About 4 years ago I stopped playing football, a sport I had played all my life, and needed something to just keep me ticking over as I approached my mid-forties. I’ve always enjoyed running but only ever did it as means of improving my fitness for football. Since then I have never really looked back and through personal trial and error, learning from experienced runners and investing some educational time going on running specific courses I’ve realised what an amazing wealth of information there is out there advising runners on how ‘best to do it’.
It has provided me with the perfect opportunity to harness my career as a very experienced physiotherapist with a pastime that I passionately enjoy and consequently I feel in a privileged position to be able to help runners of all ages and experience gain the most out of their running.
I have now completed a series of half marathons as well as having done two full marathons. The journey and insight that this has taken me on has been immense and I feel that I am now well entrenched into the very unique mind-set of a runner…and an interesting mind-set it is at that!!
What do I get out of running?
Enjoyment!! It’s as simple as that. I really enjoy getting out there and breathing in the fresh air. Over and above that it provides me with many positives.
I feel fitter now than I did 25 years ago and running has played a big part in that. There are of course a whole heap of other factors that contribute but running 3-4 times a week has definitely complemented and spurred me on to adopt a fitter lifestyle and mind set. Over the years I have fluctuated with weight gain and loss but since I began running regularly I have maintained a healthy weight and no longer have 3 different waist sizes covering all eventualities!! The fact that I run regularly has encouraged me to think more about what I eat and how best to fuel my running and as a consequence the diet side of my life has become a lot cleaner and my body is reaping the benefits!
Mental well being
This is a very interesting component as to why I run. Like many, I have a very busy life combining work and family life and invariably the times where I can just be alone and in ‘my space’ are very limited. Getting out and going for a run, whether it be 20 minutes or 3 hours, is so intrinsically valuable. Mentally I come back feeling energised and refreshed. The problems that were there a few hours ago have faded in importance and I’m able to view them with much more clarity and often they are never really as catastrophic as I first thought. The well documented endorphin release that you get post exercise also helps and in general I just feel better about myself and the day when I’ve been out in the fresh air. I’m generally an early morning runner and for me there is no better way of enjoying the peace that this time of the day brings especially in the spring and summer months. It may be a little self – indulgent but it’s great letting people know you’ve been out for a run and I’ll often casually slip it into conversation!!
I have always played competitive sport and running has enabled me to satisfy that need in me to compete. Ultimately it’s only against myself but I still get a thrill out of setting a new PB for a distance or even only for a segment of a run. I’ve been amazed at just how much you can achieve if you practice running regularly. The gains and improvement are incredible especially when you take a moment to reflect on how far you’ve come compared to that very first time you went out. Completing your first 5k having never previously run and then managing a 10k and then even further if the desire to do so is there. I have completed 2 full marathons now, something I simply would not have believed 5 years ago.
I’ve used my own personal journey to prove that running does not have to be bad for you. I have in the past suffered with a lot of achilles tendon pain and have had previous knee surgery. I was told that really I should stick to swimming and should definitely not play football again. However, I’ve successfully done both and am definitely not a water baby!! Naturally everyone is different, but with a lot more knowledge available, we can start to challenge these myths and in a controlled and structured way, and working as a physio, I am in a great position to be able to delve into things a lot more than many as it is my job to help disseminate this information.
Running is a relatively inexpensive and easy way to get some regular moderate exercise that modern day lifestyles dictate we need more than ever. Its’ beauty is that, that it is literally available to anyone at any time. I am naturally biased because it is something I love doing but would love to help anyone at whatever stage of their running journey that they are on. I have also learned so much from experienced runners that have helped my own journey and I firmly believe that we can all learn from each other in some way shape or form.
If you would like to know more about the Run Wise service that I am offering at the Practice then please feel free to call or email. It would be great to hear from anyone who would like to start running but feel a little unsure how best to go about it as well as more experienced runners who may like to understand a little more about their running. I will be posting a couple more blogs over the next few weeks talking more in depth about how we can help both of these groups.
Just remember, everyone has always run for the very first time, including Mo Farah, and he has done Ok hasn’t he?!!!!