Until I Discovered Running Almost Pushed Me Over The Edge
I’ll be the first to admit running hasn’t always been my favourite activity but I’ve come to realise over time how it can become a natural part of your fitness routine. And in this post, I’ll be sharing my journey into running and why you might also want to think about adding a regular running or jogging activity into your weekly schedule.
For one thing, it’s the perfect hobby for anyone new to fitness, you can start and progress at all levels.
There are many examples of athletes and runners who only decided to take up the activity later in adulthood.
This was certainly the case for me.
It’s pretty hard to forget those cold, wet cross-country runs forced upon us as we entered high school. I remember my biggest achievement was discovering a shortcut through the hedges and coming into 9th position instead of last place (well, I probably shouldn’t share that with you but it’s true), thing was I was so blind as a kid with glasses and absolutely not the fastest, I had ZERO fitness levels back then!!!
Well yeah, there was the cross-country and pretty much all of athletics but most of all rugby that I completely sucked at in school. Back then I hated sports but more than that, I just started to hate that I was actually bad at something.
I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t as fit or as strong as anyone else in my class.
It reached the point in 3rd year where I finally decided to turn things around when I’d become so tired of being thrown around on the rugby pitch that I decided to switch and give hockey a try instead.
It definitely took a bit of getting used to the hand-eye coordination, especially with my blurred vision but to this day, I’m still not entirely sure why but I persevered. To my surprise, I started to notice a change in my fitness levels, I started to get stronger and I started to enjoy being able to hit a ball at speed across a hocket pitch. The competitive streak had won me over again and I become hooked!
If you’ve ever watched a hockey match, you’ll soon realise that you’re pretty much moving for 95% of the match, often sprinting to catch the ball ahead of your opponent. No surprise then that a lot of our fitness training focused on speed, power and endurance with shuttle runs a frequent feature in our circuits.
I’d definitely caught the running bug again!
Ok, so that was high school. My fitness training continued when I started university but now my focus had switched back to swimming, my more natural sport. Again, probably no surprise to find my times and power in the pool had remained consistent or improved since school with the added fitness training and I was geneuinely starting to enjoy fitness, something just a few years earlier I had loathed.
But then things took a massive dip when I left uni and started life in the real world.
My software degree led me to take a ‘regular’ office job so most of my time was spent at my desk.
It was crazy really how soon my energy levels took a hit and I noticed myself binging on crisps, chocolate and whatever I could find when I was at my desk.
I was definitely losing the prime levels of fitness and health I had developed through my previous training.
And well, long story short, it reached the point where I decided I’d had enough living my days at a desk and watching the weight start to climb. I spent the best part of 5 years studying part-time to enhance my knowledge of Human Biology, Anatomy, Physiology and Nutrition to become a certified Personal Trainer. This then progressed to becoming a Sports Therapist as I once again became hooked on gaining the knowledge of how amazing the human body is.
“Running saved me, but being a runner could have just as easily pushed me over the edge”
Alright so back to running, the main reason for writing this post was in response to a video I watched at the weekend so I am sharing it here for you to watch too…
It made me realise that I had found myself getting back into running just after I lost my dad to cancer almost 7 years ago. I suppose without realising it, this had become my coping mechanism and it became a natural impulse, pulling on my trainers whenever the streets beckoned, giving me so much strength to get through the emotional pain and remain focused.
But fair to say I had unknowingly become addicted to this new found part of me, not truly knowing how to deal with it but just knowing I had to keep my body moving.
I started entering races, something I’d never even considered before, starting with 5k fun runs and building up to 10k races, joining for the chance to be around others and challenge myself to get into my zone, push that bit harder and take a few more seconds off my time.
It was never about winning, only about the chance to better myself and maybe just maybe I guess I felt like I was carrying my dad on my shoulder and he was following me on my journey. Like Mark discussed in the video, I had started to build up an identity of being a runner but now I’d say it’s easier to be someone that just runs.
And so, watching this video brought up a whole series of emotions.
Like Mark, I learned that running saved me, but being a runner could have just as easily pushed me over the edge. I worry that I too have become an addict, do you resonate with any of the ideas discussed in this post or have concerns about any friends who may be going through something similar?
Share your thoughts in the comments below or feel free to send me a message if you have been affected by any of the challenges raised in this post.