I’m a runner: Ruby Tandoh

When I was 12 or 13, my nan ran loads. I used to go running with her and her club. It was a really nice way to bond with her. She didn’t start running until she was 40. I think she’s run six marathons. She doesn’t run anymore – she had a knee injury, so now she powerwalks everywhere.

I loved cross-country at school. I used to really look forward to doing those races. Everyone else dreaded them, but I loved them. I used to train during the holidays.

I’m training for the London Marathon with my girlfriend, Leah. We’re roughly the same fitness level, so we take it in turns to play at being coach, which is good for motivation.

I knew I wanted to run the London Marathon at some point and especially wanted to raise money for the charity Beat, too. They help people with eating disorders, which I suffered from on and off through my teenage years.

Running used to play into my eating disorder. I used it as a way to burn calories, as a way to punish myself. In all that time I never got any faster because I wasn’t fuelling myself in the right way.

Now I have no idea how many calories I’m burning, and nor do I care. It’s really nice for my running to have completely turned around now. I do it for the joy of it.

I used to use training apps, but I don’t anymore. I found that they made me fixated on exactly how far and fast I had run and my preferred approach is to do roughly the right amount and make sure I’m adapting based on how I feel.

I did my first 10K race in December last year. It was the Percy Pud event in Sheffield – it was quite flat, had beautiful scenery and everyone was given a Christmas pudding at the end, which was a joy!

I often wear baggy tracksuit bottoms and a big old t-shirt on runs. At the end of the day, I’m not operating at a level where slightly less air resistance is going to make any difference to my time.

I listen to music sometimes but I prefer being able to zone out and run with no distractions. I think it’s really good for mental health to just have that blank time.

I’ll eat anything. I try to keep my meals pretty balanced, a bit of protein, carbs and veg. I like making chocolate chip cookies, which I usually have ready for when I get back from a run.

My nan gave me the best running tip I’ve heard. She’d remind me to listen to my body and, regardless of what I set out to do, to just walk it if I felt awful five minutes into a run. It’s important not to be embarrassed to turn the intensity up or down depending on how you’re feeling.


Ruby’s cookbook, Flavour: Eat What You Love is out now. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram. For more on Beat, the UK’s eating disorder charity, click here.