Those who inspire help us put in the hard work at the end of the day. When hazy winter days get us down, sometimes it’s the simple things like a motivation quote or a breathtaking photo of someone else’s running route that gets us throwing on the running gear. This winter, we’re featuring some of our favourite runners of Instagram who encourage the running community through positive, eye-catching snapshots. This week, we’re talking to Vancouver’s Meg Lewis Schneider who trains on the west coast with marathon runner Dylan Wykes.
Canadian Running: Tell us how you got started running and why it’s important for you to keep it up.
Meg Lewis-Schneider: Growing up, I played every sport you can think of but running was never a sport I focused on. After connecting with Dylan Wykes about a year ago, he started coaching me and I began to take running more seriously and I developed a serious passion for the sport.
Running has now become a very important part of my life. Quite frankly, I don’t think I could imagine my life without it. There’s nothing better than a hard workout or race when you feel the burn in your chest and the exhaustion in your legs while still fighting to hang in there until the end. Moments like these are character building and incredibly humbling.
CR: You post a lot of yoga and cross-training photos. Why do you find that yoga is essential to your running?
MLS: I practice yoga about three or four times per week. I do it mostly for injury prevention, but it’s also great for strengthening, toning, lengthening your muscles and improving flexibility. With all those benefits, it amazes me that there aren’t more “running yogis” like me 😉
There’s a popular misconception that in order to do yoga, you need to be flexible and that’s so far from the truth! Anyone can do it, and I’m proof. Some days, my hamstrings are so tight that I can barely touch my toes but that’s why yoga is necessary for runners– so we get a good stretch and loosen anything that’s feeling tight.
I also find that yoga and running compliment each other. One notable way is breath. When I’m holding tough poses or flowing through challenging sequences, I try to remain calm and steady with my breathing. I breathe through the pain in a very similar way that I do while I’m running. Finally, when you’re spending so much time hammering your legs while running, it’s nice to have a cross-training activity that isn’t high intensity. Yoga is ideal for slowing it down and getting deeper into the hips, core and arms.
CR: Favourite workout, go!
MLS: I love a good long run. That’s definitely my weekend highlight. Long runs seem to be more social and are great moments for chilling out and reflecting. I always follow it up with pancakes, granola, smoothie bowls or any of my other brunch favourites. They always taste so much better when I’ve earned them!
CR: You have a large social following. What message do you hope your followers will take from your photos?
MLS: My Insta is a way for me to share my passion for running. I hope to establish meaningful connections with other runners as well as inspire any wannabe runners. Running is free and it’s convenient. Anyone can do it and I think more people should get into the sport.
I also use my account for my own motivation. I post quotes to remind me to be strong on the days I’m feeling weak. I do it to help me stay positive, be relentless and not give up. Ultimately though, I hope that my followers see that I’m a real, genuine person who hopes to encourage others to be their very best selves. I’m aiming to showcase how exercise can empower you and make you more determined, fearless and confident!
CR: Name one thing you love about running at home that you can’t get anywhere else in the world.
MLS: Vancouver is a breathtakingly beautiful place to run. If I had to move, I would miss running along the seawall for sure. There’s nothing quite like running right next to the ocean, while being surrounded by mountains and forest. It is so serene and awe-inspiring during all seasons of the year. I also don’t think I could find such a supportive running community anywhere else in the world.
CR: We’ve noticed lots of gorgeous food shots here… what’s your favourite?
MLS: Baked goodies. Probably oatmeal breakfast cookies loaded with dark chocolate pieces, pecans, coconut and peanut butter. If I don’t have time to bake, I’ll opt for a smoothie-bowl. Smoothie-bowls are so refreshing and they’re so easy to change up by adding different fruits and delicious toppings.
CR: You’re big into style. Give us one style tip for winter running.
Opt for layers! Go crazy from head to toe. Wear a tank, a long-sleeve, and a wind breaker then pair it with tights that have mesh for more breathability, ensuring that you don’t overheat but you’re not too cold either. That’s the perfect balance!