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When will I be free again?

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We are living in unprecedented times.

Sunday would have been the original event date of the Virgin Money London Marathon.

It was on my mind much of last week as I reflected on how much had changed in the world in such a short space of time with the COVID-19 outbreak.

My family, friends and running group were planning to come to London to watch and cheer me on, and it would have been an amazing personal experience to do it – even though it was hot!

Instead, my running coach Jenny suggested we do the 2.6 challenge among our running group.

She organised us into four teams, and each group completed a Marathon between them.

This challenge was not only a welcome distraction, but it was also great fun even though we could not physically run together.

Reporting our achievements by uploading our Strava results to our Whatsapp group created a brilliant sense of team spirit. Most importantly, raising money for the wonderful UK charities who will also have missed out on the best fundraising day in the calendar year with the London Marathon.

Restrictions due to COVID-19 have meant daily exercise has been limited.

With the London Marathon postponed until 4th October, it gave me more time to think about building on my strength and improving my pace before deciding on my new training plan.

I struggled with motivation for running in the first few weeks of lockdown as we adjusted to the new routine. On the positive side, the weather has been delightful, and I have more flexibility in running any time of the day as I am working from home full time now.

Doing shorter runs and signing up for virtual runs has kept me focused; it’s nice to do a challenge while supporting a good cause and be rewarded with another medal for the medal rack!

Running has become a popular form of exercise for many people to take up throughout lockdown. It is widely researched and proven that running is favourable for good mental health.

One of the reasons I enjoy running is because it gives me a chance to clear my head. I also love the achievement of completing a good run and that feeling of wanting to punch the sky!

So many people say to me they wish they could run; we can all run, but some people don’t feel confident due to not knowing the technique to make it easier.

When I started running, Couch to 5k didn’t exist; I wish it had as I think that is a brilliant way for beginners to start.

I trained myself; my first sponsored run was for Cancer Research UK Race for Life because one of my closest friends was (at that time) given a terminal diagnosis and I wanted to raise money for such a great cause.

I have since continued with it and fortunately joined a running group in January 2019, which has motivated me to continue to challenge myself (it is their fault I applied for the London Marathon!).

If you have wondered about exercise during the lockdown, think about running – get out there and try it! The Couch to 5K app has been very successful for friends that have used it – so go on, what’s stopping you?

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