The Music of Running

Sometimes you need a break from music. You need to clear your head and wait for something – an album, a concert, a song – to inspire you. At least, that’s how my mind works.

I was in one of these phases, waiting for inspiration, as I watched my wife lace up her shoes and go on another long run as part of her marathon training.

I hadn’t been for a run since October 2015. It was the Royal Parks Half Marathon. My knee blew up about a month before I headed for the start line, which meant I couldn’t run for the four weeks leading up to it. I stood there, waiting for the gun to go off, feeling ok. I’d rested my knee enough, I thought, to at least be able to run the race. Without training in the weeks prior to the race, I knew I wouldn’t get the best time I could achieve, but at least I would finish pain free.

The gun went off and I started running. My knee was ok. A hundred metres in, it was still fine. A hundred and fifty metres and a pain shot through my knee, an intense bomb of agony. Each step was a lesson in torture. I hobbled along and eventually made it to the finish line. After that, I vowed to hang up my running boots.

Two and a half years on, I missed the endorphin buzz. My knee was well and truly rested, so I decided to chuck on my shoes and head out for a couple of miles.

Of course, even having a week off of running makes the first one back a bit of a struggle. Surprisingly though, I felt good. Each run got a bit easier, as I nudged up the weekly mileage slowly, slowly.

I don’t run with headphones. I suppose this is for a couple of reasons: firstly, this is alone time, where I can clear my head. I like to be aware of what’s going on around me, too. I also want to hear the primal noise of running.

Breath in, step, step, step. Breath out, step, step.

The sound is hypnotic. With your heart racing, and the sound of air escaping your tired lungs, you literally feel life flowing through you.

Is there is anything else that can make you feel so alive?