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RUNNING is my therapy

RUNNING CAN PLAY A HUGELY IMPORTANT ROLE IN BOOSTING MENTAL HEALTH. HERE, THREE WOMEN SHARE WHAT A DIFFERENCE IT ‘ S MADE TO THEM

MENTAL HEALTH

“Running helped me befriend my body after an eating disorder”

“I have had issues with body image and selfconfidence for as long as I can remember,” says Valerie Bloomfield, 45, from Rayleigh in Essex. “At school, kids would joke that I would roll rather than run, because I was so short (4ft 11in) and also a bit plump. PE was my worst nightmare. At 19, I decided to stop eating, so nobody would make fun of me any more, but that quickly became a cycle of eating and purging. The only time I stopped was when I was pregnant with my now 16-year-old daughter, Natasha. At work, whenever things became stressful, I’d leave the office, hide in McDonald’s and eat until all the negative feelings disappeared. I was on antidepressants for years, unable to keep down any job for long due to my anxieties, which triggered hiding from people and binges, both with food and drink. My gums were receding and I had heart palpitations.

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About Women’s Running

With the festive season approaching, life is about to get busy. That’s why, this issue, we’re helping you ensure you keep up your running over the festive period with our Christmas Survival Guide, including a four-week training plan, achievable no matter how busy your schedule. Wellness is at the centre of the issue: you’ll find information from our resident GP on how to ensure you’re getting enough iron in your diet as a female runner – and spot the warning signs of a deficiency – as well as essential advice on running through pregnancy from coach Laura Fountain, as she looks at why it’s so essential for pregnant runners to listen to their bodies and focus on their own individual journeys. If you’re finding it difficult at the moment to concentrate on – and look after – yourself a little bit more, then don’t miss cover star Karen Lewing’s story; find out how she transformed her life – and her wellbeing – when she did just that. And if that’s enough to encourage you to make more time for you – and your running – next year, don’t miss contributing editor Tina Chantrey’s feature on the benefits of paid-for coaching…2018 might just be the year you take your running to the next level.