17 March 2009

Why running?

16 March 6 miles - 50:30 min Warm, sunny, very quiet - not a whiff of wind. Just the kind of day to contemplate...

Why running? Why do I run? What for?

You can never run away from yourself, your worries and things you have to do, but running as a physical activity is probably the closest you can get to it. Put on shoes, hit the road and as the blood starts pumping through your body you get that incredible feeling of lightness which is often described as ‘runner’s high’.

It’s a perfect me-time, when you run alone, or a wonderful social and family occasion, when you run with friends or when children join you. If you are not a runner you may not believe it, but if you are, you would know how much chatting and socialising goes on during a run.

Don’t forget your dogs - they love running and it’s good for their well-being too. There is even a recognised sport now - cani-cross, with clubs and federations in France and the UK. And if you are trying to cut your heating bill, remember that half an hour running will keep you feeling warm for the whole day.

Running is a vital activity to us humans. It started when a first hunter-gatherer had to escape a sabre-toothed tiger, but as a mass pastime running-jogging really took off in the 70-s, when physical work had become a rarity and heart disease made us into endangered species.

You don’t need to be Paula Radcliff or Usain Bolt. Just get a pair of well-cushioned trainers with good grip - and start at your own pace. If you do football or tennis, you have to win or lose. If you run, you don’t. Running is for pleasure and fitness. But as you stop noticing your breathing (after about two-three weeks of regular runs) and when your muscles tone you’d be tempted to take part in a formal race. In France you will need a certificat medical from your GP to be allowed to run in a race. It makes good sense to join a local running club. Good for networking, improving your French and clubs often offer discounts on race entry fees and employ professional trainers. I run with USM Athletisme Vire, but check your local list of associations to find a club nearest to you.

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