It's Been Great, But I've Got To Run
Updated: Jan 9
Top 10 Myths About Running DEBUNKED - Number 7 Will Literally Shatter Your Kneecaps!
That's a joke, by the way. This isn't BuzzFeed.
It seemed like a good idea to add an article to the currently rather limited library of running-related posts that I have produced in recent weeks. So, what's new?
As mentioned in an article last month, the biggest challenge associated with running isn't the process of taking up running on a semi-regular basis. The hardest part is running well - something which has become painfully clear in recent weeks. Technique is a work-in-progress, and distance is something that tends to come with practise, as well as incremental increases over time.
And I've got time, I reckon - the Great Birmingham Run isn't for another... three weeks. Maybe I don't have that much time. The furthest I've run (stumbled) is just over seven kilometres. A half marathon is a little over twenty-one. But these things are all about small steps - the next target is running 10k in about fifty-five to sixty minutes, if I can manage it.
Running for any sustained length of time has started to become a little dull, though. Listening to music or a good podcast (my regulars are this, this one, and occasionally this) can help stave off boredom up to a point, but when you run the same route multiple times a week, things can get a bit samey.
One rather obvious solution to this has been to change the route up every once in a while. Residents in south Birmingham will be familiar with the Worcester and Birmingham Canal that runs from the Mailbox through to Selly Oak and beyond. As it is one of the few places in the local area that vehicles cannot reach*, it is along here that I find myself running most days.
My expeditions southbound have taken me no further than the Cadbury Factory in Bournville as of yet, whilst the northern extent of my runs has been the University of Birmingham's Vale accommodation. I am grateful to have such a resource available to me; unfortunately, canals provide little visual stimulation when distractions are most needed (other than the picturesque Ariel Aqueduct, featured above).
Part of me wants to find a way to circumvent the physical exertion that running requires - my most recent idea led to me researching whether I could purchase motorised Heelys (turns out, you can). But that removes the challenge from the whole process. Luckily, Strava launched The Escape Plan at the start of September, which has helped force me into some sort of consistent routine this month - something that might otherwise have not been present.
Something of note - as the title suggests, I've 'got to' run. I initially signed up to this half marathon because I wanted a challenge. What I've realised, however, is that the novelty of the challenge has rapidly worn off, and that running is something I currently have - rather than want - to do. Those who run year-round (be it professionally or otherwise) are more stubborn than I am, and deserve a bit more kudos.
At the end of this, I will happily default back to cycling as my preferred sport. I think it's the better activity of the two, not least because the professionals have better mantras.
A quick reminder - you can donate to my fundraising page here, if you feel so inclined. I'm running the Great Birmingham Run for Birmingham Children's Hospital, as I thought it would be a nice opportunity to fundraise for a local charity, and BCH is pretty awesome.
* Bicycles and canal boats don't count, in this case.