Andy Hawthorne

Andy Hawthorne

Projects, photos and running

13 Jun 2020

One thing I know about running

Reading time: 3 minute(s) - 500 words

Running makes you feel good. Now you are thinking: is that it? Move on. But before you do, keep this in mind: you need to understand why running makes you feel good.

There are loads of ways to keep fit. And there are loads of ways to help you lose weight. Running is one of them. But not the only one.

Keeping fit and keeping your weight under control are good reasons to run. But, other forms of exercise will do that for you. Running adds something else.

Taking part in running events is great fun and a good challenge. But joining your local five-a-side team or your local ramblers club, will give you a similar sense of community and shared endeavour. Running adds something more.

Choosing your favourite running kit is an added nicety. There’s loads of nice kit you can buy. But then choosing a new bicycle and associated gear is also good fun. But with running, you get something more.

I realised these things quite soon after a started running. In those days, I was trying other things. I bought a bike and enjoyed cycling as an alternative way to stay fit.

My wife and I love walking the fells of the Lake District. Or along the coastal paths of Dorset. We’ve walked for miles along the canal paths of the Midlands.

But all those things have complications. Your bike can go wrong. You have to have it prepared and ready before you go out. You ought to wear a cycling helmet, the traffic is dangerous etc.

Walking is good exercise. But when you live in an urban area it’s boring as hell. Which means you need to travel to nice places. You can’t always do that.

With running, there are none of those things to worry about. Going for a run? Pull on the shorts and trainers and off you go.

Even the most gritty urban streets are good for running. There might be straight bits for repeats, inclines for hill sprints or streets you can use for tempo laps.

All that is complex and subjective. I started out by saying I knew one thing about running. That it makes you feel good.

And so it does. In a way that nothing else does. I’ve been in pain, bleeding (from passing too close to a branch out on the trails) and physically exhausted. But I still love the way running makes me feel.

I’ve tried to find the right word, one word to describe it. The first one I hit on was serene. Because running calms me down. Then I realised that the verb form of calm is better:

Going for a run will calm me down

And there it is. You can set off with a head full of worries. But by the end of the run, your mind will be clear. You’ll be invigorated and you’ll feel calm.

That’s one thing I know about running.

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