The Gintlemen, Ewan: What I Have learned From 100 Runs

This week Ewan reaches a milestone – and celebrates.

Last night I uploaded my 100th activity to my Strava account – 3 days before the year anniversary of my first proper run. Somehow, these two dates being so close to each other feels significant – there’s a nice poetry to it: 1 year, 100 runs. So, I thought I’d jot down a few things that have occurred to me during this last year. Some are running related, some are personal, some are utter bollocks. But as Charlie keeps telling me – this is my space to write what I want. So fuck you.

  1. It hurts. I thought being a strongman, and managing to compete again after back surgery meant that I had a pretty good pain threshold. And I still like to think that I do. But this is a different kind of pain. This is blisters and tendonitis. This is lactic acid and cramp. This is burning lungs and blurred vision. No other sport has taught me about just keeping going quite like running. (Yes it does, it’s a proper mental thing running – trail or distance. C.)
  2. I got better. When I first started it felt like I was running through treacle. Running anything over 100 yards and my legs filled with lactic acid and locked up. A few experienced runners kept telling me ‘you’ll be surprised by how quickly you improve’. They were not wrong. In less than a year I went from struggling around 1.5 miles of forest, to coming top 10% in a 15-mile race that had 5000ft of climbing. It hurt, but I did it.
  3. I learned to relax. Everything is better if you relax. Running is no different. Drop your shoulders, calm your breathing, be light on your feet and just flow. Contrary to what you might think, this relaxed state is faster and easier to maintain. This absolutely applies to life outside of running.
  4. Running on concrete is shit. Instinctively I knew this before I started running. I can now confirm it with experience. Out of those 100 runs, 3 have been on concrete. That ratio is fine with me.
  5. There is so much joy in not planning. I got burned out with lifting. In the constant programmes. In reps and weights that had to be hit. Constantly analysing my form, programme and physical state. It got too much. While running I have actively avoided analysing things, or even learning about the training theory. Heading out to the hills and running really fast is enough for me. I can’t remember who said it, but the quote ‘you know when you’re knackered’ is very poignant.
  6. Being outside is fucking ace. The woods and hills are magical places to be. Regardless of the weather, go the fuck outside. Climb a hill. Touch a tree. Clear your head and lungs you city dwelling troglodyte. Get some space and breeeeeeeathe.

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