I run because I am lazy, that may seem like a strange statement to make but I will clarify it…eventually.
People run for a lot of different reasons. From an evolutionary perspective, we developed the ability to run for two reasons; to escape potential hunters and to be the hunters others are looking to escape. We still subscribe to those two fundamental concepts of running, except instead of running to be/escape predators, we run to be/escape any number of other things.
For many, the reason to run is to escape modern living; we have become a society that lives to work rather than working to live. A large majority of us spend a lot of our time stuck behind a desk in some kind sedentary stockade (also known as an office), where our minds may be active but out bodies wither away like the Nazis from the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark; still the most terrifying image I can recall from my childhood. I probably fall into this category but this is not the reason I run.
About 3 years ago I started to get into fitness in a big way, going to the gym on average about 5 times a week. I was enjoying the immediate ‘buzz’ I got from the exercise and I was starting to notice the more long-term health benefits; stair-climbing had become a welcome friend instead of my most hated enemy and I could fit into my 90’s baggy jeans, I didn’t want to but I could if the mood took me. About 10 months into this new health kick, things started to go wrong, the gym that I had loved so much just a couple of months prior had become more a house of cruel torture rather than the sanctuary of strength it had been. I had plateaued in my training and as much as I tried I could not get out of that funk. This happens to everyone eventually, we all hit a wall but what I realised is that I was too lazy in my motivation to actually push beyond this unseen barrier.
Around the same time this was happening, my life was also changing, we now had a dog that I loved but needed regular walking, a house we’d just bought and needed to make ours, and we were considering starting a family. Basically, I was growing up and life was getting in the way. Rather than rage against this positive change in my life I decided to use it to make more positive changes and I quit the gym. That may not sound like a positive change but bear with me; it all works out in the end.
Instead of going to the gym, I changed the dog walking to dog running, I thought this would be a pretty easy change seeing as I was now so fit. I was wrong. Working out in the gym, even if you do cardio work on a running machine is just not the same as being in the great outdoors. There are unintended gradients to deal with, the bloody weather, uneven and quite frankly unsafe, surfaces and just because this is Britain let me state it a bit more clearly; the bloody weather! It didn’t start out as dog running, more dog running for a bit, then dog walking for a bit and repeat but at least I was out there.
My life became more efficient, I was still getting the fitness boost I so greedily craved but I was also doing something productive and the dog loved it. Unlike the gym, I was also starting to see some improvement in my ability to run, there was a lot less walking until eventually it became just running.
Next came parkrun, races, new friends, new training techniques, injuries, recovery from injuries and more but those are all stories I wish to tell another time. This post is all about why I run and like I said at the start I run because I’m lazy or more accurately I run because running pushes me more than I could ever really push myself and that is why I love it.
Over the next few weeks and months I intend to produce a number of articles on the subject of running; some will be my own personal experiences, some will be focused on training tips or the races that I’m involved in, whilst others may be the experiences of other people and professionals I’ve met along the way. These aren’t going to be for everyone but if you’re thinking about running or already run yourself I think they may offer some insight and I’d love to hear your experience with running.
I have a running-only twitter account where I share training tips and post all my runs, mostly so I don’t annoy my non-running buddies, connect with me @RuntheDiff