On interview: Ambassador Mariana Gahler on how to reignite a love for running

On interview: Ambassador Mariana Gahler on how to reignite a love for running

On-running.com recently conducted an interview with London-based musician and design student, Eleanor Dunlop. After growing apart from running due to developing an unhealthy association with the sport, Dunlop’s love for taking to the road was reignited during the lockdown brought about by COVID-19.

On South Africa decided to send the same questions to some of our On Ambassadors, to gauge how someone who has grown out of the habit can again find the initial spark that led them to running in the first place, and how the lockdown has affected that relationship.

On Ambassador, Mariana Gahler told us her story.

When and how did you discover running?

About five years ago, my husband and I started the occasional jog once a week, and then “upped our game” to twice a week, but my real love for running came two years ago. Pushing and improving is my goal.

What brought you back into running? 

I know this might sound like a cliché, but to lose weight is what got me started. 

Can you remember your first run or big run milestone? 

My first run was five years ago at the Voortrekker Monument, it was a 5-kilometre. So tough, yet so rewarding! 

What does running mean to you?

It means I can go out and clear my head. Running makes me feel amazing. I love to put my headphones on and just go – some days slow, some days fast, and some days tough. I love the feeling. 

Is running a constant in your life? 

Yes, definitely. I run four days a week, combined with cycling. 

What do you think about when you are running? 

I think about all kinds of weird and wonderful stuff, like how rewarding a nice cappuccino will be after my run, or about work or just life in general.

What effect has the pandemic had, and how did your relationship with running change in 2020? 

Well, during lockdown, I ran every day, totalling 152km in my backyard during the hard lockdown (the first three weeks). I was in absolute top form with my backyard running, strength training and indoor cycling. 

Do you have a set schedule each week?

I do, yes. 

Do you ever find it hard to get out there? 

Some days, yes. Not only because of work, but also because of feeling somewhat drained and too tired to do anything. But what’s that saying? “Get up, show up, never give up.”

How does running help the rest of your life? 

It certainly has improved my health – I feel healthier and also happier.

What would you say to someone new to running or sport? 

It’s not easy. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. Just never stop or give up on yourself – it’s one of the most rewarding gifts you can give to yourself. 

What did you fall in love with, running or winning (if you are competitive)? 

WINNING! It’s a feeling you can’t describe, except for saying IT’S AMAZING! 

Do you still get the same buzz, now that running has switched from being a hobby to a professional ambition, or from a hobby to elite-level? 

It’s still all the same to me. I still love it, no matter which level I am on. 

What does your typical run look like? 

I try to do one hill rep set, one tempo set, one slow/long run set, and one “no watch” set a week. 

How does running help with other areas of your life? 

It keeps me healthy, mentally and physically, but most of all, it keeps me going and happy, and it is something I enjoy doing with my husband.

When you do not feel like training, what inspires you to get out there?

I tell myself, come on, you’ve got this! Even if it’s just a short one – just GO! 

What is the best running advice you have received?

Don’t run when you’re injured, the healing process takes so much longer. 

Apart from running/sport what are your passions? 

Spending time outdoors with my husband and son! We love the outdoors. 

Which On shoes are your choice and why?

The On Cloud X road running shoe. I always say, if my feet are happy, I’m happy – and my feet love this shoe. 

Finally, why On? 

Why not ON? Comfort, style and a very unique design. 

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