Head out for a long run
What is a long run? Like most running questions the answer depends on who’s answering. Running is an individual experience and everyone sets their own limits. Limits are our self-defence, our “safe zone”. That’s why we may need others to encourage us to expand our horizons, to explore and discover strength we didn’t know we had.
Only a year ago a long run for me was just over an hour. That was my limit, I thought. Last weekend I ran for almost four hours over difficult hilly terrain! How did that happen?
I was fortunate to make friends with a group of women runners who were stronger and fitter than me and who loved the “long run”. Friday’s run developed into the highlight of my week. No-one ever questioned my, or anyone else’s, ability to run for two hours or more. No-one put pressure to up the pace and leave others behind, sharing the joy of the run was our goal. Over time I built up my confidence and strength and now occasionally even suggest we make the run a little longer.
So last Sunday I headed into the hills with my friends without fear or doubt. Like every run it was just the simple act of moving one foot in front of another. The constant action like meditation for me, soothing the mind, the body carrying on without question. Yes, there were difficult moments, a stinging hail shower, the path turned into a stream, soaking wet gloves! But once out there forward is always the only way to go.
Maybe you’re like me and a marathon is not for you, but there is a fascination in discovering how far you can go. Building up to run for a longer time, perhaps over more varied terrain will explore new limits on the run and in your life. As Kathrine Switzer, first woman to run a marathon, said “Running gave me a sense of achievement and confidence”.
Life is all about tackling the long run. Building relationships, growing your children, developing successful careers and businesses, everything takes time and stamina. What better way to enjoy it than tackling it like a long run? Step by step, enjoying the constant forward motion and staying relaxed as you go, confident that you will reach your goal.
So when the self-doubt crowds in, head out for a long run: You’ll be amazed how far your legs will take you and how calm and energised your mind will be when you get back!