I felt a deep sense of urgency that I had to be as healthy as I could for my children
I’ve always been “on the larger side” even as a child. My younger sister was (is) very sporty and so as I couldn’t match her ability, I didn’t try at all. I don’t like team sports as my internal guilt would always make me feel like I was letting other people down. I’ve occasionally tried keep fit classes, but I was so embarrassed by how I looked I didn’t feel comfortable. And with five children, work and a busy life in general I couldn’t fit in the time to go out for an evening to a class.
Then at the end of last year my oldest three children’s dad died very suddenly of a heart attack.
Apart from the obvious sorrow for my children and their loss I felt a deep sense of urgency that I had to be as healthy as I could for them.
They had already lost one parent, I had to do my best to reduce the odds of them losing another one. This was further compounded when I became very unwell during lockdown with possible Covid-19 and had to call an ambulance out for my breathing. Something had to be done!
I decided to try running, downloaded the Couch to 5K app on my phone and persuaded my eight-year-old daughter to come with me. We had a great time together, talking and planning routes we would run. It helped our mental health and relationship as much as our physical health. Once we “graduated” I just kept running. My partner started running again too, he’d done it years before. And we were able to take it in turn looking after the children to enable the other to have the time to run.
What I love about running is you can fit it in around your life.
Get up early and run before the kids get up, or run in your lunch break or in the evening. You can do short runs everyday, or longer runs with a rest in between. I started running 3 or 4 times a week plus a longer run on a Sunday morning, finding beautiful scenery to run in along the river or the beach, and listening to music or an audio book. Having time for myself.
The great thing about running is you can do it by yourself. You can run locally up and down streets where you live or take yourself off further into a park or the countryside. You can run with another person or a small group. But even if you’re running along there are so many online groups you can chat to other runners and pick up useful hints and tips.