Getting into Running – By someone who struggles with it

April 24, 2017 Health and Fitness, Lifestyle

I’ve always envied the runner, breezing past me on a packed London pavement, their rucksack bouncing upon their back, breath heavy, lycra sweaty. What an exhilarating way to travel, to see the world and not to mention keep the heart healthy. In comparison I’ve always felt somewhat heavy like my legs don’t move in that way, my lungs burn after only the shortest of distance and I’m left gasping, cursing my long stubborn limbs, convinced I’m just not the body type to be a runner. Having tried and failed to take up running several times I often resort back to my age old excuse, that I must have exercise induced asthma, or perhaps I’m lacking those twitch fibres I’ve heard all the best athletes possess.

The harsh truth is I’m probably just unfit, I can lift weights and smash out a HIIT session or two a week but my stamina seems pretty much non-existant. I neglect cardio because I suck at it. I hate failing, and you can’t fail if you don’t try. Sadly you can’t succeed if you don’t try either.

So I’ve made it a goal of mine to get into running. Not the treadmill kind, or even the road kind but the over the fields, along the footpaths and through the woods kind. I want to feel the country air in my lungs, my feet pounding the grassy earth beneath me and I want to feel alive and explore.

My first run was the hardest, as soon as I was kitted out in all of my gear I felt unstoppable, but sadly my body was soon to remind me that I was very much not. Around the two-mile cross country circuit, I had to stop and walk quite a few times, if a section was particulalry hilly I’d be out of puff in only a few strides. It’s disheartening to feel so at odds with your body. This body of mine can do so many other amazing things but why can it not run? My boyfriend, a heavy smoker, who does less exercise and eats more junk was breezing around this circuit, I curse him under my heaving breath and mutter something about fast twitch fibres and his slender frame.


Despite feeling like I was trying to heave a sack of potatoes through the countryside I persisted, stopping when I felt I could go on no more, and taking a minute to look at the scenery, the bluebells just coming into bloom, the dandelions ready to seed. It’s at this moment that a most vital decision is made, to give up and walk or to carry on. I’m proud to say I persisted, again a short while later stopping, bent over and gasping. It wasn’t a pretty sight. By the end of the circuit my clothes stuck to my body, I felt absolutely exhausted and my chest felt like it was on fire, but with this came the most satisfying pleasure. I felt good. So good. I can see why people do this.


The next day I got up and did it all again, this time knowing the harder parts of the circuit and pushing slightly longer between breaks. I still walked. I still gasped. I still stood bent over and broken. But I finished and again felt that wave of utter satisfaction and bliss wash over me.

Running doesn’t need to be a marathon, it doesn’t need to be a mile, it doesn’t need to be anything. Running can be long or short, slow of fast, up or down, in sections or continuous. I may not get out and run every day, I may not run far or fast. But I ran, I felt my breath get heavy, my feet pound the earth, I explored a new part of my beautiful surroundings. For those two, hard miles, I was a runner, and you can be too.

Sophia x



  1. Tereza says:

    Absolutely love this post! And hello from a fellow runner who can’t run haha! I’ve done a few similar posts on my blog – it’s such a relatable perspective to read about running from someone who’s not particularly good at it/can’t do it/bloody hates it haha. I’m doing my first 15k race next week and I’m absolutely bricking it. It’s for a charity (I signed up to just giving because I thought it makes me definitely run it in case I wanted to back out) and I have no idea how I’m going to do it because my running is just not as fast as it should be for the race (it’s actual race with a cut off time which I totally didn’t realise when I signed up to it haha!). Are you on Strava? I find that always helps me get going and also parkruns are the absolute best (they’re free timed 5k runs every Saturday across the UK and they are so motivating!) Well done on your first run!!! My first run was way worse than this haha I did 2k and thought I was actually dying so cried all the way when walking back haha. xx

    • Sophia says:

      Thank You, Tereza! I’d love to sign up for a race one day and a park run sounds like my perfect starting point! Good luck with the 15K, at least the time pressure is a motivator haha, I bet you’ll breeze round! I’m not on Strava but I’ll check that out I like the idea of seeing where I’ve been etc, Thank you!!

  2. Jenn Worrell says:

    Love it! Keep running-and walking. There’s nothing wrong with walk-run intervals at all!

  3. I admire ANYONE that runs! All my life I was forced into running (as a child by my parents as a kids activity and by two ex boyfriends and since then have hated it). Perhaps I will get into it one day… But I loved your post and felt sympathy and related alot to it. Although I don’t mind ‘fast walking’ 😀 xx

  4. molly says:

    I want to become a runner but am having a hard time with motivation. This post will totally help with that!

  5. Ash says:

    ” I’ve always felt somewhat heavy like my legs don’t move in that way, my lungs burn after only the shortest of distance and I’m left gasping, cursing my long stubborn limbs, convinced I’m just not the body type to be a runner. ”
    – this kind describes me perfectly with running. Glad you have gotten out of your rut and pushed forward. I should try to run more and push myself as well. Great post

    Ash |

  6. Halima Khan says:

    You go girl and well done!

    I’ve been on and off for the past couple of years, I think what hasn’t helped is my surroundings, just streets with little to no nature, just old bangers and bins at the front of the houses (LOL). Think if I did pick somewhere with nature, like a park or a forest, I may just keep up with it.


    • Sophia says:

      I totally agree Lima, being in nature makes me far more likely to want to go for a run, the pavements don’t appeal so much haha not with people watching me from their cars.

  7. Holly says:

    Love this – beautifully written. I feel the same way about running – it’s tough! My lungs and legs feel like they’re dying. But after I’m done – I get that high and feel super proud. It makes it worth it! Love that last pic by the way, with the dandelion. 🙂

    • Sophia says:

      Aww thank you, Holly! I love blowing dandelions, it’s something I’ve done since I was a little child. The post run high is great right!?

  8. Running is such a challenge for me. I find that doing it outside makes it more enjoyable than a treadmill but man does it test your mental concentration. For me it’s definitely a mind-over-matter accomplishment.

  9. Mary Leigh says:

    This is a really excellent post! I have been thinking about a similar one eventually for my own blog! Running has been a great way for me to get into better shape recently and it’s something that I’ve never felt very good at. I’m learning so much as I go along!

  10. Maria says:

    Good for you! I actually liked your post because I can relate..minus the running part. Im not a runner.. i tried. THE last time I think I did was high school or one time I was upset as a teen and ran to my aunts house half and hour from my house. I love the Idea of running in the woods and the feel of that experience. Its true kinda different from pavement running or thread mill running.

  11. Melissa says:

    I tried to start running again last December. I was with my dog and somehow he went through my legs and I fell hard. I told myself I will run again when I heal. Bad joke. It’s April now and I just don’t see myself running again. It’s really hard to do it as part of my routine!

    xx, Melissa

    • Sophia says:

      I hope you’re on the mend Melissa! I run with my dog too and he has no idea sometimes and just runs right in front of me, I’ve had a few near misses.xx

  12. Helene says:

    I used to walk and to run a few years ago and i really enjoyed, but lately i suffer from knee pain, i am not allowed any more to walk fast or to run. Miss this felling of running in fresh air.

  13. Nita Okoye says:

    You are such a good writer, consider writing a Novel. Its something I would read. Great post thou!

  14. Nita says:

    You are such a good writer, you should consider writing a Novel its something i would read… Great post thou!

  15. Claudia says:

    everyone has to start somewhere! I am also trying to start running now the weather is better and I’m glad everyone out there isn’t finding it a breeze. I agree about the countryside part, I find it a lot more interesting running in the countryside rather than the town, more to look at and the fresh air must really do some good!

  16. SimplyFae says:

    I’m defiantly one of those people who struggle, great tips!

  17. An inspiring post, I don’t like running!

  18. Kari Yannarella says:

    Love this! Welcome to the world of running! I’m glad you gave it a shot! Im a runner and know what it’s like to just start out. Keep it up!!!!

  19. Hello, from a fellow runner; an interval runner. I run 3.5 mins and walk 45 secs to 1 min depending. If you run, you are a runner! Keep working at it; you will get to where you want or need to be. Some make it look easy, I don’t think it is….you do get stronger though. Best of luck!!

  20. Sumudu says:

    I used to run 14 miles a week when I was in my 20s. Back then I lived in the country. Then I moved to London, and running was an effort, and not fun when you are breathing in exhaust fumes and getting called out and whistled at by numskulls. This year, I wanted to get back into it, set myself the target of a half-marathon – and I am still working on when I should begin 🙂

  21. Karishma says:

    I think I am the only one who tried every thing hard

  22. I ran cross country in high school but I was so slow. It was nice to clear my head while running, though. Running is an acquired taste 🙂

  23. Riely says:

    So glad you pushed through and tried again to conquer running. I am not a runner myself and have tried. The important thing I think when trying to keep at something especially with fitness, is that you are enjoying it. I enjoy lifting weights and going on hikes (even though I gasp in-between). But keep at it if you are feeling great!

  24. Sienna says:

    I especially love your conclusion about making running your own. You don’t need to run a marathon or go crazy- just get out and do it!

  25. Viktoria says:

    I didn’t like running, but when I got together with my boyfriend he told me that he had signed up for a 21k. And I wanted to try as well. Running became a habit and I loved it so much! I completed the 21k and loved the feeling. Now I live in Colombia and it’s not safe to run a lot and I miss my routine a lot. I’m really looking forward to being back in Austria and running and running!

  26. This is such a great post! I am not a huge runner either. I get tired way to fast and start to get frustrated… It is honeslty probably because I am so out of shape since I graduated from Highschool years ago. I am trying to get more active though! I love to hike!

    -Danielle Ruppert //

  27. Ashlyn says:

    This is such a great post! It’ so inspiring to see you overcoming this “hump”. I think more people need to be brave like you and put themselves out there because it’s INSPIRING to the reader. Way to go 🙂

  28. Beautiful photos! I wish I had scenery like this where I live to run and soak it all up. Maybe one day 🙂

  29. Running clears my head too, or just any type of workout!

  30. Aria A. says:

    This is so inspiring. I’ve been wanting to get into running, but I don’t think I am physically capable of doing so because of my health. I do jog from time to time though, and I find that it’s very freeing and empowering. Keep running, Sophia!

  31. Lea says:

    So lovely that you kept with it even when it got hard. I tired running for several times but couldn’t stick with it. Now I just do pilates ;).
    Lea, xx

    • Sophia says:

      At least you’ve found something you enjoy doing! I haven’t tried pilates for years, but I remember it being quite difficult xx

  32. […] Getting into running – by someone who struggles with it […]

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I'm Sophia Whitham, a Classics graduate from Kings College London embarking on a journey into marketing with Kafoodle. A keen writer, foodie and traveller I have combined my interests into this little corner of the internet 🥂

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