A Trio of Guest Posts: John Paul McCrone

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Time for the second in my trio of posts from lovely running helpers. This time it’s my dear old friend Johnny, who’s probably going to stir up some debate here…

Running is Punishment

I follow Jay on this blog and I follow Jay on Twitter. He asked for a guest blog and I put my hand up. He said yes.

The biggest problem with this is that I don’t run.

At all.

Ever.

I hate running. I hate running on the street and I especially hate running on a treadmill. I have no objection to running in general, I just find the mind-numbing tediousness of putting one foot in front of the other for an hour in a giant circle from my front door and back an utter waste of time. If it comes to running while playing another sport, generally I’m all in favour. I played rugby up until recently before I got a serious injury to my motivation gland. Running in lots of small circles chasing a funny shaped ball is an excellent idea but running without a goal just doesn’t work for me.

Walking fast is fine. Don’t get me wrong. Even cycling is fine. Going to the gym and spending an hour on a bike is lovely. I do that to help burn off the stress. It’s running. I’ve tried. Get up, get ready and go and pound the pavements. Even if it’s only for twenty minutes. It’ll give me the running bug and then I can start being a proper runner. No?

So why do I follow a running blog. Mostly because it gives me hope that I can find a relaxing exercise that will help me burn off any latent stress. I hope that if Jay, who also found himself in a similar situation to me before he started running and his blog, can do it then there may be hope for me after all.

I don’t know what it is but I think that, as mentioned above, it comes down to a question of goals. I just don’t see the point of running. Walking provides a means of locomotion from one place to another while I’m doing the shopping. Cycling is efficient, you can go from place to place speedily and at the same time, you are burning calories and saving the planet. You can cycle 14 miles to work and then cycle back home again. In central London, it might well be quicker that taking the car. I live in Paris where in certain situations it is not only quicker than taking the car but also quicker than taking public transport. Anyone fancy running a half marathon to go to work and back? Every day? I know that I don’t. So for me, what does running provide? It doesn’t have the efficiency of cycling, nor the simplicity of walking. The only time I run is when i’m extremely late for something.

That means that in my head, running is punishment for poor planning. If I had been more organised, I would have been on time. If I signed up for a 5k run, it wouldn’t motivate me at all either. I have played a lot of sport and am in fairly good shape. (I added a few kilos over the summer but they have been burned off again). If someone told me I had to run five kilometres right now, I would. At the end, I would have the elation of knowing that I can run 5k in one go. Great. I already know I can do that. I do it when I play rugby, sometimes running at a slow pace, sometimes medium pace and sometimes all-out sprinting. five thousand metres in a match is no big deal. In a rugby match, I have motivation. There are some really big b*ggers in the opposition and French giants do not take kindly to sharing their pitch with slim Englishmen. I have a list of injuries somewhere. Next time I’ll run quicker.

But running for the sake of running. That’s something else. Running is for the disorganised, running is punishment. Try as I might, there is nothing that can motivate me to run in order to run more at a later date. Or perhaps run the same amount in a smaller amount of time. What is the point? So I can have the joy of knowing that I have done something differently or perhaps an arbitrary form of better. I run a 5k and next week, I will do it again in hope of getting a better time. Doesn’t shine out as a landmark achievement for me. Fastest in the world? OK, I’ll run for that but I know that any chance of great glory has long slipped me by.

So, no thanks. I’ll follow Jay on his running blog and I wish him all the best. You go Jay, you run as fast and as far as you can and at the end I’ll be at the end with a hug for your success and a medal for your motivation. But that is where I will be. At the end waiting and watching and wondering why you all do it.

JP

If any one is interested, I also have a blog, albeit a very different one to Jay’s. It sporadically details my attempts to be a better writer. You can find it here; www.reddominion.blogspot.com
You can also find me on twitter as @DominionRed or on Facebook.

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