It seems at the moment that there is no escape. We are either going to go bankrupt or lose our jobs because of the recession, will die of swine flu or be flooded out due to global warming. Every day there is another headline in the papers that if you believed was 100% accurate you may as well slit you wrists now rather than wait for the inevitable to happen.
No matter how much of an optimist you are it is difficult to ignore the constant bombardment of negative messages we are exposed to every day. What can we do about it? Well apart form the obvious i.e wash your hands regularly, cut down your spending and recycle I think running offers a fantastic way to get away from it all. Not just any old run however.
Our lives are run by routine – we wake up the same time at least five days a week, go to work, do essentially the same thing every day, see the same people, eat the same kinds of foods, go to the gym and do the same kinds of exercises or go for a run along the same route we always do. Obviously each day is different and you don’t have exactly the same thing to eat every day, each day at work is a little different and you don’t run exactly the same route but when was the last time you ate something you’ve never had before? How often a day at work is so different that you come home shocked at what happened at that day? How often do you do something completely different at the gym? How often do you go for a run somewhere completely different? The answer I am guessing is not very often.
You might argue we are all creatures of habit and we function better when we do the same thing all the time. If that is the case why do so many of us want to go on holidays and get away from it all. The truth is most of us, although spending most of our time doing the same activities, actually crave something different. We love to do things that really excite us and no matter how much you love doing something if you do the same thing every day you will soon tire of it.
So where am I heading with all this and what has it got to do with running? Well having moved house recently my regular running routes have changed and I haven’t enjoyed running so much for a long time. Not that I wasn’t enjoying running before but I have been looking forward to my runs more than usual. The amazing thing is, it is not as if I have moved to a totally different environment. I’ve moved approximately 2 miles away so am still well and truly in the middle of London. But just that small change has forced me to change some of my regular routes and made me explore different ones and even to see the same routes but in a different light. That hill seems a little harder when its 10 miles into my run instead of 3 for example.
Running somewhere different is a feast for the senses. You’ll see, hear, smell and touch different things and some of them might not be that great but at least they are different and every now and then you’ll discover a hidden gem which will leave you with a big smile on your face.
Recently I followed a path I hadn’t run along for well over a year and found myself running through fields and parks with no-one else around, no traffic noises, the sun was out and the sky a perfect blue. I was enjoying myself so much, instead of turning around after 90 minutes I added another 30 minutes onto an already long run just so I could enjoy the experience longer.
So if you want to get away from it all but your next holiday isn’t for a while simply try running somewhere different. You will see whole different neighbourhoods, or the same neighbourhood in a different light, discovers parks you didn’t know existed, find new hills to run down instead of up or vice versa and if you’re lucky you’ll discover a place that makes you leave the world behind and has you enjoying just being right where you are!