My personal runner's quadrant


Last Sunday I wrote a post about the fine line between discipline and compulsive behavior. And I admitted about sometimes going to the dark side.

We all have our strengths and weaknesses. And Daniel Ofman helps you capture them in a Core Quadrant.

About the Core Quadrant

The core quality is someone’s natural positive quality. A quality you're born with. It's what you'ld call one of your 'strong points'.

However, there can be too much of a good thing!

And when that happens your strong point can become your weakness.

This strong point of the personality can, however, go too far because of which the strength becomes a weakness. Let's say you're a very punctual and tidy person. That's one of the things that make you a great person!

Your pitfall would be when the limit is exceeded. Then punctual and tidy become perfectionist and obsessive.

My own runner's quadrant

Using Ofman's Core Quadrant I made my own Runner's Quadrant! Featuring what makes me a good runner, and what my pitfalls are.

What are your strengths and weaknesses as a runner?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock
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No pain, no gain: it's about the journey

If someone had offered me the opportunity to skip the whole proces of giving birth, and just have my baby handed over to me on a silver platter, I would have declined.

My answer would have been a firm 'no'.

The process is important too

The whole process of giving birth is connected to the process of becoming a mother. And painful though it was, it made the end result, a little baby in my arms, all the more beautiful. The pain of the contractions made me focus on my body, on the here and now. I wasn't thinking about the groceries, or making plans for the weekend: I was having a baby.

Without the pain and effort of giving birth, for me, the high and relief of the actual birth was lower.

I learned this from the births of my first and fifth child. Both times I ended up in hospital with an epidural, to my great relief, by the way. But with the elimination of the natural pain, endorphins were also eliminated. These are the deliveries I look back on with the least amount of joy.

Running is like giving birth in a way

Just like the pain of the labor proces creates a feeling of euphoria once the baby is born, running creates a feeling of joy and satisfaction.

Many people who don't run look at runners with amazement and ask: 'You sweat, you get hot and tired, your muscles ache. What on earth possesses you to to go running?'
The answer lies in the rewards runners experience. The feelings of fullfillment, of power, of joy. The feeling to be te proud owner of your life and body.

And this reward can only be gained if you put in the effort, because as the saying goes: 'No pain, no gain!'
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This is how often you should go for a run per week!

running for moms

I love reading confirmation that running is good for me. It's like the cherry on top of an already lovely pie.

This is how often you should go for a run per week!

Good news comes from a study of the Copenhagen City Heart Studys. It shows running makes women live five and a half years longer. Men can even lenghten their lifespan with six years by running.

And all it takes is a measly, three times a week, 20 minute run! 
That is doable!

Optimum running rythm: 3 times a week, no more than 2,5 hours in total

If you want to get the optimal health effects out of your runs, your frequency should be two to three times a week. And your time spent running per wek should be 1 tot 2,5 hours in total.

My running week

When my kids were in elementary school I used to run five times a week, because I ran the school run. Every morning I ran about 40 minutes, which added up to 200 minutes a week, or 3+ hours.

Now the kids are older, and they go to school on their own. But I've kept the rythm of these daily runs.

I could skip some runs, but I don't wan to

According to this study I could skip some runs, and still get all the health benefits, but I don't want to! I like running the school run. I love the way it makes me feel, and gives me a running start for the day ahead.

How many times do you go out for a run per week?
And how many hours do you run per week?
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Chilvary is alive and running!

Who say's chivalry is dead!

I saw it at the Philadelphia half marathon.

And it was wearing running shoes.

Who needs a white horse when you've got running shoes!

Three charming men on running shoes helped a female runner whose legs could no longer carry her. The first two men help her stay upright. And then, after a while a third runner comes up to them and he just sweeps her off her feet, into his arms.

The kindness of the running community

I love it!

Not only does it show chivalry isn't dead, but al alive and running. It also shows the kindness of the running community.

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Trampolines: great for kids and runners!

running and rebounding
We recently bought a trampoline! Finally!

I've wanted one for years, because I always hear parents saying how their kids love playing on the trampoline, and how they never get tired of jumping up and down.

Trampolines are great for runners!

And trampolines are great for runners too. They provide a nice work out! If you want one too, Tesco Direct offers great trampolines in all shapes and sizes.

Why rebounding on a trampoline is good for you:

  1. Jumping on the trampoline will help develop cardiovascular fitness
  2. Jumping on the trampoline forces your deep abdominal muscles to get to work.
  3. Rebounding offers strength training.
  4. Rebounding conditions your calf and leg muscles.
  5. Rebounding is gentler on your joints because the trampolines absorbs some of the shock. Rebounding is low impact.
  6. It's an easy way to do some crosstraining and spend some quality time with the kids : )

How does rebounding compare to running?

'Rebounding burns about 210 calories per 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise if you weigh 150 lbs. Jogging burns approximately 105 calories per mile. Jogging at 4 mph produces the same calorie burn rate.' (Source:

Trampolines motivate kids to get some exercise too

As a mom I'm very much aware of the need for physical movement in order for my kids to stay healthy. So I always worry about how much time they spend behind their computer, Wii, and Nintendo etc.

But when they're playing on the trampoline, I don't have to worry about lack of exertion! Trampolines actually offer me peace of mind!

Only one word of advice:

If you've had several kids, be sure to use the bathroom before you start jumping...

Try it yourself!

If you would like to try this at home, there are lots of free video tutorials on youtube. Here's one I liked:

Do you do crosstraining? And what kind?

Image: Shutterstock
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Underwater running on a treadmill!

I once took up aquajogging. That was before I become a Runner.

At the time I hated getting 'sweaty' so I figured aquajogging would get me some exercise, while at the same time keeping me nice and fresh.

During aquajogging you wear a belt around your waist, which keeps you afloat. And then you start running through the swimming pool. And let me tell you, it's exhausting.

When I got out of the pool, my legs felt like rubber.

Aquajogging can be a great alternative to running

Since then I've put my fear of sweat aside to become a Runner. And I've read a lot about how aquajogging is great for runners. Because aquajogging helps you exercise your running muscles, without giving them a pounding at the same time.

Underwater treadmills: more than an alternative to running

But now there's a whole new and exciting way of using the water to improve as a runner!

The good people of HydroWorx have created underwater treadmills!

You don't have to wear a belt to stay afloat, because the water doesn't come higher than your waist. And in front of you there's a little tv, showing your feet running. I've always loved to watch myself being sporty! Underwater running has got all the advantages of aquajogging, and then some more.

You can see a video of runners using the underwater treadmill on There you can also read about the use of their underwater training by Coach Alberto Salazar and Oregon Project Runners, Galen Rupp and Mo Farah (Both will be Olympians in London).

The advantages of underwater running

Underwater running is a great way to improve yourself as a runner, because you run against the resistance of the water. Running on land is a breeze after that!

No injury can stop you now!

We all know how hard it is for an injured runner to patiently have to wait before he or she can run again. You get anxious and fidgety, and worried. But thanks to underwater running injuries don't mean you have to stay on the couch anymore. You can still work out, because when you're in the water, your body is only bearing 25% of your body weight. So it's much easier on your joints and muscles.

I think it's a great invention! What do you think?

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Aroma therapy

I ran out of the woods, straight into a sunny meadow.

Delicious smell!

Suddenly, the most delicious smell reached my nostrils. It was the smell of freshly mown grass. Sniffing enthusiastically, like a bull spotting a pretty cow, I ran along until the smell ended just as suddenly as it had started.

But I wasn't complaining, because you don't get free aromatherapy every day!

Oh no, manure!

But then it hit me, right smack in the nose: manure. Some farmer decided to use this sunny to spread some shit.

That certainly didn't qualify as aromatherapy, but it served well as shock therapy!

Woke me right up!
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Bellydancing and running

belly dancing and running

Danny Dreyer, the author of ChiRunning has taught me an important lesson. Here it comes:

Pain is an opportunity to better myself in disguise!

Hips don't lie!

So when my right hip started sending frantic messages of discomfort I happily thought: 'Ah, a chance to improve my running technique!' Because like Shakira sang: 'Hips don't lie!'

Crosstraining for runners: belly dancing

So now I mix belly dancing into my runs. I do hip drops, figure eights, and stretching has never been more fun!

There I'll be, in my running skirt, doing my hip drops, and I can't help but think: running has never more fun to watch.

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Going of the beaten track

Every Saturday morning my husband drives into town to do some grocery shopping. I always use this opportunity to catch a ride, and run a different route then I do during the week.

Let's go off the beaten track!

Today I was about 5 minutes into my run, when I saw this interesting track on the right. I couldn't help myself, and took a right turn.

And the track took me places I had not planned on going. It was exciting and a bit scary at the same time. Because I felt like the path was taking me in the wrong direction.

However, I'm at home now, writing this post : )

So I did get home, even though I went off the beaten track.

Pictures of my run!

A sign I'm on the right track: a nice bench and a white arrow pointing to the left

I'm not lost! Look at the sign at the left!

Interesting... Don't know what the green things are though

Crossing a tiny bridge!

I'm not lost, but I accidentally stumbled on another track. Look at the different arrow....
All in all, I had a great run this morning. It was something different and it was adventurous.

And in the end I got home.

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I'm aware of the ground I run on


Now that I live in the country I run a lot on dirt tracks.

And from my running books I have learned this is good news to my body.

Because dirt tracks provide a softer landing.

Sidewalks are harsh to your body

When I lived in the city I avoided sidewalks as much as possible, because they're made of concrete. On the other hand: sidewalks are máde for pedestrians, so they are usually safer than the street. So whenever I could, I ran on the street, and if that was too hazardous I used the sidewalk.

I'm aware of the ground I run on

In general, I'm quite aware of the ground I run on. I really don't want to get hurt! Neither as a runner, nor as a mom.

I find it hard to protect myself from hurt as a mom, because I'm vulnerable through my children. But as a runner, I have more control!

Do you run on sidewalks? Dirt tracks? Bike paths?
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The woman in the mirror

There are times when I've really had it up to here with myself.

I wish I could take a vacation without me!

The constant worrying, the terrible scenarios even Stephen King would find too scary, and the doubts. And I find myself thinking:

'I wish I could take a vacation from myself!'

There's a part of me that I do like!

But today I was out running, and I suddenly realized: there's a part of me that I always like! A part of me I appreciate, and even admire. That's the part of me that goes out for a run five times a week, rain or shine.

And I find myself reconciling myself with me, and I decide:

'I'm not so bad after all.'
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Running scared

running scared
Brothers Lionhart: scary dragon

As a child I just loved the books by Astrid Lindgren.

In my mind I played with the children from Bullerby, lived on Seacrow Island and had adventures with the Lionheart brothers. So when I saw a dvd-box with the complete works of Astrid Lindgren I grabbed it and happily ran to the cash register.

Then the dvd-box just stood there for a while, gathering dust. Until this afternoon. In a surge of desire to be a Good Mom I announced: 'Let's play Let's go to the movies!, and we'll watch the Brothers Lionheart together!

Watching with the kids

The kids and I gathered on the sofa and watched both Jonathan and Karl dying and then go to the land Nangijala, which must be the most beautiful piece of land anyone has ever seen. With lots of trees carrying cherry blossoms, and gently sloping hills and small babbling brooks.

Indeed it would have been paradise if not for that big bully Tengil, who spoiled everything with his big fire breathing dragon.

But while I, as a child, I quaked with fear at the sight of  that big dragon my children just laughed.

'Is that dragon made from paper mache?' my son John giggled.
'It's sooo fake,' his little sister agreed.

Next time I'll watch it with my husband Floris.

At least he runs scared easily!
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