Friday, 12 February 2010

Get up. Get out. Be what you are

The day is done and I’m running home through the city jungle. In my mind I have gazelle-like grace and a swift turn of speed akin to a hyena chasing down a zebra. This could be either the power of positive thinking or a slight delusional disorder, states of mind separated only by the very thinnest of lines. Nevertheless I feel invulnerable in spite of the doubtful glances from the bus-stoppers as they regard a middle-aged man in tights.

There’s no doubt however that running becomes addictive soon after the realisation that old and under-used muscles respond encouragingly to the stress and do not, as you might first imagine, snap and rip themselves from their anchors. Running is a natural activity to which we are perfectly adapted following eons of evolutionary pressure from predators and hunger. Age is no barrier, muscles and tendons quickly realise their intrinsic function.

But there’s a dark side. From patient first steps to the finishing line of a first 5K, the need to push further and faster quickly leads to a consumerist frenzy of muscle-enhancing lycra, glycogen recovery shakes and Runners World training programmes that require a degree in mathematics to decode. Unless you have ambitions to compete in the 2012 Olympics then you should resist the dark side. Run for fun, run like an antelope and remember that pizza has now become a health food.