Kathy Osborne is one of our stellar Account Directors here at BAM. On weekdays, she runs her accounts like a boss securing top-notch results for clients. After hours, you can find her quite literally running marathons. We caught up with her to learn more about a passion that makes her a true #BAMf through and through. Here’s a look at what inspired her to start running and the unique training hacks she swears by.
How did you originally get into running?
I was always an athlete for as long as I can remember. I played competitive soccer for years and went on to play in college, but I ultimately gave it up as a sophomore. After spending years as a full-time athlete and full-time student, my health and overall well-being began to suffer. This was the same year I was diagnosed with Celiac disease (years before “gluten-free” became a popular trend, making it very difficult to navigate). I made the tough decision to focus on my health. I put a pin in my athletic career to focus on adopting the dramatic, non-negotiable lifestyle changes that were now on my plate.
After graduating from college, I was still in decent shape and I signed up for a half marathon on a whim. I quickly realized that I completely loved how running made me feel and decided I would run a full marathon by the time I was 30. So, here I am at 29 training for my first 26-mile run – the New York City Marathon. I’ve heard from people who previously ran the marathon that the process had completely transformed them. Specifically, it changed the way they approach challenges in life, both in their personal lives and at work. There’s a unique mentality that you gain while training that I just really, really wanted to embrace.
How long have you been running?
I did the half marathon six years ago but hadn’t trained to run more than 13 miles in about four years. If we’re talking serious, consistent training? Four months. But I approached the process differently this time. When I ran the half marathon, it was all about time. I was in shape and running seven-minute miles, so it was pretty easy to tackle in two hours. Now, my life has changed, I’m older and my body is just not that fast – especially when trying to sustain a pace for 26 miles. For the first five months, I’ve committed to focus only on distance. Every week, I add another mile so by the time I hit six months, I’ll have conquered 26. I’ll then have roughly four months remaining until race day in November to focus solely on increasing my speed. My hope is that, once I start transitioning into phase two, I will be able to run 26 miles in under five hours. Because c’mon, who really wants to run for more than five hours straight?
Indoors or out?
I prefer running outside – it’s always nice to have that view. It’s too cold in New York City for much of the year, though, so I usually run indoors until it warms up in the spring. I was in Florida recently during BAM’s semi-annual remote week and I ran outside, actually tackling my longest distance yet – about 17 miles. The heat and the humidity were so rough, though! I had to complete the run partially inside at a gym and then it took me a full 40 minutes to run the last two miles to get home. So there are benefits and drawbacks to both.
What does your training routine look like?
I run two to three times a week – on Monday and Wednesday, these are shorter two to three-mile runs depending on how much time I have. Saturdays are my long runs, during which I get closer to that 17-mile mark.
What’s your favorite thing about running?
You can’t beat the level of mental clarity achieved on a good run. I run without music as part of my training strategy to concentrate on being present and engaged. For me, it’s about focusing on the positive and using the time to think. If you rely on listening to music for motivation, it can change your pace and even alter the way you feel. I prefer to stay in control when running. This also provides you with ample time to reflect and plan for the future – whether for personal goals or business ventures. For me, it promotes creativity and stimulates new ideas for my day to day work, too, which is pretty invaluable in our line of work. Another bonus? It’s one of the few uninterrupted opportunities I have in the day without being distracted or disturbed by my phone.
What’s the hardest aspect you’ve had to overcome?
Surpassing the mental roadblocks, without a doubt. For most people, physical ability and endurance is only a minor part of it. The real challenge is actually reaching a mindset of believing you can run the 26 miles. I’ve finally been able to push myself to a point where 15 miles doesn’t feel like a lot. One of the biggest challenges is simply getting to a point where your mind and body adjust so running doesn’t feel like work. You’ll always hit walls along the way but you have to push through them.
What advice would you give a beginner who wanted to get into running?
It’s just a matter of feeling comfortable with the process. It’s not a race – go at your own pace. Maybe taking a brisk walk is how you get started, focusing only on the distance. Every time you go back out there, try to go a little farther and push yourself to a pace just a bit beyond your comfort level. Trust me, you’ll be able to build up your endurance and speed much faster than you think. You’ll get stronger, faster and gain endurance quickly, reaching a place where it doesn’t feel like work anymore. That is the best feeling.