You Have Runners Legs
I don’t know why I run. It started at school. I was tall and skinny, a matchstick girl with runners legs. I would always come 2nd or 3rd in the sprints but a convincing first at any distance over 800m. My school athletics future was set at 9, middle distance running and high jump, spaghetti legs scissor kicked me to first place until the flosbry flop, I just could not commit.
As a 50 something woman, I still can not commit to jumping backwards over a pole and am still jogging middle distance. There was a brief affair with swimming lengths at the local pool but I don’t talk about that. I don’t know why I run. The advice is conflicting, and there is a movement now towards short bursts of intensive exercise, studies have linked jogging to everything from knee and hip problems to low testosterone and lowered defences in the immune systems.
I don’t know why I run. I have read that the more minor effects of running or jogging over long periods, many times a week, can mount up surprisingly quickly. Bad form may not be fatal on its own, but persistent repetition of a flawed stride may put unwanted pressure on blood vessels, or put misplaced weight onto joints.
You have the body of a runner, you have runners legs.
‘Runner’s knee’ is a common complaint of the amateur jogger, and can wear down cartilage, reduce your body’s natural shock absorption and generally weaken two of your key joints. The condition can worsen if exercise is pursued regardless and may result in chronic pain attacks and permanent damage. I don’t know why I run.
As I put my trainers on and stretch, as I always have, I am reminded by my son that static stretches are bad for me and I should be doing something more dynamic. The run is always hard, at some point, I always want to give up, and have to tell myself that I can do it several times as a chant. My rhythm returns and then I can allow my mind to wander and rejoice that my body still works. Somewhere there will be a point where I feel great and have to hold back from running faster but the last 500m are the best. The feeling that the end is near, I have made the distance, I can stop, warm down. The sense of achievement I feel is worth all the work, I think I know why I run, so that I can stop.
FYI The NHS recommends 150 minutes (2½ hours) of moderate intensity jogging per week.