How did my running journey begin? About 4 years ago I stopped playing football, a sport I had played all my life, and needed something to keep me ticking over as I approached my mid-forties. I’ve always enjoyed running but only did it as a means of improving fitness for football. Since then I have never looked back and through trial and error, learning from experienced runners and investing time on running specific courses, I’ve realised what an amazing wealth of information there is out there on how ‘best to do it’.
It has provided me with the opportunity to harness my career as an experienced physiotherapist, with a pastime that I passionately enjoy, 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 insight this has given me has been immense and I feel that I’m well-entrenched into the unique mindset of a runner…and an interesting mindset 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 a heap of other factors that contribute but running 3-4 times a week has spurred me on to adopt a fitter lifestyle/mindset. Over the years my weight has fluctuated but since I began running I’ve maintained a healthy weight and no longer have 3 waist sizes covering all eventualities!! Running regularly encouraged me to think about what I eat and how to fuel my running, as a consequence the diet side of my life became a lot cleaner and my body is reaping the benefits.
Mental well being
This is a very interesting component. Like many, I have a very busy life with work and family life and the times where I can be alone and in ‘my space’ is limited. Getting out and running, whether it’s 20 minutes or 3 hours, is so intrinsically valuable. Mentally I come back feeling energised and refreshed. The problems that were there hours prior fade and I’m able to view them with much more clarity and often they’re never as catastrophic as I first feel.
The well-documented endorphin release that you get post-exercise also helps. In general, I feel better about myself and the day when I’ve been out in the fresh air. I’m an early morning runner and there is no better way of enjoying the peace this time of the day brings, especially in the spring and summer. 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 me but I still get a thrill 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 you desire to do so is there. I have completed 2 full marathons now on my running journey, something I simply would not have believed 5 years ago.
Dispelling the myths
I’ve used my own journey to prove that running does not have to be bad for you. I have in the past suffered from Achilles tendon pain and had previous knee surgery. I was told that I should stick to swimming and should definitely not play football again. However, I’ve successfully done both and am not a water baby! Naturally, everyone is different, but with a lot more knowledge available, we can challenge these myths in a controlled and structured way. Working as a physio, I am in a great position to be able to delve into things more than many as it is my job to help disseminate this information.
Running is an inexpensive and easy way to get the regular moderate exercise that modern-day lifestyles dictate we need more than ever. Its’ beauty is that it’s literally available to anyone at any time. I am naturally biased because it’s something I love doing but would love to help anyone at whatever stage of their running journey they are on. I’ve also learned so much from experienced runners that helped my own journey and I believe 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 I’m offering then please feel free to call or email. It would be great to hear from anyone who would like to start running but feel unsure how best to go about it as well as more experienced runners who may like to understand a more about their running.
Just remember, everyone has to have their very first run, including Mo Farah and he has done OK hasn’t he?