Why Running?

Last June (2012), whilst at on a weekend away with my wife, Becca. I felt challenged to be more active and get out and ‘do something good’. Life had been too sedate, and despite being relatively healthy and sporty, I’d not really done any sustained continuous physical activity since leaving university where I had played football 2/3 times a week. I realised that even when I did that, it wasn’t the best physical shape I’d been in. I had to go back nearly 20 years to when I did cross country running at school in my early teens and was running 3/4 times a week and doing competitive races at the weekend that I found the period of life in which I was my most healthy.

In fact, looking back at that period, I was actually quite good at Cross Country and longer distance running, being comfortably in the top 10 of my age bracket in the large and competitive county of Yorkshire. I even ran in the English schools championship finals (the pinnacle of school cross country) a year under-age and finished in the top half of runners despite having an asthma attack half way round (incidentally, the only asthma attack I’ve ever had!). Yet when we moved home from Yorkshire to Worcestershire I took the chance to get away from running and spent more time on sedate sports, like Cricket!

So for the above reasons, the idea of running to get fit and healthy really got stuck in my head and I couldn’t even wait to get home before parting with £40 to enter myself for the Great South Run in Portsmouth in October that year using my iPhone. I knew that I needed something to aim for otherwise I’d go out for a few runs, get bored and give up. I also knew that even with the event being months away and having plenty of time to prepare I wanted some accountability and wanted the run to achieve something more than just getting me fit. So I decided to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity as they had done so much to help the daughter of some very good friends of ours.

I’d well and truly thrown the gauntlet down. To myself. I had to do it.

Fat Matt

The weekend away also came soon after we’d returned from two and a half weeks visiting friends and family in the USA. We ate out a LOT, and American portions tend to be larger than British. We also wanted to experience as many culinary delights (and non-delights) as we could whilst over there, including American super-sweet potatoes, cheese fondues, corndogs, steak, cheesecake and much much more. I came back from that trip weighting 93.7kg (4lbs short of 15 stone!). I knew I had to do something about the weight before it got really unhealthy. In fact, whilst in the states Becca and I ordered a Cross Trainer/Cycling machine to arrive just after we got back so that we could keep fit and lose weight.

Luckily, whilst in the USA, I stumbled upon a ‘new’ type of trainer called Vibram Fivefingers and a book called “Born to Run“, both of which got me thinking that just going out and pounding the pavements in ‘traditional’ running shoes wasn’t going to work for me (I’d tried it before but only ever managed to keep it up for 2/3 weeks at most). There was much more to it than just going out and running, and I needed to get my head round that if I was to hit my target of completing 10 miles in the Great South Run.

The more I read and researched about running, the more I realised those 10miles was just going to be the start. I’m now training for the Brighton Marathon in April and if that goes well, I’m going to run even further. Hopefully nearly twice as long, I have my eyes set on a 50 mile run later in the summer. This blog is hopefully to keep a track of that, share some of the cool things I’ve found out about running, and give me some of that ‘accountability’ I like and need. I will also share some of the stuff I’ve already done, including the training (and injury) of the Great South Run and my recovery from that.

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