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Why I Don't Run...And What I Do Instead

Monday, 26 November 2012

It sometimes seems as if the whole world wants me to go running. Sweeping generalisation ahoy, but runners are mad keen on converting other people into joggers.  "You should try it Alex.  You'll love it!"  Err no, I shouldn't and I won't.  There are times when all I can see is people merrily comparing trainers, talking about carb loading, incessantly tweeting about how many miles they've done this day/week/month and how everyone should join them because you don't understand life until you've run a marathon.

Well here's the thing, world: I don't want to go running. You can tell me as much as you want that it feels amazing to go out and pound the pavement for hours but I've got no interest in it. I might be related to a keen marathon runner but I'm the one standing on the sidelines cheering and handing out the sweets. I'm not ever going to be the one running the race.

That would be my brother...

Also (and I know this doesn't apply to everyone, but it annoys the shit out of me), it is extremely boring when people take up a hobby and all you ever hear from them is a constant refrain of "sponsor me!" Yes, it's impressive that you can run a long way. Now go and run your 10k because you like running. Stop asking me to give you money for it.

So I don't run.

I do stuff on the Wii Fit in fits and starts (shoving the Free Step programme on when watching tv definitely helped with all my weight loss).  I'm often to be found leaping round the living room cursing Jillian Michaels whilst I do the 30 Day Shred dvd.  Mostly though, I swim.  I am a firm believer in sticking with the form of exercise that you like and I like to swim, so that's what I do. It's very soothing to hop in the water and chug up and down the pool two or three nights a week.  I don't get sweaty, it doesn't hurt my knees and it gives me lots of time to think.  I get good ideas when I'm in the water.  No idea why, but it helps with blogging block!

And it's cheap.  My swimming membership costs me the princely sum of £12 a month and other than a new cossie every year or so, that's all I ever spent on it.  That is, until earlier this year when I had a bit of spare cash and bought myself two things that have made swimming much better.

First up, I bought these prescription goggles .  There are loads of different styles on that website but I chose that pair cos you can have different strength lenses.  Very handy if you have stupid, wonky eyesight like mine.  I genuinely had no idea they were so cheap - I was under the impression they'd be nearly as pricey as proper glasses, otherwise I'd have bought them years ago!  My eyesight without glasses is not good and I don't wear contacts, so I basically used to leave my specs in the locker, squint a lot and hope nobody swam too close to me.  Now I can actually see!  It's a revelation.

I also bought myself a sports mp3 player which has the very handy bonus that it's waterproof.

XSories Aqua Note 4GB in black

Yup, waterproof.  The pool I swim at doesn't play music, so it's now about 47 times more fun to go swimming and be entertained by this. It is BRILLIANT. Not only is it the easiest gadget I've ever owned to get set up and working, it comes with about 12 types of earbuds so you can pick the ones that suit you best, plus it is super comfy. You barely know it's there. Well, except for the fact that old biddies stop you in the pool and ask why your ear is glowing green. I'm more surprised that they didn't ask me why I was chortling as I swam (answer: I was listening to a Wittertainment podcast )

Next exercise investment: swimming lessons.  It's one of the very few sports that you learn to do about age 8 and are then left entirely to your own devices for the rest of your life.  I never got taught to do front crawl, or proper breaststroke breathing and I want to learn how.  I know I'm going to feel like a right idiot but I can overcome that.  I hope.


  1. I am the most hopeless swimmer ever and just one length is beyond me but I would like to give it another try as clearly I could improve on my current performance! I thought I'd like running but trying this year gave me some sort of shin splints and wasn't fun at all. Very impressed with your waterproof mp3 player! x

  2. Both those devices would make my swimming a lot easier!! I don't like wearing contacts as it's horrible when water gets in them, and music!! Amazing.
    I do like running, never thought I would, and never thought I'd run more than a mile, but I'm achieving more and feeling better. And I do some great thinking when I run.

  3. I used to swim a lot, I LOVE the idea of the MP3 player. Back in the day such a thing would have been an impossible dream!!

  4. I love this post! I think it's annoying when people go on about any one hobby and go 'you'll love it' like everyone's the same. I actually don't mind running, though I don't love it and have never had that endorphin high, whereas ypoga definitely does magic things to my brain. I also really don't like swimming. I was put off at school, where that was all we ever did (they were rebuilding the school and all the sports fields had the prefab containers we had our classes in on, but there was a pool nearby), though I love floating about in a pool at leisure.

  5. Love this post! Totally agree that every one has a sport that is right for them. I'd love swimming lessons too, I'm sure I'd swim more often if I was better at it!

  6. Ha, good to see I'm not the only one who gets irritated with the evangelising runners and their constant sponsorship requests. It's become an epidemic. Thank you for the link for the prescription goggles too, I had no idea they are so cheap and it's the thing that's always stopped me swimming more often, I'm really short sighted and get quite anxious without my glasses and don't like to wear contacts in the water.

  7. I love swimming. Prescription googles and swimming headphones would pretty much change my life :)

  8. Oh man I never knew a waterproof mp3 player existed, genius! Remember wanting prescription goggles SO BAD as a kid but mother always refused, hmph. Now I just wear my lenses but someone told me you're not meant to... you might be on to something! :)

  9. I need to learn how to swim as it is SUCH good exercise! I can just about keep myself afloat but I panic and sink- maybe lessons are in order?

    Maria xxx

  10. Wow those prescription goggles are so cheap! Makes you wonder why glasses are so expensive.
    I'm not keen on swimming. One reason is because I'm not actually very good and can't seem to use my legs, so my arms do all the work. When I'm swimming it has much the same affect as a car going through a very big puddle with cascades of water either side of me, except I make more noise! Also I don't like the getting changed afterwards because I never seem to be properly dry and it's hard pulling my clothes on.
    My thing is walking, although there's a hill nearby that I have set myself a challenge to run up Rocky style. As I don't normally run I've been doing a running plan to get myself ready. I've completed it and can now run for 30 minutes (on the flat) but I hate it! Once I've managed to run up that hill I won't be rushing to run again.

  11. I didn't know waterproof mp3 players existed, I admire your determination Alex. I really wish I had the confidence to go swimming alone, I keep telling myself it is something I must conquer. Also fully appreciate- running is not for everyone xxx

  12. Yes stuff running I am a swimmer too!! I have just done the Aspire Channel Swim Challenge in the pool it was really inspiring. I love your post for the mp3 player info - I need these, thank you so much for the review xx

  13. Ooh ooh, I sense a present for my swimming husband coming on! And thank you, I've just read your gift guide above too and am loving the literary gifts website.

    I don't want to run either. Nope, I like my boobs and my face just where they are thanks!

  14. I'll confess I'm such a cliche in that I like to run, and I love the feeling I get, but I do get why it's not for everyone and I really really miss swimming as I used to go almost everyday as an undergrad. Once I'm more financially stable, I'll be rejoining a pool to curb the weight that's appearing, and to get me out and give me something to do.

  15. I'm with you on the not running thing, walking I'm fine with, but not running. I would love to swim, but can't breathe, which is a bit of a problem. I think I will sign up for lessons (again), in the hope I can crack the breathing thing.

    Love your style as well!


  16. How do you swim without knowing the stroke or breaths? This is a genuine question as my knees are terrible and I'd like to try swimming but while I can swim it is entirely inelegant and I've never managed to do it as a proper thing rather than just messing in the pool.


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