How Running Is About So Much More Than Fitness

What's your running vibe? Perhaps you're a comfortable "5k jog at weekends" kind of a gal. Perhaps you're the kind of long distance lady who accidentally does 10k every now and again. Perhaps you're even one of those mythical creatures who manages a pre-dawn sprint session several times a week. Whatever it is, power to you sister, because running is one of the best things you can do to stay healthy, happy and positive – both inside and out, because getting your body moving is about so much more than just getting fit. It can be about strength, freedom and clearing your mind.
Getting out there isn't always easy though. The pull of binge-watching telly and snuggling in bed is a lure even the strongest of us struggle to avoid (hello). So, we decided to give you a bit of a helping hand to up your running inspo.
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We spoke to three ace women, all of whom are working towards a running challenge right now, and asked them why running is important to them, what they get out of it and, most importantly, how they get their bum off the couch and out on the road.
Angelica, Artist, 8k and Half Marathon
"Growing up, I had self-esteem issues and I never felt like I was a strong person. I didn’t begin running until after college when I finally started accepting 'real life' and I realised that if I was going to continue to be scared of everything then I was never going to have the things in life I wanted. So I began running to prove I was better than I had been telling myself for years. And it worked! For years I told myself that I wasn’t a good runner so it took me a really long time to get to this place and understand that the hurdles were actually just mental.
"I’ve always wanted to do a race or group run but just never made time for it. The International Women’s Day 8k run I did was amazing – there was this feeling of group energy which was celebratory and jubilant. I’ve decided to run a half-marathon next which I know will be an even greater feeling.
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Angelica wears Techfit Graphic Bra in Orange, £24.95; Supernova Three-Quarter Tights in Black, £47.95; UltraBOOST X Shoes in Glow Orange, £129.95.
"It’s great to have the motivation of an actual goal because it’s something real, you plan accordingly and strive towards it everyday. I have a training plan for the half marathon which goes up to 9 or 10 miles and mixes in different types of runs; this variety distracts me from the long distance!

"It's like I'm clearing space for this creativity to come"

"Once I’m out there it’s amazing how quickly I fall into a rhythm and I get into a zone. Running has made me feel smarter, more sure of myself and laser-focused every time I get out there. I end up thinking quite deeply about things; if I’m conflicted and have a big decision to make it seems to clear my head enough to know what I want to do. I can think more clearly and pent up creative energy will start pouring into me so I get ideas for new songs and music video concepts that I feel like I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. It’s like I’m clearing space for this creativity to come.
"Most importantly I feel strong. I feel like all the things I’m dreaming up I can transform into a reality. Right now I can’t see my life without running. It’s taught me I’m shaping my destiny and I’m powerful and deserving enough to handle that.
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"Anyone can run! It’s just getting out there and doing it."
Shakira, adidas Runners Captain and founder of the StrongLikeMum campaign, 200m and 400m Track Sprints
"I’ve always felt connected to athletics because I grew up around the track – my Dad was an Olympic 400m hurdler. However, being the daughter of an Olympian has it’s set-backs and for me, the fun of athletics was sapped away by all the pressure, not from my parents but almost everyone else, so I stopped.
"It’s in the last two years that I reconnected with running and have fallen in love with it all over again. Having a baby definitely made me want to get back into sprint training because I wanted to shatter the stereotype of being a ‘mum’ so I decided I wanted to push my boundaries a little bit and achieve something that I’d never achieved before. It really meant something to me to get back into an active lifestyle – it’s not about being a certain size, it’s about the achievement of being able to use my body in a mobile way so this year I’ll be running 200 and 400 metres competitively.
"For some people running around a track seems boring because it’s not changing scenery but there’s something special for me specifically about the track. It represents a real focus and a sense of team spirit which I get when I’m with my training group.
"I usually train with my athletics club three times a week, take an adidas Runners session once a week and maybe do gym training once on a weekend. For running you really need power in your glutes, quads and hamstrings so I do a lot of that myself at home or in the park – sometimes I’ll get my washing basket and fill it with anything to create a weight and squat with that! Having a light trainer like the adidas UltraBOOST X is key to sprinting and there is also a natural bounce to the shoe which helps me to maintain my pace on the track!
Shakira wears Techfit Base Bra Print Heather in Grey, £21.95; Techfit Capri Fit Heather in Grey, £24.95; UltraBOOST X Shoes in Grey, £129.95.
"Setting out to achieve something and slowly seeing results and improvements is such an inspiring feeling, and it’s helped to build my confidence and taught me how to focus my mind. Every now and again in training I’ll achieve something that I wasn’t able to the week before and it motivates me to carry on. It’s also really given me my identity back which can be so easy to lose when you become a mum and you can feel less like a stand alone woman yourself. Athletics gives me that feeling of achieving something, being strong, powerful and confident and progressing at something for myself.

"I’ve learnt that I can push through the hard times, that I can still be strong even when I feel tired or exhausted"

"People always told me that running or fitness wouldn’t compliment motherhood but actually the two are so linked. The same dedication and focus I put into my training and sprinting, I use in my parenting. I’ve learnt that I can push through the hard times, that I can still be strong even when I feel tired or exhausted, and that’s a lesson I take into other areas of my life."
Jenny, owner of restaurant Jar Kitchen, Half Marathon
"Two years ago I quit my job to follow my dream and open a London-based restaurant with my best friend. But it didn’t come without huge sacrifices – opening a restaurant is expensive and of course there’s the tons of hours of work it takes.
"I wanted to keep fit so I set myself a physical challenge that I could focus on. I’ve tried to get into so many different sports but I’m terrible at every single one so I decided to try running because it seemed like the perfect option. It’s free and I like the freedom of it and the fact that I can do it whenever I want to. I’m late for everything always so this means I don’t have to keep to anyone else’s time schedule. Instead, I can fit it in whenever and wherever I want to, which is crucial with the restaurant.
Jenny wears Supernova Storm Jacket in Maroon, £62.95; Techfit Base Bra in White, £21.95; Adizero Sprintweb Three-Quarter Tights in Black, £59.95; UltraBOOST X Shoes in Glow Orange, £129.95.
"I’m taking my training slowly because I’ve got until October. At the moment I’m doing 45 minutes every two days which is a combination of walking and running. The adidas UltraBOOST X have really added to my training because they have such a great spring in them.

"I feel really liberated and I literally get butterflies in my head!"

"I find it really hard to switch my mind off but when I run I get into a meditative state that is uplifting and I feel a sense of calm which I find really therapeutic. I’m able to clear my thoughts and have no distractions. My business is on my phone so it’s a time for me to take a break from that. When I’m running, I’ve got time for my own thoughts and I think that’s really important and is actually meditation in itself. When I get to the end of a run I start to really pick up my pace and when I’m going as fast as I feel comfortable going it’s an amazing feeling, I feel really liberated and I literally get butterflies in my head!"