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How A Mom of 3 Became A World Record Holder in Running

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Helen Ryvar is no ordinary runner. The single mother-of-three and business owner from north Wales has transformed her life and inspired many with her incredible dedication to running. Every night, she meticulously prepares for her early morning run, setting her alarm for 4 a.m. and laying out her gear. By 4:15 a.m., she’s out the door, regardless of the weather.

From Personal Tragedy to World Record

Ryvar began running in 2020, just before the UK went into lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic and after learning about her ex-husband’s death following a mental health battle. What started as a coping mechanism quickly turned into a passion. Four years later, Ryvar holds the Guinness World Record for consecutive half-marathons, having completed 743 as of this past weekend.

“I’m just an ordinary person doing extraordinary things,” says Ryvar, who manages to juggle her demanding routine with running her own cleaning business during the day.

A Daily Routine

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Running has become an integral part of Ryvar’s life. Despite describing herself as a “mediocre runner” in school, she has found consistency and determination in her daily runs. Her routine is simple yet effective:

  • Consistency: Running at the same time every day ensures she sticks to her schedule.
  • Early Mornings: By running before her children wake up, she guarantees her exercise is completed without interfering with her daily responsibilities.

Dr. Michael J. Joyner from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine supports this approach, noting that finding a protected time for exercise is crucial for making it a routine. This is why many habitual exercisers prefer working out first thing in the morning.

Mindset Over Speed

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Ryvar emphasizes the importance of building a strong mindset over worrying about speed or having the latest gear. She doesn’t follow a special diet but sticks to three balanced meals a day. Her focus is on maintaining a routine and understanding her body’s needs.

“I found doing it every day, you just get used to it,” she says. 

Practical Advice for Aspiring Runners

Ryvar’s advice for those looking to start a running routine is straightforward:

  • Hydration: Drink plenty of water.
  • Diet and Rest: Maintain a balanced diet and ensure early nights.
  • Recovery: Use magnesium salt baths to aid recovery.

Dr. Joyner adds that managing the risks of an intense exercise regimen involves incorporating light days into the program to prevent orthopedic injuries and stress fractures.

Staying Motivated and Accountable

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For Ryvar, staying motivated means setting goals and being accountable. She suggests:

  • Habit Formation: Make running a habit by integrating it into your daily schedule.
  • Group Activities: Join running groups or community events to stay motivated.
  • Setting Goals: Signing up for races or challenges can provide a significant motivational boost.

Ryvar herself is aiming for an incredible milestone: 1,000 consecutive half-marathons. She is set to reach this goal by January 24, 2025.

Ryvar’s running achievements have not only brought her personal satisfaction but have also allowed her to raise funds for important causes like Cancer Research UK and Nightingale House Hospice. Her dedication has taken her around the world, from Jordan to Miami, and she has even appeared on national television in Malta.

Helen Ryvar’s story is a testament to the power of routine, determination, and resilience. Her journey from a beginner runner to a world record holder continues to inspire many and showcases the extraordinary achievements that can come from consistent effort and a strong mindset.

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