Lately (um, like, half a year😬) there hasn’t been much in the way of blogging from me, and I guess that’s for a number of reasons—I’ve never had a busier or more demanding time in my life than this season of working full time, bringing my eldest through his GCSEs, and looking after wider family. There hasn’t been much space for reflection. But if I’m honest, partly I had sort of got to wondering whether there was much left for me to say on this particular topic.
I’ve written about my own journey into exercise and health—from being unfit, unaware and frankly intimidated by the world of sport. I’ve written about how running makes me feel: alive, free, energised, powerful, peaceful. I’ve talked about why I run every day; I’ve talked about the grit and perseverance that running has both built in me, and requires of me. Occasionally I’ve shared race reports, reviewed kit and clothing, or raved about some of the inspirational athletes I’ve read or met.
Is there really any more to say? With so many running bloggers out there, many of whom compete in more races, run faster, and have a lot more followers than I do (!), recently it’s made more sense to focus on the writing and editing that pays the mortgage…
…but there’s always something gently tapping away at the back of my mind. Small, quiet but persistent thoughts that buzz around, nagging at me to sit down and share them.
Next month I’ll be running the RATW challenge again, as part of our little #TeamRudolph and the slightly larger #TeamWest—hoping that between us we can rack up enough miles through July to get us around the world (heading into the sunset all the way, naturally). This year Team Rudolph is bigger than ever, with lots of new members, who have little or no experience in running, but are up for trying something new.
Three or four times in the last couple of months I’ve bumped into people with whom I have a loose link (a mum on the playground, a neighbour a couple of streets away, a local market stallholder, a friend of a friend) who have volunteered the information that they see me running around the area every day, month in, month out, and have felt inspired. It’s made them consider the possibility that running is an option, and must be enjoyable enough to make at least one person come back and do it again and again!
I haven’t really known what to do with that information.
I know my own process—how hard some runs are, how frustrating it can feel when I do the same route endlessly, and sometimes seem to have even become slower (let alone make the progress I’d like)! I know about the days when I back off and don’t push too hard, when I’ve let up and skipped the tougher parts of the workout. Or when I just haven’t felt like running at all.
And yet… the RATW challenge, and lots of events like it are there to give us a little nudge, to inspire us to try something which feels slightly out of reach. I don’t run every day to inspire anyone else, and until recently I wouldn’t have even believed it if you’d told me. I didn’t think anyone ever even noticed*.
But I do show up—for myself, for my own process, and now I’m beginning to understand that everyone who keeps on keeping on is showing up for everyone around them too.
So, I decided to keep talking about it from time to time on this platform as well. Along with the “I see you running…” comments, there are always questions: “How do you fit it in?”, “When did you start?”, “What do you need to begin?”, “When do you start to enjoy it?” 🤣
I’d really like to answer some of those. I’d love everyone to have the same positive experience as I have with running, and I’ve tried a few times to hammer out some ideas (Making it happen and Staying Keen are both previous posts which consider different elements of starting and staying running)—but the truth is, it’s different for everybody.
For what it’s worth, my top 3 golden rules are:
Make the decision: deciding the night before has always been key for me, in knowing I’ll get to run the next day—if you decide to do it, lots of the psychological / emotional effort is already done, and then you’re just following through on a commitment you already made. No sweat.
Get support: a partner who is totally on board with you running (or whatever sport you’re doing) removes so much stress from the process. You could try teaming up with a friend to swap childcare, or getting a lift to work so you can run home at the end of the day. Having a running buddy—either someone you actually run alongside, or who just cheers you on whilst they run solo somewhere else, via texts, FB or Strava—can make a huge difference in sustaining your motivation.
Know what you’re doing: I don’t mean becoming an elite athlete with a top coach, masseur and nutritionist (that would be nice, but let’s calm down). I just mean having a plan—maybe C25K, maybe a free training plan from a website, maybe a rule of thumb like running 3 times a week and yoga on a Friday, or maybe an event like the Run Things people are so brilliant at planning.
But here we all are, reading this post, and you probably have your own ideas, or maybe your own obstacles to tackle. If you’d like to start or increase your running, and you have a question—please ask it. And if you’ve got some experience to share, and can answer any of these questions—please do! Comment below, and let’s talk.
Let’s encourage each other. Let’s inspire each other! Let’s keep showing up.
* beyond my immediate family and friends, obviously—they can’t really avoid it😜
Running streak total today is 902 days, 3386 miles. #runeveryday