Afterwards, when you’re lying on your back in some field where you’ve collapsed, and when all in the world is the burning of air as it’s sucked into your lungs, running is the best thing in the world. There’s no feeling quite like it; this mixture of accomplishment and fatigue.
However, before the run, you question your own sanity, and it takes a steel will to put on the track trousers, the running shoes and the t-shirt and (if it’s chilly outside) the jumper. Which is why a run is always a debate, and argument, that goes on in your head.
Luckily, it is only the first minute or so that is a chore. Before the mind zones out, and it all becomes a singular focus on breath and rhythm, that is what you remember to the next time, and that is why you argue with yourself every time before you do it. The zoned out mind is barely conscious; it lives in the moment of the playlist and the breathing.
Because, when you look at it, after that first minute, running is a dance. It may as well be a glittery performance in a ballroom. The feet move to the rhythm of the music; a quiet Amy Winehouse becomes a slow jog; a hectic Daft Punk becomes a whirlwind of movement.
I went out running properly today for the first time in almost two weeks. Yes, I argued fiercely with myself, and then I ended up on my back in a field with the swirl of clouds above my head, and insects buzzing in my face, and children laughing around me. And I felt fantastic as the fire air filled my lungs, and as the lactic acid turned my muscles into putty. And even now that feeling lingers, although I will back to arguing with myself before the next time I run.