After a break from running over the summer (car accident) I am finally back running. I was really worried that I would have lost a lot of fitness and be back to square one but I am already up to 14 hilly miles on my long run and planning on running Beachy Head Marathon next month. I really missed running and on my last long run I wondered what it was that I was missing as running is one of those hobbies (who am I kidding, obsessions) that get you funny looks and frequently demands for you to explain yourself.
- Fitness – Running was the main way that I got myself out of a 19 stone funk to the ripped hulk you see before you today (Hey – you can’t see me, I can claim what I want!). Running forced me to move more and change what i was eating. You try running the day after gorging on pizza and chips. I was rarely a heavy drinker and only an occasional smoker but I touch neither now and have never felt healthier.
- Veganism – As someone who passionately believes that veganism is the way forward for humanity and the planet as a whole I believe it is important to be a good advocate for plant based diets. One of the main bits of nonsense you hear as a vegan is that you can’t build muscle, be healthy or be athletic without meat. I want to prove the meat heads wrong and so remove an excuse from those fighting the inevitable conversion.
- Peace – I have a fairly stressful job (teaching Geography to teenage boys is never going to be a path to tranquility) and although I am fairly good at not taking the job home with me I do appreciate the peace and calm that comes from trail running. Just me, the dogs and maybe Mrs Herbifit (usually disappearing over the horizon – that lady can run) it is a chance to organise my thoughts and shed the stresses of the day.
- Freedom – This is the biggie for me. When you are running long distances over the trails you are responsible for yourself. You are free to slip and break an ankle, free to get lost and free to run out of steam and have to limp home in disgrace. As a society we are constantly handing responsibility for our actions to other people and to governments. Everything is someone else’s responsibility. As a runner it is your responsibility to look after yourself. There is not even a car to put your faith in. You have to put faith in yourself and know your own limits. My ultimate running goal is to complete the London to Brighton 60 mile trail route. I figure that if I can get myself from the capital back home in a day under my own steam I am free.
There are of course other reasons for running and I am sure I haven’t finished with this topic – running really becomes an obsession if you let it (and I recommend you do). Why do you run? And if you don’t – why not?