Peel back the layers and there are so many more depths to why I run: feeling the flow of nature is one, it grounds me, the certainty of watching the seasons change, not being rushed. I also run to race, to challenge myself over distances over hundreds of miles, and the discipline of training gives. Sharing the views from my runs is the basis of all my social media, and given it's how I enjoy the mountains it's also led to my current role at Rab, and becoming a part of The Mountain People family.
Yet for now, our mountains and trails are closed, in the UK and abroad, as the world unites to deal with COVID-19 and its devastating impact on our communities. At first, running didn't seem so important, races were postponed but training could be adapted too. As we saw friends in France and Italy have their running curtailed or outright prohibited it suddenly seemed so less certain. As I write this, in the UK we are allowed out once a day for exercise, so long as we observe proper social distancing. I expect this to be reduced or stopped at some point, as people still put themselves and others at risk in their interactions. Any measures are likely to be for a prolonged period too, we are talking weeks or months, and not days. For someone who ran six days a week, often twice a day, as well as dog walks too, this is a complete change in routine, in lifestyle, but it's also a time to shift the focus and adapt. Here's my Runner’s Guide to Not Running:
Find Your Why
I often say to people they need to find their 'why'. For me, this is the secret reason behind the 100+ milers I complete. If you have the why firmly in your mind you will endure both the training and then the lows of the race. But right now, I think about why I run and how I adapt to find these needs met in other ways. I consider myself lucky: I can follow the flow of nature out of my window, and Rab was very quick to allow anyone who could work from home to do so.
The cup of coffee in my garden, the birds, hedgehogs, and insects I can see as I work at my house, it grounds me in the same way those Peak District runs did. The headspace of working a long day might not be gained in miles, but I can shut down some chatter through mediation - I have used my online yoga and meditation subscription from @gaia more in the last few days than in the months before. Many yoga teachers have moved their classes online making this more accessible than ever before. If I miss the physical challenge, the bursting lungs as I run up my hills, I can turn to more energetic videos, @thebodycoach and @teamrunderwear have daily challenges and videos. I may not have the solitude of my long 6 hour runs at weekends, but they will be back, and I will appreciate them, even more, when they are.