Global Running Day: Get In On The Pandemic Running Boom With Brand New Waves Running Club

By Wild Ginger

Global Running Day: Get In On The Pandemic Running Boom With Brand New Waves Running Club

June 2nd, 2021 at 5:01 am

Global Running Day is an annual celebration of the beloved pastime that encourages physical wellness and community spirit. Held on the first Wednesday of June, it is an important reminder of the positives that running can provide and the power of unification, especially during these times. 

 

Running has seen a boom during the pandemic – it was the #1 fitness trend of 2020 and continues to be in 2021 as gyms are forced to shut down and lockdowns limit other physical activities. People have become more health-conscious since the COVID-19 outbreak began and many took up running as a way to stay active and healthy, release anxiety, and cope with cabin fever.

 

In Malaysia, Brand New Waves Running Club has been promoting running and fostering community spirit since 2019. Founded by a group of individuals who believe in change for the better, they have successfully built a sense of belonging for like-minded members with a safe and empowering space that celebrates active lifestyles, music, fashion and art.

 

This Global Running Day, we connected with three captains from Brand New Waves Running Club for their advice on starting a running routine and staying motivated!

 

Tengku Adlina

When did you start running?

I started running 2 years ago, April 2019 specifically. I attended one of BNWRC’s Sunday morning sessions at KLCC park.

 

What was a misconception you had about running?

I somehow always thought that running is just something you can do. And if you can’t, it means you’re just not physically good at it. But I learnt that just like everything else, you can always get better. Everyone has a starting point. And I definitely started on my first day.

 

How has the pandemic affected your running – have you been running more or less?

Last year when the pandemic first hit, I definitely did not run as much as I did because I had to figure out how to run alone without the group. It’s not as motivating. But currently, I am running more now as I’m starting to find my rhythm and confidence in running alone.

 

Physically and mentally, how has running helped you cope with the pandemic?

It definitely is a huge part of how I cope with the pandemic. Since everything has shifted to working from home entirely for me since last year, I spend almost all day in my room. It’s a good way for me to get some fresh air and movement. Mentally, it has become my way of checking in with myself. Every run allows me to reflect back on my current wellbeing. If there was anything troubling me, it surfaces itself during my run and I allow myself to process it then. If I’m having a good day, it is also reflected in my run. If I’m not having such a good day, the happy hormones would naturally kick in by the end of the run hence elevating my day a bit better. It probably is my number 1 method for coping with the pandemic actually.

 

Although it has distanced us, the pandemic has also amplified our community spirit. How has your running club continued to support and empower each other during this time?

We still continue to encourage people to run with our postings and resharing other people’s post of them going for runs. We run events and campaigns – we had one early this year where we passed virtual batons to people (#BNWRCrelay). That was quite cool and got many people motivated to go out and run again even if they hadn’t in a while because a ‘baton’ was passed to them. The most important thing is staying relevant; to people’s emotions, what’s going on around us, and coming up with something for the community that speaks to what they might be going through.

 

What advice do you have for new runners?

Keep showing up and don’t overwhelm yourself with information about how to run. Just run first, and have fun with it. You’ll figure out the rest along the way.

 

Diyana Radzi

When did you start running? 

I represented my school’s track & field team as a sprinter and began road running at 15 years old. When I took an interest in exploring other sports and forms of exercise, I wasn’t running as frequently, but picked it back up right before our first lockdown last year.

 

Without the right focus, running can be hard at the start. What motivated you to continue running? 

Initially, running was my coping mechanism. It was my quiet time with myself, for me to give that mental talk I needed, for me to enjoy being outside and soak in its beauty and drown out the rest of the world. Then, I kept on running cause I loved how good it made me look and feel. Not that I’m the fittest person out there, and it doesn’t matter to me if I have the best abs or not, but running generally makes me feel good about myself, physically and mentally. I don’t necessarily love the feeling during running, but the feeling after is so good, it’s enough to make me want to do it again and again, (almost) every day. Yes please to that daily boost of endorphins!

 

What was a misconception you had about running? 

That I had to beat yesterday, every day. Be faster with every run. Boy oh boy, was I wrong. You’re only wrecking your body if you overdo your runs. Getting injured would be counter-productive to your progress. Enjoy the journey! You’ll eventually get to where you want to be.

 

Physically and mentally, how has running helped you cope with the pandemic? 

The world feels a little bit nuts right now to be honest. To me, running is my natural antidepressant. That boost of endorphins and serotonin really helps me stay sane, and keeps me in a better mood, which in turn makes me a better person. It’s a form of self-care, both physically and mentally, as long as you don’t overdo it. At a time where everything seems so scary and uncertain, running is the one thing that makes sense.

 

What are the benefits of running in a group? 

I love running in groups! If it weren’t for BNWRC, I don’t think I would’ve made running a habit. Group runs are a great way to keep you motivated. “Mana nak breakfast / minum lepas ni?” will definitely motivate you to finish your run! But on a more serious note, I started running in a group for safety reasons because at that time, I only had time to run at night and running with a group of people is definitely the safest strategy.

 

What advice do you have for new runners? 

Listen to your body. A good run is one where you feel good after, not dying for air with soreness everywhere. Set a targeted time to run then slowly increase it, and when you’re more comfortable, build your mileage gradually. Don’t worry about the pace, you’ll slowly get there (and yes, to run fast is a slow process. At least it is if you want to achieve it with a low risk of injuries). Run your own race (a really good tagline from BNWRC!). Don’t compare your progress with other runners cause it’s really not a competition.

 

Fatemah Shatar

When did you start running?

Around 3 or 4 years ago…I think.

 

Without the right focus, running can be hard at the start. What motivated you to continue running?

Rather than relying on motivation, which comes and goes, I prefer tapping into discipline. I know it sounds pretty stern, but it’s going with what you feel on that day. You can just do a short run with an easy pace, and even walk a little on low motivation days, but push yourself on days where you feel you can go total athlete mode!

 

What was a misconception you had about running?

Some people are just born runners and I am not one of them. Looking back now, it sounds as If I am putting myself down, but that was a serious belief I had back then. To be honest, there is no such thing – there is only practice, dedication and discipline that separates a good runner from a bad one (if there is such a thing!).

 

Physically and mentally, how has running helped you cope with the pandemic?

It helps immensely! Physically, it goes without saying that it helps improve my overall fitness and health. But what’s even greater is how it helped me mentally, because when I’m running I get to enter into this meditative space which is free of stress and noise from the outside world.

 

What are the benefits of running in a group?

Running in a group is pretty special. There’s an immediate sense of togetherness and that feeling that you are never alone, plus it helps you be more committed! When there is a planned run, you’re not gonna bail too many times as you would do if it’s only you.

 

What advice do you have for new runners?

Mentally…don’t be afraid, don’t be intimidated and don’t let anyone, including yourself, tell you that you can’t do it. And on the practical side, do read about injury prevention and some basic information about running so that you can enjoy running for a very long time!

 

Get in on the action by following Brand New Waves Running Club on Instagram and Facebook for more inspiration, motivation and advice!

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