Bethan Taylor blogs about about life in London and running her ‘socks off’ at a Pretty Place To Play.
It has been a little over a year since I took up running, a compulsive decision driven by I’m not really sure what.
I remember coming home from my first run amazed at how much I had enjoyed it, shocked that I could do something I had always dismissed as ‘just not me’. Feeling smug that I could actually do something ‘hard’, I kept running. The more I ran the more confident and happy I became.
I don’t think I’m unique. You see, I have a theory, I think that running is the ‘ah-ha’ moment when women recognise what they are made of.
The running theory
So what is it about this simple act, one foot in front of the other, over and over again? What is it about clocking up miles, getting up early, heading out rain or shine? Amby Burfoot put it pretty beautifully – if you train your mind for running, everything else will be easy.
Running is a positive action; it requires commitment, focus, reflection, resilience. It is a unique act of self-care, so many women put themselves aside for others, but if you run you need to pay attention to your own wellbeing and give yourself time to be yourself.
Coupled with this, running demands that you keep going even when you feel you can’t and to train even when you don’t want to. There is something about running that, even when things are hard, pushes you forward beyond what you thought you were capable of.
Running changes you
Before you know it all these factors collide and you start to subtly change. You become more confident, more self-assured. You’ve run one mile, two miles, three miles, ten miles, twenty miles. You kept going when you were quite sure you were going to die, through torrential rain, late at night, when you were bone tired. When you reflect on what you have done you realise you are powerful, you are resilient, you own those streets – you are a super hero. It is only natural that this bleeds through to the rest of your life, even if you don’t quite realise it.
Running has given me momentum – once I learned what I could do on the pavement I realised I could do more in the rest of my life too. My creeping confidence gave me the boost I needed to put that little bit more in at work and reach for a promotion; I am more attuned to my feelings because I give myself time; I am less afraid, I reach out, take chances, take risks, and they pay off – life is more fun when you put yourself out there.
Running has changed my life, as it has done for millions of women, women overcoming heartbreak and loss, women struggling with their confidence, women who give everything, women in hardship and women who are overwhelmed. Heck, even if your life is a-ok, running can give it that oomph to make things brilliant. You should totally try it.
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