It's very easy to lose touch with our bodies. The abundance of opportunities to sit down, eat rubbish food, stay in bed and just generally choose other options make this process all the more likely. Our brains are very effective at helping us choose the easiest option. It's okay. There's a reason why they're doing that and we are not to blame them for talking us out of that run but if we are aware that the brain will try it then we can move past it. We know better. We know that if we would just go out and run, the slow transformation that is taking place will be allow to flourish, one step at a time.
The brain is at its most effective when we are new to running. The transformation has started taking place but slowly, slowly, in the ends of our toes and fingers, gently, quietly. We don't know what the transformation feels like yet so we don't know it's there. When our brains say that sitting down for half an hour would be better, we don't know that it is fooling us. We believe it. We sit. We wonder why the run we did yesterday has had no effect. Why are we not yet slim and waif-like?! Why do we still crave doughnuts and pizza? Why does everything still ache? And why have the Olympics not yet called to offer me a qualifying place in the 800 metres?! Have they not seen me flying along the pavements of London at 1 mile an hour?! I've been on about five runs already. That should be enough, surely? Call me, Mr. Coe!
Just run. The rest will come.
Trust your body and trust me when I say that it is happening, under the surface of your skin, in your bones and muscles and sinews. It is happening.
You'll come in from a run one time and realise you are craving fruit (that's my typical craving post-run) or be planning a run tomorrow and decide to eat lots of greenery because you want to test whether you'll run better. You'll want proper running shoes and clothes because you'll want to be more comfortable while running. You'll be intrigued about the twinges you feel in your legs and want to know what's caused it, how to stop it.
It will happen naturally. Although you might not necessarily say you're 'enjoying' it yet, you keep going. Your body feels the change happening, even though your brain still wants you to sit down. It's confused by your insistence on repeating this madness.
Something will happen though. It's different for everyone. For me, it was what I now refer to as The Big Run. I set out by myself for four days with a backpack and, with no solid plan apart from the end destination, I ran through the beautiful Kent countryside to the coast. It was mind-blowing, not in an immediately apparent way. I emerged at the other end with new eyes. I see myself differently.
The me I now am is entirely due to running. The more I run, the more comfortable I become in my surroundings. The further distances I reach, the more aware I am of my body and my mind.
Yet, nine months ago, I ran and was confused by myself. I wasn't enjoying it and I was exhausted and sweaty and knew I wasn't really doing it properly. Somehow I just knew that I must go outside and run and that the rest would come.
And come it did.