I Really Dislike Running – This is Why I Run
When I first spoke to Ben from Run Leeds he asked me a simple question.
Why do you like running?” “Like running?” I answered, “Why would anyone run for pleasure?
I gave him a wry smile. Now do not get me wrong, I consider myself a sportsman. I am the proprietor of an activity brand which encourages all things of a sporting nature. I have played all kinds of sports in my time and I actually now run up to 4 times a week. At 44 years of age though my attitude to sport has changed. Participation is of paramount importance to me. Not just for me, but for everyone, no matter what their ability, gender or life class. But running? Come on? I have got to be honest, I am not keen. In fact, I dislike it with a passion. So why do it?
I have struggled through my life with confidence, negativity, procrastination, weight, mental health and depression. I have surrounded myself with the wrong people who have convinced me I cannot do things. I have lots of family and friends and even though these people probably think they know me, what they do not know is that I have felt very alone most of the time. My business has stagnated and failed on numerous occasions and I have never received the guidance and support required to take it to the level I think it can achieve. It has been tough and I was a quitter.
Thankfully now, I do not quit at anything. This is down to running. One of my therapists once told me that my biggest problem was ‘a lack of persistence’ and that I needed to conquer it before I could move even an inch further forward with my life. She set me a task.
Find something you physically, mentally and periodically DO NOT like doing (but… you know you are capable of doing) and simply, DO IT forever if need be
The only thing I could think of was running. I hated it with a passion. The thought of it, doing it, people seeing me do it, everything. So, with determination, I set myself a task. Run twice a week, minimum at a distance of 5k and DO IT forever. I thought to myself if I can persist with this (a most personal grotesque of pastimes) regularly I can persist with anything. It was very tough at first and to be quite honest it is still tough (nearly 5 years down the line and I am still a long way from accomplishing my life’s ambitions) but I’m on my way.
My schedule started like this – 5k on a Sunday evening and 5k on a Tuesday evening, both starting at 9pm sharp – I was embarrassed about running and this time suited me, nobody about to see you if you get my drift. I would stick to this routine religiously in the knowledge that if I didn’t I was only cheating myself and my persistence test and thus my lifetime ambitions would be over.
Now when I run, I run hard, giving 110% and it hurts. If ever I’m running and someone is in the vicinity they always hear me coming. I sweat a pint of blood with every step, both physically and mentally. Now, five Kilometres is a long way (to me) and if I run fast, it hurts my chest and lungs. On the flip-side if I run slowly it hurts my joints and if I do something in-between it hurts everything. But, more crucially, if I don’t give the run the respect it deserves, it hurts my mental state and this is hard to deal with. My mental state was what had caused me to quit on all the things in my life.
I would constantly ask myself, “Why are you doing this?” “It is too hard” and this would cause me to quit. Then one day, quite a way down the line from my initial start, I stumbled mentally and then immediately made huge strides
Run days were painful for me. All day on run day I knew that I had to go out that evening at nine and it terrorised me all day – I hated it! It built up all day long, niggling away at me. This one day it was cold, it was wet and the weather didn’t let up all day. The rain was rattling the window and at 9pm I just didn’t go running. I felt terrible. I was a failure again and my dream had faded. I didn’t sleep much that night and just fretted about what I had done.
I woke very early the next morning, probably around six. The rain was still lashing and the bed was warm. I looked across the room and noticed my running kit tidily folded and unused. My heart sank. I had beaten myself. Then, without thinking I jumped up, slung my kit on, tied up my laces and was out of the door in less than two minutes, running for my life. The run was just as painful, but the mental pressure I had felt previously just disappeared on that morning – I believe this was my first breakthrough! No longer did I torture myself mentally after that and it didn’t even stop me running in the evening. It just stopped me suffering mentally. As long as I did my two 5k runs a week it didn’t matter when I did them. What mattered was I HAD persisted.
Persistence, is now a massive part of my life. It has slipped into everything I do daily. It doesn’t always come easy, but I always keep going. I very rarely procrastinate and I am mentally prepared to fight the battle which gives me enough optimism to move forward.
I know I’m not out of the woods yet. I also know I have barely scratched the surface of fulfilling my dreams. But, I believe I will fulfill them and that is a wonderful thing and I believe that wonderful thing is all down to my dislike of running
Now, I run up to four times a week. I run with groups and I have made some dear friends. In fact I’ve made more GOOD friends through running in the last five years than in 32 years of constantly playing football. I would probably go as far as saying I don’t dislike it anymore…
… ok, well maybe not.
Whatever your activity, lift a finger and feel inspired: http://runleeds.co.uk/r/liftafinger/