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6 surprising things Zoë Brown learned when she trained for her first marathon

This year, Adidas has challenged 11 women to go beyond their impossible and run their first-ever marathon, the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon in October. Among them is Zoë Brown, a Radio Presenter on KFM 94.5’s The Flash Drive and TV Presenter on the Expresso Morning Show (SABC 3). She’s challenged herself to prove that no matter how busy she is, she can accomplish anything she puts her mind to.

1. The secret to achieving a work-life balance to prevent feeling overwhelmed is to schedule everything.

I treat my running like I treat my meetings. I add it to my calendar, allowing myself no excuses not to do it. Some runs have been more challenging to fit in than others. I once had an hour gap between shoots and bribed a make-up artist with coffee to re-do my make-up so I could squeeze in a 45-minute run between shoots, then literally ran in a circle for 45 minutes!

Image: Supplied

2. I can’t believe I’ve become that person who runs in the rain – and loves it!

I avoid super-windy conditions – as I don’t want to risk getting sick – by either doing those runs on a treadmill or rescheduling them for a different day in the week. To motivate yourself to train consistently despite wintry conditions, my best tip is to pack everything the night before – make sure all your gadgets are charged and create a super-fun playlist you only listen to while running!

I’ve held myself accountable by sharing my training journey on social media, on Expresso Morning Show and KFM. The amount of support and encouragement I’ve received has been heart-warming. The other ladies from Adidas’s First-time Female Marathoner campaign have been inspiring and supportive. We’ve shared aches and pains, playlists, remedies and tips. It’s been wonderful knowing we’re all in this together and that we’re accountable to not only ourselves but to each other.

3. I consider myself a people-pleaser, but on this journey, I’ve put myself first for the first time.

I’m not associating marathon training with selfishness but rather self-care. There’s no guilt attached to my me-time. It’s OK to ask for help and support and not to wash your hair for a week because you’d prefer to get your run in. People will still love me the same even if my hair’s dirty!

Running this marathon is something I’ve put my mind to that I want to do for myself, so I need to carve out time in my schedule to train for it. I’ve learned I can prioritise my needs without feeling guilty and that when I express my needs, I can lean on my inner circle for support. Even though I’m doing the running myself, this journey doesn’t have to be a solo one, and my asking for help doesn’t burden others.

4. Many women run alone on busier routes, and we somehow feel safe knowing we’re not alone.

Besides our scheduled group runs at weekends, I haven’t been able to run with anyone as my schedule is all over the place. So, I’ve been planning my routes on roads I know will be busy. I avoid quiet areas – and when I run in a new place for the first time, I take my headphones out of my ears to be super-aware of my surroundings. Unfortunately, women must think of so many things when going for a run, but when I see other women runners, we share this knowing smile and a look we give each other that says we’re keeping each other safe, strength in numbers.

5. Understanding what runners need has influenced my approach to my line of activewear for women.

I prefer to run in biker shorts, which is what my fitness line focuses on. I also love listening to music when I run by myself, but I want to conceal my phone for safety. So now I’ve decided these shorts need a panel on the side that can comfortably fit phones and keys to make life easier for runners.

7. Wearing the right sports bra can help you avoid nipple chafing

Also, running in bikini-style panties causes front and back wedgies and perfectly pedicured, gel toes actually hurt on long runs. All the ladies wishing to enter a marathon, you’ve been warned!

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