Running to stay normal and exploring

In these strange times it’s helpful to have a constant from my previous life and running is that ‘normal’ thing for me.

Every other part of my life has changed – my girls are at home and not at school, or after-school club, or swimming, or dancing; my work is now in my spare room, with meetings conducted over the web; my husband has been ‘furloughed’; I haven’t see my family in ‘real life’ for weeks… but I’m still running.

True, I’m not meeting my friends every Sunday to run the local trails, our club training has stopped and the spring and early summer races I had signed up for have been cancelled – bit I’m still running.

Running has always meant different things to me at different times and now it’s about having that constant in my life and a chance to get out of the house. It’s the only thing I can leave home for – I have asthma and so no food shops or trips to the pharmacy for me.  

And as I am trying really hard to avoid people and maintain very excellent social distancing, I’m also exploring new routes I can access from my front door. I’m lucky to live on the edge of some amazing countryside but I usually drive to a start point and then follow well-explored routes and trails or just stick to roads.

In the last week I’ve rediscovered the footpath to the next village which takes in rolling hills and fields full of spring lambs. And, apart from the occasional dog-walker, I’ve had it to myself. And yesterday I got very brave and attempted to navigate footpaths and permissive paths to get the four miles from one village to another – a route I would usually run on roads. I didn’t quite follow the planned route, but still got to where I wanted to be and had the fields, woodland tracks and stiles all to myself. The bonus was none of these fields contained cows. Not sure what I would have done if I’d been faced with a field full of them!

At the moment, there is no end goal in mind, no race to train for, no PB to beat; just the enjoyment of fresh air, solitude and head space. Without running, I’m not sure this strange new world would be so bearable.