Put the rosé down and run

If all you are do­ing is ob­serv­ing events from a lilo while sip­ping a cock­tail, you need to up your game

The Irish Times - Tuesday - Health - - Health - Ruth Field

Q Run­ning on hols is a bad idea, right?

A Well, yes, that’s cer­tainly what I’ve al­ways told my­self. Since hav­ing kids, the chal­lenges have al­ways seemed in­sur­mount­able to me. First, there is the beer or day wine (rosé) with lunch, which I find al­most im­pos­si­ble to re­sist, and which to­tally nukes any mo­ti­va­tion to run af­ter­wards. The kids go to bed much later on hol­i­day and I of­ten go to bed at the same time (I blame lunch).

Those rea­sons/ex­cuses have al­ways made me shy away from run­ning. I’ve jus­ti­fied this by telling my­self that my knees and legs need a break from the sport, and that through sim­ply stay­ing ac­tive; swim­ming and play­ing with the chil­dren, I’m get­ting enough ex­er­cise. And I stand by that. Surely it is suf­fi­cient when you are par­ent­ing young chil­dren just to run around af­ter them out­doors all day in the fierce heat (bar the nec­es­sary long lunch­break of course)? Throw a ball, sand and water into the mix and you’ve got your high-in­ten­sity strength and car­dio work­out nailed (pro­vided you are put­ting your back into it that is). If all you are do­ing is keep­ing score from a lilo while sip­ping a cock­tail, you need to up your game.

Plus, I’ve al­ways come back af­ter a sum­mer hol­i­day hav­ing missed my runs, much like I’m sure I’d feel to­wards my dar­ling hus­band and the twins had that fort­night abroad been with­out them – heaven for­bid. The hol­i­day from run­ning acts like a mag­net back into the sport, be­cause I can’t wait to dust off my train­ers and hit the woods as soon as I re­turn home.

How­ever, with the half-marathon to run just two weeks af­ter we get back, and given my cur­rent woe­ful lev­els of fit­ness, I re­ally can’t get away with no run­ning this time. I have to grit out at least three or four runs, and ide­ally at least one long one. It is this re­al­ity that has ex­posed the true source of my fear, which is sim­ply that I have a breath­tak­ingly bad sense of di­rec­tion, and that I am ge­o­graph­i­cally chal­lenged to an un­prece­dented level.

I’ve shied away from hol­i­day runs be­cause I’m scared of get­ting lost, of not be­ing able to find my way back. This ex­plains why the only hol­i­day run­ning I’ve ever done is on a beach – to one end and back to the same spot – and re­peat if nec­es­sary. I can get over the paralysing heat, be­cause I’m happy to run late at night or early in the morn­ing, and I can eas­ily forgo a day or two of day wine.

I am em­bar­rassed to ad­mit that my fears could be so eas­ily cured if I were to em­brace the tech­nolo­gies de­signed to al­le­vi­ate them. In fact, it seems silly that I don’t run with a mo­bile phone like ev­ery­one else. This would pro­vide re­as­sur­ance on a run, par­tic­u­larly in an un­fa­mil­iar place. Also, what of the mil­lion dif­fer­ent run­ning apps avail­able, why haven’t I em­braced those? Maybe I should have made one my­self!

But I’m pa­thet­i­cally app averse, and in­sist on my no mu­sic, no dis­trac­tions, no gad­gets rou­tine. I only want to hear the sounds of my breath, foot­fall and pound­ing heart (and any axe-wield­ing mur­der­ers or ra­bid dogs clos­ing in on me). But my new run­ning buddy, who is 11 years my ju­nior, en­cour­aged me to try gmap-pe­dome­ter.com for our fam­ily so­journ in Italy.

Be­ing young, she has less truck with my lame old girl neg­a­tive non­sense about tech­nol­ogy, and has re­as­sured me that this is an ex­tremely tech-lite op­tion. I think this means it’s su­per ba­sic and easy to use, even for a techno­phobe like me. So I’ve taken her word and got­ten a run­ning pouch thing from run­ner­sneed.com that she rec­om­mended for my phone and credit card.

So folks, I’m board­ing the plane in my run­ning train­ers with some low-main­te­nance kit and a plan, and leav­ing my usual hol­i­day ex­cuses be­hind. I hope that the prospect of meet­ing up with her a few days af­ter I re­turn for our fi­nal train­ing run should be enough to mo­ti­vate me into a long tech-lite run one evening in the Tus­can hills. Oth­er­wise, I’m toast.

The Grit Doc­tor says: Lay off the lady petrol and em­brace tech.

Those Tus­can hills: it’s def­i­nitely worth go­ing run­ning – as long as I don’t get lost. Again.

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