Inspiring striding – Yael Leveson

Posted by Peter Goldring on

Inspiring striding – Yael Leveson

We have so much love for our happystride community ❤️ You guys are so inspiring and we want to get to know you guys a little better...and we know others would like to as well.

SO we bring you to....the next post in our blog series ..."Inspiring striding"!!! We have Yael join us!🖊

We are so pleased to have Yael as our guest! 😍 Yael took up running in lockdown and like many at the same time discovered happystride. Yael is a happystride superfan with 12 pairs of happystride shorts, 4 pairs of leggings, 2 tops, 2 pairs of socks, a wrapit and a tote bag! She is part of Bubble works Run co whose slogan is "first we run, then we drink" - we love that, where do we sign up?!

Thank you so much for joining us Yael... and over to you to answer this weeks questions and inspire us!

How long have you been running for and how did you originally get into it?

It was March 2020, Boris announced the first national lockdown and I promptly downloaded the Couch to 5k app (yes, I'm one of THOSE runners). I'd previously tried - and failed - several times at the programme, but I was so scared of the impending boredom of lockdown that I somehow kept going. I reached 5k, then 10k, all the while wondering when I'd inevitably give up, cut my losses and sell all my new running gear on Gumtree. But here we still are!

What’s your greatest running achievement?

Honestly, probably the fact that I've kept it up this long! I still surprise myself every time I pull on my running shoes, after so many years as "not a runner". As for specific achievements - my first half marathon, which I ran alone as a "virtual" race in lockdown number god-knows-what, was a huge one for me. I never thought I'd be capable of that kind of distance, and I raised loads of money for an important cause in memory of a really special friend. 

It gave me a huge boost. I ran my second half six months later and 13 minutes faster, and am running my third this September. Wish me luck!

Where is your favourite place to run?

I do love running in London. Having lived there all my life (until recently) without ever running further than for the bus, it feels like a novelty - and a reminder to my childhood self that it’s never too late to start something new!

I also always try and bring my running shoes on holiday if I can fit them in my suitcase! Most of my first year as a runner was spent in lockdown, so I spent a lot of time pounding the same local residential pavements (in June 2020 I ran the same 5k route every other day for the entire month!) So I love the feeling of running somewhere new, especially overseas, especially anywhere near water. And it helps to brighten up the Strava feed too!

What are your top 3 running tips?

  1. SLOW DOWN. One day I'll learn to take my own advice, and maybe I'll finally end a race with enough left in the tank for a sprint finish instead of grinding to a painful halt over the finish line. Negative splits?! I don't know her! But on those few times I have taken it slower, the whole thing is a whole lot more enjoyable. For some inspiration, I suggest giving a listen to "U Started 2 Fast" by The Hamstrings...
  2. PODCASTS. Music isn't the one for me when I'm running. It's hard to find the right beat that doesn't mess with your cadence, and I find myself too aware of how much time has passed (was that ONLY 3 minutes?!) Finding a good light podcast to keep me distracted without needing too much attention has been a godsend. For any Scrubs fans, I recommend Fake Doctors Real Friends.
  3. ALWAYS have a race in the diary. Having something scheduled - no matter how far ahead - has been a great way to keep myself motivated when it would've been easy to slip out of the habit.

What does your running schedule typically look like and how do you fit it into your life?

3 times a week is a good benchmark, although it varies wildly. Learning to run in lockdown was easy - there was nothing else to do - and since normal life has resumed, so have all the activities I'd often rather be doing than running. So it's taken some motivation to keep going regularly, and not always successfully so - I've had a month off here and there when life has got in the way. But I'm determined for this not to become just something I did in lockdown for a while! So I'm trying to be a bit more flexible, and have only recently faced my fear of running on consecutive days, which can be handy when you know you have a busy rest of the week ahead.

What’s your dream race?

​It's basic, but it has to be the London Marathon. I'm a way off being marathon ready just yet, although I did have my first ever ballot rejection this year (which I think officially makes me a real runner?) I could never understand people who watched it on TV, but I tuned in last year and was absolutely hooked - seeing people approach the finish line gave me goosebumps! I do feel strongly that you don't need to run a marathon to call yourself a runner, but it really would be the pinnacle of running achievements. And to do it in my hometown would be so special.

We see you’re part of the Bubble works Run Co, tell us a bit about it?

It's pretty wonderful. When lockdown hit (and my running journey began), I had recently moved to a new area and didn't have too many local friends. I discovered Bubble Works Run Co. on Instagram when restrictions lifted, and took a while to psych myself up to join them for a 5k. It was my first time ever running with other people! BWRC is a Community, not a Club, that doesn't take itself too seriously. With a slogan like "first we run, then we drink" it's safe to say I've found my people! Fast-forward a couple of years and I've got some brilliant new pals, and always someone locally to run (or to drink!) with, even outside of the scheduled group activities. 

You only asked me for 3 top running tips above, but my bonus 4th tip would be - find a local running community and you'll be a runner for life!

Who are your running inspirations and why?

​Anyone who uses their love of running to bring people together and spread some joy! To name a few, Em Clarkson - who set up the Have A Go's, a lovely online running community in celebration of all those got it. Mark, who created Bubble Works, and the brilliant committee of people who keep it going. And you guys, Pete and Sam, of course - my running journey would be a whole lot less joyful without Happystride!​

What’s your favourite happystride pattern and why?

​Well I have my own 12 pairs of shorts to choose from (and 4 pairs of leggings, 2 tops, 2 pairs of socks, a wrapit and a tote bag - but who's really counting?!)

I love them all (can you tell?) but I have so much love for my "over the rainbow" shorts, one of my OG pairs. They are just so fun and colourful and they always get compliments!

If you could design the next pair of happystride shorts, what pattern would you choose and why?

Oh please can I! I'm really loving the Y2K throwback vibes at the moment, so something inspired by that - some retro groovy swirls perhaps, or pink / red clashing patterns. Give me some 00s nostalgia!

Wow, thank you so much Yael for joining us and answering our questions! Stay tuned for our next 'inspiring striding' blog in our series where we will have another inspiring guest!


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