On running…

I was never excessively interested in any form of athletic endeavour as a child. I only really started running as something to do to get out of a student flat for an hour a few times a week – from the centre of Dundee over the Tay Road Bridge to the home soil of Fife and back. On arriving in Glasgow as an SHO, I started running the odd 10k and between times was just running on a treadmill but still nothing to write home about.

That changed in 2011 when I read “Born To Run” by Chris McDougall. It’s a book about a journalist’s quest to overcome injury, barefoot running and an ultra-marathon in Mexico. I devoured that book in 24h and decided that this was going to be my new thing. Having only ever run a competitive 10k, I entered a 40 mile race from Partick to New Lanark in July 2012 with a marathon sandwiched into my training plan. Since then I’ve run seven ultra-marathons (any race >26.2 miles) and squeezed training around work and family.

On 1st December 2015, I decided to start a daily running habit motivated by the annual Marcothon (essentially 5k/30 mins per day in December as per Marco Consani, Scottish ultra-runner and husband to the equally successful Debbie Martin-Consani who has the single best Twitter handle ever @ultrarunDMC). On the 1st January, I decided to carry on and maintain a running streak for 500 days simply to see if I was able.

My rules are simple:

  1. At least 1mile/10minutes per day – in reality, by the time I’ve got changed and out the door I never stop at 1 mile but knowing that I can allows me to trick my body out the door.
  2. Must be wearing trainers and some form of running clothing – running back from the pub in jeans and shoes doesn’t count.
  3. That’s it….

This daily habit has led to a number of benefits for me:

  1. I no longer have to decide IF I’ll run on a particular day, the only question is WHEN that will happen.
  2. I have dedicated time each day to think or not to think – I don’t “do mindfulness” so this is the closest I  get.
  3. I’ve not been ill – other than occasionally self induced…
  4. I’ve not been injured – permanent low grade aches but nothing bad enough to stop me running.
  5. I’ve slept much better (when the kids allow).
  6. My daily RunKeeper updates on Facebook have trimmed down my friends list very effectively.
  7. I’ve realised how fortunate I am to have a wife and life that permit me to do this.

My stopping point is now only 75 days away so we’ll see if that happens or not – I’ve got a couple of ultra-marathons booked in already this year so the running won’t stop, even if the daily habit does. But then maybe it won’t…..