I have spent much of the last couple of weeks thinking about running, but this is still strange territory for me. It’s about 18 months since I was encouraged to go outside by Ruth Field’s book ‘Run Fat B!tch Run’ and although there have been frustrating interludes of not running due to the icy roads or muscle strain, it does now seem to be something I do.
To revive my motivation after a break I started the ‘Couch to 5k‘Â programme which is thoroughly but steadily building up my fitness and stamina again. I come back in from my run feeling properly exercised but not exhausted. Also recently I’ve come across the website The Running Bug,Â which actually does relate all abilities. The cheery community on the forums are full of mutual encouragement and I was given a warm welcome when I signed in. The website name hasÂ made me realise that running is like a bug. It just gets into your system and whether you’re doing it or not, the run is always there at the back of your mind.
I can see now that although it’s hardly Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky,Â even my small achievements have a support group.Â There’s the lovely Alison Hannigan, a McTimoney chiropractor who every so often re-aligns my bones and helps to repair the recalcitrant muscles. And even my hairdresser – no really, he’s an Iron Man competitor and actually did the Decaman in 2012Â – is a terrific source of good information about best practice in stretches and so on.Â The family consistently ask after my progress and that’s another factor which keeps me going – I don’t want to have to admit to lapsing back into lethargy.
So now as I make my way round my chosen 5k circuit I mentally report in and hold conversations with imaginary running buddies. I couldn’t contemplateÂ actuallyÂ running with someone else because my pace is too snail-like and the real conversation would be distinctly monosyllabic. But this week I have astonished myself by signing up for a ‘Bug Running Day’ on 8 September. At 9:30am bugs all over the country and beyond will be lacing up their trainers and heading out for 20 minutes for a real outing with virtual running mates. I know I’ll be in good company – and I still won’t have to talk to anyone.