Inspiration

Women Running: Confidence is the key to success

by On May 26, 2020

Once you believe in yourself, you are unstoppable.


Floral Women Online Race: Confident is the key to success

Training to be a runner is not easy, especially during the pandemic. Pushing the limits to keep going safely while adapting to the new running norm could be challenging.

But running is the easiest sport to maintain our fitness. This is why female runners are keeping themselves active and healthy by joining the first women-focused online race.

Without further ado, let's meet them.

1. Maxine Ang Bishko

Bio: Singaporean, 32-years-old, Chief Brand Officer, Spacebib

Founder, C-level executive, and account manager. But when you get right down to it, she is much more—Maxine is an entrepreneur with a love for branding and marketing, an adventurer, a writer, a lover of food, music and living life to the fullest.

Floral Women Online Race: Confident is the key to success
Runner: Maxine Ang

RS: Why do you want to run a marathon?

Maxine: I am always looking for new ways to step out of my comfort zone. I've always disliked running because I am asthmatic, and it seriously tightens my air pipes. But I want to be able to say that hey, if I can do it, so can you. I think a lot of people are averse to new things because they are afraid of even dipping their toes into the water, much less immerse themselves in a new experience.

And it applies to everything in life, be it trying a new sport, starting a new hobby, or perhaps talking to that stranger. People are very confined to societal constructs; all my life, I've always wanted to explore new "adventures," new things. And running a marathon at this stage of my life is one of them.

RS: How do you train for a marathon?

Maxine: I think the key thing for me is to start building my stamina. I can do long hikes under the hot sun, no issues, but running requires some stamina, and I intend starting with cardio workouts, which I am familiar with. It will also help me regulate my breathing.

RS: How can you inspire others to get started on running too, and why do you think it's important?

Maxine: Stepping out of your comfort zone is not some scary thing like voyaging into a black hole. Being comforted is fine, feeling safe is good, but complacency arises when one is constantly in this mindset. It prevents us from being curious, which is what we are naturally born to be. Curious to what's next, what is.

Every challenge is also an opportunity to grow and learn new skills personally, academically, whatever it is. I am a firm believer in change, that learning new skills will only help with evolving and reaching new heights. Life is all about the unknown, and tackling the unknown and pushing past your own mindset and boundaries builds self-confidence.

It's all in the mindset. Once you make the switch to empower yourself to do something new, risks may look like adventures, and obstacles could look like opportunities. Would you want to be the same person you are today, five years later? Or would you say that you've overcome all the obstacles and challenges life has thrown you and in the process, learnt new skills?

Trying something new helps you meet new people, but, more importantly, helps you learn something new about yourself that you may not have realised by staying in your comfort zone. If you are not happy with who you are or what you do, it will be challenging to value the good qualities of the people around you.

Stepping out of your comfort zone, discovering who you are and overcoming your fears will ultimately result in better relationships with others, as your confidence and life perspective increases.

RS: What advice would you give to newcomer female runners when they first start running?

Maxine: Relax and breathe. Also, envision yourself running the place where you will run and plan how long you are going to run on the first day. Once you visualise yourself doing it, your mind is prepared when you actually do it, and your body will follow suit. It is all in the mind.

Floral Women Online Race: Confident is the key to success
Runner: Maxine Ang

Once you make the switch to empower yourself to do something new, risks may look like adventures, and obstacles could look like opportunities.

RS: How do you think running can empower women?

Maxine: More women running together will hopefully amplify women's voices, empower one another and amass support. There is no doubt that Spacebib is a supportive place for women, where women can share resources, inspiration and support, which will, in turn, help women-led initiatives and events grow.

Change is in every echelon of life, so I do think that something simple like running does have the power to help amplify and shift things for individuals.

RS: If you were to choose a flower to represent you, what would it be?

Maxine: Amaryllis. It represents strong, independent and self-confident women. It also hails from the Caribbean and South Africa, two places on my bucket list.

RS: What character trait do you think is the most important for a woman?

Maxine: Confidence. With confidence, it negates self-doubt, which can be very toxic in any relationship in life, be it love or career. And as women are expected to be able to take care of the household while also being successful in their careers in this day and age, confidence is important because it is about believing in themselves, knowing they have worth.

Confidence is attractive and positive – which, in turn, connects well with others, resulting in better relationships, quality work and generally makes for a happier individual.

RS: What is the motivational quote that you can share and empower women at the same time?

Maxine: Women who invest in themselves go further. Women let their doubts and insecurities about themselves stop them from going further. And they also tend to wait for someone to take care of them.

They need to know beyond a shadow of a doubt what they need, want and deserve, and go and get it. It is not up to their spouse or anyone else to reaffirm this decision because it is entirely up to them.

RS: How do you get through when you are at your lowest point of life?

Maxine: There have been many low points in my life. I used to be self-destructive and even wallowed in depression and alcoholism at one point. But that's equivalent to burying my head in the sand because life goes on. Life does not care if you self-destruct, and one day, it was like a switch flipped in my head, and I decided I did not want to be that person anymore.

Why should I, when other people are using that time to better themselves or become more successful? I hated the thought of being left behind, so the first thing I do when I feel like I am losing it is to breathe.

Maybe I'd take one day to release and express my emotions, to talk to someone, cry, rage, whatever it is. And then I start to plan what's next. If something did not work out, then I would introspect on what went wrong and how I could move on from this. I would do something completely new, something I'd never done before - it is a good distraction because then I start learning new things about myself and new skills, all of which are part of the rebuilding process.

You can follow Maxine on Instagram: @lolamiko

2. Yaowapa Hoisungwarn

Bio: Thailand, 44-years-old, Singing Teacher

Graduated from Kasetsart University Bang Khen, majoring in Western Music, opera singing and minoring in English language. After college, she gives private singing lessons to her students at her own private studio and most of them are international students, such as Indian, Spanish, and Thai.

She is also an active person who always feel content. She’s had a strong passion for running and outdoor sports since she was young, which makes her healthy mentally and physically.

Floral Women Online Race: Confident is the key to success
Runner: Yaowapa Hoisungwarn

RS: Why do you want to run a marathon?

Yaowapa: I run a marathon because I want to know where my limits are and how far I can reach my maximum ability. Even though it is challenging, at the same time, it’s fun to see my improvement.

RS: How do you train for a marathon?

Yaowapa: I train for a marathon by dividing my training over 6 days a week. I will do a tempo run for one day (depending on the race that I have in that month). The other day, I performed an interval run to increase my speed.

A long run as well, which depends on what race I have in that period. It can be 15k, 20K or 30K if I have my marathon race. I will include an easy run to control my heart rate at the low zone. The other day, I went swimming or biking and one rest day, which is very important to let the body recover.

RS: How can you inspire others to get started on running too, and why do you think it's important?

Yaowapa: I think the way to inspire others is to get started on running and be a good model. You can show them your amazing results from running.

As long as I've been in the running society, I'm proud to say that many people who I know or didn't know, friends and family are interested in running due to the discipline of training I showed them. I have improved so much in many ways, such as becoming healthier, and my body has changed and become more fit and firm.

I've lost some weight and feel even more active in my daily life. Besides that, I’ve won many trophies from previous races in Thailand, both major and minor running events. I have become popular in running society in Thailand in just a few years. I think becoming a good role model is important rather than just trying to convince someone to do something in words only.

RS: What advice would you give to newcomer female runners when they first start running?

Yaowapa: My advice to newcomer female runners is just to have fun and feel comfortable running. Don't feel pressure to run, and don't push yourself too hard when you first start running. I believe that in every area, you'll get the best result if you do it with pleasure, and you will be able to do it in the long-term.

On the other hand, do not run a long distance from the start and make sure to do stretching before and after running to avoid injury that will cause you to stop running. Once you are strong enough and gain more confidence, you can increase more training.

Floral Women Online Race: Confident is the key to success
Runner: Yaowapa Hoisungwarn

Even though running is challenging, it is amazing to see how far I can reach my maximum ability.

RS: How do you think running can empower women?

Yaowapa: I think running is important for women because women in this century are more independent, have self-confidence and self-esteem. They can choose how to live their lives in a healthy, strong and happy way. An online race is a great choice for them to plan and organise their own time to run and challenge themselves among the others.

Not to win or lose, or compete with the others, but to achieve the goal that they plan for. Moreover, you can choose the distance that you feel comfortable with, and choose when you run, anywhere at any time.

RS: If you were to choose a flower to represent you, what would it be?

Yaowapa: If I had to choose a flower to represent myself, I'd like to choose an orchid. I'm from Thailand and when the outsider thinks of Thailand, it would be a flower that relates to Thailand.

Thailand also exports the most beautiful orchids to many countries. I'm very proud of this point.

RS: What character trait do you think is the most important for a woman?

Yaowapa: The character trait that I think is the most important for a woman is kind, caring, determined, enthusiastic and happy.

RS: How do you get through when you are at your lowest point of life?

Yaowapa: When I'm at the lowest point of my life, I tell myself that nothing will last forever, even when I was at the highest point of life too. I told myself to keep my chin up and go out for a run.

After running, I feel better and have even more power to fight on with life. I've been through those high and low points of life, and those days have passed. I just do my best every single day. Focus on the present time.

You can follow Yaowapa on Instagram: @yaolovestorun

3. Chua Khai Leng

Bio: Singaporean, 29-years-old, Coach

Currently, Khai Leng is the head swimming coach of Sportlite Pte Ltd, leading a team of female coaches in swimming for toddlers to adults. Prior to this, she worked as a researcher in sports psychology at NTU. She started track and field as early as 10 years old, in primary four. Her PE teacher, Mdm Chan, spotted her after she won the 100m race during sports day. Ever since then, she has been running competitively, both on track and on the road till she got into NTU.

When she was in NTU, she picked up Aquathlon (swim + run) on top of running. As she went on to work after university, she has been reduced quite a number of races. Although she does not run competitively as much as she did before, she still loves running a lot. Besides that, she is also an ambassador for New Balance, Plantronics and 2nusunglasses.

Floral Women Online Race: Confident is the key to success
Runner: Chua Khai Leng, Photo Credit: David Heng

RS: Why do you want to run a race?

Khai Leng: Running a race is also like sitting for an exam. After the race, I get to see my results, whether I've successfully achieved or surpassed my targeted time or how far I am away from my targeted time. It's the little improvements I make that keeps me going and pushing harder. 

RS: How do you train for a race?

Khai Leng: Depending on the distance that I am racing, I incorporate interval training, circuit/strength training and long runs into my weekly training. I train 3 to 4 times a week before I go for my coaching.

If not, I'll not have any more energy after I give it to my kids who are swimming. Prior to race day, I'll have a complete rest day. 

RS: How can you inspire others to get started on running too and why do you think it's important?

Khai Leng: Be stronger than all your excuses, for you get what you work for and not what you wish for. Running is one sport, which is easily accessible and does not require a lot of equipment.

Just a pair of shoes, and you can run anywhere and everywhere. Of course, get proper shoes that are suitable for running and your foot type. And it's no surprise that running is associated with many health benefits. So what are you waiting for?

RS: What advice would you give to newcomer female runners when they first started running?

Khai Leng: It doesn't matter how far or how fast you run. Take it at your own pace and enjoy the run - "A slow run is better than not running at all."Start slow and slowly progress. 

However, if you've never done it in a while or ever, it can be quite tiring, boring or brutal initially. Once your body acclimates to it, you'll enjoy it more, and you may even go further and faster.

Floral Women Online Race: Confident is the key to success
Runner: Chua Khai Leng, Photo Credit: David Heng

Be stronger than all your excuses, for you get what you work for and not what you wish for.

RS: Why do you think it is important for women to lead a healthy lifestyle with running?

Khai Leng: Without good health, you have nothing. Every part of your life depends on your own health. And no one else can be responsible except for yourself.

Regardless of age, better health also leads to better well-being (e.g., physically, emotionally and mentally), which also leads to being happy. So running is an easy way to achieve that.

RS: If you were to choose a flower to represent you, what would it be?

Khai Leng: Sunflowers - they are bright and cheery just like me. I like to brighten someone's day just like the sunflowers are known for being “happy” flowers, making them the perfect gift to bring joy to someone’s day.

RS: What character trait do you think is most important for a woman?

Khai Leng: One has to be optimistic in life. Keeping an open mind and always staying positive. 

RS: How do you get through when you are at your lowest point of life?

Khai Leng: We're all human, at some point or rather, we will face challenges and problems, which will be too much for us to handle. And that's where my pillars of strength from my family and my boyfriend have helped me up and got me moving forward. 

You can follow Khai Leng on Instagram: @khailengchua

There is no limit to what women can accomplish. So join these wonderful women runners at the Floral Women Online Race.

In these stressful and uncertain times, getting updated with accurate and useful information has never been so critical. No matter how unsettled the future feels, RunSociety will remain with you, delivering high quality news for free so we can all make critical decisions about our lives and health. Together we can overcome.

What we can do to help the situation is to keep our body and immune system in peak condition. If you are allowed or able to run outdoors, please do so cautiously but not panicky. Join our free online race to motivate you and pay tribute to our frontline heroes.

Samantha is an editor at RunSociety. A digital expert with a focus on the research and development of thought provoking and resourceful content, Samantha love Yoga and incorporate running in her weekly workout whenever she can.

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