Why I Run

Why I Run

I’m in the spotlight today as part of Kristy from Runaway Bridal Planner‘s Blog Hop. So hello to all my new readers! My blog is about running, with occasional forays into recipes and reviews. I like to write about my training for events as it keeps me focussed and hopefully will help other people who are training for similar events. I like to write race reviews in case anyone else is thinking about entering the races and I do love reading reviews myself. They often give you a heads up on things to watch out for in a race that the official description might not mention. If I share recipes, food or review products they are always vegan as I have been vegan for over 20 years.

Today I thought I’d write about why I run and see if any of you share my reasons.

Running keeps me fit

The whole reason I started running was because of fitness. I’ve never been into sports, I never ran at school, but I have always been active. I was in a 1960s dance troupe called The Actionettes for over 10 years and I used to go to regular swing and R&B nights (the proper sort of swing and R&B from the 1940s and 50s) before I moved to the countryside. Unfortunately in my little village there aren’t many opportunities to go dancing.

Dancing with the Actionettes
Dancing with the Actionettes

And then I learnt to drive. As I was born and raised in London I never needed to drive, there was plenty of public transport to get you from A to B, and most of it ran through the night. When I moved to my little village my public transport options were drastically cut, so I thought I better learn to drive. Once I passed my test I was driving everywhere and walking less and less. Which meant I was getting unfit and putting on an inch or two.

So I started running. At first I wasn’t sure if I would like it and I never imagined I’d still be running almost 2 years later, but here I am. Fitter than I was and really enjoying running!

Being social

Running can be a solitary activity but for me it’s a very social one. About 5 months after starting to run I joined not one but two running clubs. Joining the clubs has not only made me a better runner but I have made some good friends along the way. This summer I’ve had some fantastic runs with friends and with my mum. We’ve been to new places, we’ve run in the sunshine and got soaked in the pouring rain.

Yes, that is a man playing a ukulele helping us warm up
Yes, the man in the middle is playing a ukulele to help us warm up

There is a fantastic community of runners. Whether it is at a club, during weekly parkruns, for meetups, in online chats (#ukrunchat on Twitter is fun), Facebook groups or just chatting to people during races, there is always a friendly face, a warm welcome and sometimes cake.

Running is infectious

A few weeks after I started to run so did my mum. She thought if I could run maybe she should give it a go. I’ve since run 7 races with her, including her first 10 mile race back in October. My dad has also joined us running, I ran my first 10k with him in July 2014 and he joined me and my mum for another 3 races.

Come back mum, honestly it won't be that bad!
Come back mum, honestly it won’t be that bad!

I’ve got my friends running and people at work running, I’ve even started a lunchtime running club at work. I’ve also lead a Start to Run course which finished last week. I was so proud to run with the participants as they completed their first 5k. 

I’m a nature lover

I love running off road or on trails. I’m lucky enough to run in some beautiful and varied countryside. Woods, fields, canals, lakes and hills. Being outdoors surrounded by nature is just wonderful. I’ve seen hares, red kites, voles and weasels when I’ve been running and I live in hope of seeing a badger. I even get to do some foraging and have come home from runs with bags of peas, apples and blackberries.

A bleak and frost morning. Perfect for a run!
A bleak and frosty morning. Perfect for a run!

I run throughout the year so I get to see the changes of the season, from frost on trees and spider webs, to summer fields full of hay. The changes mean it’s never boring running the same route, there is always something new to see.

I get to explore

Whether it is new streets and alleyways in towns or new footpaths and trails in the fields running makes me an explorer. Some runs I’ll just go where I fancy, I’ll spot a gap in the hedge and see where it takes me. Even getting hopelessly lost over the summer when I couldn’t find the footpath was fun, eventually.

A arch and style in the hedge
I wonder where this leads…

I love signing up to races in new areas. If I hadn’t ran Trailffest this year I would never have seen the stunning mountains, lakes, waterfalls and slate paths that I did. And if I hadn’t ran the Ricky Road Run I would never have known how close the town is to some rather splendid commons.

I get to win

I’ll admit it, I do love running for pleasure but I also like the challenge of setting myself a target and winning. Of course, when I say I get to win I don’t mean I come first, I’m not sure I would ever be fast enough to be the first to cross the finish line. What I mean is I win for me.

What I like about running is that I am never competing against anyone but myself. I can set myself a goal and I can work really hard to get there, and sometimes I might just make it.

Medals from my first year of running
Medals from my first year of running

In the spring I set myself the target of getting my 5k time down to 26 minutes. I worked really hard for 8 weeks with lots of speed work, hill sessions and tempo runs. When it came to my target race I ran it hard and crossed the line in 26 minutes 37 seconds, a whole 2 minutes off my time from the same race last year. That was definitely a win for me.

Do you have similar reasons for running as me? If you don’t run, what do you love about your favourite workout or exercise?

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