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Sometimes I think that there is a myth about running.  The myth is that while we might believe everyone ‘can run’, and that we ourselves might perhaps aspire to jogging 5k, we still subconsciously believe that those who run fast, run far, or run often are ‘special’.  Perhaps we think that they have particular genes, or that they have been competitive runners since they could walk, or that they have superhuman powers of self-discipline and motivation.  I’m here to show that none of these things are true: I’m an ordinary woman who just happens to have become a decent runner, and fallen in love with running along the way.  This is how it happened.


Jenny Bushell running coach

In 2013, I knew that I was unhealthy.  I was overweight, I was unfit, and my mental health was suffering from the combined effects of my stressful and busy teaching job, my poor diet, and my inactivity.  I knew that regular exercise might well be a solution to all of these problems, but I felt so busy that I didn’t see how I could make time for any of what I saw as the ‘fun’ kinds of exercise - joining a netball or rugby team, or going to those gym classes that pretend to be like nightclubs.

The only option seemed to be to try running - I hated the idea (boring, cold, hard work), but it appealed because I could do it on my own terms, in my own time, and without buying a pile of specialist equipment or a gym membership.  I downloaded an app: scorning the ‘boring’ NHS Couch to 5K programme I opted instead for one which told a story about a post-apocalyptic zombie-ridden world - when the zombies’ heavy breathing played through my headphones it was my cue to run faster.  For the first few months, progress was slow.  I didn’t move through the walk-run stages as fast as the app wanted me to, and I kept having to repeat days and weeks.  Many times, I cancelled my run in favour of drinking wine in bed. 

In the end, it was stubbornness that got me across the line of my first full 5k.  I had been lying to a supportive friend, and telling them that I had run further or more continuously than I had.  This was before the days of Strava, so I could get away with it!  One Friday afternoon, they came over after work and suggested that we run together.  I couldn’t very well back out, and ended up dragging myself through my first continuous 5k just to save face.  I’ve always been pig headed.  Finishing, I thought I might have broken my lungs.  But then the astonishing gloriousness of my first ‘runner’s high’ crept up on me.  I couldn’t believe it was possible to feel this good legally (not that I’ve ever tried any illegal highs, but I imagined it feeling a bit like this!).  I’ve kept going back for more of that feeling ever since, and it only gets stronger and more satisfying as time goes by.

Jenny Bushell running coach
Jenny Bushell running coach

Fast-forward to today.  I wrote these words in 2021 when I was on the cusp of quitting my (high-powered, highly-paid, prestigious) job in favour of working part-time and training as a running coach and mountain guide - that’s how much I love it.  I have run eight marathons, with a personal best of 3:14:56, qualifying for the London Marathon championships.  I’ve run seven ultramarathons and learned to be a competent trail and fell runner.  My 5k personal best is 19:47.  By anyone’s measure I’m a pretty tidy runner.  I’m also three stone lighter than I used to be, and (so my doctor tells me) in perfect physical health.  More importantly, I still love to run, and I credit running with giving me confidence, self-discipline, and a rock-solid belief that I am a badass woman who can do anything she wants to.

Maybe you’re thinking, she must just have had a natural gift - trust me, I didn’t, and don’t.  Running has been as much a battleground as it has a joy.  My first marathon took me nearly five hours, and the training for it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  I’ve had injuries galore, and at one stage my 5k time dipped to 40 minutes.  Yes, that’s right - I can run 5k literally twice as fast as I once could.  I remember the day I finally achieved that precious sub-20 parkrun, reflecting that I once hoped to go sub-30.  Then sub-25 became a cherished ambition.  When I achieved that, I could barely think about sub-20 because it felt like something that only ‘real’ runners do.  That was rubbish on so many levels - we’re all ‘real’ runners, and anyone who is happy to work hard can achieve their goals.


I’m not saying that it has been easy - there’s been a lot of discipline and sacrifice to get from there to here.  But the beauty of running is that it rewards effort like nothing else.  If you will give it your time and motivation, it will reward you with the ability to run further and faster than you ever thought possible, and with a strong, healthy mind and body.  Over the years I have cajoled and harassed friends, family and colleagues into running - with me and on their own.  When I realised how much I love watching and talking about their progress, training as a coach was a completely natural next step.

Jenny Bushell running coach

If you’d like to see where running could take you - contact me.  It’d be great to have a chat about it all: your hopes, goals, dreams, barriers, fears and questions.  We all get to choose our own road when we run, but I’d love to help you and keep you company on yours.

Contact Jenny

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I'd love to chat about any aspect of your running journey, or the guided run or walk you have in mind  - send me an email, look me up on Instagram or Facebook, or use the contact form below.

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Jenny Bushell running coach
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