Summer. It’s a perfect time for lots of outdoor running but it’s also the season of beer gardens, drinks after work, boozy lunches and sipping wine on the terrace. I think I need to find a way to combine the two. Now I don’t mean drink while I run because that’s not exactly healthy and may end badly. The thing is lately I’ve been a bit lazy with my running. My focus seems to have shifted a little too much to the joys of eating and drinking and there are just so many joys.
So having hit my goals with the Wexford Half Marathon back in April I once again slipped into being a bit lazy and neglecting my running. Apparently my legs seem well able to remember how to run but my will power has a bit more trouble remembering how to lace my trainers and hit the road.
Sometimes I need to remind myself again about the benefits of running and why I started in the first place. So here’s a quick recap of why I run.
1: It Clears My Mind: The feeling you get when you are running is just amazing. I usually run to music. It helps me clear my mind. I start off at a steady pace and after about 1k I find my mind has stopped racing. The only thing that is racing are my legs. Everything else is left behind and I have a feeling of calm. Sometimes if I’m a bit tired I set myself small goals along the way. I’ll pick a point in the distance and tell myself I’ll run to that. As soon as I reach it, I pick another and keep going. If I hit a hill I might switch to a more upbeat song and I find it pushes me on. Running = calm.
2: It’s Free: Like a lot of people I am a member of a gym. Like a lot of people I pay a monthly membership and never go. Will I continue to do this, probably. Luckily for me it’s only about €20 a month so I can live with that. Running on a threadmill is beyond boring. Apart from that, in my opinion the threadmill does half the work for you anyway. Lacing up a pair of trainers and stepping outside the front door does not cost anything. Sure you need a pair of trainers with at least a decent level of support in them but they don’t need to cost you a fortune. Running = free.
3: The Feeling After: I absolutely love the feeling I get after a run. Sometimes my legs will feel a little stiff or a little tender, depending on how regularly I have been training. Sometimes they have that nice toned/tight feeling which makes you keep flexing your leg muscles with a smug grin. I feel healthy. I feel awake. I feel energised. I sleep better. Who doesn’t want to feel all that especially when it’s free. Running = feeling great.
4: Competition: A bit of competition is healthy, whether it’s just with yourself or with others. Any time I enter a competitve race regardless of whether it is a 5k a 10k or a half marathon I try to improve how I perfromed previously. If I happen to be running the same race with someone else then the competition level kicks up a notch and some racing rivalry creeps in. It’s actually great fun and spurs me on a bit more. Running = striving to improve.
5: Goodbye Belly: As I mentioned I am a member of a gym and my visits are not exactly regular. I should go more often and dedicate time to the other parts of my body but thats another conversation entirely. What I love about running is the fact that results kind of creep up on you. When I started I had a bit (a lot) of belly going on. It didn’t disappear after one run. I didn’t disappear after 20 runs, but it did start to gradually get smaller. For my own vanity I took some before and after shots. It was probably about six weeks into running that I really started to notice the differance. My jeans weren’t quite so tight. My tshirts fit a bit better. The mid 30’s spread of my waistline had stopped. When you notice that it encourages you even more. Anytime I get a bit lazy with my running I dig out my before and after photo’s and they give me the kick I need to start again. Running = goodbye belly.
The pictures below are my before and after shots. The belly is clearly evident for all to see. The pictures were taken probably about 2 months apart. Like I said it doesn’t just disappear overnight you have to work on it. When I get lazy I look at the guy on the right and it reminds me very quickly of one of the reasons why I run.