Thursday, 30 January 2014

You Don't Have To Run


Running, dear reader, is something that we do to unwind, to rest our souls, disentangle our thoughts, indulge and meditate. It's a means of oxygenating our cells, stretching our limbs, cleansing our minds and flooding our systems with blissful hormones.

We do it because we enjoy it, because it’s wellness, pleasure, a treat, and not - by any measure - because we have to.

It’s a simple truism but one that’s easily forgotten: you don’t have to run. Even if you’ve signed up for a race, committed to a training programme, told friends, family and colleagues about your targeted feat, bought the kit, set aside the time and collaborated with a charity, it’s never too late to change your mind. Take a step back, breath, rest and reconsider.

However tough a challenge might be, you should never emerge from it mentally or physically weaker than when you embarked. Your body is your only assets that no one can take away from you so treat it kindly, use it wisely, listen to its signals and don’t let it go to waste.

Unless you’re a professional athlete, it’s unlikely that running is an integral part of your profession, and while all of us sit at our desks, wishing we could spend the morning running rather than navigating spreadsheets or fending off emails, there is something beautiful about it being a treat.

TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING

When I was a young girl I read a story about a man who wished every day were Christmas. He dreamed of waking up each morning to piles of gifts, a beautiful tree, family, friends, excessive amounts of food, wine and sweets and the luxury of lounging around and playing games all day long.

When his wish came true, he initially couldn’t believe his luck, embracing each day as if it were his last, but as days turned into weeks and weeks into months, he grew tired of all the commotion. He became bored of all the gifts, tired of his friends and family always being there, sick of all of food and drink and started craving his former mundane life.

If we were experience fabulous long runs every day, they too would become banal. Running should never become monotonous and never ever become a chore.

Being able to look forward to a weekend run, anticipate a gym session after a tough day at the office, thrive off the post-workout high and revel in that cloud of pride, is a wonderful thing but should remain a treat.

Think of that first good run after a tedious stint of injury, of lacing up after a taxing business trip, that deep sense of satisfaction of having spent time with your own body and own thoughts.

Let’s try to savour each run, accept the way it unfolds and embrace it with all its challenges and rewards. If running feels like a mandatory task, perhaps it’s time to take a break.

Absence, as the well known saying goes, is one sure fire way of making your legs grow stronger ;-) 

(Image courtesy mfg.regionaldirectory.us)

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