Developing Safety, Confidence & Spirit with Nike Trail

Developing Safety, Confidence & Spirit with Nike Trail

Developing Safety, Confidence & Spirit with Nike Trail

Written By: Michelle Shanley

We are living our whole life behind a mask or inside, the need for the real outdoors and escapism is paramount for physical and mental health. We need to empower women to take to the trails. We need help connecting earth, body and mind.

Trail running offers so much more than just a great workout. It offers the opportunity to recharge our minds, whilst firing up our muscles. But we need to break down the barriers that prevent women from taking part, and empower them to take to the trail with confidence.

The latest Nike Trail campaign delivers a holistic approach to trail running for women. As part of this campaign, we spoke to psychotherapist Michelle Shanley, for a psychotherapeutic perspective on Safety, Confidence and Spirit.


Our need to feel safe is inherent and it’s one we are born with, as a tiny baby and throughout childhood, we rely on our parents to protect us from the dangers of the world. As adults, we develop our own ways to feel safe, as we are incredibly resourceful and resilient. When running outdoors it is incredibly important that we gift ourselves with feeling safe.

How can we do this?

Before you go for a run take a psychological inventory;

How do I feel? What do I want to get out of this run? How do I want to feel afterwards?

Asking yourself these basic questions sets a premise for yourself and provides an opportunity to create a feeling of safety for yourself by being a master of your own destiny! We are all responsible for how we feel and you can become adept at offering yourself a safe and secure environment to run in each and every day!

After your run take some time to congratulate yourself on how you looked after yourself and made sure that you enabled yourself to feel grounded and secure in taking your space on the planet today.

Learn more about how to stay safe when trail running with our guide.




To achieve confidence in ourselves and our abilities is a useful concept in assessing ourselves in how we approach tasks.

So, what does confidence actually mean? Feeling positive and excited when committing to doing something rather than feeling scared and nervous. We often can feel anxious about a scenario even if we know what to expect, having done it before and done it well. Why?

The most common factor in this is our inner dialogue. The way we choose to talk to ourselves is one of the most common denominators in how we feel and the interesting thing is we often talk to ourselves in unhelpful ways without even realising. The best way to address this is to become aware of your thoughts and in turn you can challenge the thoughts that are more unhelpful, therefore making you feel differently about the task in hand.

For example, “I really want to try that new run but know it will be really hard and I don’t think I am ready to do it”

Could be turned in to, “I am excited to challenge myself with this new run today, imagine how I am going to feel when I have achieved something new”

I believe that developing confidence in yourself in this way actually has a positive impact upon your running performance and the choices that you make about the route to take and whether to go further or faster will mean you continuously and positively develop your confidence. The way you carry yourself will be directly informed by your mindset.




The concept of spirit is fascinating and I think that is because it is so personal to each individual and what it means to them. To me, Spirit is about my identity - what makes me tick, likes, dislikes, what lights that fire in my belly to make me want to commit and push myself. That can be to achieve something I have set my mind to, but equally to stop, reassess and consider what I need in the moment.

I think taking this time to get to know your spirit is an important skill in self-care and development. Working out the essence of your soul can lead to a rapport with yourself, as I introduced in the earlier segment, and it’s this rapport that enables you to identify learning edges and when to pause and reflect on achievements and challenges and what imprint they have left you with.

In this context I am also inclined to wonder about the connection of our spirit to nature and what benefits can be gleaned by taking the time to mindfully take time to spend outdoors in the fresh air. Taking time away from the business of life provides us with valuable space to consider what feeds our spirit, what we feel is important and how we can harness from life what we need to keep a vigorous spirit going.

Running outdoors provides an excellent opportunity to connect with nature and ourselves. As you run, it’s important to take some time and space to think about why running is good for your spirit and soul. If you assess yourself like this at each opportunity your sense of spirit will grow, as will your appreciation of yourself and your ability to achieve every time you go for a run.



Michelle Shanley is the clinical director of Space2BHeard, a not-for-profit organisation that aims to provide high quality counselling, psychotherapy & wellbeing services to the people of Hull and the surrounding areas.


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