We’ve all encountered ups and downs in life. Paula Vicky Roberts tells The Run Blog how she approaches her day to day mental battle and how sport and exercise helps her get through.
“What can I say about me and running? Well, it’s definitely a love/hate relationship and I struggled with the mental battle for a long time, however, at the present moment I’m loving it… But it’s not always been that way. You see, I know it’s good for my mental well being but sometimes that’s just not enough.
I’m not completely new to running. I’ve been running for about 2 and half years now, if you can call the early days running. But it’s only the last few months that I have finally well and truly found my love for running.
When you have a constant battle in your head, running is the last thing on your mind. Despite knowing it’s the best thing for me, the lack of motivation, energy, self-esteem and self-body shaming gets in the way. Sometimes the trainers weren’t even allowed out of the cupboard. When I did manage to get out I was always just wanting to get back home, and running alone just didn’t help at all.
There was a time when I was put off running. I knew I needed someone to run with but when I couldn’t find anyone, my mood dropped and I felt so alone. I now know it was just the way I think but it stopped me running at the time.
It’s difficult to say what it was that got me through those times because I never stick at anything, but for some reason I have this time. I decided to get a training plan that gave me some focus and goals to achieve each week. It was down on paper so to speak, so I felt like I had to do it. Well I tried my best. I may not have stuck to my plan all the time but I tried.
After a few months of these plans my running was getting more regular. I went from 1 or 2 runs a week to 4 or even 5 times a week. If you stick at something long enough it becomes a part of you, part of your routine. When I got to the point where I wasn’t even looking at the plan that’s when I really started to enjoy running. I was running regularly, losing weight and most of all there was no fight in my head to get out. The only fight I had was trying to find a babysitter for my toddler!
Now after a good few months of running regularly and working hard when I was at a club session, I am seeing the difference. Before, people that I started running with were overtaking me and improving faster than me. That also made me feel like giving up, but now, I have caught up with them and even overtaken them.
Last week, I achieved times I thought I would never reach. I ran a 10K and was trying for a PB, but I didn’t over try because I knew I should easily get a course PB and that would be good enough.
I’d run a 57 minute 10K the month before and knew I was in good shape but I somehow managed a sub 55 minute time (I averaged between 58-60 min previously) and even ran the race by myself! Nobody pacing me or keeping me company and stopping me from slowing down or walking. I ran the whole thing alone.
I am off the training plans now as I have achieved what I set out to do. Run regularly and enjoy it.
Well I’m loving it. I even tried my hand at fell running this season and went back a week later for another go.
The improvement is not just in my running but also my mental health. I’m in a very good place at the moment and I really think running has played a huge part in that.”