So why do we run?
Over the weekend, during a run of course, I was talking to someone who was going to through some of the darkest bits of injury – trying to run again.
When you are finally given the go ahead to try running again the happiness is unreal, you cannot wait to get your trainers on and join the rest of the running world … then comes the run. Your legs feel like lead, your breathing is heavy and that “easy” run commute, 30 minute loop near your house, or your little 5km route feels HORRENDOUS, which of course is followed by more disappointment, anger and more frustration. Obviously this is all dependent on how far/how much you were running before but for me, someone who ran quite a bit and not at a super speedy pace but I suppose a decent one, the realisation that I had a lot of work to do to get back to where I was, and still is at times, quite frustrating and disheartening. After various conversations with others who have been through this, or are going through this as we speak I thought I would offer what I have learnt so far …
Take away the pressure – Realising that I wasn’t able to run as fast as the people I used to run with was quite tough and as much as I love running with others sadly initially it was doing nothing for my head game, weak I know but it wasn’t, so I went out alone. I left my watch at home and started doing a few little runs all by myself. No pressure, no expectations, just me, the road and some amazing music – I of course made the playlist ;D
The need for speed – If you are craving that feeling of real speed, this could be a very individual thing, but I found doing interval sets on the treadmill really helpful. Here you are only racing yourself and it’s an opportunity to really feel your heart pumping in a safe environment. Again this could just be me but I really did enjoy blasting out some “sprints” on the dreadmill, it was exciting to feel my legs really working again!
Check in with yourself – Really ask yourself WHY DO YOU WANT TO RUN? It could be because you love the freedom it gives you, maybe it’s for weight loss, maybe it’s because it helps you unwind, whatever the reason remember why you loved running in the first place. Focus on that! Most of us are not professional athletes and no one is forcing us to run, we run because it makes us happy. Granted coming back from injury is going to mean a few “tricky” runs but hopefully this won’t last. HOWEVER, I repeat we run because it brings us happiness.
It took me a little while to really remember why I loved running and then a few events in the last week really cemented it. I love to run in hope of helping others run. Don’t get me wrong I love a PB and I love that I actually can run, unlike 2 years ago when running and I just did not happen. But for me there is absolutely nothing like the feeling of helping other people learn to love running. Helping others push through that mental barrier, encouraging their legs and head just that little bit further is amazing and seeing them succeed is absolutely incredible. Some of my favourite running moments have been nothing to do with my race, time or achievements …
From L – R. Finishing hand in hand for my oldest and dearest friend’s first half marathon – I get goosebumps just looking at this photo, it was a magical moment! // Seeing my Mum complete her first ever race! She was AMAZING!! // Pacing the wonderful people who join us every Sunday for LDN Brunch Club! Seeing them progress from week to week is pretty darn awesome // My Dad – my Dad never used to run then I made him join me for a parkrun whilst I was training for my first marathon. He is now the proud owner of a “50” parkrun t-shirt. Proud doesn’t even cover it.
However, I repeat we run because it brings us happiness. If you truly aren’t getting on with running and it is making you more depressed, frustrated, angry then maybe it’s time to change things up. Who knows, you and running may fall back in love one day but there is a whole world of other activities out there and I plan to write about as many as I can over the next few months in hope of helping offer alternatives. Running can be extremely hard and upsetting at times, injuries are an absolute nightmare but “when life hands you a lemon …..”