It’s no secret that I love to run. For me, running is empowering: I can run when I want, where I want and be as competitive (or not!) as I want. All I need is my trusty trainers and off I go. Sometimes I run for 20 minutes to clear my head surrounded by nature; sometimes I run for hours, immersed in a podcast; sometimes I line up at the start of a race looking to enjoy a shared experience or to better a previous time. Running can be time spent alone or time spent chatting with friends. It can be a structured workout or a chance to explore new trails. It can be a hard effort or a gentle jog. In short, running can be whatever I need it to be.
More and more women take up running each year, reaping the benefits of a boost to both their physical and mental wellbeing, and it would be fantastic to see even more of us lace up our trainers and head outside.
Why? Because running is for everyone regardless of size, shape or ability, that’s why. You don’t need to be the next Liz Yelling or Susie Chan to be welcomed into this supportive community. You don’t even have to harbour any desire to race – if all you fancy doing is meeting friends regularly for a jog around the park and a bit of a catch up, go for it! If you do want to race, then there are events of various distances taking place around the country every week. As for kit, a decent pair of trainers and a well-fitting sports bra are the essentials, after that it’s all about comfort (no, you don’t need to wear head-to-toe lycra, but a wicking fabric is a good idea).
And these days it’s easier than ever to get started. I began running a little over a decade ago and was completely clueless, but fortunately a PE teacher friend helped get me underway and I built up gradually. I’ll never forget how I felt the first time I could run a lap of the park, and completing my first 5k made me feel amazing. I never dreamed I would run a marathon, yet these days there is usually one in my diary every year. For new runners now there are all sorts of beginners’ groups and apps designed to help you take those first steps and build up your mileage, usually to 5k, and experienced runners are always keen to share their tips.
After a long day, having a run scheduled is a great way to re-energise and find some focus. I do some of my best thinking during my runs and tend to be much more productive afterwards. So if you’re looking for a sport that’s straightforward, requires no fancy kit or gym membership and can be fitted into as little as 20 minutes, perhaps running is the sport for you…
Want more? Check out these amazing runners on the Tough Girl Podcast:
Read more about my running over on my blog.