In the current climate, I’ve found myself looking for a number of escapes – from bulk baking cookies (54 to be exact, in a household of two) to binge reading a book cover-to-cover in two days (440 pages, and I rarely read).
The scariest temptation was running and seeing a number of friends and fitness fanatics claiming it was the best way to a clear head, I really wanted to give it a try. Running for me is big thing – as a teenager I loved it, ran every day and was even a qualified coach. At the start of 2020 however, a solid 10 years on, you wouldn’t even catch me running up the stairs.
So – I’ve spent the last six months trying to get fit again and rediscover my love for running. I forced myself out of the door one weekend, and it wasn’t easy, I felt SO sick and uneasy but once I stepped out and started to jog, I was so pleased with myself.
I tried a local 5k route and took it really easy, my aim was just not to stop. I had to slow down to a walk at one point, but I kept moving and managed to complete it in just less than 30 minutes. I then tried to run everyday to follow but instantly burnt myself out – getting slower and struggling with breathing. I then took it down to four runs a week, two 5k, one 10k with a break in the middle and one simply being short 400m laps around my estate.
This instantly felt better and although the feelings of dread and sickness still lingered, I started to work through it. After three weeks, my breathing settled and was a little more comfortable (still very wheezy) but my 5k time went down to around 27 minutes. My head instantly cleared when I was out on my jogs and I slowly (very slowly) started to enjoy it.
The satisfaction when you finish, the pride when you shave seconds off a time, it really is pretty special. I instantly remembered the reasons why I used to love running and understood why so many people were using it as an escape during lockdown. It’s really not easy, at least it wasn’t at first for me, but pushing myself past that threshold everyday simply made me feel better and better.
So now, after six months of really trying – I’ve got my 5k time to 22 minutes and I can smash a pretty speedy 400metres; who’d have thought?! I feel fitter, my head is clearer and it’s the best escape when I’m having a bad day.
If you’ve considered running, for physical or mental reasons, please don’t let your worries or concerns stop you. The benefits are WAY more worth it.