Grim running

So many people have said to me in recent years:

You do running? Oh, it’s not for me, I’ve tried it and I just can’t get into it.

When I got chatting to someone yesterday and they came out with this common phrase it made me think, is it running you can’t get into, or is it the culture that surrounds it that puts you off?

I understand that running is difficult at first. I’m of the opinion that if you want to start the best thing to do is to commit to three consecutive days at first. Run a little farther each time and learn to embrace the ache in your legs and the burn in your lungs, they don’t last long. I think that if you can do that, you can get into running.

I drifted away from what many people count as their hobby of running some time ago. I used to run for a club, compete a few times a week, buy all the latest gear, push myself for PB’s with an expensive watch that beeped at me for going too slow and post all of it on social media. I realised one day that actually, most of this stuff was irrelevant, what’s more, it was putting me off running. I started to cut down this stuff and found that my enjoyment increased.

Rest assured, to go running you do not need energy gels, compression socks, a vest with a specific logo on it that costs you £30 or a £150 pair of trainers that will not make your legs run any faster. Only your mind can do that. To go running you do not have to wear a £250 GPS watch that maps your runs and uploads them automatically to social media. You do not need those likes to go running.

Now, I run most days. I have no idea how far I go (although I could roughly work it out if I were that bothered. I’m not), I wear basic running clothes and training shoes, I carry nothing but my house key and I absolutely love it. I rarely run anywhere other than quiet, tranquil trails where I regularly go hours without seeing a soul. Sometimes I stop and appreciate the nature that surrounds me, concentrate on my breath and enjoy the moment. There are a few books that I have read that have touched on the benefits of the meditative aspect of running and I’m pretty sure that his is what I have found. I will never go back. Running stripped bare.

I am sure that running clubs, apps, treadmills in gyms etc do a lot of good and for some people and the social aspect will help them massively, however, I wonder how many of those people who say that running isn’t for them would actually enjoy it if they tried the more meditative approach that I prefer. If you are reading this and thinking about giving running a go, trust me, get out there and get muddy. Don’t give a damn about anything other than de-stressing and doing something good for you.

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