Before my cardiac arrest, I liked to exercise. Although I’m no Jessica Ennis-Hill, I could always see the pleasure in it, and do you know what? It made me feel good. In fact, I’d signed up to a half marathon in October, and I was just about to start training. That didn’t happen.

Imagine my horror when post cardiac arrest they ‘hesitated to support’ the level of exercise I did before.

However, I dutifully went along to my cardiac rehab sessions, and slowly I saw that my body was capable of some exercise. I began running again. I felt fine, and I really enjoyed it. By October, I had begun to run the odd 5k, and I could regularly complete 30 mins of running / walking. My progression continued, and much to the delight of my doctors, exercise did not cause any more damage to my heart, nor send it into abnormal arrhythmia. I was thrilled. I was getting my normal life.

There was only one small snag, I didn’t seem to be able to push the distance, I would remain on 5k, maybe the odd 6k. If I am being entirely honest, it depressed me.

Then I remembered how far I had come: A sudden cardiac arrest, 24 hours in a coma, a two week stay in hospital, a lifelong prescription of medicine, a heart that doesn’t pump as much as the average person, yet I was still able to get up and run more than most other people. I had to stop being so hard on myself.

Therefore, I decided on a new challenge: I would try to run a mile a day in May. And guess what? I did it! I ran 31 miles in the month of May. 31 miles, five more than a marathon, and in kilometres, I racked up 50 kilometres, 10 park runs. That’s a whole load of distance.

run a mile a day

Of course it gave me a wealth of benefits, other than just the achievement of completing the challenge:

  • A mile took me between 10-12 minutes, enough time to clear the head from the fuzziness of the morning rush
  • Running with my son is brilliant – he’s quick, motivating and fun to be with
  • I ran on the streets of London, the common, fields in Dorset and by the canal in my childhood hometown, in particular the last venue, really made me think of happy memories
  • Running without socks isn’t advisable
  • Spotify is brilliant! So many great compilations to get running to
  • The dog always beat me
  • The endorphin rush at the end is fabulous
  • Running is the rain is actually very freeing, just make sure you have a hot shower awaiting you!
  • Your time is irrelevant. Getting up and getting out is the best thing, no one really gives a stuff how fast you do it.
  • There is huge satisfaction at seeing your stats on Mapmyrun.
  • The love handles are a little less, the tummy fat reduced and my legs a little more toned.

I’ve enjoyed it so much, I think I might run a mile a day in July as well …

I’d love to know if you’ve completed a running challenge and what benefits it gave you, or have you been inspired by may challenge to do something similar?

run a mile a day