‘let me see you move and rock it until the groove done’
Prior to 2015 my idea of going for a run was bolting around the streets in my neighbourhood at top speed before clambering home breathless in my gym gear. 300m, 2 minutes 46 seconds later that was me done. Top notch 👌🏾
Now, there was nothing wrong with that except in my mind I thought this was Olympic worthy running (watch out Mo Farrah). In my mind, the distance I was covering was at least 1000m 😖😳. I disliked running; I didn’t understand it but I did it with the sole purpose of making my stomach shrink: I can just see my guardian angel’s expression watching that free show (whaaaat!?) 🤷🏾♀️
Anyway, April 2020 and the whole world stood still in response to COVID (except our hospital staff and essential workers – we salute you). With gyms closed most of us needed some way of exercising and with options dwindling, a good portion of Englanders hit the pavement. I must admit even with gyms closed, I still didn’t choose to run, I still disliked it, but thanks to a friend and those viral challenges everyone was busy with in early lock down I was nominated to run 5km. To semi quote Bubba Sparxx ~”I didn’t choose to run, but running chose me”~ Already, to me, 300m felt like 1km so asking me to run 5km was asking too much. Anyway I did it – against my will – and begrudgingly I fell in love with running and *long pause* we’ve being going steady ever since *swoon*, the cold winter chill tries to break us up sometimes but- ain’t no stopping us now…
Running snuck it’s way into my life and settled in and now I sing it’s praises left right and centre. Not only has it helped me to drop a waist size, mentally it helps me clear my head I feel refreshed and clearer after a run, mental dilemmas fall into place better. It’s also a good way to spend some quiet time with myself (if I run alone) I can listen to a podcast or audio book and whilst running I notice a lot of beauty when I remind myself to look up and be mindful/present. if it’s in the morning there are some beautiful sunrises to light my path, or the friendliness of people I pass shining on me, there’s that beautiful house at the end of the Cul-de-sac to behold and admire, that local shop that sells bespoke watchumacallits that I’d not noticed whilst driving with eyes on the road. And, at the end of it all I’m rewarded with the accomplished feel of having “done it”.
Despite finding my new love, I’ve had to learn that there is a way to approach running so it’s most effective and also so I protect my body: those knees! I’m still learning but here are some tips from what I’ve found helpful in case anyone out there might want to start their own whirlwind Runmance *I’m cheesy I know* 😂:
1. Buy running shoes, something with shock absorption
2. Stretch before but especially after running: your hip flexors, quads, hamstrings, knees and groin.
3. Slow your pace initially, focus on breathing correctly as you run
4. Map a route to follow, I find a circuit is better so you can envision where you’ll end up (I don’t want to run 5km from my starting point then have to walk 5km back)
5. A flatter terrain is easier to run on (if you can find it – I live in Yorkshire so it’s all hills baybay 😩)
6. Parks are a nice and safer setting to run in, most will have a route map online showing at least 5km of running ground
7. A km is longer than you think, when you feel like you’ve run 10km it’s probably 4km but don’t lose hope – keep going.
8. It’s ok to walk if you’re tired but I’ve found you can run the whole distance if instead of walking you just slow your pace to catch yourself then increase your pace once you feel ready.
9. Use a running app to track your progress, it’s motivating to visualise how much ground you cover.
10. Enjoy what your body can do, start small and build your stamina, running is a practice not a punishment.
If all tips fail, pretend you’re running from covid- it’ll get you going. 🥇