I really enjoy running, I haven’t always, you have to go past that initial hard bit to get to a stage where you can enjoy it, and even then there are days when its really hard work! I constantly remind myself of the quote that ‘Great things never came from comfort zones’. When I started running it was really only about fitness and balancing out my love for food! But things have changed, as everything does in life and its now so much to me, which is why even when its hard physically I do it. It helps me so much emotionally, as well as physically. Mostly its my head-space and my ‘me time’ out in nature. I adore using the OS maps app to discover new paths and tracks and often can not see anyone for my whole run (and I live is a fairly busy place!). I am very lucky where I live to be near to the sea and the countryside, but everywhere has their hidden treasures, you’ve just go to get out and find the beauty in things that when we drive past every day we mostly don’t even notice. My brother runs in London along the canals and is always telling me how cool it is. I personally don’t worry about my speed, pace or duration much anymore, I just get out and enjoy what I can see and smell. Normally I cant go fast as I’m clipping my dog on and off, slipping in mud or wading through the tide!!. It makes my running much more of a mindful practice, which I need as I’m often very busy. I also (especially when alone) try to stop and take thing in every now and then. I like to do some wonderful long releasing exhales, allow my shoulder to drop, smile (this is important as its sets a chemical reaction in the body!) and look out at the beauty that is around me. Being out in nature even if that is just a walk has so many clinically proven health benefits.
Another thing that has become very important to me is the connecting with others. I think lots of exercise, including my yoga classes, are about connecting with others in your community. I’ve lived abroad quite a bit over the last fifteen years and know how it feels to either have no community, or to have instant fantastic community and support. Running has been a way in which I have found like minded friends. Over the years I’ve had to stalk people in the playground who were wearing active-wear, ask strangers to join their runs, and converted friends into runners. It was because exercise of all forms is so much more than just ‘working-out’, its about friendship, support and community. I get as much enjoyment with a PB as I do crossing the line with a friend who didn’t feel they could do it. You don’t have to run, it could be as much as meeting people for a fast walk or a hill walk, anything where you get a few endorphins.
“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can so do much.”