I’ve never been more grateful to love running than right now. Since I began running 12 years ago, it’s always been there for me, through thick and thin, happy and sad. A lifeline to cling on to, a power source, a release. Running has helped me in so many ways. Now, when our backs are up against the wall with the Covid-19 pandemic, running is still there and thankfully we are still allowed to do it! I’ve been reflecting on if and how my relationship with running has changed during lockdown.
Here’s what I’ve discovered lockdown running to be so far:
A Leveller – The possibility that the government might ban me from going for a run has certainly made me consider how awful it would be to lose this privilege. I’ve always tried to maintain a gratitude for my ability to run but this has really brought it home. It’s made me thankful, made me consider others who can’t run and truly helped me to enjoy every second of every run.
A Reminder – Good health is not a given and lockdown running has been a reminder that I’m lucky to have it. Many I know have health conditions that are preventing them from being able to step outside, let alone run. It’s also a reminder to me of the importance of using running to keep me healthy and not just as an indulgence and hobby.
A Joy – There’s so much negativity around and although I’ve limited myself to two news updates a day, there’s still a continuous feeling that all is not right in the world. It is however ok to have moments where you feel happy. It’s alright to smile and laugh and feel positive. I’ve found this easiest when I’ve been out for a run, looking at the sun shining over a beautiful spring landscape. We need those happy hormones for our mental and physical health. Running has been a joy and a chance to smile at the world.
An Education – Spring running is always my favourite and seeing the seasons change is one of the reasons I love to run. The combination of planting some vegetables with the kids and wanting to soak up every second of my runs has made me tune into nature so much more than I normally would. Aided by my lovely friends Facebook posts where she’s been spotting and identifying all our local hedgerow plants, I’ve gained so much knowledge. I’ve learnt some new footpaths and routes too which have further opened my eyes to the beauty of the area I live in. I’ve also learnt that if you do an entire running-based online exercise session in bare feet, your calves hurt like mad the next day!
An Escape – I love being on my own generally and I work very happily from home anyway but suddenly having everyone home all the time means I’ve lost my solo deep work hours. My kids are old enough to sort themselves out with their home-schooling so there are snatches of time when we’re all occupied but there’s no quick sandwich at my desk, there’s no hours when the only noise is the dog pottering about and there’s no sudden hour of intense work when I realise it’s nearly school run time! Running is giving me solitude which is so important for me. I need the headspace, thinking time and creativity it gives me.
A Connector– A run through the village is giving me a chance to see that the world is still turning. I get to say hello to those I pass and to wave at others through the window. I get to see the Happy Birthday messages for the village children and the rainbows and posters in appreciation of key workers. Lockdown running has also connected me to members of 261 Fearless around the world. In the UK, our clubs have combined together for two virtual meetruns each week and I’ve also joined the global public meetrun on Thursdays. Sharing your lockdown running with women in Mumbai, Albania and Costa Rica has been an amazing experience.
An Opportunity– I’m not wanting to push myself by running for miles and risking a dip in my immunity, so short frequent runs seem to be the routine I’ve fallen in to. Coupled with the online exercise classes, I’m hoping that my neglected core strength will have improved by the end of this. I’m grateful for that change of routine, push to try new things and for the chance to reflect on how important running is to me.
Running is an essential for me. It’s consistent, reliable and a great friend to have. Whilst I miss running club and parkrun and the carefree attitude of running for miles and miles and finishing in a coffee shop, lockdown running is turning out to have lots of positives. I love it more than ever.
What does running mean to you at the moment? Has your relationship with it changed over recent weeks?
Featured Image: Gratisography. Others: drjulietmcgrattan.com