We’re not designed to run. We’re supposed to spend our days looking for berries, dithering from shrub to shrub and only taking to our heels if one of them contains a sabre-toothed tiger.
People start doing it out of guilt after Christmas, or because they’re too shit to do anything else. Running isn’t as terrifying as rugby, as infuriating as golf, or as revolting as swimming. It doesn’t cost much money, or require a great deal of coordination. If you can put one foot in front of the other, you’ve got it.
It can give you a sense of wellbeing, I won’t deny it. Mainly when you’ve finished and are back indoors. But it doesn’t take much to undo this:
If you eat as much as a cheese and onion crisp before you run you’ll be riddled with more stitches than a Savile Row suit. Let’s say you’re scheduled to run at 7pm. What do you want to do? Crack open a beer, change into comfortable clothes and fill your face with delicious carbs. What do you have to do? Sit for two hours with a growling stomach, take most of your clothes off, and head out to get soaked.
Nothing kills your desire to lace up your running shoes more than the kind of people you encounter at running clubs. The kind of people who run before a run and then run again afterwards. The kind of people who wear tiny shorts and care little that a bollock might flop out during their elaborate stretching regimes. The kind of people who are proud of the fact that they do nothing all week but eat celery and jog to Dublin. The kind of people who, upon lapping you for the fourth time during training, insist on slowing to your pace and shouting ‘Come on big man! Push for the burn!’ in your left ear.
Especially when you have to run uphill, or trip over your own laces on the way down again.
The ruination of your social life
I run on a Saturday morning. The problem is that Saturday mornings are usually preceded by Friday nights. As my old housemate once said to me “If you keep avoiding beer and pizza so you can run in the morning, you’ll live twice as long but hate it four times as much.”
If you’re trying to use running as a way to slither your way into someone’s affections, forget it. Unless you think gasping, gobbing, grimacing and sweating cast you in your best light. Not to mention the surprise farting as your body relaxes.
The only conversation you’ll manage will be in short, slurred bursts, like in a nightclub.
Just like those pointless nights out, you’ll soon give up. Just count down the time ‘til you can go home again, and wish you’d never bothered.