Running. It’s not for everyone, right? Trust me, I’m speaking from experience. My teenage self would bolt at the thought of me ever listing this as a hobby, never mind a passion. But parenting does strange things to us all doesn’t it?
After falling in to it, accidentally, when signing up for my first Edinburgh Marathon Festival in a sleep deprived bid to tackle my post-partum weight gain and mild anxiety, fast forward 5 years and I’m here to tell you that it was the single best ‘club’ that I’ve joined since becoming a mum.
But not necessarily for the reasons you may think.
Reasons to run outside from the obvious
By now, most of us have heard about the obvious benefits that running can bring to your life, including the mental and physical boost that motivates many of us to reach for our trainers on even the darkest days. Just last year, a major studyrevealed that just ‘one jog a week is all you need to cut the risk of early death.’
But, as busy and often guilt-ridden or time starved parents (myself included) it’s often a tough sell to convince yourself that a sweaty pounding of the pavements is a better use of your time than catching up on the housework or an overdue Netflix binge.
It might, however, be worth considering these lesser celebrated benefits of taking up running as, in all honesty, these are the reasons that I love it so much.
1. The guilt free escape
No matter what else your family need from you on any given day, you can safely skip out that door singing the words: “Mummy is investing in her health and happiness – which is good news for everyone!” thereby shining your role model and influencer halo as you go.
2. The fresh-air infused chat
There’s not much I don’t discuss with my running buddy. For at least an hour each running day, we cover all things from politics to parenting, Megxit to Brexit and much more in between. Plus, at a rough estimate, talking while running must double the cardiovascular effort, surely?
3. The nature trail recce mission
Before you rally the troops and attempt to enthuse your family with the wonders of the great outdoors, the local badger set and the hidden adventure trails, a running mission of your own can help you prepare for the ‘lesson’. If you happen to be exploring in Scotland, there’s a great online resource from VisitScotland to help you find the perfect trail for you, whatever your speed.
4. The quality family time built around race events
What’s not to enjoy with this winning holiday package: cheer mummy on to the finishing line at some beautiful part of the country/ world (all things being ‘normal’) then stay for a few days to explore and support mummy as she refuels her body with some serious eating and relaxation. We made a 3 day trip around last year’s Aviemore Half Marathon which meanders through some of the most stunning scenery the Scottish Highlands has to offer. And we were spoilt for choice with how to keep the kids happy after race day was done.
5. The best way to keep up with them as they get bigger…and faster
Your children that is. I for one love the fact that I can still chase my young boys around the park or run with them as they cycle and I really want to be able to do this for a long time to come. OK, so this one falls in to the more obvious fitness benefits camp but it’s about much more too. I see it as an investment in my future relationship with my children, wherever life takes them.
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