Behind the Chair: Health & Swellness, Karen Kwan

Working, blogging, running, training, it can all be hard to juggle at once. Especially when you're training for a full marathon. I love running, it's a big part of my life, but there are days where I'd rather just lay on my couch and binge watch a good show on Netflix. When I feel like this I usually just call my friend to rescue me so I don't get lazy. Running is always better with a friend and when I meet runners I feel like we can always have a good conversation ;)

Today, on Behind the Chair, is a fellow runner, blogger, writer, and fashionista! Meet Karen Kwan, from Health & Swellness. She's a freelance writer, (side note, writers have a special place in my heart) and runner. I came across Karen's blog one day through Instagram and started reading, I think one of my favorite posts was when she wore red lipstick for her marathon back in the fall. I love a good hairstyle for running, but when I saw that she wore a beautiful red color for the FULL MARATHON, that just took it to the next level! LOVED IT! She also has a love for travelling, food, and fashion! 

I am so happy I was able to meet up with Karen, and talk about running, food, and life. She was meeting up with a friend that day for a long run, so I decided to put her hair up in 'boxer braids' it's one of my go-to hairstyles for running, high intensity, and just for fun. We also went for a little jog together. Enjoy!

1. What inspired you to become a writer, and where do you get inspiration from? Was there a quote or person that inspired you?

My older sisters were avid Vogue readers and so I grew up reading a lot of magazines and books. I studied marketing and worked in that for a few years, but I think it was when I saw that someone from my high school was a writer based in California that I realized that's what I wanted to do. 
I get inspired by travel, eating a fantastic meal, completing a hard workout, a beautiful piece of clothing, a hiking in the forest, movies, my friends; I try to look for inspiration in anything and everything. Although I do have to remind myself from time to time to take everything in (I get easily distracted and have a busy schedule like everyone does!)

2. How do you find balance with writing and training for races?

It's hard to balance since training for marathons takes a lot of time out of each week. I hate to admit it but I often sacrifice sleep, which is not healthy at all and, of course, impacts my running. But I'm working on improving my sleep habits and making my schedule more manageable by being smarter about what I'm capable of including in my schedule. 

3. What motivates you to run? And what advice would you give to someone training for their first race?

For me, it's the accomplishment of completing a race that keeps me going. I find it hard to run to just maintain a base level of fitness...and this is why I tend to always be registering for a couple of races each spring and fall.
I'd recommend choosing a race that challenges you, but doesn't over-challenge you. If you have never run (and this was me in 2007), then don't choose to complete a marathon as your first race. Build up to the longer distances if you're a complete newbie.

4. Favorite pair of running shoes

My NIKEiD Zoom Structure 18 runners, which I designed to be all red with some charcoal and volt details. 

5. What is your favorite way to wear your hair?

For a run? I typically wear it in a low ponytail (a high ponytail would keep my hair off my back but I find it bounces around too much). For everyday, I usually just leave it down, and when I have time to style my hair, with loose, beachy waves. 

If you'd like to see all the places she travels, make sure to follow her on Instagram (I've attached the link above) Hope you've enjoyed our interview and maybe we'll see you at a race this season? Will you be wearing a red lip for your next race?

Just want to put this out there, if you're a first time runner, and afraid to get out there, come join us at one of Nike's free running events held every week here in Toronto

A special shout out and thank you goes to Nelly for taking time to take the pictures for us!

Have a wonderful hair day!