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You do not have to run.

16 December 2022

I have The Cold. It starts with a hacking cough, you know the one. The one you think is Covid but can’t be Covid because you just had Covid and managed to run 27 miles last week and you were really looking forward to running further than ten miles this weekend and maybe making it to the magical half marathon and over 30 miles for the week but now you can’t run because when you cough it feels like a knife to the lungs? That one.

On Thursday night I could feel The Cold approaching. Both the husband and child already had it but I was firmly in denial until this morning, when I finally had to face it: I had The Cold. I felt a quiet and controlled rage. It had been such a busy work week with no time to run, leading up to a Thursday with not one but two board meetings. Instagram and twitter were full of photos of people running around in the frost while I sat like a sloth at my desk. I had a plan to get back to fitness after Covid. I had a two a day mince pie habit. I *needed* to run.

I gave myself a talking to. It is good to eat food I enjoy, and lots of it, in the winter. It cheers me up and literally no-one cares if I put on weight. It is fine not to get fit or fast in the next few weeks. I know I want to, but it’s better not to be injured and run a bit, than to be injured and not run at all. It’s not my fault that covid affected my heart rate and running, but it will be my fault if I rush back to training hard and do myself more damage.

Whenever I get that panicky feeling that “I have to run”, I stop to examine where it’s coming from. It’s usually not a good place. I don’t think running should be a punishment, or a chore. It’s something that I love. I might not love every run, but I can give myself the chance to.

I don’t have to run, I want to run. But today I couldn’t run, so I went for a walk instead. Then I ate a mince pie. It was delicious.

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