Musings on running from two different perspectives
Running is in my blood. Sure, there were days when I wasn’t so keen. Those were usually Sunday mornings when my Dad woke me up to get ready for competitive cross-country races. I can still remember the nerves and dread as I pulled on my Royal Blue games knickers (eek) and picked up my spikes bag. While I often resented those cross-country races, they lay the foundations for an active adulthood.
Running is not in my blood.
Following a hiatus during my teens, I returned to running with great enthusiasm. I found that running helped meÂ regulate my weight and my mental health. For me, running enhances everything – from regular jogs during the weekly grind, to exotic explorations on holiday. Oh, the look on the tour guide’s (and Steve’s) face when I announced I was going for a jog in Zimbabwe. I recall many fabulous runs along the Gold Coast of Australia and in Yellowstone National Park. Closer to home, I enjoy running along canals, through woods, and across fields, which can seem just as adventurous when a buzzard swoops over your head or a herd of cows decide to accompany you as you traverse their field. For an eloquent take on the joys of running in nature check out Richard Askwith’s excellent book on the joy of running:
Following a long hiatus of never running, I have begrudgingly, occasionally been dragged after Cath through some of these wonderful locations at what could be classed as a fast walking neh, even jogging pace. It occasionally even brings a smile to my face, but this is normally when the cows start chasing Cath.
In 2017 I was not getting my running fix. I was struggling with leg problems, no doubt exacerbated by a lack of regular stretching and the sedentary nature of my job.Â The mental effects of not running were palpable. I felt like Samson without his hair; the extra spark had gone, and I was struggling to regulate my stress levels. In desperation, I treated myself to an exercise bike, but the results were not the same.Â It seems that running may be especially beneficial for humans as our bodies have evolved in ways that make it possible for us to run mile after mile (e.g., our hips, feet and length of legs, our shock-absorbing spinal disks, and our ability to sweat).1Â This sustained rhythmic activity can yield major mental benefits.2
Yes, the effects of Cath not running are palpable! On the other hand I like the bike. You get to sit down and can even watch TV whilst exercising, what’s not to like?
Steve treated me to a Fitbit to help remind me to get up from my desk regularly,3 and I must say it has worked wonders for my legs. I am now back on track (in terms of running regularly) thanks to my trusty Fitbit and regular yoga sessions. Hallelujah!
OK, so there was this one time in France I got a hint of the endorphins Cath gets from this level of exercise. We got caught in the rain half way up a small mountain and for some reason started jogging back down and yes the steepness of the terrain may have made my legs propel that bit faster, in what might be loosely classed as a running speed. It turned into a rather epic cross-country run over slippery logs, and lose rocks before we emerged some thirty minutes later in the village laughing manically at the fact neither of us had broken a leg before entering the nearest Cafe to dry off over a stiff cappuccino.
So what do you think? Love it or hate it? Is running in your blood? Please let us know your thoughts below.
- 8 key ways running can transform your body and brain
- The exercise effect
- Is sitting all day really that bad for a runner?