What’s helping now: running

Muddy trainers delight me

In the midst of extreme busy I am definitely hankering after the blog.  It’s been quite the start to the year hasn’t it? And I am missing a morning routine on these dark mornings – which is where this blog first originated.  So here we go, back to tapping away first thing on cold dark winter mornings.

I am relishing various good habits at the moment and am very grateful for them in this strange January. I thought I would write about them over the following days.  To be honest, I needed a theme to write about so that I don’t just open the laptop and stare at it crossly – and this is it.

First up  -running.  I have written about it before and feel a certain thrill that I am still writing about how important running is in my life.  Nearly ten months ago I decided that if I was to be locked in my home all day – ok so maybe not locked in, but it felt like being locked up.  For those who were deemed as having to shield, I am sure it did feel exactly like they had been locked up and I worry about and for those people.  Oops sorry, digressions – but indulge me – I am a bit over-excited at writing again.  Back to ten months ago when I decided that it was highly likely due to my lifestyle of travelling lots to London that I was about to get ill with a respiratory disease.  I know this is not in any way a medically proven thing and that very fit and healthy people have died from coronavirus, but in my head, I have vulnerable lungs anyway and so strengthening them was key for me.  That meant cardio.  Running was and remains the most effective way for me of pushing my lungs and heart to work harder.

It turned out to be so much more than that.  Running happens outside and outside is the place I long to be.  In inclement weather the longing to be warm, dry, not windswept takes over and it is harder to get out. A daily run takes away that mental chatter. This morning I am going to go outside for a run, the mental chat is not if I should, it is “what do I need to wear”.

Running covers lots of ground, well more than I do when walking anyway, so I get to see a bit more of the world on my daily excursions.  I have generally stayed very local, in fact most of the ten months I have run the same route.  Which would dismay most proper runners as it’s not a great training method and it could be boring for many.  I have not been bored, I have delighted in seeing the route change with the seasons, the wildlife is more visible in winter and early spring.  It’s quieter on summer mornings, long after sunrise.  In the dark there is more birdsong than I would have expected.  The trees have flourished after some work by tree surgeons last winter (before my running started).  The dog walkers have changed over the year as older dogs died, and new puppies were bought by families new to dog walking.  There is a huge amount of change happening even in one place.  Gardeners probably get exactly the same thrill of seeing change happen on such a small scale which becomes something huge as the seasons change. 

The physical differences are fascinating.  I don’t like running in wind – especially not an easterly.  I really do not like running in warm weather at all.  I just cannot breathe properly and my legs feel leaden.  Some days my legs feel too short to propel me properly, some days I can run faster than others and I have no idea why either of those things are so.

Most of all, I know that being outdoors every day, challenging myself to do something I used to absolutely hate and was scared of doing, and which even most mornings now I am reluctant to do, has helped hugely.  I feel more able to cope because of running.  Without a doubt it is keeping my stress levels at a manageable level, it is keeping me emotionally more stable. And it is bizarrely good fun.  I am the sort of person who gets new trainers for Christmas and am now experimenting with running off road – even more fun to be had.

Having written much more than I intended, it’s starting to get light.  Time to get those trainers on.  Have a good day, I hope you get some time outside, running or not. 

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