Here’s the thing, during this Covid-19 Lockdown I’ve started to do a few things that have escaped me “because I didn’t have the time.” I’ve not gone crazy and filled my days completely with online courses and streaming TV shows, although I have done some of that.  I’ve done some household chores, decorating, and gone back to doing daily yoga (yay!) and to be perfectly honest: I am really enjoying having evenings again and catching up on some TV series that I’ve not had time to watch.

The biggest change is one I’ve toyed with for many years, and to be honest never thought I’d do: I’ve started to run/jog.

I have less than pleasurable memories of Cross Country Running at school, where on days when it was too miserable even to play Rugby we were sent to runthrough cold, wet, muddy fields.  Not the most pleasant of experiences.  Although I will also say that I did start attending the Cross Country Running club at school, and did it voluntarily, but that was more so we could go on a Cycling Trip to Holland, and I did end up representing my school at a Cross Country Race (I didn’t do very well).  I have always said that I don’t enjoy it.

Many of my wonderful clients have told me about how beneficial they find it for both their health and also their mental well-being.  I can get that, but I’ve never managed to get to the stage where I see the pleasure in the running: I’m still cuaght up with the agony.  However, with the time on my hands given to me by the Lockdown, and to get some cardio exercise I have started a Couch to 5k app.

So far I’ve done two weeks and one day, and I wouldn’t say I enjoy it yet, but I have had a couple of moments when it seemed good.  I have started as if I am a complete beginner, partly because I am, but also because I need to build up to things slowly and I’m really not as cardiovascularly fit as I probably ought to be.

Things I have learnt so far:

  • Having music on your phone to run to is good (Hello Spotify, we meet at last).
  • I don’t mind just having a robotic female voice telling me to “Run for 90 seconds”, “Walk for 90 seconds”, “Well done”
  • Most of my yoga shorts don’t have pockets, and most don’t have zips on them.  Zips on pockets are good: means I don’t worry about my keys or phone getting lost.
  • I’m not as bad at it as I’ve claimed or thought (so far)
  • I’ve even been getting up and going running first thing in the morning.  Some of it is to avoid the crowds, and the heat of later in the day.
  • Whilst the Walthamstow Marshes is a lovely space to run, you have to contend with running through clouds of midges. Hence the sunglasses and makeshift filter using a snood.
  • Running through the Marshes tempts me to stop and see what the Twitchers/Birders are looking at with their telephoto lenses, which would be worse if I ran through the neighbouring Walthamstow Wetlands.
  • I am doing the fore foot running thing, mainly because the only running shoes I have are the trail shoes I use for work (with a nice wide box for my toes) and they aren’t that padded for heel strikes.  

And the weirdest thing is that I dreamt I attended my first parkrun the other night.  I was slightly worried to find out that in my dream parkrun was this cultish thing that started out in a village hall with everyone sitting at tables to listen to the indoctrination speech.  I have been assured by friends who actually do parkrun that this is not the case, they also told me that parkrun is “all one word, all lower case” as I spelled it wrong.

Anyhoo, we shall see how I cope with this, and how I get on, and whether I will ever get to understand the zen like meditative qualities of running.

Thanks for reading this, and if you see a snood and sunglasses wearing runner on the Walthamstow Marshes, it might be me.