Have I mentioned that I’m not a particular fan of actual running? It’s the first and second mile that I don’t really enjoy – when my body is adjusting to a new pace, my lungs are burning and my legs are heavy. I don’t really like running up hills either. You’d think that most people would be put off by those elements but that’s not always the case. I know one woman who started running after she had children to lose her baby weight. She quickly got into it and now likes nothing more than a spin on the fells and competing in overseas marathons. I asked her once why she enjoyed running long distances and her answer knocked me off my guard. She said, she did it for the pain. Hmmm. Needless to say I didn’t press further just in case the answer led to another conversation I didn’t want to have.
Whilst my dislike of those first few miles is real, it doesn’t make me want to throw my trainers away but I’ve often wondered why I put myself through it.
Today I was listening to someone talk about why they run and their conversation hit home with me. Running is not just about managing to control my weight, or for fitness like I’ve mentioned on my previous blogs. They were the reasons at the start of my running journey but they are just part of the story now.
Being a mum is hectic. Being a working mum is manic. In general, I wing every day because I’m too mentally knackered to prepare for anything. When I get into some sort of routine, I try and grip onto it as much as I can. But mostly it doesn’t last.
However, running has become a successful routine and I was/am fairly disciplined with my runs. I get up, pull on my leggings, lace my trainers and I’m out before 6.30am three times a week. Mostly.
I say “mostly” because I know that if I give myself time to think about running, I’ll find an excuse not to go. Let’s face it, I think we’d all rather watch telly and have a cup of tea in the quiet time before the little rascals get up, than exert that much energy before breakfast.
I’ve never had a bad run.
As much as the thought of that first one or two miles puts me off running, I can’t say that I’ve ever regretted going for a run. And that’s probably what helps me get up and go. The end of the run is much better than the start, and the end is a much fresher thought. I suppose it’s like giving birth. You never really remember the pain of labour, only the joy of meeting your newborn for the first time.
But why do I go?
Could it also be endorphins? Possibly. I know I seriously feel good when I have done a long run or finished competing in a race. But I can’t say I focus solely on getting that natural high when I drag my lardy bottom out of bed.
I run and I like what it does for me.
The podcast I listened to today made me realise that the main reason I run is the fact that I’ve ticked a ‘success’ box in my daily routine. It means I have more opportunity to stay in control of my home and work life because I feel better about myself. If I don’t run, I almost feel like I’ve let myself down and the guilt can wreak havoc on the rest of my day because the promises to myself never happen.
“I should’ve gone.”
“Why didn’t I go? It was only a bit windy.”
“I didn’t go running this morning, so I’ll go this afternoon instead.”
Even though the act of running isn’t particularly joyful for me, I do appreciate the scenery as I pass slowly by. And I like the feel of freedom from the chains of daily life; the wind on your face when it’s a hot day; or refreshing, light rainfall. But they are incidentals to the big fat tick box that says, I’ve done something good for me today.
I’m not just a mother and a worker, a wife, and a cleaner. I am a runner too and I’m grateful for that because it’s starting to shape the rest of my life. I hope to be able to continue this running lark for a while longer.
Have you considered why you run? I encourage all of you to have a think why. I certainly found contemplating to be quite cathartic and since I’ve realised why, running has become a little less ‘painful’.
Whatever your reason, lace your trainers up and go. You’ll never regret a few miles.
Why not visit our Facebook chit chat group? It’s a great community for reluctant runners, plodders, jeffers, and elite athletes (although we’ve not got many of those!).