Category Archives: running

they. are. lying.

It is just 25 minutes. 25 minutes out of your day. Can’t you just find 25 minutes to do a bit of sport and live better?


Every time I go running, I think about this utterly predictable conversation. I had it with a gym instructor in Dublin too. It’s only an hour out of your day, Treasa.

It never is.

I spent most of the day cooped up in the apartment today and I hadn’t slept well last night. Eventually I decided to go out for a “run”. If my  Garmin were a human they’d be balled over in fits of laughter at my notion of a run but it’s a couple of months since I tried and that, along with the fact that wet leaves made a skating rink of my usual route meant that I wasn’t running very fast.

The actual run itself amounted to 27 minutes which is like yay. Usually I target around 25 minutes. It’s only 25 minutes.


From the point that I decided to go running and put that decision into action, to the point that I was back dressed in human level clothes and ready to continue with the non-running focused part of my day took from 5.58 to 7.20.

The point is this: when you decide to go running, you have to change into running gear and when you come back from running, you have to change out of running gear, usually via a shower. Today the changing into running gear bit was fast. I’ve yet to meet a male running/gym instructor who has understood that getting into a sports bra is hard work. Today it took 30 seconds and that is ca 10 minutes faster than usual. I have breasts, end of.

The run itself wasn’t bad mostly because the yardstick I judge runs by, ie, this one run I did in August 2017 in a thunderstorm where I got drenched and wanted to hit many people by the end of it, was so much worse. This was a benign run, marked only by passing a police car at some stage, and realising that running on wet leaves on concrete was a bad idea. I didn’t run a whole pile of it; maybe more than I expected, a lot less than the last time. My reward was 3 blisters across both my ankles. I’ve run with the shoes in question before but in truth, I don’t much like them which is annoying as they are the latest model of the previous pair which I loved.

The run itself was 27 minutes, apparently 2.8 KM, and yes I know that’s basically walking pace, but it’s faster on average than the previous one even if I ran less of it. I’m not sure how I might be fitter as I haven’t been walking much since the whole tram thing came online.

I’m an organised person so the whole getting ready to go out running is sharp. The running gear is hanging at the end of my wardrobe, and my shoes are within reach. There is always a sports bra to hand along with running trousers and a top. I do not have to dig for anything. The running bag which I use to carry my phone, a bottle of water and  a copy of my identity papers just in case I ever get raped and or murdered is to hand and always ready. I always have a bottle water. Aside from getting into the sports bra, the prep is seamless and takes ten minutes.

The far end of the run involves a shower, drying up and tidying up the sports gear, making sure that there is a running kit ready to go the next time.

If you’re going to say to me that it’s only 25 minutes I can only assume that you don’t change out of normal clothes to go running and you don’t have a shower afterwards.

In other words, have you considered that you might smell at all?

Trail running shoes moan

When I started “running” for a given value of running earlier in the year, I had to go and buy trainers.

This was hard and I wanted two pairs: one to run in and one to mooch around in. I now don’t like the mooch pair and they were Nikes. I loved my trail running shoes. They are a gorgeous black and aquamarine. They are also no longer available. And ASICS have annoyed me by not having nice colours for the replacement range.

Am annoyed. Amazon has the older pair in every size except mine. Mutter, mutter. The search starts again.

Natural Born Stragglers

The great mass of runners participating in the ING Luxembourg Night Marathon started passing my front door at around twenty to eight this evening. My apartment was just shy of the 12 kilometer mark, so well over half way if you were doing the half marathon, but a good bit short of half way if you had signed up for the full lot.

I don’t know how many people signed up to do this; but this I do know: they are all better people than me.

Luxembourg City had a weather warning in force for both today, and also for tomorrow, for high temperatures. When the runners set off at 7pm this evening, it was 29 degrees. It was still 29 degrees when they passed my door at 7.40 and now, at 20 past 9, it has fallen all the way to 28 degrees.

It will be a warm evening.

I stood outside when the first runners passed, and I watched them. And I stayed until the last runners passed and I cheered them. It is the great mass of people who do stuff that is hard, that they know they may fail to complete and who still do it anyway, who are heroes in my book. As I write, some of them will still be working their way around the route to get them to the finish line, be it 30 km away, be it 9 km away.

Not many people do this, I noticed. By the time the last five or six runners passed, the last of the stragglers, followed only by the police and a pick up bus, there was near no one left cheering them on. No one still shaking the cheap tambourines that ING appear to have handed out along with their orange straw hats. The only blue giant balloons to be seen were being dragged along by a runner wearing Luxair team gear.

By the time the main body of runners has passed, there are still a few groups, here and there 5 and 6 runners, or 3 or 4 having a conversation, trying to calculate how far they have left to go.

I “did” the Women’s Mini Marathon in Dublin once. I didn’t run it. I wound up middle of the walking field which is a fairly big field in that race. I don’t know if there are stragglers catching up in it. But I never ran it and my own personal interest in running is for solo trail stuff. I will almost certainly never sign up for the Night Marathon in Luxembourg.

There’s a pin floating around pinterest along the lines of “no matter how slow you are going, you’re still people the people on their sofas.

Runners at the Night Marathon. 2017.

You don’t need anything but…

Let us assume you are someone like me, and you are taking up a new sport, namely running because oh…you have a yen to run in the wilderness, or at least, pretty parts of nature, preferably without snakes and to do that, being able to run would help.

You will need to skip every magazine or online article that says “you don’t need to spend much money to start running”. This is most probably a lie. What follows is a list of the stuff I got so that I could take up running. Your mileage and life may vary in terms of whether you need all of them, or possibly any of them. If you have got everything already, then you probably run already.

  • decent pair of running shoes, preferably not completely decrepid because you’ve owned them for “some time”.
  • at least one sports bra if you are a woman. Particularly if you are well endowed, this is not something you should skimp on. I’m not going to recommend any particular brand but if you have trouble finding a source, well I ordered mine on-line from figleaves, and so help me god if Brexit fouls that up on me, there will be swearwords.
  • Some comfortable to run in clothes. You may or may not have suitable stuff in your wardrobe. I did not.
  • A couple of pairs of socks.
  • Probably not a bad idea to get a box of plasters as well, just in case.

Okay. The shoes, I bought in the sale, down 30%. The sports bra I paid full whack for. The clothes I bought in a sale too. The socks I had. The plasters were cheap. All told though, if I had paid full whack for what I bought, we are probably looking at around 150E. Running is not cheap and what’s more, now that you’ve got all that stuff, you’ll be maintaining it and replacing bits of it as you go.

Now, I also got a couple of extra bits and pieces and already owned a couple of other bits and pieces which contribute to the running experience.

  • small back pack to toss a bottle of water into and your keys. I
  • a water bottle.
  • some sort of music player
  • headphones.

In truth, if you have a smart phone you have the music player sorted and probably the headphones. I got the small back pack in the sale where I bought the clothes cheap, and they were doing special deals on the water bottle if you spent something like 25E at the time. I bought the bottle. In hindsight I don’t like it but I am stuck with it until I get my hands on one of my own Swiss water bottles (admittedly slightly heavier being metal, but not having the filter which makes getting the water out a bit too much like hard work). For music, I tend to go with Above and Beyond’s Group Therapy podcast.

After that it really is just a case of getting out there and running until you can’t (and walking the rest of the way) (until you’re running more than you can walk). There are programmes and apps and websites, and pinterest pins providing all sorts of advice but the one piece of advice that worked for me when I was swimming training is it doesn’t matter how much or how little you do so long as you do. Regularity matters. I haven’t got this sorted yet but I get other exercise during the week so from a pure exercise point of view, I’m moving and it’s feeding into the running.

If you are a child of the modern era and possess a smartphone, the chances are, you will also want to figure out how best to start tracking your progress. I have two plans of attack here. I have Google Fit tracking my movement all the time. I also use Runkeeper as a more specialised app. So far, they tend not to agree. I also lie and tell Runkeeper I am walking because let’s be honest, right now March 2017. I walk more than run (the objective is to change that of course). Today Google said I did 5.05km and Runkeeper said I did 4.6. They also didn’t agree on the average pace for obvious reasons; they were dividing differences by the same amount of time. So the difference is plus or minus 10%. I can live with that more or less. For now, anyway. What I can see is an improvement over last week which is good. Since I don’t trust one of today’s Runkeeper splits, I’m not going to be totally surprised if next week, it falls back a little.

Most of my life, when i have gotten interested in something, I tend to do quite a bit of reading about it. I’m somewhat disappointed by a lot of what comes to me from running reading. On more than a few times, I have come across different articles talking about how horrible running is, and that running is not fun. I find that sad. I think if you’re going to spend a lot of your time doing something – and we have so little free time – it’s worth finding a way to enjoy it. I really don’t know how much of my training run is actual running at the moment and it’s not enough for Google Fit to identify it as such – but the small stretches of running I have done, have really put a smile on my face. We don’t do these things on sufferance or at least we shouldn’t. I used to swim 1600M three times a week and it was a hard journey to get to the point where I could string those 64 lengths together. But I never hated swimming. Some strokes could be harder than others but au fond, the main reason I kept on going back was not to tell people “I can swim 1600m”, but because I actually liked doing it. It can be hard enough to keep doing something you like doing because Real Life. Doing something you actively don’t find fun strikes me as wasted opportunity. There will be days it’s harder than others because oh, it’s raining, you’re a few days’ shy of your period.

People run for different reasons. Have different motivations. I know people who run to do road races. Other people run for the hell of it. I know a couple of people who have trained to do marathons. Some people run with friends (Runkeeper will nag you about this by the way). I run on my own, listening to music, listening to the five minute reports of how I am doing. I’m not sure how I’d feel about running with someone else. Particularly at the moment when the running bit of things is erratic and limited. Sometimes you need space to grow.

My hope is that come September, I will be fit enough to go for short runs in the mountains in Switzerland. What I really want to do with this is not run road races with lots of people but to run in beautiful places. I have a yen to go back to Zermatt this year, preferably before it snows, and run around there a bit, and then paint or draw when I’m not moving. I have six months to get there. In the meantime, I get to run around a rather picturesque part of Luxembourg and see the turning of the year here.