Jamie's recipe to becoming a Runner
The recipe to become a Runner
"Place one foot in front of the other, moving faster than your regular walking pace"
- 2 feet
- 1 pair of shoes
- Place the shoes on your feet and lace them up
- Open the door and step outside
- Place one foot in front of the other, moving faster than your regular walking pace
- Repeat step 3 until you’ve reached a target distance, or you just feel ready to stop
- Feel good that you’ve just done something awesome
Running really is as simple as that, it doesn’t take anything more than a pair of legs and some shoes. You don’t need to invest a lot of money into buying the best running kit or most expensive footwear – all you need is some shoes and clothing that feel comfortable to run in, and a little bit of time.
As Bill Bowerman once said: “If you have a body you are an athlete”. It does not matter who you are, your size or your shape, any ‘body’ can become a runner – it really is as simple as stepping out of the door and putting one foot in front of the other. You don’t even need a lot of time, even a small amount of running can give significant health benefits.
The benefits of running are vast, far too many to list here!
We’re probably all aware of some the main physical benefits: weight loss, improved cardiovascular fitness, improved heart function, increased muscle mass, increased energy, protection from disease (running just 50 minutes a week is said to help protect from risk of stroke, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and much more).
Perhaps more importantly though, in my opinion at least, is the mental benefit - i.e. the way that running makes you feel! Runner’s high is an actual thing… when you run, powerful feel-good brain chemicals are released (endorphins and endocannabinoids); these chemicals help to ease stress and anxiety, and can alleviate depression. In fact my wife finds me particularly annoying when I return from a run – I get back filled with energy, hyperactive and seem to be super happy at everything, it’s really an amazing feeling!
Running is a great time to think, away from the distractions of daily life – in a twenty minute run I can do more productive thinking than at any other time during the day. I also find that my concentration and memory improve on days when I have done a run (or maybe it’s because if I haven’t been running I’m just thinking that I want to go running!?).
Perhaps more importantly though, in my opinion at least, is the mental benefit - i.e. the way that running makes you feel! Runner’s high is an actual thing…
I started running in 2016, having signed up to do the Great North Run. I had done it once before in 2010 with pretty much no training, and back then it ended with a vow never to “do anything that stupid ever again”. In 2016, my training was once again sparse and my runs were few and far between; yes I was running, but I still wasn’t really ‘into it’!
That feeling of getting ‘into it’ didn’t really come until late 2017, when I set myself a challenge to raise money for charity – I would run at least 5km a day for the whole of November. When I first laid out the challenge it was genuinely something I didn’t think I’d be able to do; I didn’t consider myself ‘a runner’ at all, but it was for a great cause so I was sure as hell going to give it my best shot.
I got through the challenge (just!), but from all that unfamiliar activity my hip and knees broke down in early December 2017 and I was out of action heading into 2018. I initially felt a little disheartened since I’d grown to like running throughout November, but I soon switched my focus back to the other training I was doing (namely callisthenics and body weight training).
In the summer of 2018 I injured my shoulder and couldn’t do any weight training; to compensate for the exercise void in my life I started running again. This time I quickly got ‘into it’, clocking up more and more miles as the days / weeks / months passed me by (or maybe I passed them by!).
Fast forward almost two years, and running now plays a big part in my daily life – I don’t feel like my day can start until I have at least a couple of miles in my legs. Regardless of the weather (in fact it’s often the runs when you’re battling against inclement weather that feel the most rewarding!) I set my alarm and hit the road while my wife and two children are still asleep, arriving back home in time for breakfast. Some days I’ll do an easy 20 mins and others I’ll do a couple of hours, but either way I always find time to squeeze something in!
Running helped me through one of the most difficult times of my life. In August 2019 I lost a best friend to suicide, and it was through running that I was able to grieve. I spent countless lonely hours pounding the pavements whilst processing my thoughts and coming to terms with what had happened, slowly making my way through the stages of the grieving process. I still think of him every time I run, and I know that I always will.
Running is my therapy - whether I start a run feeling good or bad, I always end it feeling better. All from following the simple recipe:
- Put on shoes
- Open the door and step outside
- Place one foot in front of the other and repeat
So what are you waiting for!? Get out that door and start cooking up some good vibes!
"Running is my therapy - whether I start a run feeling good or bad, I always end it feeling better."