"I always loved running...it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs." - Jess Owens
I went running today. Nothing unusual in that. I took my 9 month old daughter in her very un-aerodynamic buggy despite been told not to by her mother. Nothing unusual in the latter part of that, but I’d never taken her running with me before. I knew i wouldn’t get a chance later on in the day, so I decided to go for it. Everything turned out just fine.
Sometimes I just have to run. I’m not particularly quick, and I don’t always go very far but I do love to run. If scientists could come up with some kind of pill that contained all the benefits that running brings into my life then I guess this afternoon would have been the perfect time for me to take it. It would have been far more convenient, taken less effort, and given me a greater amount of time to get the things done I needed to do.
This pill would have had a lot of work to do though.
It would need to give me lots more energy – I feel so much more alert and alive after I’ve run . If I haven’t been out for a few days I start to feel lethargic and lazy.
It would need to make my head clearer – I always get back feeling better mentally and ready to take on the world once more, the run having blown away all the cobwebs away.
It would need to give me a sense of accomplishment – If I’ve had a frustrating day and not really achieved anything I know that if i go for a run, I’ve done at least one thing that day that’s productive.
It would need to stop me feeling guilty when I indulge – Great for someone with a sweet tooth like mine. If I have a chocolate bar or ice cream I don’t feel guilty eating it. I’ve earnt it if I've run.
It would need to give me time to think – When I run there are no phones, computers or other distractions and for a while I'm free to let my mind wander. I find I get lots of my best ideas when I run.
It would need to help me with any angst I have – Because I feel better, I view any problems I have with a bit more perspective when I’ve run. I always feel more relaxed when I get back and in a better place to deal with them.
It would need to encourage me to explore and find new places – You see the world from a different perspective when you run. You go down different paths and you're much more aware of your surroundings than when you're in a car. I notice things I've never noticed before and discover new routes occasionally that i never new existed before.
Finally, obviously this wonder pill would also need to keep me fit and healthy.
Quite a lot to ask of a pill I think, and as much as it would have been convenient today it just would not have been the same as actually lacing up my shoes and getting out. Running is all about the the sweat, the rain in your face, the pain, the hills, the mud, the barking dogs and the mind games you play with yourself en route. It's one of those things in life that you truly get back from it what you put into it. That’s why I love it and that's why i hope to keep on finding opportunities to run for a long time to come.