Sunday, 29 January 2017

Introducing the "Why I love..." Series: Running



A lot of people hate running. I absolutely love it. I'm not amazing by any stretch of the imagination, but I can run, and I love doing so.

I love knowing that because I've included running in my fitness regime for a number of years now, I wouldn't be phased if someone said I was running a half marathon tomorrow (a marathon would be a completely different story, FYI).

I've written about running a few times on here before (a few links here , here and here if you fancy it!), but wanted to talk about the main reasons I'm a huge advocate of it, and why I genuinely enjoy putting on my trainers and getting out to run.

If you categorically despise running, are new to it, or literally love it like I do, I hope that this post inspires you to get out and run, no matter how small the distance. The endorphin's will thank you!

So, why do I love running?

Taking my cardio to Thailand...
Me Time

For me, going on a run is a place where I can focus on myself. I used to run a lot with friends, and maybe every other week James and I will run together but more often than not, it's just me.

This gives me time to be with just myself to gather my thoughts. It doesn't always feel like a conscious decision either - even if I've gone for a run with nothing specifically 'on my mind', I come back feeling clearer, refreshed and more focused (even if that focus gets directed to sitting on the sofa for the rest of the afternoon watching Netflix).

It also gets me out of the house and spares me from having that 'cooped up', restless feeling I can sometimes get if I've not got much planned over a weekend.

I used to be an avid music listener when running, creating playlists that reflected different routes etc, but I found that after a few years I'd get so used to knowing how many miles in I was depending on the song, and that bugged me.

Now, I mainly listen to Podcasts. I find it such a good way to listen to something without being distracted (I don't know about you but even when I'm watching something really interesting on TV my phone always sneaks a way into my hand and distracts me...), and I feel like I'm learning something new, rather than just the same old songs. Some of my favourite podcasts include: TED Talks, TED Radio Hour, The Inquiry, Serial and My Dad Wrote A Porno (funniest audio yet.. try listening to it and running - laughing whilst running makes you look mad.)

Clear My Head

Following on from that, I think this deserves it's own section as I really do find that running massively helps with stress relief. When I go on a run, 'something' just clicks and puts everything into perspective, which allows me to clear the 'fuzz' in my head and prioritise things that need to be done. I can literally run off stress, which never ceases to amaze me.

10k in Cornwall

Explore

I love being on holiday and getting out for a run in the mornings to explore my new temporary home. I know for a lot of people running on holiday would be seen as an absolute chore but I really, really love it. I find it such a great way to explore new surroundings and run on different ground, whether that be in the countryside, on a beach or a new city.

Running to explore Barcelona
Running in the Algarve
Running along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice

Portuguese running

Portuguese Running

Fitness Levels

I love running because it keeps my general cardiovascular fitness in tact, allowing my body to consistently perform and keeps me fit. It's a great weight loss 'tool' and has 100% been behind the weight loss I've seen on myself.

For me, running is my 'bread and butter' exercise, along with HIIT training, circuits and cheeky resistance workouts. I know that I need to incorporate more stretching in to my routines, and I'm working on this (via yoga...) for this year.

Movember 10k

Free 

Aside from the cost of your kit, running is absolutely FREE. No memberships or contracts, just yourself and the terrain you choose to run on. That's one thing I massively respect about Parkrun. It's a free 5k run that happens in hundreds of parks all over the UK every Saturday morning at 9am.

I've done it in Bristol, Manchester, York, Sheffield & Keswick and think it's an amazing way to get the community into running. The atmosphere is incredible and really psyches you up - hats off to the incredible volunteers who give up their Saturday to make it possible for us. Parkrun definitely inspired my parents to get back into running, so much so that we were 'that' family who ran 5k all together on CHRISTMAS DAY. I can't express how unlike our family that was, and if you'd have told me that a year / two years ago I wouldn't have believed that we would've done it. But there we are.

Who would've thought this was MANCHESTER?

ENDORPHINS

I cannot stress enough how powerful post-run endorphins are. That wash of happiness as you hit 'end workout' on your running app, or come to a stop when you've hit your mile marker, is one of the best feelings in the world. The sense of accomplishment is immense (which is only heightened if you do this in the rain, hangover free on a Saturday when most people are still in bed..!). Seriously though, I love how good it makes me feel.

Buttermere Lake

Treadmill or Outdoors?


As you've probably guessed from the rest of this post, I'm a huge fan of running outdoors. I find running on a treadmill S-O- B-O-R-I-N-G and dull; I constantly look at the clock and find myself wishing the time away, something I never do when I'm outside (mainly because I'm so nosy at everything going on around me).


That being said, I absolutely loveee doing sprints on the treadmill. I try and do one or two sessions a week where I'm running at full speed (around 17.5kph at the moment) for 45 seconds, then 30 seconds rest, and do that for 20 minutes. I find the speed so invigorating, and a perfect way to shake the stress of a day away, release steam and feel really really powerful.

Running outside in Cornwall
The 'Why I love...' series is something I've started here as a way to share my personal highlights and favourites of particular things- at the moment I'm keeping it to exercise but might do food and just general healthy lifestyle posts too...
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