Wednesday, 31 July 2013

I do Run Run Run, I do Run Run

Although I have re-kindled my love of open water swimming this Summer (read here) running remains this strange obsession, like something I can't live without and something I often go to sleep thinking about or looking forward to it. 

I have been running for about 10 months now and I am truly reaping the benefits of regular running.  I have never felt so fit, so energetic, so well and so toned.  I don't run in order to feel better the rest of the time, I run because I enjoy *doing* running and enjoy the way I feel afterwards.  I run because it makes life good, it gives me thinking space and time out from thinking.  It helps me function properly.  I have a fairly poor attention span and soon give up on things which don't give me enjoyment; I am not driven by results if I am not enjoying what I am doing to get results.

I have watched quite a few friends take up running this year and it seems clear to me that a few of them haven't enjoyed running, but keep at it for the fitness/weight loss benefits.  I really couldn't do this, I have learnt from my own experiences with trying other activities on my journey to fitness, that I need to feel the endorphins flowing and the activity needs to make me happy, or I will simply quit.

I conclude from this, quite simply, that I am a runner!  I am not the fastest, nor the fittest, nor am I competitive and I have yet to enter any running events/races.  But running is part of me, it makes me happy, it makes me feel good and I couldn't contemplate (ever!) not running.  I have tried to compare it to open water swimming, but I can't.  Swimming is something which makes me feel like an adrenalin junkie after a big adrenalin hit.  I would feel exhausted if I did it all the time, the the times I do it are fabulous and I spend a lot of time afterwards revisiting my swim, re-living it and loving every moment again.  I don't swim over the winter (with the exception of pool swimming which doesn't count!), and I can see for some people who swim in open water year round, they *need* to swim, just as I *need* to run.  I LOVE swimming, I really do.  But running is what I do.

So as the Spring has changed to Summer, I have run through many more weather extremes as the temperature has risen.  I have taken to the hot Summer runs rather well.  I struggled with my hydration at first, and suffered from headaches as a result of dehydration, which lasted all day, and sometimes left me feeling like I had a hangover if I had run in the evening.  But I have learnt more about my body's needs now and I have acclimatised over the last few months and I love running in the heat, it makes me feel well oiled and strong.  Since the end of June, the temperature has been very high, so I have limited my running distances to 5 miles, to ensure I don't dehydrate.  I carry water with me, but I am not great at drinking it and I have no desire to carry a large bottle (I use a 250ml bottle), so a 5 mile run means I can stay on top of dehydration.  I am running three times per week on a regular basis and I am close to running 50 miles this month, which I have been trying to reach since March.  (It's the last day of July today, and my mileage is at 46.4miles.  So if I do a 4.6 mile run tonight, I will have reached my 50 mile per month target at long last!)  So my shorter distances haven't affected the amount of miles I have been covering.  If anything, I feel stronger for doing shorter, more regular runs. 

I did manage to cover a 9 mile distance though before the weather for really warm.  I still have 10 miles in my sights, and I am hoping I will be able to up my distance again quite easily once things cool down and I am not sweating quite as much!

I bought a pair of Xero shoes last month too, which are very much minimalist/barefoot/barely there shoes and hugely encourage natural foot placement.  I have yet to run in them - in fact not sure I will as I am still working on getting them secure enough on my feet.  But I practically live in them the rest of the time and I may attempt a beach run in them while we are away.  So, I am still waxing lyrical about barefoot running to anyone who might care to listen although I tend to think less about my technique these days (good? Bad?  Not sure!)

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