This Girl Can: Model Candice Huffine on Learning to Run and Changing Her Life
Candice Huffine is not only a successful model and self-confessed champion of fashion for all but an advocate for believing you can do anything you put your mind to. For her, that challenge was learning to run. In the last year, Candice has gone from rookie to running marathons in what she calls a “life-changing experience.”
What inspired you to start running?
A dare! At the end of 2015, my husband and I were on vacation setting goals for the upcoming year. I thought of career, as I always do, and laughed hysterically when he suggested I add “run a half marathon” to my list of future plans. Growing up, I was active but avoided purely running as much as possible. In my mind, it was something you did for punishment in gym class, or reserved for a group of people who were born small and fast. I longed to add a sport into my lifestyle, but naturally always kept running at arm’s length. I worried I would do it wrong, be too slow or literally just be physically incapable. I let that doubt take hold for many years before that one fateful day when my husband said, “I dare you.” I like to say that he must’ve gotten me on a good day because that was the day I chose to stop telling myself “I can’t” and changed it to “I will.”
On Instagram, you say that running your first marathon changed your life. How so?
I would say running in general has changed my life. What seemed like a basic activity of putting one foot in front of the other evolved into this thing that swept in out of nowhere, took hold of me and made me a better person. Suddenly and unexpectedly, the addition of running a few miles a day made me happier, calmer and empowered. Running my first marathon was the mic drop though. Training for that race, pushing myself beyond limits I still believed I had and refusing to quit altered the way I approach goals from that day forward. I crossed that finish line and vowed I would never again tell myself I can’t do something. Running has allowed me to prove to myself just how strong I really am and I’m grateful.
You often do fun things with your look when you run, like neon braids in your hair. Does looking good make you feel better when you run?
It does! The braids not only serve a functional purpose of keeping little hairs out of my face, but they make me feel powerful and strong, so why not? In races, you get a ton of pictures taken, so it’s become my signature and something I enjoy getting creative with. I even like to curl my lashes and do my brows before a race and feel no shame in admitting that! Running is a gnarly, red-faced, sweaty sport. I just like
to add a bit of flair and fashion where I can.
What’s the first thing people need to invest in to get active?
If you have a great shoe, there’s nothing you can’t do.
Can you recommend any workout must-haves?
I don’t want to make it appear that you have to have a laundry list of items in order to get started or have the perfect workout, but I’ve learned the proper gear makes a huge difference. I used to work out in any old cotton tee lying around with the mentality that if I was just going to sweat in it, why did it matter? It does. Dedicated fitness apparel is a game changer. It’s lighter, breathable, moisture-wicking and frankly, cute. And tell me you don’t feel more unstoppable in a great outfit!
Is there anything you’ve bought that makes working out easier?
A sports bra that’s made for high-intensity workouts! Once the girls are in check, evvvvvverything is easier. Read the details of your sports bra and make sure it stands up to the workout you intend to do.
Tell us about Project Start.
Project Start is an online community (for now, but stay tuned!) created to inspire women to start or even restart their journey with running. Starting anything new is scary, and at times can feel very isolating. I can say from experience that fear held me back for much longer than I should have allowed, so I wanted to create an environment that was open, honest and empowering. I wanted to create a dialogue about the beginning days of running, how everyone’s starting line is different and how we’re all very much capable of anything we put our mind to. With a desire to share my story and lift a veil on the reality of being a novice runner, Project Start was born and has been successfully doing what I hoped it would from day one: inspire you to lace up and get going. It all starts with you, but P.S. is here to have your back along the miles. Join the fam on Insta at @psyougotthis!
Do you have any tips for people starting out?
Yes, so many!
My number one tip is to be kind to yourself! The run is YOURS and not up for explanation for anyone else. Don’t diminish your achievements because you think other people won’t feel like you went far enough or did it fast enough. You are out there and that in itself is a huge accomplishment. Be proud and own that. Listen to music if you want to. Walk as much as you need. Remember you’re doing this for you. Hydrate. Know YOU CAN.
Any last words of wisdom? Keep going. There will be days you want to quit, but don’t. Embrace the journey and let it change you in ways you never expected. And don’t forget to have fun.
P.S. YOU GOT THIS.