Running for My Life

“Just put one foot in front of the other.”

That’s all I’m thinking whilst I’m struggling to keep up with my friends.

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I’m 26, in the prime of my life and somehow I’m struggling to complete a 12 mile hike.

The terrain is rough and my ankles feel weak. Thoughts are running through my bewildered mind. What could be wrong with me? Did I not eat enough food for breakfast? Have I eaten too much sugars? Most of all, is it usual to be sweating this much?

I need to banish these thoughts though, because as I’m drifting off in my head, my companions are steadily leaving me behind. Disappearing into the mist, have they even noticed that I’ve fallen behind?¬†With every haphazard step forward, I somehow manage to lose momentum until I slowly, pathetically, slump to my knees. Defeated. There’s a wheeze in my breath. Although it must be less than 5 degrees, I’m roasting hot, but I’ve got no energy to rip off any layers. I wait for my friends to find me and close my eyes.


That was the day I realised that I was not a fit, healthy woman in her twenties.

Although my figure was the envy of most of the girls in the office – I had somehow managed to achieve it without the aid of exercise or healthy eating. My wonderful genes had gifted me with a slim figure but had also allowed me to lose any motivation whatsoever to exercise or eat the right foods. As a result, I had the body of an aspiring underwear model with the biology of a middle-aged divorcee who’d long ago given up on finding another partner. In short, I needed to make some drastic changes.

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My journey to a better, healthier life started with my friends pulling me out of the mud and dragging me along the rest of the hike.

I’m no stranger to perseverance or hard work. I excelled at University and I feel like I’ve achieved a lot in my relatively short professional career, but working on my health is another matter altogether. For so long, I spent literally no time considering how the things I ate or drank affected my biology. Now I’m meticulously planning every meal and, most importantly, getting regular exercise.

After completing the hike, nearly a year ago, I felt something. Somewhere beyond the pain and exhaustion, lay the tantalising taste of success. I might not have done it in style, but with the help of my friends, I’d done it. That feeling of accomplishment was something I was familiar with, it was a resource that I knew I could mine. So I went to work.

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I’ve been running for the last year, making use of the NHS’ ‘Couch to 5k Challenge’. It’s a great programme that doesn’t take up much of your time and is absolutely free. Spread over 9 weeks, the downloadable podcasts guide you through a steady running plan to get you out of the house and out running. It’s a perfect solution for those people who want to start running, but don’t know how to start.

Since that day of strife on Dartmoor I’ve completely rejigged my lifestyle choices. Good nutrition and regular exercise now come at the forefront of my weekly schedule – so that in another year, I should be running my first marathon.

Wish me luck!