Making the Most of Self-Isolation
In part 6 of our new blog series, ‘Making the Most of Self-Isolation’, designer Chris tells us about his running journey and how you can start running whilst we’re in lockdown.
#6: Running – Sub 3 and Me
So why do I run? On reflection, it’s hard for me now to imagine running not being an important part of my life. However, this was not always the case, even though I had always enjoyed an active lifestyle and grew up spending lots of time outdoors.
This all changed around 2015. I’d relocated and had a park on my doorstep, more free time, and needed some fitness motivation as now working in an office meant I wasn’t as active.
I stumbled across parkrun which was popular then, but not the global institution it has become. For me it became a weekly challenge to beat my time from the previous run. It gives people a sense of community and many people enjoy getting involved to make the course run. Many lasting friendships have been made through people I have met at these events. 118 events later, I have been ‘on tour’ all around Lancashire, and even one in Berlin!
Running Clubs and Competitions
Joining a run club the following year gave running a new dynamic. You might run on your own, but you are representing a team, and even partake in team events like Cross Country. I joined my second club last year and contributed to us winning our local interclub league against 5 other clubs.
I enjoy the friendly competition and sense of community it brings. I’m naturally competitive so always pushed myself to be the best I can be; I’ve done 68 official races, from one-mile events all the way to 10 half marathons and 2 full marathons.
I’m particularly proud of my sub 18 min 5k and sub 3-hour marathon, both in 2019 which were the result of a lot of time and effort. Marathon training takes up 4 months of your life, with high intensity training, as well as dreaded long runs at the weekend. I was grateful to have club mates to train with and drag me through 20 miles on a Sunday morning multiple weekends!
I have made so many friends and experienced so much in the last 5 years, achieving goals I couldn’t have dreamed of. Oh, and lots of race bling, and a couple of club honours which I’ll always be proud of.
The Benefits and How to Get Started
Running has so many benefits:
- 5- 10 minutes of cardio helps decrease the risk of heart disease and strokes
- You can get into it whatever your ability
- You can make new friends – lots of them!
- It’s great for your mental health
- It will make you fitter
- You can run for fun or take part in events
- You Can join a club
- It’s lots of fun, when you get bitten by the running bug!
In the current climate of self-isolation due to COVID-19, government guidelines have had a significant impact on running. With the cancellation/postponement of most events, people are trying to keep fitness levels up on their own.
We are permitted to go out for one form of exercise a day, which I am grateful for. We have to make sure we stay local and a safe distance apart from each other. If you’ve never run before, use this as an opportunity to try out running. That’s not to say you can’t train at home to make you a better runner. If you have exercise machines, or by doing fitness routines, this can also help you become a more balanced and efficient runner.
Running is something easy to get into. All you need is some comfortable clothes and a pair of trainers, and off you go.
Hopefully, when the government restrictions get lifted, whether it’s on your own or in a group, whether you run around where you live or at a local parkrun, there are plenty of ways to get into it.
Lots of running clubs offer Couch to 5k courses if running in a group is more helpful to you to get started. Who knows, you could be at the start line of a marathon in a year’s time!