The Giovanna Fletcher Column: “Running makes me a better mum!”

by Giovanna Fletcher |
Published on

In this month's column, Giovanna talks about her new found love - running!

Growing up I can remember my dad always going for runs. Three times a week he’d tackle around 6 miles and would come back dripping with sweat. We did try and make this a family activity at one point, with all five of us going out, but Dad told me recently that this attempt was a ‘disaster’… I’m thrilled to report that I wasn’t the worst member of the Falcone running club but sadly my love of running never really found its feet. It is something I’ve tried to revisit a few times over the years, although those attempts never went beyond a hattrick and left me feeling like I had a chest infection… nope. It was just my lungs shouting at me for pushing them to work a bit harder.


I’d always loved the idea of running, but my dreams (loose, very loose) of becoming someone who chucked on her trainers and achieved a cheeky 3mile run before the kids woke up was fading fast (mostly because they’re up at 5:30 – but that’s another story!!).

Then a few months ago Bryony Gordon got in touch and asked me to do the Vitality London 10k with her. If you don’t already know who this empowering woman is - Bryony ran the marathon last year in her undies, and she wanted to upscale this with more women, to show that all bodies are beautiful and worth celebrating. She’s a tough woman to say no to so I said yes in a moment of weakness and dragged my sister in law Carrie along with me.

The first time I attempted to do some training I was out on a walk with Max in his buggy and an urge to ramp things up into a jog took over. It was a mixture of walking and running, but I knew it was a step in the right direction. I was knackered afterwards.


I actually found it easier to start training properly when I was on holiday as the kids were actually managing to sleep in a little and I could get out and back just in time to join Tom and the boys for breakfast. Now, I wasn’t going out and running for an hour or two. I was very sensible with my targets and stuck to a plan. The first day I ran for 10minutes without stopping. Any runners reading that might think there’s a typo, but for me that was such a huge achievement. After my first 10minute run I had that chest infection feeling bubbling away again, and it lingered for the majority of the day. It wasn’t there at all by the third run!

While we were away I’d increase this by a minute or two each run, slowly building up my stamina and strength. I continued this when I got home. The week before the 10k I went and ran 8k on my own – without any cheers of encouragement from strangers. I couldn’t believe I’d managed it.

As the runs have got longer they have had to be properly worked into our daily plans, but it’s worth it. The feeling I get when I stop, when the endorphins rush through my shattered body, is intoxicating. It’s an addictive feeling, and I think I’m a better mum for taking that time out of my day to think of something other than ‘mum’ or work stuff. It’s time to simply focus on the task in hand or the podcast that I’m listening to.

Who’d have thought running would give me a bit of freedom and make me feel so alive. Let’s hope I manage to keep it up!

More from Giovanna's column:

"Since becoming a mum, I no longer worry if my jeans fit!"

"I am a much better mum when work pressures don't exist!"

"8 smart hacks I've learned since becoming a mum!"

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