Like most novice runners you immediately think about taking up running as part of a fitness regime, a weight loss goal or setting yourself a new challenge. However, since the beginning of my running journey I have discovered that it is much more than that.
When I started running back in 2012 it was to complete my first 10K and in the process I wanted to raise awareness of my mum’s health condition (Alpha one) .
After achieving that initial 10K I built on the sense of fulfilment that I got from fundraising and making a difference to those that struggle with long term illness on a daily basis. I therefore, started searching for my next challenge.
I have always naturally been quite competitive and enjoyed challenging myself. Therefore, rather than aim for the next, most obvious, distance of a half marathon, I decided to go for the big one…. Running the 2013, London Marathon! As you can imagine this was not easy but I thankfully achieved it.
After this I did another couple of half marathons: Bath in 2014 and the Great North Run in 2016.
Now I am not going to lie, training for these distances was part of an overall lifestyle change. I did not run for short periods to conquer these running challenges; it was a constant in my life. It was part of my daily, weekly and monthly routine.
I truly believe that if you embrace running as part of your lifestyle it truly helps you to grow both physically and mentally.
Not only, do I feel incredibly proud and satisfied to have achieved half and full marathon distances. I also feel proud because I helped support my mum and other friends with Alpha One and Cancer illnesses.
During the process I have learned a lot about myself and that running, for me, has been an enabler to other things.
Firstly friendship, running with other people either socially or at running club, sharing training tips and life’s challenges on a personal level.
Secondly freedom, getting out there on the open road sucking in the fresh air. Feeling like a free spirit as you either pound the streets, off road trails or sand dunes, it does wonders for the soul. The feeling of peace you get as you release and let go of life’s daily frustrations.
Thirdly, it gives you focus, a desire to want to catch up and go for a run with your friends. Even challenge yourself on a solo route, thinking about how you will feel at the end of it. The sense of achievement from the physical endurance you have undertaken and a sense of emotional empowerment at having completed it.
Finally, running gives you a sense of fulfilment and an opportunity to learn more about yourself and try other things.
Because of running, I have started coaching a couple of my friends in pursuit of their first half marathon challenge. Seeing their progression, determination and their evolvement as individuals has been incredibly rewarding.
Running has enabled me to push my own physical boundaries and try other activities such as cross fit, surfing, swimming, yoga, coastal walking and hard-core gym training. It has empowered me as an individual.
Through the increase in my fitness levels, I have sought to further improve the delivery of my business, Ship Shape aerobics class . It has given me the desire to deliver fitness provision to more specialist clients. In the longer term it has motivated me to work towards obtaining my personal training qualification.
So whatever level of running you are at and whatever your reasons are in the pursuit of pounding those streets…. Stop! Take a minute to reflect on your experiences and ask yourself this question: is it a short term goal or subconsciously are you on the road to embracing running as a longer term lifestyle? A platform to bigger and better things for your mind, body and soul!
Whichever you decide happy running!