I choose to run because I feel strong, powerful, healthy, with nature, just being Me - but it hasn't always been this way...

When I run I often repeat the mantra - 'I choose to run....', and then finish the sentence with why I choose to run for me:

to feel powerful, to feel healthy, to Be, to Move, to enjoy, to connect with nature, to be at one with Me

It's taken practice for me to get to this place - where I run for me and no one else and I want to share this story with you so you can really understand why its important to run for YOU. It's something I remind myself of regularly and I also work through this with my clients so we know they are also training for the right reasons.

Getting wrapped up in what I perceived to be other people's expectations of where I should be

It occurred to me one day that I wasn't setting my running goals for the reasons above but it was because I was trying to prove to other people that I'm not a slow runner (I now know there's no such thing as a slow runner!) or so that other people believed I am worthy of being on the same field as awesome women. I started to believe that if I didn't reach these goals people would think that I wasn't a 'real' runner! (it makes me wince just saying this out loud!). It's not surprising that with this mindset running became less enjoyable, feeling like a slog with the immense pressure that I put on myself and my body kept trying to tell me this with niggle after niggle. Don't get me wrong, when I did hit a PB it felt good, good for all about 30 seconds and then it was on to the next with no appreciation of just how awesome my body is. I was striving to hit goals as I was seeking validation from third parties (regardless of who they were) to give me as sense of self to validate who I am but not treating my mind and body with the respect it truly deserves.

A view on my regular running route
I choose to run to see sights like this!

Crazy, right? If this sounds familiar, if you are running just for the Likes or Kudos then perhaps this is a sign to connect with the runner within you. All you could ever want from being a runner is right here, you have strength, power and fitness that just needs to be tapped into. I have all the self love and inner belief I could ever need and know I am worthy and capable of anything I want to achieve - running for me and no one else really helps with this. I'm a much happier runner and guess what, the niggles are gone and I'm fitter than ever as my mind and body are now working together for the right reasons.

What are your Whys?

If you're already a runner setting goals or just starting out, first have a think about your Whys? Its OK to have an external driver but running for YOU and the all the mental and physical benefits you can receive from running should take precedent. What is it YOU (not anyone else) want from running -  endurance? speed? connect with nature? joy? power? movement? health? fitness? a connection with you? Running is a great way to really connect with you and understand your mind and body - its a beautiful feeling say Hi to your innerself and get to know her!

Running for YOU and no one else will keep longevity in your training. If you decide to test your endurance and speed, stick to YOUR plan. The beauty of running is that it's so individual that you build at your own pace and whilst you surround yourself with fellow runners, it doesn't matter where they are on their running journey in comparison to yours. Everyone's ability is different so don't compare yourself to fellow runners - this can lead to feelings of 'why can't I be like her?' 'Im working really hard to, its not fair'  By congratulating other runners but knowing that you are on your own journey - running for YOU and your Whys -  you will achieve your goals or if its feeling too much then dial it back down and reconnect with the joy running can bring, adapt the plan to reconnect and the love will grow again!

Natalie Bunce running the Alderley Edge 10k
I choose to run to feel powerful

As I say I have worked through this personally and with clients and we all know our Whys whilst getting out there and cheering other runners on towards their own achievements. Run for you and no one else - find your mantra - 'I choose to run.....'. I don't know you personally but I do know that your body is amazing and no external validation will ever match the feeling when you know from within how amazing you are.

I run for me and know one else and you can absolutely do this to.


written by

Natalie Bunce

Running Coach and leader for Best Athletics Nottingham/CiRF/LiRF/L3 PT from Nottingham

Club: Best Athletics

half marathon Strength Training marathon