Anna Maharg Yogi Ambassador
Anna is a marathon runner who discovered yoga as a way of improving her running performance. She talks to Sundried about training and racing.
Please tell us about sporting events you have taken part in or have coming up.
The spring season is one of my favourite times for training and running. In January 2019 I finished my 16th Marathon within six years. Three of them I ran a Boston qualifying time. In 2018, I ran my first trail marathon as well as an international marathon in Ireland. Some years have more races than others, but I have enjoyed the progress and the adventure! While training and on the course I always learn something important along the way.
Tell us about your journey to fitness? Where did it all start?
My journey to teaching yoga and running marathons began as a way to relieve stress and a way to manage the transitions life was throwing. It began as just jogging around town until I found a group called The Dawn Crackers. As the miles climbed and my training improved, I found myself continuing to challenge myself. The distance lengthened and I set my sights on a marathon. Once that began, it opened an entirely new set of challenges. One of them was overcoming injuries, which is what began my journey into practising yoga. The self-care stretching evolved into me teaching yoga at various studios. Classes are for everybody, including some for those struggling with Parkinson’s Disease, and even a class specifically for the high school varsity cross country and track team.
What are your training goals now?
Currently, I have goals for my own improvement, along with goals for teaching yoga and the participants in my classes. Personally, I am trying to increase my speed in marathons to get a faster marathon time. My goal is to break 3:30, which is no record for the Olympics, but is substantially fast for THIS girl. I’ve been cross training with swimming, biking, and most of all, strength training. Weight lifting is part of my daily routine, to help keep balance and strength in my whole body. Weight lifting challenge: pull ups!
As for teaching yoga, I want to create a space and a class where everybody can work through their practice on their mat. I have to let go of “making” people better and instead create an opportunity for my clients. It is incredibly rewarding to see that progress though!
Tell us one unusual fact we wouldn’t know about you:
I was never athletic as a kid. I was a total band geek in high school. Riding my horse was the only physical thing I did, and most of that included falling off, but being too stubborn to quit. I kept getting back on. I think that really helped me overcome set backs, and “falling down” while training now.
What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?
I wish I had been told to listen to myself more and that my training and progress will be different to that of others, but that is okay. We are always comparing ourselves and I did that excessively. Instead of taking into account where I was at and what my body needed.
I wish I had been told to be patient with myself and not beat myself up over every step along the way. Some runs are great, some days are strong, some days I can touch my toes; but some days are not. Realising this is part of the process, learning from it, and continuing forward; undaunted and not discouraged.
I wish that I’d realised lifting, yoga, and running are all a bit of a marathon, not a sprint. Corny, cheesy phrase, but so very true. Focusing on long term goals and not getting bent out of shape over the bumps along the way.
Do you follow a specific nutrition plan? If so, what/when do you eat?
This is the hardest part! They always compare it to an iceberg, with 80% of training being nutrition. That’s another goal of mine: talking to a nutritionist. I try to have protein in three meals a day, with 3-4 healthy snacks. I hope this progress is notable going forward.
What do you do to keep your clients motivated? Do you have any top tips to keep motivated?
Each person is motivated differently. That’s one of the beautiful things I’ve discovered about yoga. It has nothing to do with being able to do a “perfect pretty pose”. I like to offer new poses and new ways of getting into them. I like to challenge balance. But even more so, celebrating success along the way.
Talk us through your training regime.
Mornings are dedicated to running 3-4 days a week. One longer training run and the others are intervals and sprints. Swimming and cycling are on the off days, as well as a spectacular rest day. I lift in the weight room 6 days a week, focusing on different muscle groups. I usually do 4 sets and a drop set of each exercise, focusing on 8-10 repetitions. Yoga usually falls between the two and sometimes the morning. All the way up to taper time before the marathon, then everything changes! Also, this training schedule sounds mad and crazy when it is typed out like this.
How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?
I try to find reputable published information to read and I talk to athletes more successful than me! Occasionally, instructors coming through, I keep an eye out to take classes, I’ll never stop learning.
What are your top 3 trainer tips?
- Try new things. Even if they are difficult, even if you struggle, keep trying new things. Keep your balance challenged, keep your mind engaged, and keep your muscles guessing what will be demanded of them next.
- Be consistent. Treat your workout time like a date or an appointment.
- Find a friend. If you can train at the same time, use your time together to do more difficult things than you would normally attempt on your own. Check in and keep each other accountable. It’s harder to skip if someone is waiting for you.
If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Cheese. All kinds. Local regular cheese, string cheese, goat cheese, buffalo mozzarella cheese. Favourite place to get groceries in the city? The cheese counter at Pennsylvania Macaroni Co.
Why work with Sundried?
Their commitment to quality product and the environment is unlike any other apparel I’ve used. I love how the clothes are from recycled materials (especially coffee, because I love coffee). Doing so and maintaining material that is flattering and comfortable to sweat in makes it unique and coveted. I like clothes that don’t shift on me while working out and teaching; ones that let me move unhindered. Nothing is worse than running and having to use a hair-tie to hold your pants up, or teaching a class and having your shirt flip up over your head. Yes- both are true stories, neither times happened in Sundried clothes.
What's your favourite bit of kit?
Sundried Tour Noir Women’s Vest! Running, lifting, yoga – a favourite go-to for all.
Favourite fitness quote:
“Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they worked on it every day”.