What I Have Learned Through Running

I have been running for quite a few months now in preparation for my world record attempt. I have connected with some great people already and I am sure more will be entering my running world in coming weeks.

The running world is a new environment for me. Those that have known me for a while will know that running has never been my thing. Previously, I didn’t enjoy any form of cardio and I certainly didn’t enjoy running! My short journey through testicular cancer has changed that and flipped my opinion on running completely on its head.

Running has been an interesting addition to my routine. It continues to slowly take over more and more of my time and life in general. It has also taught me a few things about myself that I didn’t know – some good and some bad, here are some of the things I have learned through running:

I don’t listen to good advice!

Over the last few months I have received so much good advice from quite a few people and up until recently I listened to next to none of it! My moment of enlightenment, when I realised that I needed to listen to people who know more than me, came when I managed to ruin an entire weeks worth of training by going against my training plan set by my coach – Sarah (The Running Academy).

My training plan says that Monday is the day I complete a recovery run – a nice, easy few miles to get some blood flow to my recovering muscles after a long run on Sunday and get myself ready for another week of running. That makes absolute sense! Sarah knows 100% what she is talking about, has so much more running experience than me and her plan is exactly what I need to be successful.

However, I decided, on this particular Monday, that I would do those few miles as quickly as possible! Guess what…my legs then decided they didn’t fancy running much more that week!

So now I follow my plan exactly how Sarah has designed it for me.

I fully understand how important it is to seek advice from others. Not just that, but actually listen to it and follow through with it. Definitely learned my lesson with this one!

I get bored really quickly

Long runs have become much more of a mental challenge than a physical one for me. My mind gives up a lot quicker than my body does. In fact, I would say every bad run I have had has been down to mentally giving up rather than physically not being able to continue. I have come up with some ways to keep my mind distracted while I run but this is something I am still working on.

I always thought that I had quite an active mind and I have now realised how much mental stimulation I need. Running is such a repetitive task that my mind just switches off from it and decides it doesn’t want to carry on anymore.

Full effort required to keep boredom at bay!

There are some very generous people out there!

To be successful in my record attempt, I will need a huge amount of support from others. I was concerned before I began this journey about the sheer volume of work that is needed to make it happen. I have been blown away by how generous people have been to me so far. To name a few:

Sarah – offering her time and experience to build my training plan and spend time on the phone with me every week keeping me on track and giving me huge amounts of advice about my next steps

Tireless Bull – donating some great training gear. Running so much means I need a lot of kit to wear!

Lululemon – donating some very useful gear such as massage ball, blister spray and a great book

There are too many other individuals to mention here, but to everyone who has helped in any way so far – thank you so much and I hope I make it all worthwhile in September

Finally…I actually quite like running

I have avoided running for a long time. I never thought that I would look forward to a run. I didn’t think I would ever dedicate so much time to an activity that I thought was not for me. Without sounding to cheesy – I am slowly falling in love with running. I find myself thinking about it more and more, wanting to get more involved in the running community and generally just keep running.

Running was the first exercise I tried after my cancer and it has been a huge help in my recovery. I will keep running until I break the record for fastest journey on foot from Lands End to John O’Groats and until I have made as many people as possible aware of testicular cancer and make sure we can talk openly about it.


If you are feeling generous please consider donating to Ballboys to help make all of this running worth it and help spread the word about testicular cancer.