My life is mostly revolving around running at the moment. Trust me, no-one is more surprised about this than me.
I used to despise running. I would tell anyone that would listen (i.e. my mum) that I simply couldn’t run. My body was not built for intense physical activity, I said. But I was wrong. Yes, running would make my lungs feel like they were about to implode and my calves would ache in protest, but there is a satisfaction in running that definitely can’t be found in the gym. While you might notice that you went slightly quicker on the cross trainer from one day to the next, there are tangible improvements to be made while running.
That is why it is so addictive. More and more people are running extreme distances every year and they’re all loving it. The London marathon attracted more applicants that ever before in 2016, according to The Telegraph. Nearly 250,000 people applied for one of the 38,000 spots, with over 42% of applicants being women, up from around 4 per cent in 1981.
So why are more people – especially women – lacing up their expensive running trainers and pounding the pavements? Read on to find out why I think you should join their ranks.
- Any time, any place. On holiday? Got a crazy shift schedule at work? It doesn’t matter. The pavement will always be there, and so will the opportunity to run. Even if it means setting your alarm for an hour earlier once or twice per week, there are no excuses.
- You against the world. There is no other person exercising next to you when you’re running, and no chance to peek over at the treadmill next to you in the gym to see if you’re going faster.
- It can be sociable. This is a tough one for me, as I struggle with running and talking at the same time. It normally results in lots of gasping for air. But running with a partner can push you to go faster and build your friendships.
- You can look cool. I guarantee that your first step onto the pavement will be the hardest of your running career. You will feel like an idiot. But with some on-trend running tights and a phone armband, you can even look cool. Besides, you’ll be running laps around the people who are sitting inside, which is something I have to remind myself of all the time while running.
- Lose fat and gain muscle. It’s very easy to get your body into shape with running. You may not see a weight loss as you lose light fat and gain heavy muscle, but you’ll be able to see the difference in your shape. Plus you can never feel guilty about eating a big (fairly healthy) meal after going for a tough run.
- Freedom. Pick any road to run down and go as quickly as you like. Feel the breeze on your face, the ache in your legs and the sun shining on your body. I love running on sunny days as it’s the perfect way to make the most of the light.
- Feel like you’re part of an insider club. There are hundreds of books, magazines, websites and forums all dedicated to running. Once you start chatting about kilometre times, personal bests, and sharing exercise tips you will become part of a new community.
- Push yourself to your limits. When I’m running it feels like I’m in a race against myself. Can I beat my personal records by going a bit further or a bit faster? It’s a great lesson in self-discipline to keep pushing yourself to the maximum, even when you’d much rather walk.
I hope this has been the slightest big inspiring! If you would like to sponsor me for my 10k, I would be eternally grateful. All of the money is going to Housing for Women, which is a fantastic London-based charity. They help so many vulnerable women, whether they are homeless or on the verge of becoming so. They help women get out of abusive relationships, support women who have been trafficked, and even help female offenders find their place in the community. It’s pretty incredible work. If you’d like to make a donation to encourage me to run faster, please visit my JustGiving page.
Are you a runner, or would you like to be? Tell me how you’re doing in the comments!
Cover image credit: This Girl Can campaign