Fitness, Health, Self-care

7 things I miss about running

Running is not going well lately.

Oh so many things just aren’t right.

The origin of my current struggles is injury-related. Basically, I did too much in RED January I think. But even that was on the back of a rather disappointing 2022 of running (especially in comparison with 2021).

However, as I try to motivate myself to return to my 3-4 times a week routine I thought I’d list the things I love about running and which I really miss. These aren’t the same as my reasons for running, but do try to contradict the reasons to not to run.

1 Alone time

Oh the head space! The time spent not doing something in particular. Not working or doing laundry or cooking or sorting stuff for the kids or paying bills or doing rugby admin or clearing out stuff or any of the 101 other things on my “to do” list. Just the thought-free time spent focusing on the road in front of me and keeping my legs moving, my breathing regular and letting it flow so that eventually I let my brain drift and day dream about nothing in particular, or about topics to blog about.

2 Music

Work is pretty much at the point with meetings now that I rarely get to listen to BBC 6Music for more than a half hour here or there. Otherwise, I get 5 minutes on my way to pick up the kids in the evening and that’s it! I love 6Music. I love discovering new sounds and adding them to my playlist. But if I’m not running, I’m not catching long durations of back to back music, old or new. If I’m not running, I’m not listening to my playlist of favourites and feeling the comfort of well-known tunes and the positive energy of their upbeat rhythms.

3 Energy emptiness

One of the best things about running, especially a longer run, is that feeling when you get home of being just empty. You know you’ve used pretty much all your available energy and you just feel satisfied. It’s a bit like the sleepy satisfaction after some really good sex. Oh how I love that feeling of being “épuissée”. It’s exhaustion, but happy exhaustion; not to the point of not being able to stand up, but needing an energy boost and a hot shower and certainly not running any further.

4 Bragging rights

Strava has a lot to answer for. I think we all have to be careful about how much we rely on Strava (or whatever social exercise tool we use) to give us feedback on what we’re doing. Basing how we feel about exercise on how many likes or comments an activity gets is not a good idea. But nevertheless, it’s quite nice when people complement you on what you’ve been doing and that does consolidate your own sense of achievement.

5 Sense of achievement

Yep that sense of achievement. Did I go further than I have for a while? faster? faster over the whole run or for a segment? Did I achieve a PB for something? a kilometre, 400m, a mile, 5km, more? Did I manage to do 3km without stopping? That alone would be a massive achievement right now! Never mind my ultimate goal of a sub-2 hours half marathon, 3km in 20 minutes would please me enormously at the moment.

When life is just so busy, so full, and so frustrating, whether at work or at home or both, sometimes just achieving something for myself can turn everything else around.

6 Blogging

Back to my first point. Running gives me headspace to think, mull things over, ponder my position on stuff, let my mind wander and that’s where most of my inspiration for my blog posts comes from. Either running, or in the shower, usually after running. So with much less running, comes a rather uninspired phase of posts on the blog.

On the flipside, by not running on my Fridays off work, I’ve found a lot more time for actually writing the content for loads of “idea” posts that have been sitting in my drafts for months and months.

7 Breaking up the work day

This is actually probably the most important factor when it comes to the mental health impact of running. Work is very busy lately. Well, it always is but somehow it seems even more busy than usual since Christmas 2022. I’m really putting in the hours. I’m contracted to do 33.75 hours a week, that’s just under 8.5 hours a day. But, without a break to run, I sit down at my desk at 7.30am (unless I drop the kids at school, in which case it’s 7.45am) and apart from trips to the kitchen for coffee or toast for lunch, I’m still there at 5pm. That’s an extra hour a day pretty much over and above what I’m being paid for. That means I’m doing full time hours for 90% pay. It’s my own fault that I don’t take breaks, that I’m not gone from my desk for an hour at lunch time. Yes, I’m busy all the time but I could take the time away from my computer and it would be (mostly) fine.

Running takes me away from my desk, refreshes my mind and stretches my body, gets the energy flowing and activates some endorphins – probably having a positive impact on the work I do too. I really need to get back to it. I’m feeling frazzled intellectually and that’s no good for my innovation and problem solving, let alone my happiness.

Any advice?

Do you have any advice for me to get my mojo back? I just can’t seem to find the motivation to pull on my trainers and hit the road.

Love from Smell xxx

24 thoughts on “7 things I miss about running”

  1. I know exactly how you feel. I’ve had the same issue with motivation at some point back in time. Still, kudos to you for not completely giving up and at least reducing the frequency of your runs. I know many people that just give up because they set themselves too high of a goal that they struggle to achieve, having the all-or-nothing philosophy.

    What helped me was to reposition the importance of running in my life. Due to my work ethic, I would always focus on business heavily and treat any business tasks as must-do’s. Naturally, business is good. But when you want your presupposition about running to sync with such a core activity in your life, you simply make it part of it. “Run while doing business?” I hear you ask. Not exactly. For example, since business is so much about calendar nowadays, book all your regular running sessions for yourself right there in your calendar, next to all your other important must-do’s. A reminder will pop up and activate your must-do attitude, just like it does for business meetings.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m sorry injury is still impairing your running ability, that sucks. I think going through the things you miss will make the heart grow even fonder for when you can get back into the regular swing of it as you’d like. I used to run a little, but not competitively so I never got bragging rights. But I loved how it would make me feel, how energised and pumped and jazzed, that feeling of achievement when you get back home too. I miss it. I hope that it’s not too long before you can be back at your baseline but please take things easy and don’t overdo it 💜

    Caz xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have been off track too. No injury, just my usual ebb and flow of doing the right thing and then starting over again. I know I how far I have become because I miss the running. In the past it was a chore and now it is a reward, a relief, a thing I look forward to.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I had a strong anti-running campaign in most of my youth and throughout my time in the military. It was something I HAD to do. Years later it became something I WANTED to do.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I was never a runner until almost 4 years ago, since then it’s been a grief recovery tool after we lost our third son half way through my pregnancy. This is the first period that I haven’t felt the need to run. Maybe that says something about my grief and where I am in the process of dealing with our loss.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh, I am so sorry. There is nothing worse than grief over losses such as that. Yes, running is so helpful. Also, true. Maybe a sign you can use it in different ways now.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. The hardest part of any run is getting out of the front door…fact! It can be so hard to get your trainers on, especially when the weather is bad. However, just remember those feelings that you know you’ll experience when you’re running and when you get back. They make it so worthwhile.

    The only other advice I’d give you is to join a running club. There are so many benefits to doing so, but the primary one has to be the fact that it requires a level of commitment that ensures you get out of the door. I love the club I run with, it has introduced me to new running friends, new sessions and to new trails and routes around my area that I never knew existed.

    Most running clubs offer a wide variety of sessions for people of all levels and I guarantee it will make you a stronger, faster and more resilient runner….and it’ll definitely get you under that 2-hour half milestone. Good luck.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much for your thoughtful advice. I actually really hate running with other people, I can’t figure out my pace, I’m tempted to chat and I get competitive. So running clubs just aren’t for me any more than park run or races. Running is almost a private thing for me and I don’t want to share it.


  5. I’m not a runner by no means but I signed up for a 282 mile challenge to be completed over 5 months. The first thing I do when I reach home on evenings is tell Kevin we’re going to walk, I change my clothes, and we walk for at least two miles. You can try telling yourself you’re going to run and at the end of your work day, head towards that activity immediately.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. In the early days of the pandemic, I found myself working 11 or 12 hours a day. I’d get up and immediately go to my desk. Hours would go by and, there I was in my pyjamas, not having taken time for breakfast, a shower, or to even get dressed. After a few weeks of that insanity, I started blocking time in my calendar from 8:30-9:30 to exercise, shower, and eat breakfast. I would still get up and check for urgent emails, but then I forced myself to take that break. It made a huge difference. Thankfully, my co-workers got to know my routine and respected it.

        Liked by 1 person

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