I bloody love running. For the past few years it’s been part of me and my identity – if I don’t run I don’t feel like me – it’s as simple as that. Now I’m not going to wax lyrical about ‘wow how it changed my life’ (but it did) or how it’s the best way to get some head space and clarity that I know of (it is) or even how it helped me go from being overweight and just ‘ok’ with life to getting in shape, feeling strong and actually fucking loving my life (it did that too). That’s all a given. Instead, here’s a few things that running has taught me, in the words of my body (Apparently if my body could talk it would be in a demanding, borderline-aggressive no-nonsense-but-with-a-bit-of-a-soft-edge way…!).

  1. If you go for a long run and then don’t feed me enough, I’ll make you an absolute grouchy pain in the arse to be around. FEED ME, FEED ME, FEED ME.
  2. Boring as it is – and I know how much you love bourbon so sorry about this one – if you stop drinking booze for a month I will run as fast and strong as Seabiscuit and we will smash our 10k PB.
  3. You CAN and you WILL run up that hill without stopping. Your muscles will scream, your bum will hurt, your abs will burn but you will feel like BOUDICCA when you get to the top and take in that view. Just use your arms, look at floor until you get to the top and remember – what goes up must come down (generally much faster than when it went up).
  4. If you drink booze the night before and we go out for a run in the morning, I will run and yes it’ll make you feel better but don’t get disappointed when you’re not going as fast as usual. What do you expect, you idiot? You chucked a load of Old Fashioneds in me and deprived me of sleep. This is a two-way relationship.
  5. If you run two days in a row, up your KMs too quickly or don’t celebrate the end of each run with some sun salutationing to stretch your calves out I will RAIN shin splints down on you like the god of….pain. And hitting your shins will not make them better you dickhead.
  6. Some days you will have runs where you feel like you can take on Mo Farah. Other days, Homer Simpson could probably overtake you. Just roll with it, that is LIFE.
  7. Take me running in beautiful places. I may be a MACHINE but I have a heart and soul too remember. I get off on seeing incredible landscapes and exploring cities all over the world and might just chuck a few extra endorphins into the mix if I’m running in a pretty place.
  8. These two legs you have? Yes, yes, they do more than you think they’re capable of, and yes they are AN AWESOME PAIR OF MACHINERY. Hit a certain point on a long run and it will almost feel like they’re detached from the rest of your mind and body and they could run forever. But then you’ll hit that other certain point where they feel like the heaviest logs of muscle you have EVER had to haul around. Legs, cuh!
  9. Don’t eat and then run straight away you absolute FOOL! I’ve been teaching you that lesson since you were a chubby little bespectacled youngster. You’ll get a stitch, nuuuuuhr.
  10. I like to run at lunchtime, I’ll make you proud then. Morning is fine and evening too but my midday miles will blow your mind.
  11. I can and I will turn you into a competitive arse. I’ll do this by giving you a massive buzz when you overtake people (especially men) and then make you feel smug about it. It’s not a particularly attractive quality but it’ll happen.
  12. I can always run further than you think I can. Always.
  13. I know you want to come out of the blocks fast, or at least regular pace, and I know you hate it that people are overtaking you, but for long races pace yourself and rein it in at the start. You will thank me when you’re killing it with that sprint finish.
  14. It’s not essential, but beautiful running gear makes me look better and will make you want to run more than slipping into an old pair of joggers and a vest. FACT. Clothe me in Nike and make it bright, colourful and (probably) overpriced.
  15. When you exert yourself and push yourself, you’ll look like a raspberry and sweat like you’ve just been caught in a monsoon. That is you, you’re not going to change. Embrace it tomato-face.
  16. I know you hate feet and I’ve got some bad news for you – pummelling your sweaty feet on pavements for hours will make them kind of uglier and grosser. But that’s why the world invented shoes to cover them up. And foot scrub.
  17. You will never regret taking me out for a run. UNLESS you take me out when I’m sending you a message loud and clear that I need to rest (e.g. ripping pain in your calves, fever on your chest, that kind of thing). Listen to me. I know you better than you know yourself.
  18. Our alone time is massively important to me. I love it when it’s just you, me and kilometre after kilometre. But I love running with other bodies too. #runclub #coolrunnings
  19. You don’t have to run fast all the time. In fact if you run slower some of the time, I’ll actually run faster for you the rest of time. Clever huh?
  20. I’m not a one-trick pony! Bend me, stretch me, give me weights to lift, make me squat, plank and lunge. In return I’ll run stronger, recover better and take some of the heat off your joints and calves.
  21. Running isn’t just about legs. Granted, they might be the lead singer, but Fleetwood Mac is more than just Stevie Nicks. You’ll need strong arms, hips, core, back and willpower to make a number one hit. Yup, just went there will a tenuous music/running metaphor.
  22. If you start running around 100km a month I will be hungry ALL THE TIME. Embrace this and eat, eat, eaaaaaaat.
  23. If there is all sorts of stuff going on your head, if you feel like you’re going to cry, scream, implode, fall asleep or whatever then if we run I’ll comfort your mind as best I can.
  24. I run better to music. And sometimes music you would never listen to in your day to day life (we’ll keep those embarrassing tunes between you and I). But once in a while, I’ll surprise you by running fast to nothing more than the sounds of London traffic and public chatter.
  25. I like jumping over puddles.
  26. When we’re running, your brain will go into this weird sort of zone where thoughts flip flop through your mind, roll around a bit and then flow on somewhere else before being replaced with another peaceful and musing train of thought. You’re meditating you hippy.
  27. You will never be able to put into words how good it feels when you are running along and every bit of me is firing away to the best of my ability, you feel like you are flying, your mind is clear and you just want to high five yourself (before you realise that that would make you look like a clapping weirdo).
  28. All the tough love above aside, I adore you for taking me out pounding the pavements and keeping me in tune. I feel in the best shape of my life and if you maintain that physicality I’ll help make your mind feel like you can take on the world. Love you man.