Living the simpElle life: Kiera

As we continue completing the steps towards achieving our individual goals, it’s always great to hear about the journeys of others. What struggles have they faced? How have they felt? Where have they surpassed their own expectations?! 

No better way to find out the answers than to ask the questions in the form of this mini series – Living the simpElle life – where I talk to someone who has inspired me with their story.

I heard a great phrase last year –

“The Universe is made up of stories, not of atoms”

 – so that is what I want to share with you, stories, to open up the Universe to us all!

Each individual we meet embodies what this blog is about. They have dug deep to find motivation, they have sought inspiration and in doing so become inspirational to others. They have been empowered with knowledge to change and that is what their story will do for the rest of us…

Meet: Keira Parkes 

I met Kiera through the Team Naturally, Run group founded by Leah of Naturally, Leah. The group began for the Nike We Own The Night 10km in London, 2013. Since then, the members of the group have grown and support one another in run challenges, attending events and talking through anything active! 

…here’s Kiera’s story…

– {THEN} – 

Elle: What made you decide to start training / running? …What were your plans / goals?

Kiera: I wasn’t really into sports or fitness when I was growing up, but started going to the gym when I was at University. Looking back it was fairly half hearted and something I thought I ‘should do’ rather than something I enjoyed- although I was never hugely overweight, I was heavier than I wanted to be and was quite unconfident.  I always felt that I wasn’t ‘built for running’, but in 2008 I lost 2 stone and during that weight loss I started running, and then discovered that exercise could be enjoyed.

– {HOW} – 

Elle: What’s your favourite way to workout?

Kiera: Running remains my true love, but I also enjoy gym classes such as spinning, body pump, kettlebells as well as yoga

Elle: What’s your typical weekly schedule?

Kiera: I haven’t had much focus recently but have been trying to run 2-3 times a week along with at least one spin and strength class. I will be starting to train for my 3rd marathon (Berlin) marathon mid June. I’m trying a ‘less running’ approach this time which will involve 3 quality runs and 2 cross training (probably spinning) sessions, and will also try to incorporate some strength and yoga in there somewhere!

Elle: What / who has been your inspiration?

Kiera: No one person springs to mind, but I currently find lots of inspiration and motivation from other runners I have met through events, and connected with through twitter etc.

Elle: What was the first big difference in you, that made you feel proud and excited?

Kiera: When I started running (using a walk/ plan in ‘Running Made Easy’) it was a massive challenge to run for just one minute – but this quickly built up and I loved seeing the progress. I never thought I would be able to run a 5k let alone be taking on marathons!

Elle: Did you make any changes to your diet once you started training?

Kiera: I had already lost some weight through healthy eating when I started training properly, so at that point I just kept following the plan I was on. As I increased my running distances I read more about nutrition and how best to fuel and recover- I try to focus on eating unprocessed food but basically aim for a balanced diet

– {NOW} – 

Elle: How do you track your progress?

Kiera: I wear a Garmin GPS watch when I run and when I remember will upload that data onto a site called ‘Fetch’  and use that to look at my times etc. However unless I am specifically training for something I don’t keep track as much as I could do- running particularly remains something  I do mainly because I enjoy it. Obviously getting faster and getting new PBs in races is a mark of progress and something I strive for, but the most important measure to me is still whether I am enjoying it.

I was a slave to the weighing scales for a while, but now focus on how I feel and whether my clothes fit me or are getting a bit tight as a sign on whether I need to focus more on what I’m eating

Elle: Have your goals changed since you started your journey?

Kiera: Yes running and exercise started off as a weight loss tool for me but is now much more important in terms of physical and psychological wellbeing- it is part of my lifestyle now

Elle: How do you keep yourself motivated?

Kiera: If I find myself struggling I try to go back to basics and go for a run without my Garmin – just to remember running for the sheer fun of it. Having a race or goal in mind is usually good motivation but I do like to remind myself that racing isn’t the only important thing sometimes

Elle: If you could go back and give advice to the “before” you…or any other person contemplating changing their lifestyle…what would you say?!

Kiera: Just do it! I definitely wish I had started running much earlier – even 5 years ago if someone had told me I would be about to start training for my 3rd marathon I would have just laughed. I am definitely fitter and more confident in my thirties than I was in my twenties, and a lot of that is down to running.

..so what d’ya think?! 

If you’d like to leave Kiera a comment below please do so or you can connect with her via Twitter – @ladymisskiera

If you would like to share your own story please get in touch with me: {Contact Elle}

Until then, keep living that simpElle life 😉 

Elle 🙂 


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