Running is a powerful sport. Almost everyone who runs, does so because they enjoy it and it makes them feel happy. Whatever your goal and whatever you are training for, running is a great escape. It allows you to shut out all your troubles for a while and just focus on your movements and the route you are running.
For me personally, it is a time when I can be completely in the moment. There is nothing else I can do; I can’t respond to emails or check my phone, it is just me, running and the great outdoors. This is powerful, however, this great feeling can get abused, and this is something I learnt in the past.
Running should be respected. No matter who you are, how fast, far, or frequently you run, it needs to be given a certain amount of respect. I forgot this and it didn’t end well. I ended up injured, malnourished and unhappy. The opposite of why we run; to be happy and healthy.
I was running irrationally, and consequently ran myself into the ground in an attempt to search for happiness. Rather than seeing running as something that could add to my life, I relied solely on it. I was running to escape stress, which many do, but at an unattainable level. I was going through pretty testings times in life that I had absolutely no power over, and I was desperate to feel an ounce of control - running allowed this.
I believed, running gave me an excuse to malnourish myself and run as much and as often as I wanted. I believed the more I ran and the less I ate, the happier I would be. I wasn’t, it doesn’t work like this. When abused, the ability of running to make you feel good can have the opposite effect. I used running to please bad cravings. I used it for all the wrong reasons, which resulted in me abusing it.
USING the sport however, is incredibly different to abusing it. Running can ADD happiness to your life and it can give you a sense of guidance and purpose, even when you are injured. It can’t cause happiness, but it can make you feel better. When used correctly, it can allow you to escape the stress of the world, clear your mind, and feel stronger inside and out.
There are ways to ensure you get the most out of running, and USE it in the best way. It is important to HAVE DAYS OFF. This allows you to miss the sport, and I can assure you one day is enough to make you desperate to get back to it. Running streaks, in my opinion, are a thing of the past. Rest days also allow you to continue using running to feel a sense of relief. They allow your body to recover, keeping your feet in your trainers and running pain free.
Another way to use running to its fullest, is to NOT SEE IT AS TORTURE. It is not a way to punish your body for the food you have eaten, or the time you have spent on the sofa, but instead a way to free your mind. To get the most out of a run is to see it as its own activity, rather than a chore to compensate for something else.
Think of the positives: how good your body and mind feels afterwards, how nice it is to run in the fresh air, and what you are adding to your life. We don’t HAVE to run, so we should be grateful for the opportunity to do it.
I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!