Women Behind The Network Series- FL@50- Runstreak Rav

Runstreak Rav day 584 – my 1st Half Marathon. Royal Parks Half 13/10/19

 

#RunstreakRav

My journey from someone who didn’t even own a pair of flat shoes let alone trainers 3 years ago to someone who is now at almost at 700 consecutive days of running a minimum of 5k a day and is training for my first marathon in London this April!

As someone who has avoided all forms of exercise for almost my entire life, I cannot recommend daily exercise enough. To be honest it’s not really been about losing weight or being able to eat what I want. I don’t view exercise as a form of punishment and nor do I see food as the enemy anymore. After almost starving myself for most of my teenage and university years, I don’t believe in fad diets at all. The impact of daily exercise is far wider reaching than just the physical changes we hope for. 

I had 3 kids by the time I was 30 and it wasn’t until I was almost 37 that I finally decided to reclaim back my body and I joined a gym. I started to strength train and was attempting to run on a treadmill about 3 times a week and swimming 4 times a week too. After a few months, I could see my body was starting to change shape and I felt much better mentally too. My self confidence started to make a come back.

On the 7th May 2016 I took the plunge and decided to do my first run outside in over 15 years. This photo is of the Instagram post I did. I’ve struggled with body confidence my entire life so I wore a baseball cap, an oversized loose T shirt and running leggings and prayed that no one in my village would recognise me and mock my silly attempt at running. To my surprise no one batted an eyelid. I was slow, I was full of nerves leaving the house but I enjoyed it so much! There’s not many things that can beat the post run buzz! 

So why do I run everyday? 

So many reasons!

 I am leaner, fitter and stronger than I have ever been 
 The positive impact it’s had on my mental wellbeing 
 Body Confidence – I finally like the way I look. I’m not skinny, I’m just proud of my body for doing what it does.
 Thinking space that allows me to work through work scenarios without being distracted
 “Me” time – being surrounded by people all day, I crave this half hour of silence.
 Sense of achievement – I’ve never stuck to a fitness routine before!
 Hopefully I’m nicer to be around too! 

I feel better about how I look. I’ve found a space to allow myself to reflect and cry instead of bottling it all up. For the first time in my life I have been able to stick with an exercise routine and I feel quite proud of that. I’ve found loads of routes even where I live I knew nothing about and it’s given me a whole new love for being outdoors and nature. These are just a few of the many things I could say about running. It’s impact it’s had on me has been immense.

Work 

My fitness has improved. My resting heart rate has decreased. My moods are far better. My ability to find a quiet space to think through complex business issues is amazing. I problem solve on a long run as I have the time to go through different scenarios, working through pro’s and con’s as I go along. I am a Management Consultant so often get parachuted in when things go wrong. Running helps to release any build up stress from the day. 

I am now a Business Partner in two different running related businesses and this for me is the perfect blend of mixing up all of the things I love. Runners Heal is a social enterprise with Chris Cooper. Each shirt we sell provides a months worth of school meals to a child in Kenya. And the other is RunningMrJones with Alistair Jones, an award winningblogger who has just won Book of the year for “Run A Book For Real Runners.

             

Family 

One of the best things about running has been the shift in attitude to exercise that I have been able to bring into my childrens lives. Being a positive role model to them is one of my life goals. I have one son who is football obsessed and two daughters. One of the highlights of last summer was when the girls laced up for the first time and started to join me in what we ended up calling “Run With Mummy Day”. The photo below shows them embracing the idea of running outside. We use it as our quality time together – away from the boys. They’ve learnt about some local trails they’d never been on and a trip to the swings always seems like a good idea on the way home. I always try and make it as fun as possible. The idea that exercise is fun and not a punishment is something I wish my parents had encouraged. Then maybe my bad relationship with food may not have occurred? Who knows.

 

Body confidence

I have always been a tad over weight. My parents worked long hours and discouraged the idea of any exercise that meant I had to be away from home outside of school hours. So the only way I could control my weight was to not eat. I think this is why I have a real issue with fasting now. I did it for years. It lead to body dysmorphia that I can truly say has only started to dissipate over the last year. I have found a new respect for my body and what it’s capable of. Who cares if I’m not size zero? I’m size WonderWoman and that’s far more awesome 😊

 

One of the questions I get asked the most is how do I find time to run everyday? I have a busy career, I’m a mum and I commute across the country. My answer has always been, we always find time to do things we love. I’d rather miss half an hour of TV and lace up instead. So would I recommend that everyone is more active? Yes! Not only will you feel better physically, the positive impact on your mental wellbeing is amazing. Healthy Body. Healthy Mind. 

If you are inspired by Rav you can contact her

On Twitter :
email address ravbillan@rredd.co.uk

 

 

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