Why I Love Running

The Business of Web Design Roadshow, mid 2014. Am I pregnant?
The Business of Web Design Roadshow, mid 2014. Am I pregnant?

I’m sitting here with a bit of a sadface writing this.

My physio has told me that I’m not allowed to go running until the day of my Marathon now. I overdid it in my last race (against his instructions!) so I need to rest my shins.

This has totally messed my training plan up, I should be tapering down next week instead I had to stop dead 4 weeks early (I was banned 2 weeks ago).

Still, during training I’ve done many half marathons, a few 17-milers and one 20 which was over 3 hours non-stop, so I’ll probably be fine. I am unlikely to get the time I was hoping for but I know I’ll make it around as long as I don’t get injured (which is of course why my physio has banned me)

Feeling slightly sorry for myself as I was driving home yesterday I saw a few people running and I couldn’t help but think “You lucky beeeep“. It was at this point that I realised I might actually like running more than a bit and that got me thinking: why is this?

I’ve never been sporty whether that is partaking or viewing. I’ve cycled a fair bit over the years but only ever as a method of transport. Even when I started getting fitter early last year I’d only do 30 mins of cycling or so before getting bored. The greatest I’d do would be an hour and that would only be occasionally.

To have a relatively sporty pastime as a hobby and dare I say it, obsession, is definitely notable for me.

It didn’t start off easy. June last year I picked up leaflet in my local running shop for a program like Couch  to 5K – it was called Zero to Hero – and I figured I’d give it a go. The idea was that it would break up the monotony of my newly forming training regime. I could do cycling, my callisthenics session and running in a rotation.

I followed the days religiously, slightly dying inside each time. It was hard and I felt embarrassed at just out of shape I was. I didn’t dare go out into the real world where people might see me until week 5 and even then I did it during the day when most people were at work.

I finally got to my first full 5K – no stopping – on the last day of July last year and I was still finding it really hard. Yes I could physically do the distance but it was horrible. Then I joined the local Parkrun which felt easier – running with people is much easier for some reason – but it was still hard work. The following week I went back out again for a 5K and it was so hard that I had to stop for a walk halfway.

That really put me off. I actually gave up for a while. There was no motivation to keep killing myself; it sucked.

Then I had one of those Bealers-you-dumbass moments.

I realised something that is really obvious in hindsight.

You don’t have to run as fast as you can all the time.

I was pushing really hard all the time, if I dropped the pace by 30 seconds or so, it became much easier and I could go on all day.

I got hooked on running that day.

So 10 months on I’m still hooked, but why? What is it that makes it so good?

It’s great exercise

Well, duh.

But, it doesn’t feel like exercise

Back in 1998 when I got my first paying web job I would regularly pinch myself.

These people were paying me to do something I’d been doing on my evenings and weekends anyway, for free!

It’s the same thing with running. I want to do it anyway. I can’t wait to get out and do it and I get a load of benefits for free.

I get to eat as much cake** as I like

I’ve lost about 3 stone since 2014 (the picture at the top of this post is my ‘before’ photo) but whilst I’m mostly careful about the types of food that I now eat, I don’t calorie count and definitely don’t do any form of portion control.

I say mostly as I’ll definitely pig out now and again – say eat a whole pizza – but I know that if I go out for an hour or run I’ll probably burn most of it off.

Note: running isn’t the reason I’ve lost loads of weight, I did that over a period of months before I started running regularly.

** I don’t actually eat much cake, pasties maybe

It’s sociable

Luckily you don’t have to bore non-runners to death about running because other runners are everywhere and the best bit is that it’s socially acceptable to geek out with other runners about running.

It’s portable

It doesn’t need a lot of kit. I can rock up anywhere and as long as I have a pair of trainers I can go for a run. I fact I regularly do when I’m in London and I even did it on holiday recently.

It’s like meditation

I should mediate more, but I’m always too busy.

Yes, irony. There is a saying that goes something like “If you can’t find 10 minutes to mediate then you need to find an hour” and this does ring true, but anyway, I find it hard to make that time now, but luckily running sort of fills the gap.

I don’t listen to music and except on a couple of the really long marathon training runs I don’t listen to podcasts (even then they got switched off after an hour) as I just really value the time that I have with an empty mind. My focus is on my posture, my breathing and my pace; that’s it.

I’m not that bad at it

Well, I don’t come last.

There are lots of people much faster than me but there are even more people slower than me.

It’s not all about pace, though. I also seem to be built for distance. Newbie shin splints notwithstanding, I’ve found gearing up for a marathon relatively straightforward and I definitely prefer the longer distances.

I get to keep doing it until I’m really old

I’ve just found a thing that I really enjoy doing and I’m not totally crap at it. But I’m in my 40s, how long can my body take the pounding?

Well, it turns out that if I take care of myself I can keep going into my 70s and beyond.

So there you have it, just a few reasons why:

I <3 Running

Words: 1086

Time: Hour and a half, maybe a bit longer. Unashamed self-indulgence this one, really flowed, didn’t feel the need to edit. 

This post is one of 30 I wrote daily during April 2016 as part of the 30 Day Writing Challenge.


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