just having friends, and my trainer was there and we started running the marathon. And I must admit there were only two times I cried while I was doing it. The first time was because my Mom has just had a new knee replacement and the weather was awful in London and I tried to get my parents to see me as many times as possible and it just didn’t work out. So I was really concerned about ‘where are my parents’ because they came all the way and I wanted them to be part of the experience. So I remember the second time I saw them, I was like ‘forget about everything else, just get to the finishing line’ and my Mom who can hardly walk was just like ‘yes, yes, yes, sweetheart, even if I have to run, I’ll be there’ so I got quite emotional. And the second time was towards the end of the last marathon, I ran past my office and this was on a Friday evening at six o’clock. I work in an investment firm and normally at four o’clock on a Friday, it’s completely empty. Seventy percent of my colleagues were there standing outside cheering me and a lot of them were running the last five kilometers with me and the way they get to me on the route was, I had to go around a corner and I could hear the cheering and the clapping and that’s really when I got slightly emotional there and the finishing line was just unbelievable.

Spencer: I think there’s a video of that on YouTube that I was just checking out. I believe it’s the London finish line so we’ll put that up on this post for people to see because it’s really cool. So you also raised money for charity, the Adam Roger’s Trust. If someone was going to attempt to raise money for a charity doing a similar feat, what methods worked best for you and which didn’t work as well?

Marie-Louise: Well for me, this is a private charity. It’s a former colleague of mine’s private friends. He lost Adam some years ago and for me, because I was asking friends and colleagues to donate to the charity, so for me it was very important that every single penny raised actually went to the charity. Because I think a lot of other charities, a lot of things goes to admin and everything so for me it was very important that if I was to raise money for charity, it had to be something that I felt a connection with. So one thing I did before was that I contacted Fiona and Mark Rogers and I went up, we met, because for me it was also important, one thing is for me to raise money for them but there had to be a connection between us. And also, they had to like me as well but really we had a connection straight away and they are really, really lovely people and what they have done is just amazing. And for me that was very important, that it was something I could stand by. But it is difficult and I must admit I probably could have raised more money if I had been more outgoing but most of the money is collected from my colleagues or friends and family. But I think also because there was also some mention in the newspaper I think some people went, not through me, because I collected on Virgin Giving Money so I used them as the base of collecting money. I raised an okay amount but I think other people have raised much more money but you also have to go out and you have to ask people to donate and I’m not the sort of person who will go out and ask for a lot of money. I sort of just hand it around to the people I know. So for me, it was also very important that I paid for everything myself so whatever was collected went to the charity. I paid everything, flights, the run and everything I paid myself.

Spencer: If someone else was interested in completing a similar feat, what advice would you give to them?

Marie-Louise: One thing that you really have to make sure is that you’re willing to put in the training because the training is really hard work and also, if you mentally can do it. Of course I had pain in my legs and everything while I was doing the run so you have to be strong and say that ‘even though it’s painful, are you willing to keep going’? So you definitely have to be committed because if you don’t put in the training, you’re not going to be able to do it. But I must say when I started, the adrenalin starts as well and it does carry you a long way, having the adrenalin throughout the seven days.

Spencer: I just had one last question for you. What are you working on now and in the future? What are you planning towards? I believe we talked a little bit about that in the beginning, just to reiterate here.

Marie-Louise: When I finished the seven marathons an old friend of mine wrote to me shortly after saying ‘are you not done with the running scene, shouldn’t you climb a mountain one day’? And I wrote to him ‘yeah, that’s a good idea’ and about a month ago, he wrote to me if I wanted to climb Stok Kangri in Northern India this summer and so I decided to do that. So that’s the next challenge because that is completely different. One thing is for me to do the running, another thing is for me to climb and it’s not technically difficult but it’s going to be mentally a challenge because its 6200 meters is the top and so you’re going to be having a battle with altitude and so on. And so we had a long chat because he’s experienced but I’m not experienced. I once went hiking in the Himalayas many years ago and I’ve done a little bit of hiking but I’ve never done anything where you actually have to climb and we have to wear clamp-ons underneath your shoes like ice pikes.

Spencer: With the ice picks on them?

Marie-Louise: Yeah, so I’ve never done that and he said for him, it was important that I actually mentally thought I could do it and I think I can do it because that’s one thing I have a very hard time giving up and I think that’s one thing that helped me as well when I did the seven marathons is that I just can’t give up. Like I said, ‘failure is not an option’. If I want to do something I am quite determined and I will succeed, I will finish it. So I’m doing that and I’m training for a marathon in May where I want to go under sub four hours so I’m training for about three forty five. A lot of people say like ‘it’s only fifteen minutes, that’s not very much’ but it is. When you’re running a marathon and you have to cut off fifteen minutes of your best time, it’s a big difference, especially when I’m a very comfortable runner, I’m running at a very comfortable speed so for me it’s a challenge to try and get up to the interval and get the highest speed.

Spencer: And the last thing I had asked and actually got cut off was about the ‘Compex’? What were those like, and did they help you out do you feel?

Marie-Louise: Yeah, they did. I got it while I was doing the training, they sponsored me and they asked me if I wanted to try it and I was like ‘well, there’s no harm’. I didn’t really believe in it. You know, you put something on your legs and it gives you electric shocks and this should help you. So I thought, ‘well, I’ll give it a go and then we can see what happens’ so I went for a run and put them on and I thought ‘fine’ and you know, there was nothing. And I did that a few times and then I thought ‘okay, I wonder if I don’t do it afterwards, what’s going to happen’. So I went for a 30k run, didn’t do the Compex afterwards. It’s a cycle of about ten to twenty minutes, you sit and they give you electric shocks. So what it does is speed up the recovery so it sort of gives a message to your legs or your body like recover, recover, recover. And so I did the 30k, didn’t use the Compex and I could feel it the day after so I went and did another run, put on the Compex and felt fine. So then I was convinced that it is going to help me so I was quite diligent and every time I’ve done a marathon, while I did the seven marathons, I put on the recovery mode so I did that. People did look at me at the airport having all these tubes sticking out everywhere but it did help. It helped by not seizing up or anything. I know a lot of sports people use it. I think it’s from Austria, it comes from there. It’s much more used in Continental Europe. I don’t know if it’s very well known in America or Canada but people also use it a lot for if you had surgery on your legs or something you’d get it as well. So a lot of therapists in Europe, in Continental Europe, they use it a lot.

Spencer: How do you spell that?

Marie-Louise: Its C O M P E X

Spencer: P E X?

Marie-Louise: Yeah.

Spencer: Okay, we’ll look into those.

Spencer: The following is conversation that happened after the interview that we both thought should be included:

Marie-Louise: So do you run marathon’s yourself or anything?

Spencer: No, I want to try but right now I get to about 5k and my feet are done with blisters and stuff so I need to figure that out first. Maybe I just need to run more often and that would kind of toughen up my feet.

Marie-Louise: Yeah, it’s definitely the more you do, the better. I didn’t have a single blister during those seven days. One thing is very good, I always say, if you have very soft skin on your feet. So every six weeks I go and have my feet done. Not at a beautician’s shop but I actually go to a proper feet clinic and they cut off all the dead skin and everything. That really does help, I, touch wood, nine out of ten times when I’m running a marathon, I don’t have any blisters so that’s a good thing.

Spencer: What kind of shoes do you wear? Do you have any specific shoe you really like?

Marie-Louise: Asics.

Spencer: Okay, yeah. I’m familiar with that company.

Marie-Louise: I find they are the best, yeah. I used Nike for many years but then, I used them for some years and then I just started getting some problems with my knees and then somebody told me that with Nike Air, when you run on the air, every time you land on your foot you get like a double, it sort of springs your leg up and that can actually give you problems with your knees. Whereas if you have a gel, like with Asics, when you’re landing, you’re just like sliding and I must admit when I changed to Asics, it really made a big difference in my running and with my knees and everything.

Spencer: Maybe I’ll have to try something like that out.

Marie-Louise: Yeah, and I must admit, I use the ones with the most support. If you are a really fast runner, people tend to run in really thin soles and they just run but for me I want to feel like I’m running on cotton.

Spencer: Do you wear special socks as well?

Marie-Louise: Yeah, I wear compression socks. If I run more than, I would say ten kilometers, I always wear compression socks when I go running. I think it’s a habit that maybe you get used to it. I just find that you don’t seize up as much as if you run without.

Spencer: I need to try some of those things out. I’ve been running in what would probably be considered flats and they have a leather insole with no cushioning and then I run without socks too so I think that my skin is just rubbing against it.

Marie-Louise: Yeah, that would be like burning your sole.

Spencer: Yeah, that’s how it feels actually afterwards.

Marie-Louise: Yeah, because I know if you are walking in sandals in summer I get that burning feeling because the leather really rubs against the skin and it really makes it uncomfortable. You should always wear socks, I think that’s probably another thing. But I did try, I don’t know understand how people can run in them, I tried the you know the Vibram five fingers?

Spencer: I’ve got a pair of those.

Marie-Louise: Oh my God, it was the most painful experience I’ve ever done. I went just for a 5k run and I was like ‘never, ever again. I’d been walking, I sometimes walk in them in the summer but the thing is, you have no cushion or no support. Every time you walk on something that is just a little bit uneven. I don’t understand how people can go hiking in them in the mountains. Do you just walk around in yours or do you use them for sports?

Spencer: I use them in the summer. I haven’t been using them in the winter because when I wear them, my feet get frozen and I can’t feel my feet anymore because there’s no insulation or anything.

Marie-Louise: Yeah, I know exactly.

Spencer: But when you were wearing them and you were running, were you, like if this is your heel, were you landing on your heel and rolling forward or did you land on your toes?

Marie-Louise: Yeah, because I was told if you run on the Vibram, you have to run on your toes. And I just couldn’t do that. I tried and I just ran as I normally do with the heel down and then do it.

Spencer: That would hurt.

Marie-Louise: It was awful. It’s the same thing sometimes if I’m at a beach or something and I decide I’ll try go running barefoot – I just can’t do it. I can’t run on my forefoot. So that’s what you’re supposed to do.

Spencer: What if you tried to do a sprint, like run as fast as you can because usually what’ll happen when you sprint, is you will naturally convert to the forefoot?

Marie-Louise: Yeah, that’s right because I do that if I run fast but I think probably my problem is that I’m not a fast runner. I can have a lot of endurance, I can run for a very, very long time so that’s one thing I’m trying at the moment to run faster and do lots of interval and I can feel that. When I come up to like thirteen, fourteen kilometers an hour, I feel that the way I put my foot down is completely different to when I’m running at my comfortable pace completely.

Spencer: That’s interesting.

Marie-Louise: It does change the way, because when you have to, when you run really quickly, that’s when you start running on the front of your foot.

Spencer: There’s a method of running called pose running as well, I’m not sure if you’ve heard of it but essentially what it is, is like you know if you’re running on your heels, you can be a bit more upright but if you switch to the forefoot, you have to lean forward more especially if you’re sprinting. But what pose running is kind of like, you can run slower but you lean forward anyways and you let the gravity of you falling forward carry you along.

Marie-Louise: Oh that’s interesting.

Spencer: So instead of taking a big stride in front of you, it’s more about kicking your legs back off the ground and just falling forward in a way.

Marie-Louise: I have seen some people that it looks like when they are running that they are almost like kicking their bum.

Spencer: Yeah, that’s probably pose. It’s funny that there’s so many different ways to do something that comes so naturally to us.

Marie-Louise: Yeah. If you saw me when I run, I run like this. I sort of swing out with my legs so I think that’s probably why it’s more difficult for me to do, like if I want to do really fast because I can’t really do the swing because that slows down the running. That’s one thing because I asked my trainer ‘do you want to do anything with my running, the way I run’ and he said you know, I’m almost forty, I’m thirty seven but I’ve been running for so many years, I’ve been running for more than twenty years and I’ve done lots of running and he said ‘if we start changing the way that you run now, that’s not going to work’. Because I’m just so used to running in my way. I think if you want to correct anything it’s when you are a very young age.

 

Gerry Duffy - Who Dares, Runs Cover

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