Why I Wanted To Start Running And You Should Too
I’m a recent convert to the joys of running, only really taking it (fairly) serious in the last year or so. In the past, I’ve done the odd run now and then but these were few and far between. So, what made me want to start running?
I have good friends who are heavily into running and take it and the training incredibly serious. Refusing to miss a single training session or miss out on achieving their given goal for the days running. Even turning down a session in the local, or worse still, instead of cowering in bed with a couple of paracetamol and a bacon sandwich, they’re out as the sun rises, trying to outrun any approaching hangover. They’ve tried many a time to get me to join the tribe. To discover the same highs that they do, but in all honesty, it just never interested me. I was too set in my sedentary lifestyle.
What do you do when life deals a bum hand?
Then at the tender age of 30, my whole world changed. After months spent living in constant pain, with severe diarrhoea and bleeding I was eventually diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. My whole world changed.
I spent the following years after my diagnosis struggling to come to terms with my newfound lifetime companion. Trying to adjust to not being able to eat certain things without making myself seriously ill. I felt like a lot of options that used to be taken for granted were swiped off the table right before my eyes.
Skip forward 6 years and I am more in tune with myself and my Crohn’s, I have a greater sense of who I am with this disease and have learned to accept that things are the way they are. I can either accept them and plan all the things I want to do and achieve, or I can sit and continue to ask why me?
Making major changes to my lifestyle to start running
One of the major changes I decided I wanted to make to my life was to get fit and healthy for once. I’ve never been what someone might describe as a fat lad, but since my twenties, I’ve always had a little bit of a gut. Plus I’ve never really felt like I was in good shape, or really felt good about my body at all. I guess these are hang-ups a lot of us have, men and women.
Getting fit and healthy is the way to go I thought, but how do I do this? I mean I have days where just getting out of bed is a major thing thanks to that F-word (not that one), Fatigue. This little bastard ruins many a day and is a major aspect of having IBD. I find this the hardest symptom of Crohn’s disease to deal with. For no reason whatsoever I will feel tired. I could have woken from a wonderful 10-hour slumber and yet, I will still feel tired. When fatigue strikes there doesn’t seem to be a thing you can do about it. I didn’t know how to start running with a purpose or if I could even keep it up.
The best advice from friends to start running
Seeking some advice I spoke to a couple of my friends who run, looking for tricks of the trade or just what the hell to do? Their advice was perfect and it’s the advice I would give to anybody wanting to do the same as me… Just get out there and do it!
You see, that’s the beauty of running, you don’t need any magic formulas, no expensive memberships to exclusive gyms, no special equipment to get you going. Just pull on a comfortable pair of trainers. Get out there on the street or in the park and get started.
Start easy and build it up over time. The important thing and the best advice I can give you is just to start. Give it a go. The first few times will hurt like hell and you’ll think no way can I do this, but trust me stick with it, it does get easier.
Every mile is an achievement
There’s a phrase I hear time and time again “miles in the bank” and it’s so true. Every mile you run is another mile you have achieved something. Another mile you can chalk up to experience. You’ve got up off the sofa and are out doing something positive.
Even when I’m feeling low, tired, ready to give up, finishing a run, even a short one, makes me feel ready to tackle life again. A little cliche I know, but true none the less.
The positive effects of starting to run
Running has such a positive effect on my mind as well. When I’m running my head feels clear, nothing seems a bother and it helps me put my Crohn’s disease into perspective. My anxiety levels are reduced and I feel de-stressed.
There is actually a little science behind this too. When we run our bodies release endorphins, which are like natural antidepressants, and these make us feel good.
I think I may be catching the running bug for real now. I actually look forward to the next time I can start running and blast out a few miles.
Setting running goals
I’m constantly setting myself new running goals and this year I achieved a major one of them. In September I ran the Great North Run, which had been an aim of mine for a long time now. I even managed to get within 1 minute of my goal time for completing the run. Running in support of Crohn’s and Colitis UK and raising some money for this great charity was another massive tick in the column of life done right.
Running makes me feel that I’m in control of my body again. Will it make me healthier? Only time will tell, but it makes me feel like I have a chance to be. And it does absolute wonders for my mental well being.
My advice to anyone who’s starting to consider taking up running, whether that’s the occasional weekend jog or wanting to take part in some organised runs, get out there and just do it. Start running, you won’t regret it.