On Finally GETTING Running

running gear

My relationship with running has been very off-and-on. Back when I was at uni, I was first introduced to the concept of running by my friend Cath, and together we would strap on our trainers, do a few circuits of the park and then copy some exercises from a feature in Zest magazine that she’d ripped out and kept. You know, the kind of feature where they recommend you get some cans of baked beans from the kitchen to use as weights, while you lunge.

But if I’m honest, I was kind of just doing the running (actually, the exercise) because my friend was, and also probably because I had a nagging voice in my head telling me that, at size 14, I was a bit fat.

Then, through my 20s, I dabbled a bit more with running – the genius thing about it, of course, when you’re on a small salary and most of it goes on your extortionate rent, is that running is free. I did a few 5k charity races. Some friends went onto do 10k and one even did the New York marathon, to which my reaction was ‘Are you absolutely MAD?’

But it’s only now, age 37, that I can say “Oh right! NOW I get it. I understand running.” And it’s because for the first time in my life, I’m not running because I want to lose weight.

As soon as I do anything in order to lose weight, it’s like my brain goes into sabotage mode. It’s like a combination of indignant “As if I need to lose weight! I’m perfectly lovely the way I am. Honestly, there is more to someone that how they look!” and a complete lack of self-restraint, meaning ALL I WANT TO DO is eat all the cakes and sit on the sofa.

But just over a month ago, I started running again, not to lose weight but to see if it would boost my mood. Everyone knows what they say about running making your body release endorphins, and thanks to the hormone-related anxiety and depression which hits me for around 10 days every month, I was in need of something to help. And guess what, those clever scientists and experts are only bloody right.

When I go for a run, I feel so much better. Even on days when I feel fine before the run! Those lovely endorphins wash over me and stay with me for the best part of the day. I now find myself actually wanting to go for a run. This is a whole new thing for me. Running was always something that I had to force myself to do, and inevitably, something I’d stop doing after a while, and then feel guilty about it all.

5 weeks after my life-changing discovery (hey, allow me to be a bit dramatic here) and my love affair with running is still going strong. I’ve bought myself some proper running leggings and an armband for my phone. I save up the Woman’s Hour podcasts to listen to, while I run – so not only am I helping my body and mind by running, but intelligent thoughts actually transfer into my brain via osmosis thanks to Jane, Jenny and co.

This morning, I ran 3.9km without stopping (top tip for new runners: always calculate your distance in km rather than miles, as it sounds like you’ve run much further). 3.9km might not sound like much to you, but to me, it’s significant. It means that I feel fantastic today – just watch me tick off all the things on my To Do list…

Alison Perry desk

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10 Comments

  1. March 10, 2016 / 1:41 pm

    Okay. So now your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to teach me how to GET running. I should try this. I have a messy head and, admittedly, a wobbly bottom. I feel both could be rectified, post-baby obvs, with running. Go you Al, you little road-runner with your lovely pink trainers! I think it’s such a hard thing to start, so I’m impressed. And also a bit jel. xx
    Charlotte – Write Like No One’s Watching recently posted…Please Don’t Grow Up. Why don’t you check it out?My Profile

  2. March 10, 2016 / 1:48 pm

    Well done. I really got in to running a few years ago. I am going to be attempting to get back into it post op next month. Hope you continue to feel motivated 🙂

  3. March 10, 2016 / 1:52 pm

    Love the blog as always.

    Running and being a writer seem to go together well — frees up the mind. I used NHS couch to 5k to get started. xxx

  4. March 10, 2016 / 8:20 pm

    I get running too now, and although I only ever o out for half an hour and pretty much run a bitm walk a bit, repeat – I feel so much better afterwards and my only problem is finding the time to go x
    Donna recently posted…Room 101: Blogging. Why don’t you check it out?My Profile

  5. March 10, 2016 / 10:11 pm

    So nice to find something just because it brings you joy. Much easier to stick to it then! I can’t run but need to try something if it helps with the to do list! X
    Laura @Little Ladies Big World recently posted…Our Gender Announcement Video!. Why don’t you check it out?My Profile

  6. March 10, 2016 / 11:42 pm

    Well done! I love running when I actually do it! My problem is getting out there in the first place. I’ve not been since Christmas and now with Danny’s next op looming over us I can’t see me getting out there until April, but I know I’ll feel so much better when I do. Thanks for the inspiration x

  7. March 11, 2016 / 10:01 am

    Love this Alison!
    This bit –
    As soon as I do anything in order to lose weight, it’s like my brain goes into sabotage mode. It’s like a combination of indignant “As if I need to lose weight! I’m perfectly lovely the way I am. Honestly, there is more to someone that how they look!” and a complete lack of self-restraint, meaning ALL I WANT TO DO is eat all the cakes and sit on the sofa.
    Is exactly my mentality too!
    I’ve recently joined our local gym to improve my fitness and I’m actually really enjoying it! Never thought I’ve ever say that! xx

  8. March 14, 2016 / 9:03 pm

    This is SO uplifting to read lovely, and big *high five* to you! I’ve recently really got back into exercise, including running, and it feels so good, totally getting the ‘high’ feeling and mood elevator xx

  9. March 17, 2016 / 9:11 am

    fab that you have started running again, this is a thing I need to start, like you I used to run and do the home exercises whilst laughing with a friend trying to achieve those perfect results using the baked beans or custard tins. Shame we don’t live closer could of exercised together, nothing better than running with a another person to keep you motivated!!

  10. March 18, 2016 / 5:41 pm

    Right you’ve inspired me to get back on track. I’ve had a few months off and I struggle every morning to make myself go. But you’re right, once you get to grips with it you actually WANT to go running, I remember that feeling. Tomorrow!

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