In February 2018, after a 2-day workshop on time management, I decided to manage my time by taking time for myself, self care, as they call it – and do something I’d benefit from both physically and psychologically: I went running. Once a week, every Friday. DJ laughed at me and made the – spoiler – false (!) prognosis I wouldn’t even manage to keep it up for 3 months. And so I did, not only to prove him wrong but because I loved it. Now, you should know that running and I used to be arch-enemies. How many marathons and what-not did my mum and brother run back in the old days, always trying to get me to join, too. Nope. No way. Tried it several times, and it felt like torture every single time.
What was different this time? I’m not sure. Maybe because I started it for a different reason. Not because someone told me I should. Not because I wanted to loose weight (I did though and the kilos just melted away). I ran like Forrest Gump after Jenny had left. For no particular reason, at least none I would have understood back then, but also to get outside, to run all things troubling me off and leave them behind and to start my day freshened-up and boosted by adrenaline. Running can help you deal with stuff. You just get into motion, let your body find its pace. Maybe you listen to a podcast, maybe some music, maybe nothing at all. I can’t do podcasts cause my mind goes elsewhere but I do love my guilty pleasure running list. Your mind starts to unravel while you are mainly focused on breathing, on taking the next step, on keeping up your pace. On not stepping on any slugs on a rainy day if you happen to have a slug-o-phobia (editor’s note: not the medical term). Emotions become energy. The more concerns in your life, the faster you run. The sensation of pushing your body to its limits, to near physical exhaustion, transforms your worries into strength and boosts your mind and metabolism. You don’t just shed those nasty extra kilos, you shed all that emotional baggage, too. You don’t overthink your problems consciously, it just happens as a side-effect and has saved me from going insane so many times by now. And you shed that nasty alcohol mist after a night of heavy drinking. Trust me, it works! It has cured many of my hangovers.
Pro-tips from a desperate runner:
If you’re mad at someone, you run faster.
If you cry while running, you run faster.
If you’re hungover and sleep-deprived, you run faster.
Where should you run?
I have two favourite running tracks. One is down Platz der alten Synagoge, over Kronenbrücke and through Wiehre up to Günterstal, with a little detour to Waldhaus on my way back. The other one just goes down the Dreisam cycle path until Lehen or on good days even a bit further. The former has the benefit that it’s all downhill afterwards, the latter quite the opposite but then you catch more morning sunshine and it’s more natural outdoor and less frequented by traffic. Lots of friends prefer to go up the Schlossberg but I’m not much of a real uphill runner. If I feel like it, I like to get up Lorettoberg. But me dragging my lazy ass up an actual hill is a rare sight to behold and not a pretty one, either.
The best thing about running is – you don’t need anything super fancy or special. I’m aware that there are people who need to get a perfect running ensemble from head to toe first and install the latest running app/fitbit/whatever. But that’s all extra. Just put on whatever clothes your sports rack has to offer. Personally, I prefer short sleeves to long sleeves and likewise shorts to sports leggings, even in winter. But that depends on what you feel comfortable in. What you should invest in, though, is a decent pair of running shoes. I found mine at a clearance sale and I am super happy with them:
From once a week I quickly went up to two or three times a week, mostly alternating between the aformer mentioned tracks. To start the day outside like that, absorbing the early morning atmosphere when it’s still foggy and gloomy and you feel the first beams of sunlight on your face is amazing. Nowadays, if I don’t go running at least once a week, I miss it. I need it. You feel better afterwards. Much, much better. Running is therapy.
So now put on your running shoes, get out, and hop off, little bunnies!