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Running On Your Own Rules

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Now I am not a record breaking runner, but I do like to run.  It gives me head space, exercises my dogs and makes me feel brilliant afterwards.  With winter fast approaching, there are some key rules that I like to follow and I thought you might like to learn from my mistakes.


1) Plan your route
I love running in the mud, rain and even a bit of ice and snow, sometimes picking routes that will get me splashing around in puddles, but one thing I do not like to run in, is stinging nettles.  Before you start, think about your route and where you are going to go.  If it is a new route, check you know where you going and, if needs be, consult a map.  I have made that mistake before in the summer when I headed out on a new route close to home, getting a bit lost, stopping several times to consult the iPhone, refusing to admit I was lost and deciding to press on through the first clump of stinging nettles, before coming across another clump! I ‘cleverly’ decided that because I had already run through one, I had to go through another even if I turned around, whereas, if I ran on, I would be on my route after the second stinging nettle battle.  Feeling smug about only having to land in this clump once I was horrified to come face to face with a very wide and deep river surrounded by yet more stinging nettles and a warning sign informing me hunting with guns was going on.  So I quickly retreated back through the two clumps of stinging nettles and home to a salted bath and anti-histamine tablets.

2)Wear the right clothing
Before you set off on your run check two things - am I the right temperature and can I be seen?  If you are snug as you head out the door, you are too warm and will get too hot as you get running.  If you are all dressed in black then you are unlikely to be seen on the road.  I used to run in back shorts, black long sleeve top and a dark blue disney hat (don’t ask, the fleece absorbs the sweat).  However, now I wear bright tops and leggings not because I got hit by a car but due to an embarrassing mis-identification.  When we first moved in, we used to have a very elderly vicar next door.  One day, after I had been out running a few times, he popped his head over the hedge whilst I was stretching and introduced himself, adding “ I must say, I just wanted to clear the air.  I know my old job used to frown upon your living circumstances, but I think it is refreshing how times have moved on.”  I thought he was referring to Ady and I not being married, but was somewhat horrified when Ady came back in screaming with laughter when he explained that our elderly neighbour thought I was a man.  Now I know I am broad, muscly and 6ft2in, but I don’t think my running attire made me look very feminine.

3) Either let someone know where you are going or run in company
It is always wise to to let someone know where you are going if you are running on your own in case you get stuck, injured or lost, then at least they know where to start looking for you.  Or you can run with a friend or partner, that way someone can go get help if needed.  I am not a great running companion as I like to go at my own pace and due to my asthma have to focus on breathing rather than talking.  However, I still have two running companions - Poppy, the reluctant runner who always looks like she is being dragged along but actually gets miffed if you go without her, and Bella, the dog that thinks she is a reindeer pulling a sleigh.  I can quite often be seen pushing a buggy, with Elly sitting in it shouting ‘faster Mummy, faster’ whilst enjoying a snack, Bella pulling the buggy in a multitude of directions, and Poppy dragging behind, tripping me up.  I like to think of these runs as my resistance agility runs.

Talking about running, it’s time I tied up my laces and braved the elements for my headspace with the mad doggies