Phoebe’s Story

For some running comes naturally, second nature, which they can just go out and do! For me this is not the case. I love being outdoors, going for a jog, finding a new route, and exploring wherever my run may take me. But having juvenile arthritis as a child, I had written running off as something that I would never be able to do properly. However, when the opportunity of running the iconic London Marathon arose, I jumped at the challenge. It gave me the reason I needed to turn my casual jogs, into running with a purpose and an aim! However, I had always had concerns when heading out for a run. 


For a start, the fear of running alone as a female. How can I stay safe on the road? As a female we are always told, run in sociable hours, on lit and busy routes, and try and run with others. All of these ‘tips’ that we hear so frequently, are true and useful, but shouldn’t define how we run. I enjoy running with a group, my local running club are a huge support network for me, but I also love running alone, having ‘me’ time, and gaining the benefits of clearing my head and feeling the endorphin boost – which is totally the BEST bit of running, who knew you could feel so amazing after running miles! 


I have found that technology has come into its own, aiding both my independent running and group running. By getting myself a watch/device, which has proper tracking features on it, has allowed me to share my live location with relatives. This has automatically given me a sense of security, and a feeling of indirectly not being alone when I am out running. This has helped me overcome my biggest barrier when running alone, it has enabled me to get out the door and off the treadmill, where I have always run alone until now. Headphones are also a huge part of my independent running, listening to podcasts whilst running helps me to break down a bad day, or to gain study tips, as I get such a boost to my focus from running. I have been trying bone conduction headphones, as these enable me to hear what is going on around me, as well listening to my music and podcasts. This helps me to hear and feel my surroundings, and in a way, it gives me control of my situation when I’m out running (not to mention the health benefits of reducing the dirt build up in my ears). I have always sworn that I wouldn’t cave into needing technology when I exercise, but both of these items have allowed me to feel safe when out alone, as well as feeling safe during my long independent runs – this feeling for me is invaluable. 


Another concern before heading out for a run and whilst out running, is how do I look? Probably a hot sweaty mess! But that is ok! I have come to love and embrace it! Clothes and trainers are the most basic starting point for a running kit, feeling comfortable in what you are wearing has helped me to run further and faster, with confidence in every stride. From knowing I am supported underfoot with enough cushioning and support to take the impact and distances that my marathon training has presented, to feeling good in what I am wearing, knowing that sweat isn’t sticking to me, and that I am reducing the chafing! Kit can be a huge investment, but I feel it is so important because of the huge impact that it can have on your comfort and confidence. 


As previously mentioned, I love being around other runners, whether this is through my local running group, or talking to runners at work as they come into the shop in search of kit. I have always felt, yes, I can run – but I am not a runner. Wow, how wrong I was! The more runners that I have spoken to and interacted with, the more that I have learnt that running is for everyone. We may see the stereotypical running physique or quick times, but this doesn’t define whether you are a runner or not. I have learnt through my marathon training, that a runner is just a person who enjoys getting their trainers on and getting out. Joining a running group was one of the scariest processes of my training so far, but one of my most rewarding. I am gaining such a great feeling that each day I am covering more miles, getting stronger, and feeling better, and this in turn is giving me a huge sense of pride and achievement.


By training for the London marathon, I have learnt so much more than I ever thought I would have, about running and runners. For a start we are all runners! By getting your trainers on and getting out of your front door, then putting one foot in front of the other – you are a runner, it doesn’t matter if you’re running 1 mile or 50 miles. Running is for everyone, and anyone can really do it!


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