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March 23, 2023

‘Profound’ impact running has had on Commonwealth Games champion Jess Stenson

Filed under: Fitness — Tags: — admin @ 5:03 am

Jessica Stenson is an Australian athlete who won the gold medal in the marathon at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

As a long-distance runner, she competes in distances from 5000 metres up to the marathon. She also represented Australia at the 2012 London Olympics and 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics in the marathon.

Here the marathon mum, who was recently announced as lululemon’s newest ambassador and who is expecting her second child this year, joins 9Honey Coach’s series 5 Fitness Questions.

Jessica Stenson won gold at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. (Alastair Grant/AP)

1. We’re always being promised “the secret” to getting and staying healthy. What’s yours?

I believe a powerful tool to improve overall health is to find a form of movement or activity that excites and empowers you and to practise it on a regular basis. The key to staying healthy is to understand your physical and mental needs and to drive yourself to consistently meet them. 

I discovered my love for distance running in my early twenties and was curious to see how much I could improve. I recognised that progress would require me to maintain motivation, train consistently and recover well. Sleep, nutrition, routine and goal-setting became a greater focus of mine. I found myself surrounded by positive and passionate people who motivated me to dream big. The benefits to my physical and mental health have been profound. I am very grateful to have found an activity that challenges and fulfils me as well as a community that motivates me to keep chasing my potential. 

READ MORE: Personal trainer shares ‘secret’ to getting healthy

2. What’s something you know now about health (be it training, eating or general wellbeing) you wish you could go back in time and tell yourself five or 10 years ago?

I would tell my younger self to worry less about what the future will look like and instead to focus on maximising every day. I would reassure that girl to trust that if she continues to invest her time and energy in the areas and people that she cares about most, it will all work out. Whilst I have always valued goal-setting and planning ahead, my experiences have taught me the value of being adaptable and open to change. I have learnt to accept that events in or out of my control may adjust the route to a destination that I had envisioned but that the new path might be even more rewarding. 

3. What’s your nutrition philosophy?

I see food as fuel but also as medicine and believe it should enrich every day. My nutrition philosophy has evolved over the years but balance has consistently been a focus. To me, a healthy diet is one that delivers the required macronutrients for the individual’s needs, is rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals and is low in foods that are highly processed. As a Marathon runner, I aim to consume a diet that is high in energy and that supports my overall health and immune function. Timing of intake is also important for performance and recovery. 

Jessica Stenson with her Commonwealth Games gold medal and son Billy. (Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

4. What’s one area of your own health, fitness or wellbeing you’re working to improve? Is there a goal you’ve set yourself, or a skill you’re trying to master?

I am constantly working on achieving a balance that best aligns with my priorities and values. This year I would like to become better at creating boundaries for myself and to say no without guilt to opportunities that fall outside of those boundaries. I know how valuable this will be for my overall wellbeing and performance in my priority areas. 

5. What’s a small, practical step you’d tell a friend to make if they asked your advice on something they can do to improve their health, starting today?

I would start by asking them what they feel that they need in their day to be the best version of themselves. It may be eight hours of sleep per night or a daily walk with the dog. It might be an honest conversation at the dinner table each night or a couple of episodes of their favourite TV series. It might be all of the above. Whatever their needs are, I would encourage my friend to write them down and to share them with their partner if they have one and make an effort to work those ‘cup-filling’ activities into their routine. That investment into oneself might feel self-indulgent but it has the power to benefit everyone. 


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