I have something of a love / hate relationship with running.
I love how quickly running gets you fit. I love how little time it takes. I love how accepting and supportive the running community is. The phenomenally successful Parkrun movement, to me, exemplifies all that is good about running.
But I hate the actual running. It’s hard work and gives me none of the exhilaration that I get from cycling. Running makes me self conscious – it took me a long time to get over feeling self conscious and to start running in the daylight without fearing passing someone who knew me.
I started running after entering a duathlon in the area I lived at the time. This involved a 20 mile off-road run followed by a 30 mile cycle. Not training for the run was really not an option if I wanted to survive it.
My choice of event possibly gives some insight into my personality. It seems that my basic approach to life is summed up by – if you’re going to do something, go completely overboard at it (my husband will vouch for this).
When I moved to Edinburgh from the back of beyond, I tried to find a cycle club to get involved with. For various reasons I ended up not doing this at all, but joining the wonderful Musselburgh Running Club. They were so friendly and encouraging that I found my bike gathering dust while I started entering running races.
‘Consistent’ is possibly the best way to describe my racing performance. I was consistent in finishing towards the front of the back third of runners. But it didn’t matter. I was improving. I was getting new pb’s (personal bests). I was running longer distances. I was enjoying feeling part of something. I was gathering an impressive collection of medals (for taking part).
I got back into cycling when I met my husband but have gone through phases of running ever since.
Running was my way back into fitness after both my pregnancies. Suddenly my time was massively constrained, but running was something I could fit in. I just needed a 30 minute window, 3 times a week and I was a runner again. I was a sporty person again. I was almost me again.
I discovered running buggies. We bought a second hand Baby Jogger and I started to feel some sense of freedom. Martin and I could both do the local parkrun together every week (by together, I mean we started together and he waited for me at the finish line….he waited for quite a while sometimes). We both took pride in running with the buggy.
Danny enjoyed it too, most weeks. He got to watch the world go by slightly faster than usual and watch all the people around. Sometimes he didn’t enjoy it and for whatever reason would just cry. Martin and I both agreed that these weeks we would just abandon the run. There was always another week. This was the beginning of my theory of finding time to train, in particular point 3. ‘Don’t be a selfish dick’.
Injuries are a big issue for me with running Because of my ‘if a thing is worth doing, it’s worth going completely overboard at it’ philosophy to life, I am more than a little prone to overuse injuries and burnout. Right now I haven’t run for 18 months. Partly because I have rediscovered my love of cycling. Partly because I ran too much, too far and too heavy. I hurt my knees and kept on running. Really not sensible.
I’m thinking of having a go at editing my philosophy to ‘if a thing is worth doing, it’s worth going completely overboard at it….unless it hurts. If it hurts, stop doing it’.
For now, I’ll not be running but I have no doubt that one day I’ll forget how much I hate it and head out for a run….and quite enjoy it after all. After that, it’s a slippery slope to “I’d still like to have a go at a sub-4 hour marathon”…