In one of my running groups (I’m in 2 really awesome ones!) someone asked the question ‘what do you get out of running apart from medals?’
There were some great answers, so I went for a run to think about mine and here is what I came up with…
1) It gives me time to do the things I always said I was too busy for, like listen to podcasts and audiobooks. And, because I listen to personal development and non-fiction books, my knowledge bank is always being boosted plus my mental health and coping mechanisms are better than ever. (Reminds me I must do a reading list blog post)
2) I’m very conscious of my nutrition these days. Im a very healthy keto eater anyway, but I always consider how my meal will effect my running the next day. I imagine the difference between burning super clean high quality fuel in an expensive sports car and buying cheap crappy stuff. I also know I need magnesium the night before a long run and I also know that my keto chocolate tart… or if I’m being lazy, a spoonful or two of my homemade peanut butter gives me wings the next day. I run fasted but that’s ok because the food I ate 16 hours before has given me everything I need.
3) I drink more water! I don’t take it with me but I drink plenty when I get home and I make sure I’m well hydrated the night before too.
4) I get to see parts of our town that I wouldn’t otherwise see, and in all weathers. I’ve explored all sorts of areas of the river and I’ve watched it change through the seasons. Because I run in the mornings I’ve witnessed incredible starry skies, full moons and amazing sunrises. And I’ve ruined the chance of many a PB because I jut had to stop to take a photo!
5) I run early so I’ve usually accomplished plenty before everyone else even gets out of bed. I can often be at ‘work’ by 7am and my brain and body is awake! But if I decide I need a post run nap before I start work, I’ve usually still got time for that too without feeling guilty!
6) I have a proper genuine hobby rather than just a list of things I like to timewaste with.
7) I’ve found an online running club and so I’m part of a community of awesome people!
8) I’m more zen. I run for the run. Not for the distance, time or end goal. I run for the moment because that’s actually all we have. Listen to ‘The Climb’ to understand what I mean here… it’s my go-to track if I need a bit of motivation before I go out. It’s not about the mountain, or how fast you can get to the too. It’s not even about the view. It’s about the journey. The climb. I’m not focussed on the marathon. I’m focussed on the next run. Because that’s the only one that matters. And also if I focus on the marathon… what will I do when it’s finished?
9) I stopped losing weight when I started running but I still managed to shed 7cm from my tummy and 5cm from my bust in 6 months. The scales don’t tell the real story and I’m far more patient with them than I used to be. The scales started moving again after about 6 months, but I really don’t care what they say anyway.
10) I am a better person. I can’t explain why or how. I just am. I let more pass me by these days, and I just shrug my shoulders and let other people’s crap wash over me.
11) I recently went through a round of job interviews and being able to talk about running was a real bonus. It’s surprising how many other people run and so I could form a genuine connection with my interviewer when we started talking. Plus I think it shows dedication and commitment if you have a proper hobby! Of the 4 jobs I went for I was offered 3 of them and of those, 2 interviewers said that they ran too!
12) Like most of you, we have been in and out of lockdown, but running gets me outside, breathing fresh air instead of indoor air. I’m sure that I’m a lot healthier for that, especially in winter!
13) When you run there is always a win. It may be a faster segment, or a PB, sometimes it’s running more of a hill than you usually do or feeling that the time passed quicker than you are used to. Even if the win is just that you went out when you didn’t want to or you made it out even though there were so many reasons not to, or even you decided not to go out because it was too dangerous. I’m not a competitive person at all, and I take progress over perfection any day, so I don’t focus on speed or pace. I just go out with the intention of taking a certain route, covering a certain distance or being out for a particular time, but now and then, one of those statistics surprises me ans I call it a win!
14) Running is totally adaptable and lockdown proof. Even here where lockdowns mean we can’t go further than 1k from home or be out for more than an hour, I can still do something. It plays havoc with long distance training but last time I focussed on speed and hill work for a while. The end result was I ran a really good half marathon as soon as lockdown ended. It’s taught me the benefit of training in different ways.
15) My last one for now. I’m a bit of an independent soul at heart and so I love the space and alone time that running gives me and i love that I don’t have to be dependent on anyone else. I never enjoyed team sports, tennis, or even running with another person because the joy for me is that it is just me and the road. When you run, you are only dependent on yourself. No clubs, no membership, no team. Just me and my trainers. Which is also great in the middle of a pandemic when all the clubs and gyms are closed! But even saying that, I still feel like I’m part of something huge. I’m a runner in a massive team of other runners and we are all doing this together.