I want to be ‘a runner’. The sort of person who just gets up and casually decides to go out for a run. You know the type who knocks out a casual 10k before work with no effort at all, and wears t-shirts with slogans about how running is their therapy. Sadly, despite best intentions and efforts, I am not that person.
Maybe I really do just hate running
I must have tried to make myself a runner 30 times over the past 15 years. Sometimes I’ve even got quite far. I did the Great North Run about 10 years ago (didn’t train properly, hated every minute, couldn’t walk for about a week afterwards) But it didn’t deter me completely, and since then I’ve done numerous Race For Life’s and Parkrun’s. I’ve even entered the ballot for the London Marathon 3 times (but thankfully wasn’t successful on any of them). But despite this continued effort, I’ve never really enjoyed it, it feels like a chore I need to get over and done with.
Maybe running really does hate me
I’ve had so many embarrassing things happen to me when running, any one enough to put me off running altogether. One particularly memorable occasion involved me tripping on a root, ending up sitting in a pile of dog poo with my feet in the canal, and a big rip in my brand new running pants. I mean, I’m not built like a professional runner, and the fact that I find it really difficult, I’m really slow and I have to stop to walk pretty often doesn’t bode well. But I still want to do it. I’ve read loads of books on running, I’ve spent silly money on trainers and gadgets and, inevitably, physio when I don’t train properly and then injure myself but I still hate running and I want to love it.
Now the weather is getting a bit better and the mornings are a bit lighter I can feel the familiar urge to “be a runner” rearing its head again. I’ve tried to ignore it, after all I’ve said 2017 is the year of getting strong not endless cardio and I KNOW it’ll just end in hating myself for skiving out of runs or get some weirdly painful and long lasting injury. But then I saw a post on Instagram tagged #runningstreak “Ooh” I thought “What’s that?”
Maybe I love hating running?
It turns out that a running streak is not, as I originally thought, naked running (that really doesn’t bear thinking about). Rather it is running every day for as many days as you can. Most people set themselves a target of a certain number of days – 50, 100, 365, something like that. The trick is to set yourself a low daily mileage. If you try and constantly run more and more each day or run 10k every day you’ll injure yourself pretty quickly. I liked the sound of this, no rigid training schedule, no endlessly increasing mileage and no having to fit longer and longer runs into my day. I decided to try it – starting with a 50 day streak. The only rule I’ve set myself is that I must run for at least 1 mile a day and that’s it.
No, I really do love running!
And do you know what? I’m loving it. I’m about half way through my 50 day streak, but I’m already thinking I might extend it to 100 days. My one mile is all done in less than 15 minutes, so I can easily fit it in before work. I really like seeing how my time is gradually improving and how I can get further and further up the big hill before I have to walk. And there are knock on benefits to other parts of my life too.
I’m eating better (I always do when I exercise regularly), I’m sleeping better and my overall cardio fitness is improving. But the absolute best thing is that I’m actually enjoying running. I never thought that would happen, perhaps I can be a runner after all! Though I’ve got a way to go before I catch up with this guy!
If you want to keep up to date with my #runstreak or just amuse yourself with my sweaty face, then check me on instagram.
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