I hate exercise. You probably all know this by now, if you’ve been reading this blog on any kind of regular basis.
(And no, it’s not that I “just haven’t found the right thing!” It’s that I’m lazy. I mean, let’s not kid ourselves here.)
Although I’m trying to go easy on the new year’s resolutions, however, I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s starting the new year with the thought that they should probably get off their ass once in a while and actually, you know, DO SOMETHING. Anything, really. (And no, walking to and from the fridge doesn’t count, unfortunately, so matter how many times you do it…) For me, that thing is running.
I’ve been running for around five years now: not CONSTANTLY, obviously. I mean, that would be SUPER weird, and would probably set some kind of record. I’ve not even been running consistently either, if we’re being honest: it’s not like I have a set routine and I never miss a workout or anything like that, and I’ll be the first to admit that there are times when my running shoes don’t leave the closet for days on end. Many, many days on end, actually.
Still, despite all of this, running remains my
punishment exercise of choice. I’ve tried all kinds of different workouts, and running is the only one I’ve ever managed to stick to – and the only one I’ve ever come close to “enjoying”. (I have to put that word in inverted commas because I’ve never actually found myself saying, “God, I really fancy a nice long run right now!” Haha! AS IF, people.) Here are some reasons why…
The faster you run, the quicker you’re done.
The less time I can spend exercising, the better: I have a few different routes I use for running, and the faster I can do those loops, the quicker I can get back to sitting on my ass, drinking coffee and feeling smug about having done my workout for the day. And, of course, the faster I run, the better the workout I’m getting, so it’s a win-win, basically. (This is the only time you will ever see me use the word “win” in relation to my running. I might have been doing it for a while, but I’ve cunningly managed to avoid getting good at it. Which is a talent all on its own, really.)
It’s the only time no one can ask you to do something, which makes it the closest some of us get to ‘me’ time.
You know what it’s like: you sit down to read a book, or have a nice bubble bath, and the next thing you know, the kids need you to help with their homework, or find their football kit or whatever, and your precious “me” time immediately becomes “them” time. YOU know what that’s like, I mean. I don’t. Because I don’t have kids. There’s always SOMETHING that needs to be done, though, isn’t there? Always an email to be answered, a chore to be taken care of, a nagging feeling of guilt that makes it impossible to ever to do something for yourself, without feeling like you should be doing something else. Except when you’re running. When you go for a run, no one can ask you to do anything AT ALL: it’s worth it for that reason alone.
In the woods, no one hears you sing Taylor Swift songs at the top of your lungs.
Because sometimes you just need to shake it off, don’t you?
Cute running clothes. Well, you can’t run naked, can you?
Not unless you’re an exhibitionist, obviously. And… don’t be exhibitionists, people. Pretty please?
Some of my best ideas have come to me during a run. And some of my worst ones, too, actually.
Finding hidden gems in the countryside, and having them all to yourself.
One time, I found a ruined “mansion house” in the woods, and was really excited, thinking I would probably uncover a deep, dark secret lurking within its crumbling walls. You can imagine my disappointment when I got home and Terry told me it was an exhibit the local council had put up a few years earlier, and that it held no secrets whatsoever – dark or otherwise. You never know, though, so I’m still searching…
It’s the introvert’s ideal exercise.
People are always asking me why I don’t join a running club. The answer is that I don’t like people very much, and running is the ideal excuse to not have to talk to anyone. Er, that made me sound like a bit of a weirdo, didn’t it? I mean, I DO like SOME people. I like YOU, for instance: YOU’RE awesome. Just don’t ask me to go running with you, OK? Because, like Greta Garbo, I vant to be alone…
(And, of course, if you’re NOT a complete introvert, you can join all of those clubs I’ve been ignoring, and socialise to your heart’s content!)
You meet cute dogs out on their walks.
I don’t want to talk to people, but I ALWAYS want to talk to dogs. Also cats, sheep, cows, horses, and any other random animals I might encounter. They’re more on my wavelength, you know?
You can stop and buy cakes on the way home.
You shouldn’t, obviously. And I would NEVER, I swear. But you technically COULD, if you wanted to. And, of course, on a more sensible note, the more you exercise, the more you can eat. That’s the main reason I do it, actually.
Sneaking peeks into people’s windows while you run past them.
I tell myself I do this because it might help spark an idea for the novel I have absolutely no intention of ever writing. I really just do it because I’m nosey, though.
The sense of solidarity from other runners.
It’s fairly obvious by now that I’m not a people person. While I don’t want to run with other people, though, sometimes when I’m out, I’ll pass another runner (going in the opposite direction, obviously: I wouldn’t pass someone going the same way as me, because I can’t actually run that fast…), and we’ll exchange a little world-weary nod – a moment of solidarity in which it’s we two against the world. Or something like that. Once I was running along the beach in Florida, pretending to be doing a serious workout, and an entire group REAL runners high-fived me as they ran past. I felt like I was in a movie, or an inspirational Facebook image, at the very least. It was one of the greatest moments of my running career, and possibly my life.
Once you’ve started, you have to finish.
Sometimes I decide to do yoga at home, and then ten minutes later (OK, five.) (OK, two.) I’m rolling up my mat (which is really a towel, because as if I’d own a yoga mat…) and saying, “To hell with this: where’s the chocolate?” You can’t really do that with running, though, because once you’ve set out on a run, you have to get yourself home again, and you might as well run home, if only because it’ll make the torture end faster. Which brings me neatly back to point one.
And on that note, I’m off for a run. Haha, just kidding: I’m definitely going to go and THINK about running, though – that has to count for something, right?