A-Z of Running: A is for Avoidance

An A to Z of running would not be complete without this word. In fact, it wouldn’t have been right at all to start this guide off with any other word.

Hannah Phillips - Avoidance

I could speak about avoiding to run all day long. Given it took me twenty six years to even consider a physical hobby I would feel confident in saying I’m a full blown expert on procrastination.

You know that little niggle that tells you, you are too tired or you don’t have enough time or problem A means it’s just not possible so let’s not even get started on problem B? Well, that little niggle is the reason you’ve not started running yet.

It’s probably the reason you’ve also not cleaned your wardrobe out or taken that bag of clothes to the charity shop. You just can’t be bothered and I’m with you, really I am.

Obviously, you’re slightly interested in running or you wouldn’t be reading this blog so, I’m going to tell you, in a nut shell, about why I started running and we’ll go from there, OK?

I’ve documented it well over the years, that fateful night that got me mistaking my reflection for that of a fat bird with the same top on as me, and however ridiculous it sounds, it actually happened.

I had gradually put on a lot of weight. I was comfortable in my relationship, my job, my life and I had demonstrated this with bad carbohydrates and pints of Strongbow and there I was about three stone plus heavier than I should have been.

To cut a very long story short I took up running, initially, as a weight loss objective. I figured if I ran I could avoid dieting. I could avoid not giving up battered sausage and chips and not avoid my Saturday night indulgences of cider fests. I could avoid saying no to Friday afternoon cake treats in work and mostly I could avoid fat club.

Runners aren’t fat are they? Running would make me thin wouldn’t it? Running was obviously the answer to all my problems.

What I could not avoid, though, was how hard running would be, how it would change not only my body but my perspective, my life, and without sounding both clichéd or like a first class idiot, my everything!

I had, in reality, spent my entire life avoiding increasing my heart rate. I was probably only ever involved in twenty-five percent of my PE timetable in school. I think, I only ever participated in two netball matches in the entire time I attended comprehensive and as far cross county or sports day…well, let’s just say there is probably no photographic evidence of my attendance. I did complete in a swimming gala once upon a time and I think I’m still mentally scarred from it.

And even that first run, the one I had spent a long time gearing up to, (avoiding) I had already lined up a host of excuses to stay at home, to not go; I’d save up and buy a bike, I’d start swimming more regularly, I’d stop eating, I’d find a way, if only I could stay in the warm, on the sofa with a huge multipack of various chocolate bars.

But eventually I went.

And then leaving for the next run on my ‘new life plan’ was even worse, this time I knew what was around the corner, I knew I would get sweaty and hot and tired and probably a blister. I knew I didn’t want to go. I really didn’t want to go did I?

So, I avoided going… The End.

Only joking, I persevered, I pulled up my big girl pants and I found less time for excuses and more time for route planning, for considering my form and my timing, I found the more I was out the less I wanted to be doing other things.

So, I started avoiding the chip shop, the pub, the housework and by doing so I avoided the threat of obesity along with heart disease and general bad health! I avoided the bad days being really bad and didn’t avoid the good days being a whole lot better than they ever had.

Everything happens for a reason they say, and I’m pretty sure I needed to avoid running until I was ready. Like, really, really ready and I think one should keep in mind that avoidance is very different to excuses, that’s a whole other minefield but we’ll get to that!

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