One of the things I’ve discovered since I started to run is that you can go a long way. In a short time, it’s possible to go much, much further than you can travel at a walking pace. I guess that’s obvious, but I remember vividly last year thinking I must have made some kind of mistake when returning to the campsite on a family walk, looping over the Shropshire hills and down through a valley. We hit the spot I’d reached earlier that day on my morning run, and I sighed with relief – great, I can reassure four tired and hot children: not far to go now. We’d be home inside of twenty minutes, max. Half an hour later and we’re still nowhere near the end of the path; even though we’re walking pretty steadily, the milestones I was anticipating are trundling by at a snail’s pace. When we finally reached the tent I checked my map again – no mistake. When you run, you just go further.
And perhaps because of that revelation, it’s taken me even longer to realise that although running gets you places fast, it’s not a shortcut. Running is all about taking the long way around. If you miss out on some strength training, you start to pick up injuries. If you have to drop some runs, you start to lose cardio fitness. If you try and push too hard too fast, you get sidelined. And coming back after that is harder, and takes determination and discipline not to repeat the same mistakes or lose heart.
I’m approaching a year of running now, and I love it more than I could ever have imagined. I’ve had some injuries which benched me for a week or two here and there, and some unrelated ill health which took out my November completely, but over the months I’ve learned a lot and been so grateful when I can lace up and head out the door again. I’m blessed, and I’m thankful – I’ve got the tool kit to get myself properly, sustainably strong, and I have a whole lifetime to enjoy the process. It’s got to be about the journey.