Out for a run as usual. This morning it starts to rain after about 10 seconds. Cold, slow rain into a whipped up squally day. To be honest it is not a lot of fun until the body warms up and the heat generated balances the heat lost. As I run past people huddled up in overcoats and large umbrellas the look they give me is a cross between amazement and pity which flashes instantly to indifference.
So, for all of them, five reasons why I run:
1. I feel so much better afterwards; I feel I have done something to set up the day.
2. The even pace calms the body down and helps prepare for the onslaught to come.
3. Time to think: your mind is in free association. I write speeches, work out strategies and plan my day on a short run.
4. Time to listen to my iPod. I can really concentrate on songs and listen to lyrics and replay and replay if the mood takes me.
5. Learn about the place you live (or anywhere I happen to be). I know the streets and the people who use them in a way I would never have done if I did not run. I run randomly sometimes so that I build up a mental model of the whole area. I find a new street or an interesting building every day.
I use Nike Plus , so I have a little wireless lozenge in my shoe that transmits data to my iPod so I know how far, how fast and how many calories. I find that very motivating as I set distance, speed and frequency challenges for myself. x runs in a month, y at less than so many minutes a mile. Since I started on Nike Plus in the heady days of November I have run 71 times: nearly two hundred miles and taken more than a day of my life to do it. One of my favourite runs is mapped (a new beta feature of Nike Plus but only if you log in as US rather than UK. Why!!?? You can check it out here . You can map a run and share it. When I mapped my London run a couple of weeks ago, there was me in London, now there are at least 50 runs mapped and this is in a beta application that is supposedly not available in the UK yet. Good old runners, good old internet.
What I learned: every run I learn that a mile will only come up after a mile. You just have to keep at it step by step, and suddenly, it is six miles. If you think of the distance, and the effort of going six miles, you will never get out of bed.