Fiona Bugler has run over 20 marathons, including 10 under 3.30 and five sub 3.15 marathons between the age of 42 and 46. Here’s why she loves running
1. Being really fit
I love being fit. And running keeps me really fit. When I run less, I’m definitely less fit. It works heart and lungs, but also builds my strength (I run off road) and keeps my bones healthy. Having a body that moves, that can do things, that’s in the shape it should be and makes me feel like a complete human being and 100 per cent alive — Mens sana in corpore sano!
2. Mindfulness in action
Running is mindfulness in action. It means I have to just be in the moment. I cannot send a text, check up on social media, write a feature, or a business proposal whilst I’m running. I can’t iron shirts, go to the supermarket and make packed lunches. Running stops me doing things.
3. Healthy competition
Being competitive is fun. Racing hard and retching the end of a race is something I’ve enjoyed doing regularly over the last 20 years. Running in a pack in Parkrun pushing to catch the person ahead, running from the one behind… it invigorates me. Competition can have negative connotations but in the sporting arena it can be motivating, inspiring and an outlet for any negative feelings or aggression.
4. Running is sociable
I’ve just moved to Brighton and have joined Brighton’s Arena 80 running club and the Good Gym. I’m doing my first cross country race next week and am looking forward to getting to know another ‘tribe’. The Good Gym is a fantastic concept. I’ve managed one session so far. It’s all about doing good for the community whilst you go out and enjoy run. Last week we did gardening for a community pub. Find out more at the Good Gym Website.
5. Calorie Counting isn’t necessary
There’s nothing quite like a (healthy) bacon butty, a roast, a beer or a glass of red after a Sunday long run or race. It’s so much more enjoyable when you’ve earned it — and can really enjoy it. But it still makes sense to avoid processed food. We runners can often be ”skinny fat people” because we abide by the rule, “I can eat as much junk as I like because I run and burn all these calories.” Across the board experts agree that excess sugar consumption combined with processed fats is largely responsible for our obesity epidemic and the rise of diabetes (90 per cent of Britons now have Type 2 diabetes). Don’t deprive yourself, but bulk up on good wholesome food without worrying too much about how much you’re having.
6. Running keeps you young
Stay fit, keep running and you can still feel like a ‘yoof’ (most of the time — recent injuries did actually make me feel like a 90 -year-old, too!). Running keeps you physically strong, and mentally alert. For women approaching menopause and worried about thinning bones, running is a great bone density booster. And in 2014, a Danish study published in the journal Age, revealed that long time runners have a significantly lower density of glycation, a compound associated with degenerative diseases ageing.
7. It gets you comfortable with the uncomfortable
It’s well know that successful people regularly move themselves out of their comfort zone in order to move forward. Setting a goal, that can seem beyond your limits, for example running a marathon, and then achieving that goal (and getting uncomfortable on those long runs) really can catapult you to somewhere even better than where you started.