My running journey started with a horrendous first jog down the street, were I thought my heart was going to explode out of my chest, my face was bright red, I was dripping in sweat and I said to myself I’m never doing that again!
I did persevere and soon I’d completed my first 5K, before taking it up to the next level and going for 10K, eventually doing the Liverpool half marathon in 2008.
I’ve found running teaches you so many different skills; resilience, determination, commitment, focus and also most importantly belief. Belief in yourself in what you can achieve when you set your mind to a goal. These skills are all transferable and you can apply them to any situation you come across in life.
When I first thought about running a marathon, it scared me. I never thought I’d be able to run 26.2 miles! Running 13.1 miles was tough enough! Why would I want to run double that, and could I? I honestly didn’t know….
That little idea grows and develops and before you know it, you’re training for a marathon!
So how do you approach a challenge like a marathon? How do you approach any large goal? You break it down, you make it smaller, you start off by taking small steps and you build up to it.
Running a marathon, all 26.2 miles takes training, perseverance, dedication and commitment. You don’t just go out and run 26.2 miles without some sort of plan!
The more you run, the more you start to love running, and you’ll find you want to push yourself. You’ll want to go faster or you’ll want to go further. You’ll want to find out what your body’s really capable of.
If you stick at it, you’ll get this sense of achievement every time you go out there and pound the pavement. For me, going out running is time I can think, time that’s my own. I can have peace and quiet, or I can educate myself by listening to podcasts or audio books. Or I can run to forget, by putting really loud music on and just going for it!
For my first London Marathon in 2007, I can still remember running along the Embankment towards Big Ben, turning right and running down the Mall towards Buckingham Palace. Seeing the flags, hearing the crowds, and knowing I was going to finish. I was going to have run the furthest distance I’d ever run in my life.
Crossing over the finish line, my emotions were a mixture, swinging from sheer relief at having finished, to joy as I’d raised money for a worthy cause. I got a massive hit of pleasure, but it quickly changed into pain. Your legs seize up, you're struggling to walk, but its ok because you’ve got the medal around your neck and you can stop, you can sit down and rest, while you try to absorb the atmosphere, and just take it in.
It may be then, or maybe a little later on, when you start thinking….I can’t believe I’ve done that! To… I’m never doing that again! Or in my case, sign me up for the next one!
By running a 5k or a marathon you build self-confidence and expand your comfort zone. I honestly believe running can teach you many essential things and help you to know more about yourself and what you're capable of doing.