I’ve always enjoyed and done quite well at running. At secondary school I used to run in the 800m and 1500m races when we competed. I never won but I came amongst the first few. I never really pursued it though. I just went to the athletics club for fun and competed when they asked me to.
More recently I started doing a few 2 mile runs when the children were being taken care of because I missed having an exercise focus. I did a few, maybe up to 5 over 2016 but still not much really. A friend then added me to a running group but I was more of a lurker, just watching everyone else posting about all their running. Then I heard about this thing called a park run. This peaked my interest so I searched online about it and found there was one not far at all from me. I still was a bit unsure as to whether I would have the time or if I could run that distance. I had usually been running about 2 miles, whereas this was 5km which is equal to about 3.1 miles.
I thought that I’d ask my mum to babysit and give it a go.
That was just over two weeks ago. I ran my first 5km in 28:24 and was very pleased with myself.
Saturday morning the kids were at their dad’s so I was very excited to go again. It was a little bit icy and quite cold so my aim was just to finish it without falling over. However, I managed to complete it, without falling over AND in a faster time! So now my personal best is 27:09 and I can’t wait to go back next time to try and beat my time again.
That is one thing I love about running and doing the park runs. The focus is not on racing everyone. It is about completing the run and trying to compete with yourself. It’s something I think is key to leading a successful, happy life.
If you’re always focusing on others and how well they’re doing, you worry too much and then end up disappointed when someone is doing better than you or you have nothing to beat if you do things the best. Also you’ll often find you’re working against people, not with them and that is really not the way to live. The goal should be to be the best possible version of yourself and you will succeed and exceed your own expectations. Then you will get a sense of well-earned pride and will be able to celebrate others achievements with them and they with you.
Now if you are a runner or know about running you may also know that there’s often this point which you reach where you feel like you’ve hit a wall and can’t keep going. On my 5km runs it seems to happen roughly halfway for me. It’s the point where your mentality has to be the strongest. You feel like you should give up and even if your legs can keep going your mind just tells you to stop.
I realised the other day while doing my university work that the same thing happens when writing my essays. I was about half way through a 1000 word essay and just thought “Maybe I should give up now” and I wasn’t just thinking about the essay. I was thinking about my degree. I’m about halfway through it and it is so tough. Not the level of it necessarily, I do enjoy it. But it is mentally tough to motivate myself and keep going at times.
Luckily I also have awesome people in my life who encourage me when it gets tough. And I’m at a stronger place where I know if I just get past this wall I can continue and I WILL finish. But it is tough and I can feel like it would be easier just to quit. However, nothing good ever came easy.
So whatever you’re doing, whether it’s running or finding it hard to get through the day. I promise you if you keep pushing, it will be worth it. And if you set a goal to just try and be the best possible you, you will keep achieving and moving on to better things. Break down the wall and reach for your personal best!
If you're thinking of running for wellbeing, you might find some inspiration in Run for your Life by William Pullen. Recommended by our community.
Rebekah lives in North London with her two children and studies with the Open University. Currently recovering from post-natal depression and studying towards a Psychology with Counselling degree; she enjoys running, singing, blogging and photography as well as many other things (when she's not busy with her two little monkeys!). You can read more from Rebekah at her blog or contact her Twitter