Beginner’s hacks every new or aspiring runner should know according to Lana Van Hout

19 February 2019
By Fashion Quarterly

Have you ever tried becoming a runner only to throw in the towel upon discovering you hate it? Turns out, even for professional runner Lana Van Hout, this is something that almost everyone goes through. Here’s how you can learn to love the process of running.

Unlike your ordinary self-proclaimed #fitspo influencer running up your Instagram feed sending you into a self-loathing spiral of remorse, adidas athlete, model and running coach Lana Van Hout is a mover and shaker in the health and wellness space *actually* inspiring women to get out there and hit the ground, err, running.

If you’ve found yourself punching into Google ‘how to become a runner when you hate running’ or ‘ how to become a runner from a couch potato’ you are only one of the hundreds of thousands in the aspiring runners’ community.

Despite Van Hout’s apparent running success, the start of her journey wasn’t all smooth sailing, nor had it been something she’s done since she was young. So if you’re looking for an excuse as to why you’re “not a runner,” you’re not going to find it in (your old) age and (lack of) experience. In fact, Van Hout, like many of us, had tried to become a runner on multiple occasions, hated it, gave up, and only really got going in her mid-twenties.

Now, a few years later, Van Hout is a middle distance runner by trade. Miss FQ chats to the Aucklander on how she found her stride, how she juggles her many talents and – arguably more importantly – how you can become a runner yourself using the tips and tricks she’s discovered along the way.



Running: Side hustle or full-time gig?
It’s a bit of both, I train seven days a week, but no two days look the same for me. I coach clients one-on-one and also the Distance Squad at St Cuthbert’s College. I’m studying Commerce at Auckland University, model with Red Eleven Models and I have just started a business with my boyfriend Cam creating content for brands. So, I keep myself very busy.

You’re a middle distance track runner. What does this mean exactly?
The middle distances in track are from 800m to 5000m. During the summer season, I run these distances and then during the winter season I race cross country and road races varying from 8km-Half marathon distance.

How did you get started in running?
It was the unknown. Growing up I had tried to love running, I remember trying multiple times to go for runs as a teenager, I would make it around the block then drag myself home again. I hated it! It wasn’t until a tough experience in my life, in which I felt I lost my sense of self, that I found my love for running.

“Growing up I had tried to love running… I would make it around the block then drag myself home again. I hated it!”

I started with no expectations and in that, I found I fell in love with the process. Slowly I got fitter and fitter and I got prouder and prouder of the runner I was becoming. I still remember the first day I ran 10km and the pride I felt in myself. I never in my life thought I could run that. So, to now find myself racing competitively against people who have been racing their whole lives is still something I pinch myself over. Running truly rebuilt me and has given me a new foundation to an amazing life.

How old were you when you first became a runner?
To be honest it has only been the past 3 years that I have taken running seriously. It had never crossed my mind to be a runner growing up, as I mentioned earlier, it was never a passion of mine. It shows it’s never too late to start something new and push yourself outside of your comfort zone.


What are your tips for those considering their first 5km or 10km run?

  • Give yourself time to train and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. You want to fall in love with the process, not dread it.
  • Only add 10% more mileage per week and slowly build up.
  • This is just your first race, so have fun!!
  • Don’t compare yourself to others. Believe in you, because you are amazing. No matter how fast or slow you are. You are getting out there and you are doing it.


View this post on Instagram


This is my pain face 😬 Pushing through it with every step 📸

A post shared by Lana Van Hout (@lanavanhout) on

Is it ever too late to start running?
It is honestly never too late to start!! If I can fall in love with running as a young adult, I really do believe anyone can.

What’s your advice to new runners of all fitness levels?

  • Invest in a good pair of running shoes. They will be your best friend.
  • Believe in yourself, start slow with only a couple of runs a week, slowly build up the mileage and be proud of yourself and your body at every stage of training. I did, so you can too.
  •  Some days will be hard, even I don’t like running some days, but I promise you will never regret a run. You will always feel better for it.
  • No matter the weather, get out there. You never know what race day weather will be like, so it’s great to experience all weather conditions.
  • Be safe on our roads and trails. Make sure someone always knows your running route and when to expect you back, run in lit areas and if you’re listening to music don’t have it too loud.

Would you recommend setting goals for running? Any apps you can recommend?
Setting realistic goals is a great way to keep yourself motivated and helps to keep you on track. I love the Runtastic app for tracking my runs, distance and pace. Map My Run is also a great tool to use to map out your desired run and help create routes for your desired distance.

How often should people be running per week?
Everybody is different and it really depends on what you are running now. You don’t want to go from never running to trying to run four times in one week. If you are starting out start with walk/ jogs and let your body adjust to running and only add on 10% to your total weekly mileage each week. It doesn’t sound like much, but if you want to stay injury free it is the best way.

For example: If you are running 4x a week with a weekly total of 25kms you would add 2.5kms onto the next week. If you are aiming for a 10km or half marathon, when you have been running consistently for a while, I would recommend running 4-5 days a week.

Talk to us. What’s better: Run-walks versus continuous running (just at a slower pace)?
If you are just starting out or returning from injury I would recommend starting with run-walks. It’s the best way for your body to physiologically adapt to adding running into your fitness regime.

For example: Run 2 mins / Walk 2 mins (repeat 5 times). Do this 2-3 times per week and slowly increase each week until you can run without breaks.


Why should people get involved with fun runs like Round the Bays? What are the benefits?
There is nothing like the atmosphere of a race like Round the Bays. It feels so special to be among tens of thousands of people coming together with the same goal in mind: to cross that finish line.

You get to share an incredible experience with so many others, the pre-race nerves, the amazing bands along the way banging on the drums and blasting music, the supporters on the side of the road cheering you on and the strangers giving you high-fives. That feeling and pride of crossing the line is indescribable and seeing so many others out there running and walking with friends, their families or just on their own is always so heartwarming.

Join Lana Van Hout at the 47th Ports of Auckland Round the Bays event on Sunday 3rd March 2019.  Details here

What are some tactics you turn to when you’re feeling unmotivated?

  • Choose a new place you’d like to run, even if you have to get in your car and drive there, a new location will always make for an exciting run.
  • Find some others to run with or head along to adidas Runners (AR). A fun inclusive group run with a range of fitness abilities. It’s so nice to be able to chat and run with some new faces when you are needing extra motivation. AR leaves from the adidas Britomart store at 6 pm every Tuesday.
  • Download a new playlist and put those headphones in. Sometimes all you need is some banging tunes!
  • New fitness gear always helps, there is nothing like buying a new sports bra to treat yourself and make yourself feel good.

How important is nutrition as it relates to your performance and recovery?
Nutrition is incredibly important for myself and for every person. I have always been brought up with the saying “you are what you eat”. So, I have always taken care of what I eat.

Pre and post workout meals are very important to feeling your best for training and recovering well for your next session. I always make sure I eat a meal at least 90mins before a track session or long run. After a workout session, I have a protein shake or eggs on toast within 30 minutes post-exercise to help with recovery.


How do you prioritise your health? Are there any foods, drinks, smoothie recipes or supplements you take to keep you feeling your best?
My health is really important to me, so I try to keep a very balanced diet and not exclude anything from it (that includes the odd treat every now and then). Drinking plenty of water is very essential, I add SOS Hydration to my water after a long run or workout, it allows your body to absorb 3x more water than water on its own.

I have had low iron in the past, which many women and young girls experience, so I make sure I regularly take Iron daily with Vitamin C.

My go-to smoothie, if I have time, is half a banana, a handful of frozen berries, almond milk, protein powder and shredded coconut, otherwise, if I’m in a rush it’s just a scoop of protein powder and water.

What would you say are your running essentials?
Climachill and moisture wicking exercise gear, a really good pair of running shoes. My favourites are the adidas UltraBOOST, they are honestly like wearing clouds on my feet. My watch to track my time and distance. My hat to keep the sun off my face or the rain out of my eyes. A really well-fitting sports bra to keep everything in its place. Plus, my Sony headphones if I’m needing an extra push to get me out the door for training.

When it comes to beauty and skincare products, are there any you rely on to keep you looking fresh on the track?
With running you are always out in the elements, rain, hail or shine. So, it is very important to me to look after my skin. A good sunblock is really important, I love the Bondi Sands spf50+ sunscreen and an intense moisturising product. My favourite is the Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Masque and the Kiehl’s Buttermask for lips.

Some people say that running is more of a mental challenge than it is a physical challenge. Do you listen to podcasts or read books on running? 
Running is just as much mental as it is physical. You can’t run without training your body and building your fitness, but your mind is what keeps you pushing. From hard training days, early morning runs and hard races, your mind and mental strength are what keeps you going.

My inspiration comes from the people around me, I met my boyfriend through running and we train a lot together so he inspires me greatly. He trains so hard, has the most incredible self-belief and is a big supporter to me. The people I coach, the people I meet and the people that message me through Instagram all inspire me. Watching people put their mind to something, push outside of their comfort zone and fall in love with running really makes me fall in love with running all over again and pushes me to be my best.

Some Instagram pages like @MonitortheBeat post awesome pics of people from all around the world with inspirational quotes on them. Some times that is all you need to read to get you out the door in the morning.

What’s your next goal, running or otherwise?
I’m excited to be doing Round the Bays with adidas Runners this year. I’ve done it for the past 2 years and it is always one of my favourite events. I have Track Nationals coming up in March and then I’m heading into the winter season. I’m looking forward to a big mileage block of training, the cross country season beginning and hopefully inspiring others to get out there and create their own love of running.

Interview: Terri Dunn
Words: Lana Van Hout
Photos: Supplied, Instagram

WATCH: Lana Van Hout’s Top Running Tips:

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Miss FQ’s former digital editor Skye Ross went for a run with adidas ambassador Lana Van Hout to learn about the Instagram babe’s running technique.


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