Lisa Harcourt was someone who would go for a few runs one week, and then do nothing for a couple of months. While she enjoyed running, for a number of years she hadn’t been able to settle into a consistent groove. She hadn't found that regular routine that would allow her to fully benefit from the activity.

She had plenty of convenient excuses to justify her inconsistency, but at the beginning of 2022 she saw the ASICS 2x5 Habit and it resonated with her. I thought to myself, that’s achievable for me and my lifestyle and will hold me accountable for making some time for me.”

“Running has taught me it’s ok and super valuable to have time to yourself as a Mum and a wife.”

Now 9 months into her journey we chatted with Lisa about some of the things she’s learnt, noticed and embraced on the roads of rural Canterbury.

CLARITY OF MIND

Within minutes of opening up our conversation, it becomes clear that Lisa is in this for the mental gains she is making. “When I’m feeling stuck with my studies which can feel stressful and at times overwhelming, getting out there and going for a run can just change my frame of mind and reset me for the rest of the day, week or even month ahead.”

But running is not just a tool for her to destress when things get tough. It’s a way to consistently take time out from a busy schedule as a Mum of two young kids, a nursing student and business administrator. She has found that giving herself time to run (she runs for around 25 minutes, twice a week) has given her three clear mental benefits:

  1. The ability to process her thoughts. With a multitude of things bouncing around in her head, disconnecting from her environment with a run allows Lisa to process those thoughts. “It’s crazy how much clarity you gain from a run.”
  2. Appreciating “me” time. Taking time to just be on her own is something she didn’t know she’d enjoy so much. Oftentimes our “downtime” is spent on our phone, but that ability to properly step away is super beneficial and refreshing.
  3. Appreciating her surroundings. Most of Lisa’s running is done in the morning before the kids get up. This has really allowed her to appreciate her environment, catching some incredible sunrises over the Southern Alps.
Lisa Harcourt on Her Running Journey

BEATING THE BARRIERS

Committing to changing your behaviour and habits is not easy. More and more in today’s world distractions are a constant and time always feels short. Lisa has not been immune to these common struggles, particularly through a cold mainland winter but has managed to learn a few tricks to ensure she laces up the running shoes even when she may not feel like it. Here are four of her go-to’s:

  1. Hooking in on the feeling. “I know that I get the most satisfaction and best feeling from the runs that I want to do the least. So when I’m unmotivated I remind myself of this.”
  2. Getting her gear out the night before. “Setting my gear out the night before allows me to set the intention in my mind and takes away one more barrier in the morning.”
  3. Family buy in. “I’m lucky that my husband has seen how grounded running keeps me, which has meant he’s super supportive and I’m actually proud of how the kids are starting to understand the importance of running to me. At times my 6 year old son joins me on his bike which is great, it means we get some one on one time and it changes my breathing up by having to answer his many questions along the way!”
  4. Using the Runkeeper app. “I love the fact that I have one place that shows me the amount of running I’ve done this year. It’s actually motivating when you reflect on what you’ve achieved. It’s also a great way to note down how you felt that day and why.”

QUICK THOUGHTS
How Running Provides Clarify of Mind for Lisa Harcourt

Morning, lunchtime, evening runner?
Morning usually!

Favourite post-run snack / meal?
Usually a big glass of water and muesli with Greek yoghurt and kiwi fruit

Outside of your shoes, what’s one running essential you can’t go without?
My Runkeeper app on my watch

Best piece of running advice you’ve ever received?
One foot in front of the other, make it achievable

Running Solo or Running in a group?
Solo for me! It’s my time for peace and quiet and for my mind to just be

Music, Podcast, or your own thoughts? What are they?
My own thoughts :)

In 3 words how would you describe yourself as a runner?
Mum that runs

Favourite running route in NZ?
The countryside around my house, I have views of the mountains and gorgeous sunrises. But another fav spot is around the mount when we go there on family holidays, that place is magic!

Running distance a week?
Between 10-15km per week

I run because….
It’s something for my mental health and my physical health

Where does your mind tend to wander while running?
Everywhere! Often I clear thoughts that have been bothering me and often I go to thoughts of gratefulness that I have a body that allows me to run and reap the benefits of this.

What’s your #1 way of maintaining a sound mind?
Running!

Favourite ASICS shoe?
Gel-Kayano 29

ADVICE FOR READERS

“Make your goal achievable, but also work on developing that resilience when you are starting out. It doesn’t take long to notice the benefits but committing to a rhythm was key for me.”


Inspired to get out there and join in the ASICS 2x5 Habit? Learn more about it and get started today.