Wellbeing Champion- Amber Harrison

I'll never regret a run whereas I always regret not going for a run!

1- How did you get introduced to running?

It was few years back and a friend of mine was doing a charity run that she asked me to get involved with, at this point I hadn’t done any running whatsoever and was adamant I wasn’t going to participate but because it was for charity I reluctantly agreed. I started training twice a week and before I knew it, I started to see some progress which made me want to get out more and push myself further. After I’d completed the Charity run, I didn’t feel ready to stop and started to find new routes and races to look forward to.

Several years and hundreds of miles later and I still enjoy it just as much as I did when I first started out.

2- Why did you continue running?

I know that come the end of it I'm going to feel so much better and that’s what pushes me to keep going out. When I get my trainers on and go for a run it clears my head, especially after a long day of working and being on the go. It doesn’t always necessarily have to be a run either, sometimes I enjoy going for a walk to get some fresh air and have some time for myself.

3- Do you think you come from a sporty family?

My entire family are really sporty which has always encouraged me to be active and look after my physical wellbeing. Growing up sport was a big part of my life, whether that be playing football for my local team or simply going for a swim, it was always something that we enjoyed doing together as a family.

After I took up running, I encouraged my mum to give it a go and now she runs more than what I do. We compete with one another on Strava and it’s nice that we have a hobby that we both enjoy which also keeps us fit and healthy.  

4- How does running impact your wellbeing?

The days where I go running in the morning before I start work, I feel much more awake and better prepared for the day. I feel that I’m a lot sharper on those days and much more alert which means I have more energy and I’m far more productive.

I'll never regret a run whereas I always regret not going for a run…as cliche as it sounds.

Wellbeing wise it gives me a sense of achievement and I feel really proud of myself knowing that I’ve set myself a goal to do something and I’ve pushed myself to complete it.

5- Do you enjoy that running is a solo sport?

Yes, I enjoy having a set time in the day which is dedicated solely to me. I’m always on the go and keeping busy so running on my own allows me to recharge my batteries; it’s nice to have some time for myself to focus on me and my wellbeing.

6- Is there anything you don’t like about running?

Probably the aches and pains you get after a long run… that’s never nice! I always seem to have some sort of injury or a blister, but I don’t let it keep me out of action for too long.

7- Where would your dream location be for a run?

Lisbon - I was supposed to do a half marathon there last year which got cancelled three times due to Covid so I’d love the chance to go there and finally say I’ve done it. I’ve ran in several half marathons in the UK but never abroad so anywhere hot would be a challenge so I can experience the heat and see how I get on.

8- What are your favourite running landscapes?

A lot of people I know are quite adventurous with their runs, whereas I typically stick to the same routes. However, if I go on holiday I'll take my trainers with me so I can get up really early and go for a run along the seafront as the suns coming up, which is really therapeutic.

When I was living in London I joined a running club called Midnight Runners and we’d run along the Thames at night which gave us some beautiful views of the city. I also found some beautiful running routes in Budapest and Krakow.

9- What advice would you give to someone wanting to start getting active?

1. Get a good pair of trainers. That doesn't necessarily mean they have to be expensive, but I made the mistake of wearing an old pair of trainers when I started out which caused me lots of injuries. If you're going to do it and you want to get into it properly, then it’s best to buy a pair of trainers that will give you the right support so you don’t cause any long term damage.

2. Find a running buddy. Running with someone else really helped me when I was starting out because we were able to support one another which built my confidence until I felt ready to go out on my own. It’s nice to have someone cheering you on who can see your progress and motivate you to improve further.

3. Enjoy it!. So many people think that in order to be a runner you have to clock up loads of miles or be really quick, but that’s not the case. You could run to the end of the road and back if you really wanted to and technically you are still a runner. Don’t overthink it and compare yourself to others because everyone starts somewhere.