Back in October 2020 I took up running again and got out for my first run in over 2.5 years. Now it is mid December 2021 and I’ve been at it for well over a year.
I started running again just as the second lock down was announced in England. At the time I was feeling quite suppressed, with shorter days setting in and a lock down, I went back to running for escapism.
I’ve had an interesting relationship with running over the last year. I started it for escapism in lock down, but then I shifted my focus to unrealistic goals and was pushing myself too hard. I love to exercise, but trying to achieve unrealistic goals was severely impacting my enjoyment and was causing strain on my body which prevented me doing other exercises I also loved.
I finally abandoned the unrealistic goals I had set myself and for a few weeks I hardly ran at all. My body recovered from injury and my fitness level was back up through (home) gym workouts and boxing.
When I returned to running I chose to set myself a single realistic goal: enjoyment. I’ve removed any desire to push myself to a specific distance, speed or cumulative number of miles. That does not interest me personally. I would give so much support and encouragement for any runner who does have these sorts of goals – but for me it doesn’t work.
I now run for enjoyment. I do shorter runs, more regularly to form part of the cardio exercise I do. I fit it around my schedule and have found the love again. Getting out for a run gives more time outdoors and it gives me time to think too.
In 2021 this new approach to running has helped me through some good and bad times. I have the time to think, and it literally takes me away from the rest of my life for a short while. Running has helped me manage my anxiety condition and relieve stress too. I run for enjoyment only.
Having goals and resolutions in life is great, but you do not need to have anyone else define what those should be. It took me a while to find a way to make my running goal work for me, but now I’ve made running a part of my life that I enjoy, but in my own way.
If you are reading this and preparing for a race, perhaps even a marathon – I wish you well and hope you achieve the outcome you want. I’ll be out there on my terms too, maybe its my quick 2.3 mile lunchtime circuit or my four mile village loop. I’ve got this, just my way.