Thursday 13 December 2018

“Why I’ve Started Running Again” – Amanda Byram

Super fit television presenter, model and health advocate Amanda Byram is certainly up for a challenge.

Having never run a 10k before, she has decided to commit to her first one but take it a step further by doing it in the company of thousands of women from across the country in this year’s Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon.

Following her hugely successful stint presenting RTÉ’s Dancing with the Stars, Amanda is now part of this year’s event as a Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon Ambassador.

“This is quite new for me. I feel like I’m waking my body up”, she admits. Truly a proponent of the ‘running together is better’ theory, she is being joined at this year’s event by her mother Betty and a group of friends. She is also trying to persuade her sister, model Natasha, to join her in the race. “She is tempted – she never stops running around anyway as she is such a busy mum of four”.

“My mother will be taking part in the Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon to raise vital funds for Down Syndrome Ireland (DSI).  My nephew Elliot has Down Syndrome and we’ll do it to raise awareness and raise as much money as possible for this brilliant organisation”.

“I’m All About Empowering Women”

Talking about her decision to do this year’s Vhi Women’s Mini-Marathon, Amanda points out: “Anyone who knows me, knows that I am completely and utterly passionate about health and fitness. I am also very very vocal and just as passionate about empowering women. I really believe in the strength and the power of women supporting other women and all working together to achieve a goal.”

“When you see people giving their time and energy and devotion to raising money for amazing charities in this event – it really doesn’t get better than that. The Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon fits like a glove for me – it combines two of the things that are closest to my heart and it’s the perfect match for me”, says Amanda.

“We’re All in this Together”

“There’s such an element of camaraderie to this event. Whether people decide to walk or run, it is so nice. There’s a communal spirit – people are doing something good for themselves and for each other and you also get a fun day out too – it’s a win/win!”

“I have never even been to the event before, but have always read about it and followed it in the media and was interested in getting involved. I am actually very excited about taking part in it now. It is going to be a great day. It is really lovely to be able to give my time to an event like this”, she says.

“I was initially a little reluctant as I had never run a 10k before and thought that might be a barrier when I decided to become an ambassador. I’ve now realised that it’s the opposite and this is actually a very positive thing – as I am just like many of the other people who are doing their first event and they will have never run a 10k either. So we are all in this together now!”

“You Can’t Have Physical Fitness without Mental Fitness”

Amanda (43) who is based between London, Dublin and US, along with her husband of just over one year Julian Okines, is already well in training for the 2017 Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon. “We like to exercise together out in the fresh air as much as possible. We were in Cornwall recently and I used the inclines and the declines on the magnificent cliff walks as the opportunity for a good work out. We walked between 5 and 6 hours each day. I think that was good preparation!”.

Amanda had previously given up coffee and had replaced this by drinking lots of green tea. She has now completely given up this too along with all forms of caffeine. “I cannot believe the difference.  It is really interesting – I feel completely different now. I have more energy than ever before – I am back to my natural energy again, rather than that false energy you get from caffeine”.

Amanda stresses the huge mental health benefits to exercising. “When training, my preference is the morning. I understand that many people can’t get the time to fit in their training in the morning but when it’s possible, I think it’s great. I think if you can start off well early in the day it just sets the tone for the day.” 

“One of the reasons I try to really encourage women and men to fit in exercise every day is for their mental health. Your endorphins are raised, it’s good for blood flow and of course brain health. Especially when you train outside because you’re then also getting fresh air and all the benefits of nature”. 

“Increase Incrementally to Build Up Endurance”

Amanda has designed high intensity ‘Body by Byram’ workouts that can be done at home or anywhere, with the aim of helping people to stay in shape and be the best version of themselves that they can be. “The key for me is not to go hell for leather. To take it slowly – one step at a time. There is no need to walk or try to run a 10k immediately. In fact, it’s the opposite. The key is to increase incrementally – every few days and every week getting better and better and building up strength and endurance”.

“I lift weights and do a lot of fitness at home and outside of the home but cardio is a little new for me and it is not something I have done a lot of. I am really enjoying it – preparing for this run is a pleasure!”

“The right nutrition is so important”

Amanda stresses the need to eat really well when training and in the lead up to the race. It is important to be nutritionally balanced and to eat really well. “Do not skip carbs or any of the good food groups. There are loads of tips from David Gillick on the Vhi WMM website and great recipes. The right ‘good carbs’ and the right protein sources plus good fats all play a very important part. I can’t over-emphasise the importance of the right nutritional plan”.

“Anyone who knows me knows that I have struggled previously with body image issues. I screwed up my metabolism previously in a desperate attempt to be skinny. This definitely affected my mental health in very negative ways as I was constantly obsessed – but in the wrong way. Now, I know the right way to treat my body through exercise and nutrition – the difference is astounding”.

“I am now really very passionate about health and fitness, but the absolute key is balance. It should all be about a balanced mind and a healthy body and empowerment”.

“If I do my best on the day – that’s good enough for me!”

Amanda is not aiming for any particular time to run the 10k in the 2017 Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon. “There is absolutely no point in me or anybody else putting too much pressure on myself. We have enough competition in our lives. We are always trying to be better and faster than other people. I’m not setting any time limits for myself on this and I feel so good mentally with that approach”.

“If I do my best on the day – that’s good enough for me!”

There is still some time to train, whether you decide to walk or run. For motivation, the Vhi Support Team offers advice with training plans, motivation tips and all-important nutrition.

Running together is better so why not team up with a running buddy to help you motivate yourself and maximise your chances to train in the lead-up to the event.

Chat with Vee, Vhi’s running chatbot on Facebook Messenger. Whether you’re looking to start running, or for motivation to keep running, Vee is full of tips, recipes and information to help you on your running journey!

For further information on the 2017 Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon visit or follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Sponsored by: Vhi Mini Marathon

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