A-Z of Running: B is for Believe

Initially with B I was going to talk about blisters. I was going to give an in-depth account of the three hundred million blisters I’ve had. I thought I could tell you all a hysterical anecdote about a particular blister I got on my little toe, then realised the story is more on the disgusting than humorous side.

Hannah Phillips - Believe

And, unfortunately, despite blisters sometimes being an integral part of running, they are not interesting.  An occupational hazard, yes, worthy of an entire blog post, no.

So, what could I write about for B?

Breathing? Belly fat reduction? Barriers?

I donned my daps and headed for the hills to clear my head.

I would run briskly.

I was brave for running.

I believed I could run!


Once upon a time I believed I was capable of being runner or at least running. I had made a decision that I wanted to give running a go and Initially I believed I could go zero to marathon in the pace of about two runs. I believed I was going to resemble Paula Radcliffe within a week or so and I believed life was going to change. What I couldn’t believe was how hard running was, how much dedication it took and how much life really did change, but there will be plenty of time to discuss the unbelievable about running.

I’ve made no bones about the fact I have always thought that running is 99% in the head and 1% in the legs. I make no claim that this is a scientific reality but this is how I perceive running. So, when I set out, whether it be on a planned or an impromptu jaunt in my trainers, some part of me believes I’m going to push my body out of its comfort zone, I believe that I can make the distance I have planned or I believe that I’m about to make a difference to my body, my mental state, my life!

I couldn’t help but wonder; why did I believe? What part of me had beat the ‘there’s no way you can do this’ bit and got my gluteus maximus out of the door and moving a bit more rapidly?

And then as ones brain does mine really got working, why do people believe that going out in the rain and the cold, night after night to get hot, sweaty and often blistered is going to make things better?

When you’re a child you believe in Father Christmas, the Easter bunny, the tooth fairy, you believe because that’s what you’re told to believe, there are situations, for want of a better word, manipulated to help you believe.

There’s no manipulation in running though is there? You run because you want to, because it’s good for you, because you just do, right? You believe you can run.

‘If you run for five miles, you will get lots of presents.’ Said no one ever to the Lycra clad individual in their life.

‘If you have a good run, you will be rewarded with wine and chocolate.’ Said no actual human being.

However, ‘If you run this half marathon you can inhale a huge Sunday roast with extra gravy and roasts.’ My brain has muttered to me on occasion.

‘If you make it to the next lamppost up this hill you will be able to enjoy a glass of wine whilst catching up on the Apprentice.’ I’ve repeated as a sort of mantra.

So, is it believing or manipulating or a bit of both?

The romantic part of me likes the notion that we believe, the harsher, less understanding, angry runner, that can’t be bothered is pretty sure it’s a form of mental torture.

Either way believing is a massive part of running.  It’s a driving force, a necessary tool, a ‘something’ that gets you to goal.

The question is, do you dare to believe?

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