My Love/Hate Relationship With Running.

I’m walking here, don’t worry!

“So, wait a minute,” Mark said, clearly trying to take stock. “You don’t like running outside because it makes your legs hurt, plus it’s too cold, icy, windy, too hot, foggy, dark and there are ‘people’?”


“But you don’t like running at the gym because…it’s boring?”


He paused. Thinking.

“I’m just wondering if running is really the sport for you?”

Yeah, I wonder that, sometimes. Ok, most times. Often just as I’m about to start and sort of…forget…how to do it. I know, it sounds daft, but it’s like my old bones and muscles go into revolt at the thought of what’s to come. They seem to send a message to my brain, which makes me unable to work out exactly how to begin.

It results in an ungainly gallomp until my body gets used to the movement again – although, even then, you’d never say that I was a natural runner.

To hear me talk about it, you would probably think I absolutely loathe it. So why do I carry on? Why have I just completed the C25K programme for what feels like the 500th time?


It’s all about a feeling.

Oh, the weight loss and increased fitness are definitely on the pro list but the thing that keeps me going back is that sometimes for a few seconds minutes while I’m running there comes a point when my mind and body are in perfect harmony. I feel incredibly strong, euphoric, almost; like, at that moment, I could take on the world. And win. More than that I feel like an actual runner.

There’s no build up, no clue that it’s about to happen. It could be in the middle or near the end but it’s elusive. One minute I might be thinking about something Freya said earlier or what I’m going to do after I finish and then it hits me. Hold on! I go through a check list in my head.

Pain in legs – none.

Breathing – normal.

Rhythm – steady.

Mind – calm.

Feeling – invincible.

And there it is.

All that effort – and some days believe me, it is a major effort – but so worth it. It never lasts long while I’m running. I’m either distracted by something or my rhythm goes but it sets me up for the day (or at least a couple of hours afterwards until I feel like I might need a nap). I can see why they say exercise is so good for mental wellbeing.

I’m not sure if what I’m feeling is the legendary “runner’s high” they talk about because I don’t think I’m running hard enough or long enough for that but there’s no doubt that it makes me happy, even as a plodder.

I may moan about running and I may stop every now and then but that’s what keeps me coming back. Injury after injury. Illness after illness. Year after year.

Are you a runner? Do you have a love/hate relationship with it too? Why do you run?




A Third Of Women Harassed While Running.



A disturbing one in three woman have been harassed when running alone, according to the results of a new survey by England Athletics released this week.

It includes being shouted at, drivers honking their horns and even men running alongside them. Perhaps unsurprisingly, just under half of the 2,000 women surveyed expressed fears for their personal safety while running alone.

I’ve been running (ok, plodding) for a few years, on and off, and I’ve certainly experienced being shouted at and also beeped at. It might sound harmless but it can be really intimidating, especially when its dark, which is usually the only time I’m free to run.

It has made me think twice about going out on my own – and that makes me really angry. Why shouldn’t I be allowed to run where and when I want? How dare they think it’s ok to harass people. Even when it only happens occasionally I’m often still on high alert, which doesn’t make for a very pleasant run.

Alongside the survey a new campaign aimed at getting more people in England running by pairing them with their local clubs “providing a reliable, safe and friendly environment” was launched.


The RunTogether initiative works on the basis that “running with others provides motivation, guidance and support, as well as making it more fun”. Having run both on my own and with a buddy, I wholeheartedly agree with each of their points.

The C25K was much easier when we could spur one another on/moan about each week. Even now, when we consistently run 5K-ish, the fact that I don’t want to let her down means I carry on when I know, if I was on my own, I would stop and walk (I’m really not a natural runner).

The new website makes it easy to find clubs in your area for different levels (it also has running routes available).

I’m not really a club person and while I’m happy to run with my friend, group running really isn’t my cup of tea.

When I first heard about RunTogether, without really reading the details, I thought it was like a dating app for runners. I think it would take someone pretty unique to answer my ad but I’ve already met my soulmate (luckily long before she realised what she was in for).


I’m very lucky to have found someone who is understanding of my commitments (and the occasional need to cancel at the last minute if Freya is ill) but who also tolerates me stopping to take photos every now and then without even a hint of annoyance (the fact that she will star jump on demand is an added bonus).

Of course, not everyone is lucky enough to have a buddy like mine – and even when we run together we have been beeped at – which is why I think this new resource is going to be helpful – especially in the absence of any solution to stamp out such ridiculous, intimidating behaviour.

Look how high she can jump!
Have you ever been harassed while out exercising? Would you join a club to feel safer? If you were writing an advert for an exercise buddy what requirements would you have?

PS If you like this post please consider voting for me in the Nepaliaustralian Blog Awards by clicking here and entering “Best Personal Blog – 1” in the comments. Thank you.



My Parkrun experience (it didn’t end well).


Many thousands of people take part in, and love, Parkrun each week – sadly, I wasn’t one of them.

I was hoping to write a post about what an inspiring experience I’d had but, actually, it was the opposite. I figured if I was willing to publish a positive story I should also be honest and post a negative one too.

So, here it is.

I will say that this was one event, I was hormonal (tmi?) and it was hot so maybe at a different run, on a different weekend I would have loved it. Who can say?



My running buddy and I started our C25K journey last October and have been consistently running that length (and further) since January. We had been thinking about signing up for Parkrun for months and when we finally took the plunge we were very excited.

It didn’t start well.

We thought we had left plenty of time to get to to the park but the run started in a completely different place to where we expected (we had checked the website for the route but obviously misunderstood), which meant we had to jog to get there. Undeterred, we considered it a good warm up.

We were there about a minute before everyone set off and just joined the back, clutching our codes, hoping we didn’t need to check in or let anyone know we were new.

And we’re off.

It was nice, initially, running as part of a group. There were even people cheering us on (including Mark and Freya) at different points and I know we were running a bit faster than usual as a result, which was great.

There were runners of all different ages and abilities, even people jogging with buggies, and it felt like we were in it together, exactly as I had imagined.

Then came a noise.

It was like the thunder of a thousand hooves, sort of.

Suddenly we were being shouted at to move and “get out of the way” as the front-runners, clearly racing, lapped us for the first time.

It felt intimidating to me as they brushed past us (one of the other slower runners said that we were supposed to keep left but someone else shouted at us to move right). Also, and this is probably more about me and my competitive instinct, it was really demotivating to be lapped so quickly. If I had realised that people were going for Mo Farah times (the winner finished in something like 17 minutes) I would never have entered but it’s called park RUN, not park RACE and I thought it would be like-minded fun runners ambling around together.

Obviously I know someone has to be first but I expected it to be less competitive, which probably sounds ridiculous. I figured RUNNER runners would go to a club or compete in actual races.

And I’m afraid, at roughly 3k, I stopped.

My running buddy carried on and finished (very proud of her) but I knew I was done. I waited with Mark and Freya, cheering her home.

It wasn’t the distance (we’ve even run that route several times since and I’ve been fine) or the pace (my running buddy finished a couple of minutes above our PB), I just really disliked the atmosphere. I’ve been told that other Parkruns are friendlier but I just don’t think I’m cut out for group running.

For now, my running buddy and I will carry on happily plodding around the park at dawn. You can’t really fault the view.


Are you a fan of Parkrun? Have you had a better experience?