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.