For years I've been telling myself I'll start running. Not to lose weight, but to get fit and to feel better on the inside. Only once in my life did I ever really do it and that was in sixth form when I had free access to the gym at my school. When I left at eighteen, so did my enthusiasm for exercise and throughout uni I became a proper couch potato. I couldn't even walk up a hill without getting tired. I was seriously unfit, miserable and tired all the time.
My general health wasn't the best before I started exercising regularly. I suffer from Crohn's disease as well as anxiety and depression and one of the best treatments to combat all three of these is exercise. I wish I had made myself do it sooner, but the hardest part is starting. But one day I did. I had been feeling down for four months and I had had enough. I downloaded the couch to 5k app on my phone and off I went. I got into it straight away, and after my first twenty-five minute work out I could feel the positive effects instantly.
It has taken me quite a lot longer than I first expected to get through the programme. Some weeks I am away from home, busy all day and night and sometimes I have to repeat certain weeks to allow myself to adapt and strengthen. I am now in week five, having started back in September and I am steadily improving my stamina and general fitness. I know it might sound like nothing, but to me, being able to run for five minutes without stopping to catch my breath is such an achievement and I am determined to get even better.
I have days when I get dressed, get out of the house, run for a few minutes and decide I don't want to do it anymore. I go home. I make myself a sandwich. I have a nap. I don't ever want to feel guilty for doing this, because when you run - no matter how little or how slow - it is always more than if you had stayed home.
In terms of running gear, I haven't really invested in anything new. I don't think it is necessary at all. If you have a pair of joggers, leggings, a t-shirt or a vest top and a pair of trainers you're good to go. Don't put it off with excuses like 'I don't have a sports bra' or 'my trainers aren't proper running trainers.' You can run wearing anything.
If you do need that extra motivation and want to kit yourself out, go to Primark. They have an excellent selection on offer and I bought my running socks from there for just a few pounds. Previously I had been getting blisters when wearing regular socks, but these socks from Primark are padded and made specifically for running. I have been very impressed with them so far so I would recommend them to even the most advanced runners.
Running really is an incredible free, natural medicine. If you're tired, if you're anxious, depressed, just run. You will feel better.
Do you run? What are your tips?