Back in December 2014, when I took part in the Liverpool Santa Dash 5k, I thought running would be a one-off experience. Looking back now in hindsight, this was the beginning of something new and fulfilling, that would become a major part of my life.
It was not until January 2016, that I took up running as a hobby. This was because I wanted to do something different for a New Year’s resolution, and to improve my fitness.
Initially I would go for a run once a week. However, I was quickly bitten by the running bug, and was soon covering longer distances, as I was consumed by my growing enthusiasm for running. This led to me to running the 2016 Scouse 5k for charity, where I raised £980 for Maghull Young Adults Social Club, for young adults with autism like myself. I have since gone further by running in longer events in Liverpool, Port Sunlight, Hoylake, and Southport, culminating in running the 2018 BTR Liverpool Half-Marathon for the first time, which was a great experience, despite completing the race with an injury. In simple terms, outdoor running has forced me to push myself out of my comfort zone and has also taught me more about myself, than I could possibly have imagined previously.
My life has changed considerably since taking up running. Apart from getting physically fitter and stronger, it has given me plenty of self-confidence, in addition to having something in common with other enthusiasts, and it gets me outdoors and into the fresh air.
Running outdoors has also allowed me to explore my surroundings. From the streets of Liverpool, to country lanes and coastal areas, I have been able to take in sights of pure natural beauty and picturesque landmarks, some of which have been memorable. One example is running along Otterspool Promenade with the wind blowing in from the River Mersey, whilst another is running from Ormskirk to Kirkby on a glorious October morning with blue skies, little cloud, surrounded by peaceful countryside. However, my personal favourite was on holiday in Paphos, where I would run from my hotel to the town and back, complete with spectacular views of the early-morning sun, rising over the Mediterranean Sea.
I have found running to be an ideal way of relieving stress after a hard-working day. Running allows me to clear my head of mental strains, anxieties, and other negative thoughts, as endorphins are released in the brain, making me feel good afterwards. This makes running beneficial to good mental health and well-being, and it can be meditative and helps to get the creative juices going too!
Apart from what I have mentioned already, there are other benefits associated with running. These include the following below:
- Anyone can take up running.
- Running is a cheap way to exercise.
- It helps with getting a good night’s sleep.
- When running in sunlight, it is a good source of Vitamin D.
- Running also boosts creativity and can improve your memory.
- It also helps in strengthening your joints and bones.
- Running also improves your cardio-vascular health.
Of course, there are other things that I have learned from my running experiences, including the following:
- Always listen to your body.
- Strains and injuries can be picked up if you are not careful (yes this has happened to me).
- Ensure you take a bottle of water for hydration (this is especially important when running in warm weather).
- In warm weather, wear light clothing i.e. shorts and T-shirt, along with a cap and put sunblock on.
- Run at a pace that you are comfortable with.
- When running outdoors, be mindful of your surroundings.
- If taking part in a race, put in as much practice and preparation as you can.
Looking back on my running journey, I can say that taking it up was one the best decisions I ever made. Running has given me structure, discipline, fitness, and it has proven to be extremely valuable in coping with the daily stresses, strains, and anxieties of modern life, and I also enjoy it very much. In addition, running has given me plenty of moments, for myself and my family to be proud about. There are also millions of others like myself, who have changed their lives through running, and have proudly felt the same passion and pride as I have done.
In conclusion, I hope you have enjoyed reading about and understanding how much I have learned from running, and why it has become a passion of mine. I can guarantee you, that I shall be keeping the running habit going.
Thanks for reading!