A blog by runners. For runners.

Runner of the Week: Yvette H.

This week's runner of the week is Yvette H. from Poitou-Charentes, France. She runs her own vegetable garden and orchard, is an administrator, and part time electrician's assistant. She's also a huge WalkJogRun fan! Be sure to check out our interview with Yvette to learn more about her!


Favorite Candy: [It's] something I never buy, but maybe that's because I love to bake! Sticky gingerbread and low fat chocolate brownies with courgette (zucchini) are my current favorites.

Favorite Quote: “The more you do, the more you can do.”

WalkJogRun: Tell us about yourself and how you got started running!

Yvette H.: I'm married and left a desk job in England 10 years ago to live in rural France. We lived in a tent at first and took time to renovate the old farm ourselves, learn the language and how to run a productive vegetable garden and orchard. I always loved cooking, now even more with our own fresh produce. I'm also an administrator and part time electrician's assistant to my hubby. Walking a mile each way to school from the age of 4 was a good start, then later on it was 3 miles each way to high school. I have no hand/eye coordination, so running and jumping was my thing. Sprint, high hurdles, middle distance, cross country, high jump. Shame that in 5 years I never once hit a rounders [base] ball, as the run around 4 bases would have been easy! Running is just something I always loved to do, ideally first thing in the morning, before breakfast and before the world has awoken.

WalkJogRun: What helps keep you motivated?

Yvette H.: When I was running 50 miles a week I felt I had a huge capacity for life; I could do anything. Now I'm running a fraction of that, much slower too, yet after only 3 months back running I'm within touching distance of that same feeling – that's my ultimate goal. It's not just about the running, how many miles, how fast. It's about what it does for you as a whole person. WalkJogRun has made me feel part of a running community again and has been a vital tool in my return to running. It's been really useful in the more practical sense of helping me find interesting routes of the right distance and elevation. The training diary has given me the information I need to reflect on progress and plan future training sessions.

WalkJogRun: Tell us a bit about your racing history and what are you training for, if anything?

Yvette H.: I had always run “just for me,” then I heard about the “Race for Life” in support of Cancer Relief UK. A number of 5km races are organized around the UK with runners of all abilities running “in celebration of” or “in memory of” loved ones touched by cancer. This became a regular thing for me.

I then decided to run the London Marathon in aid of Leukemia. Even though the 5km races were shorter than my daily runs, I soon realized that the bumping and barging that happens in any group run is really tiring. Not a huge problem in a short race, but over a marathon it could take its toll. I then started to include “fartlek,” a more random form of interval training, as part of my pre-race training. My training went really well and I included speed and endurance work, hill runs and fartlek, as well as gym work and yoga.

Some time in the middle of all this I had been diagnosed with a condition which means I have flare ups of rheumatoid arthritis. When this happens, I can't even walk, let alone run. Sadly, a week before the marathon, I had a flare up and had to pull out. My approach to this condition is to manage the things that lead to a flare up such as nutrition and stress. I was hugely disappointed, not so much about the run, but about the sponsorship, I'd let the charity down. I resumed running as soon as I could, as I had done in the past.

I see the day to day running as my time, that's for me, it keeps me sane, positive. Races were always for good causes – a happy bi-product. Sadly I've never yet run a marathon. 20 mile hill races yes, but a marathon, no. It is only a badge, admittedly one I'd like to have, but not vital for me to get the most out of running. I carried on averaging 50 miles a week (4 x 5m, 1 x 10m, 1 x 20m) until I came to France 10 years ago. I went from a highly structured routine centered on my work, to one where we worked from day break until sunset (or beyond if it was a full moon). Without the routine I found it difficult to plan in when I would run. I also felt guilty about taking time off (to run) from this joint work venture with my husband. The running stopped. Luckily it was replaced with lots of ladder work, lifting, gardening and dog walking. This meant that after 10 years, with some sort of a routine emerging from our efforts here, I ventured out for 3.3 miles on rolling countryside. I did it! I was, and still am, elated. How could I go 10 years without doing something that had always been such a huge part of me, something I thought I couldn't live without?

All I know is, I won't let it slip again. Maybe my favorite quote should have been “You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone!”

WalkJogRun: How much are you running per week?

Yvette H.: 10 miles (16 km)

WalkJogRun: What's the best piece of advice you could offer another runner or a newbie runner?

Yvette H.: Do it for you. Enjoy it. Be patient, realistic and honest as regards your progress and plans. Get buy in and support from those around you to help it happen and use WalkJogRun to plan and record your training sessions.


If you'd like to nominate yourself or another runner to be the “Runner of the Week,” please visit the details page here.