Don’t be misled by those countless smiley selfies you see on social media, says #Run1000Miles ambassador Eddie Arthur
I post quite a few photographs on the #Run1000Miles Facebook group of some spectacular scenery in Yorkshire or the Lake District which illustrate why I love running in wild beautiful countryside. What you won’t see are photos of the back lane down the side of the railway track where I have to dodge the litter and dog excrement. I’m unlikely to post pictures of the bit in our village where the footpath narrows and the lorries go thundering past, terrifying my dog. I don’t like running in those places, but they are on the way to some of my favourite trails, so I can’t avoid them.
However, despite all of my shiny, happy photographs, I don’t actually enjoy all of my running – and I want to get over to you, if you’re in the same boat, that that’s okay.
Most of my runs have the odd bad moment. Sometimes it’s a stretch of busy road, or that bit between mile six and mile seven which just goes on forever. Then there was the time that I stepped on what I thought was a hard surface only to discover that it was a thin crust over foot deep cow slurry; it was a long, squelchy run home after that.
There are days when I really don’t want to run. I have to convince myself that if I get out there, I’ll really enjoy it, and usually I do. Then again, there are times that I drag myself out of the door and hate just about every minute of it. Thankfully, times like this are rare, but they do happen.
Running is amazing. When I run, I experience the countryside in a whole new way. I’m fitter, stronger, healthier and happier than I would be if I didn’t get out and run in the hills. The sense of accomplishment when I stagger over the finish line of an ultra is like nothing else I’ve experienced. Some of the happiest days of my life have involved running in the Lake District with younger and fitter members of my family. However, sometimes the only way to get to these good days is by pushing on when my legs don’t want to work, the rain has completely misted my glasses and I’d really rather be at home watching Pointless.
It’s okay not to enjoy every minute of every run. Sometimes it is hard work, sometimes it hurts and sometimes the sofa or the pub seems much more attractive. That’s okay. Cherish the good bits, remind yourself of how good running can be and if you need to take a break (pretending to take a photo is always a good excuse), take a break and relax. Don’t feel bad if other people seem to be enjoying their runs more than you; they probably had a grim time recently, too – they just didn’t talk about it on Facebook. And if you are one of those people for whom every running moment is one of pure joy, be patient with the rest of us. Sometimes it’s tough, but we get there eventually.