How do you start?

So, recently I’ve had a number of friends ask me about how I began this journey. (The running one, not the writing one I guess, although they have some similarities – more on that story later…)

How long have you been running for?     How do you fit it into your life?     Should my knees feel like this?     What happens if I hate running?     How often do you get out there?     Do you run with anyone else?     When do you start to enjoy it?     (Wait – do you ever enjoy it??)

These are good questions. I’ll try to answer them here, bit by bit. And it seems like the biggest one is simply: How do you start?

I started running almost exactly a year ago. Before that I ran on a treadmill, and before that I walked on a treadmill, but honestly I never even thought about being a runner until the day I laced up my old trainers and lunged wildly out of the door onto the road for the first time. Prior to that moment I had spent about a year and a half getting back into shape – due in part to a medium-term mobility problem that I had recovered from, and in part due to a longer term habit of enjoying chips, cheese and cake in fairly immoderate amounts.

So running wasn’t a weight loss program for me – I was already fit and on good form after a year or more of Pilates, walking, some swimming, and an active family lifestyle of camping and outdoor pursuits.

Running was about something else.

You may have read elsewhere in this blog that exercise for me has been a lever into understanding who I am, and what I can do. As a child and younger woman I had a particular self image, and it didn’t include sport or fitness. My identity was gradually re-scripted through small but consistent changes to my lifestyle in terms of diet, physical activity, and an expectation of something beyond what I used to accept. So when the thought of hitting the road dropped into my mind, it was something I had to try. Seemed unlikely. Perhaps unfeasible. Certainly fairly unpleasant. But it was possible.

old shoes, new habits

old shoes, new habits

So for you, if you’re even thinking about running, it’s a possibility. Don’t worry about all those other questions right now. Don’t worry about how good your trainers are. You have ten minutes. Go for a run.


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