More women are running than ever before, and it’s brilliant.
Running as a sport continues to grow year on year, and according to the Active People survey commissioned by Sport England in 2013/2014 over 2 million people ran at least once a week… and I would bet any money that that has grown again this year.
I’m a really, really keen runner, and have been for about four years now. I run for me… I run because it makes me happy. Everything associated being a runner makes me a happier person – I like that it keeps me slim, I like that I can achieve personal bests and hit targets, I like that I’ve made tons of amazing friends by running and I like that I can go on adventures by running.
I asked my female friends on Twitter why they run and what made them start, and they came back with some wonderful reasons.
Helen (@afeitar) “I watched the Great North Run as my boyfriend was racing and thought “I could do that!”’
Alice (@alicebeepea) “I got a job at Runner’s World! 7 years, 2 marathons later and I’m still going!”
Autumn (@tinyrunner85) “It was the 1 thing I really wanted to aspire to but I couldn’t do it. I kept at it until I could” NB Autumn can now run a 90 minute half marathon. She works SO hard.
Cat (@imoutrunning) “I started running to lose weight and now I run to explore amazing places”
Charlie (@charliedwatson) “I started running as a way to help me deal with grief after losing a best mate to depression”
So. We all started running for different reasons but often continue to run for very similar ones. But what are they and why should YOU start running?
- Running is great for your mental health. Running regularly boosts your mood by releasing endorphins. It can calm you down after a stressful day, and there is something wonderfully relaxing about focusing on only you as you head out for a run during a lunch break.
- It can help you sleep better. Regular exercise can help normalize over active thinking patterns that can keep you up at night. Plus, you’ll be more tired anyway! Just don’t exercise too close to bedtime, as it can take you a while to wind down.
- Running can help your bones. As women, we are more likely to develop osteoporosis and osteoarthritis and so doing weight bearing exercise can help your bones to add mass and stay stronger for longer. Add in some sessions in the gym lifting weights, and it’ll serve you well.
- There are a huge number of women only races out there these days, not just the fabulous Race For Life, but the Nike ‘We Own The Night’ and others. Whilst I don’t see the attraction in women’s only races, they’re an option worth looking into. They usually have excellent goodie bags.
- It’s something you can keep doing even when life gets in the way. We all have busy jobs, busy families and busy social lives. To get out for a quick run all you need is a pair of trainers, a sports bra and a road or a field. I am lucky enough to travel with my job, and I am able to go for a run wherever I am in the world. I know lots of mums that run with their buggies, and a great way to catch up with friends is to go for a run – followed, of course, by brunch!
Start running for you, and then continue to run for you. It’s an individual sport but can bring some amazing connections, and there’s a fantastic network online for women runners, from Run Mummy Run to Marathon Talk. Twitter and Instagram are also great places to chat to other runners, all over the country – all over the world, and so even none of your friends or family are runners there are people out there wanting to support you on your running journey… however long or short it may be.
“I always loved running… it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.” – Paula Radcliffe