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Running towards a better balance

Abstract

Nat Scroggie gave a whole host of hobbies a try during her university years, hoping to discover something which would bolster her wellbeing. As she tells Claire Read, she found it in running – even if this now two-time marathon runner still insists she’s not sporty.

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Nat Scroggie lets out a chuckle when she remembers the regularly-rotating hobbies she took up during exam periods while at vet school. One year it was gardening. ‘That,’ she says wryly, ‘didn’t last long.’

It was in her fourth year that she took up running. As someone who says she’s never been any good at sport, it might perhaps have been expected to go the same way as the pottering with plants. Nat says she was so self-conscious at first that her running trips concluded with returning to the house via an alleyway so no-one could see her. But she quickly found these somewhat furtive outings were having a very positive impact.

This section is supported by the VDS and is aimed at improving the efficiency and wellbeing of vets. Encouraging you to have a more balanced life outside of work.

‘I began to realise that I felt really, really good afterwards, and that that effect lasted a long time – a couple of days – and then I’d go for another run. It made a massive difference to me.’

It still does. Now a locum small animal vet based in Nottingham, Nat says running is central to maintaining her wellbeing. In part, that’s by serving as proof that she’s capable of more than she might initially believe.

‘With running, it really just is one foot in front of the other, and you keep on going, and if you do more of it you can go further.

‘I never thought I’d run a 5k. Then I remember thinking well I know that I’ll never run 5k in less than half an hour, and then of course I did. Then it was, oh, I could never do a half-marathon, and then I did, and then I ran a marathon – even though I’m not sporty and I wasn’t a runner five years ago.’

I’ve got evidence I can do things I didn’t think I could do if I just carry on going

When she had the worries about professional abilities common to so many new grad vets, Nat had her running experiences to draw on. ‘I’ve got evidence I can do things I didn’t think I could do if I just carry on going.’

She also feels running gives her an identity outside of being a vet, something she argues is really important to maintaining a life outside the practice.

Of course, finding the time to create this work-life balance can be a challenge. ‘At the end of the working day, you’re shattered. So you have to make a real effort.’

For Nat, simple tricks such as carefully planning slots in which to run; publicly committing to getting out; and keeping her kit nearby all help. Though she says it’s still hard work to put on her trainers and head outside. ‘I never want to go, to be honest. And most of the time when I’m running I don’t even want to be. At the time, I’m hating it. But then I get back and I’m like: “That was amazing!”

‘I’m definitely not your classic sporty person. I’ve never won a race. But I know running helps me, so I just keep on trying.’

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