I was asked over the weekend on Instagram how I find the time to run, and why do I run and go to the gym as much as I do.
Quite simply, it keeps me sane!
Motherhood is all consuming and I’m around the children a lot. On the days when they’re struggling to get a concept, or I don’t feel like we are achieving what we ought to be my mind is racing – thinking of how we can approach something differently or with an eye on what we have coming up that we need to prepare for. When the children are in bed I am often prepping things for the next day, or filing away work they have done, or attempting to get on with some of the everyday life jobs such as shopping, cleaning, cooking and the such. There’s a lot to juggle!
Why I run
When I run I am pushing my body and mind in different ways. I pull on my leggings, put in my earphones and I simply run. Some days it’s easy and I can do a four-mile run without any problems and push myself further. Other days it’s hard and I struggle to get a couple of miles done. I like seeing the progress I make and watching those miles clock up week by week to get to my monthly target. When I run I lose myself in the audio book or podcast I’m listening to and the only thing I need to think about is which route to take this time.
The same goes for the gym. My fitness and strength has improved so so much and I am so proud of myself. It’s hard and I won’t pretend that I have kept at things consistently. Life gets in the way sometimes and other times, to be quite honest, I simply don’t have the energy to go out at 9 pm to the gym. But despite those times when my interest wanes it soon pass and I soon get back into it. I find that when I am pushing myself physically in the gym, my mental health is better. I sleep better and eat better and generally feel more relaxed and much more patient.
And there is, of course, the physical benefits. I wanted to lose a bit of post-baby weight and that was my motivation for joining the gym initially and I was at a point where H was reliably sleeping through the night and our evenings have finally been reclaimed. I am never going to be the same shape as I was when I got married over a decade ago, and that’s fine. What I am is strong, fit and healthy and I am slim enough to fit into a lot of my pre-pregnancy clothes and am a weight that I am happy with. I’ve had to buy new clothes now I’ve lost weight and inches, and finding the right gym clothing has proved surprisingly tricky!
Finding the right clothing
I have recently been sent a pair of leggings to try out from Love Leggings and I think they may well be my new favourites. I have the cropped empower leggings that are designed specifically with runners in mind and they are super comfy and ultra flattering to wear. I’ve clocked up about 20 miles in these over the last week and they are definitely my running leggings of choice now and I’m planning on buying another pair soon as I love them so much.
The high waist means that they are a super flattering fit and they stay put when running – there’s nothing worse than leggings that need adjusting when you’re running. I always prefer Capri or cropped trousers – being short at 5’1 I find the cropped leg trousers are slightly more flattering for me. The empower leggings also have two pockets on the legs which are great for putting headphones in (or your Park Run barcode!) and there is a small pocket at the front of the waistband for slipping a key (or your headphones/small MP3 player) into.
Happily, these work well for the gym too. I do spin classes and other classes that involve a lot of movement. Again, they stay put and don’t slip and the bottom of the leg doesn’t ride up your calves. They’re also quite thick which means that they’re ‘squat proof’ and they’re made of quite a cooling material, despite this thickness. I have had a couple of pairs of leggings from other brands that I just seem to get really warm in but with these from Love Leggings I don’t find myself getting too warm at all.
The gym and my running shoes are my sanity savers. It’s a space and time where I am simply Sarah. I am not Daniel, Emma or Harry’s mum. I’m known for simply being me. As much as I love the children and enjoy the things I do for them, I need that time away to be me and to push myself to ever greater limits.