So I’ve not run much in the last three and half years. I used to run a lot – my friends thought of me as a ‘running guy’, and would ask me how my training was going, or when my next race was. I used to say “I run marathons”, I’ve had to downgrade that to “I used to run marathons” or “I’ve run marathons”.
I loved running and I still do. The simple answer as to why I stopped is that my life got in the way, one way or another.
Since 2011 I’ve had three serious physical issues that have affected my running; shin splints, a torn achilles tendon and mono (glandular fever). Two of these are running related, one completely unrelated, but all three caused me to completely stop running for a number of months, then start back up from scratch or thereabouts. I’ve also suffered with depression and anxiety – whilst not being able to run was not the only contributing factor, a ‘Catch-22’ situation arose where not running made me feel bad, and feeling bad made me not want to run.
In addition to my physical and mental health problems, I’ve had a busy few years. My wife and I have moved house four times in the last three years, twice internationally and only once staying in the same city. This has also meant I’ve changed jobs three times. We also DIYd our own wedding and are now renovating a house. I’m not complaining, all of these changes have been positive in moving us in the direction we want to go, but it’s been a lot.
Even when I’ve been healthy, energetic and motivated to run, there has not always been time. I can’t plan my day around fitting a run in like I did when I was a twentysomething bachelor. Having said that, exercising makes me more energetic, positive and productive, and generally a healthier person. It’s quite likely that taking thirty minutes out of my morning to run will make my afternoon more productive.
I still get days when I feel a twinge in my heel, an ache in my shins, or feel sapped of energy physically or emotionally. At best I’m running a tenth of what I used to (along with some cycling), but at least I’m running. At least I can still run – and the months of lay-offs have taught me that I owe it to myself to get out there.
I love to run and I need to exercise to be my better self. So no matter what’s going on in your life, make time to do the things you love – you’ll never look back and wish you hadn’t.