Seeing the ease by which my mum pulls up her wellies and throws on some warm clothes ahead of a walk, made my pre-exercise routine look more like an obstacle race.
From rummaging through my drawer of clothes to find a top and leggings that match, realising I’ve popped my ‘good running socks’ in the wash and need to dig them out, to charging my watch just enough that it shouldn’t run out. All done whilst my mind is reminding me that my precious exercise time is dwindling. I feel tired already!
Even the ritual of running had turned into a watch watching exercise. Cue serious, focused face. Time? Mileage? Pace? Head down, barely glimpsing up.
Head high, my mum calmly walks by my side, commenting on the sunrise as we go. Conversation flowing, I asked my mum what it was about keeping active that kept her coming back for more; “I enjoy the freedom of getting outdoors, walking and sometimes running. It helps me support my mental wellbeing on a day-to-day basis. It’s not always easy, but as it’s one of the only things in my life that’s fuss free, it makes getting out into the world that bit more achievable.”
I’ve definitely started to over-complicate things. The simplicity of running was what drew me to it in the first place. One foot in front of the other. Anytime, anywhere.
Determined to get back to basics and regain the original feeling I got from running, I took myself for a run. No gadgets. Just me.
Hearing the sound of my own breathing and the symphony of my footsteps felt almost liberating. Who needs Sigrid’s Strangers song on repeat? The way my body felt was guiding my pace and was scoping out where the finish line should be. Bliss. It wasn’t far or fast, but it was one of the most re-energising runs I’ve enjoyed in a long time.
On my next run, I may be sporting my watch, or not. I’m just going to see how I feel.
Let’s keep it simple.
R.E.D isn’t just for January. If you’d like some support with goal-setting and need a daily dose of motivation, join the R.E.D running community here.
R.E.D January’s partner is leading mental health charity MIND. Every penny raised will fund their vital work. For more, see mind.org.uk/redjanuary