I have never been particularly sporty. I was always last to be picked in school PE and never really had much interest in taking part. I used to see people out running and admire the freedom and confidence they had, but didn’t think it was for me.
My running journey started at a very difficult time in my life. I’d suffered with severe anxiety from the age of 16 and it had taken away all of my confidence. I struggled badly and unfortunately had to take time off work. I found I couldn’t function normally and couldn’t drive or take my young son to school.
Eventually, I visited my GP who prescribed antidepressants. I was disappointed as I’d managed to avoid taking these for twenty years. During the appointment though, the doctor explained that I could get a similar result from a brisk walk or jog. I was very interested in this drug-free option but at that time it just wasn’t possible for me.
I kept coming back to what the Doctor said though. I’d always liked the idea of running but never in my wildest dreams did I think I could become a runner. Perhaps it was time to give it a try?
I did a little research and found the NHS Couch 2 5k app. I eagerly downloaded it and read through the instructions. My first attempt at the jog/walk programme had to be in view of my house due to my anxiety. I just ran up and down my street! I continued in this way for several weeks, but as my confidence grew so did my boredom of this limited route. I needed a change of scenery and to venture away from my street.
Anyone, who has used the app will know all about Laura – we became great friends! She is very motivating. With Laura in my ear and my feet taking me further away from home, I started to feel a little bit like a runner at last. I completed the C25k programme after twelve weeks and I gradually began to build up the distance I could run.
A few months later I entered my first official race – the Wigan 10k. I remember mentioning it to my Doctor, who said “You know deep down you can do it otherwise you wouldn’t have signed up for it”! I often remember this at times when my confidence is low and I question my abilities.
I ran the 10k and finished in 1 hour 3 minutes. To this day, it is one of my proudest achievements. I love everything that running brings me. The feelings of freedom, confidence and determination are things I struggle to find anywhere else.
Now for my next challenge – my first half Marathon on 16th September 2018!
About the author:
Claire Daniels is a 39 year old mother of one who started running three years ago to help her to cope with anxiety. Claire is a Run Mummy Run Community Ambassador and is currently training for her first half marathon.