New year, new me. Some express it far and wide, others are more reserved about the personal revolution the turning of the year will herald. Most of us - at some level - have a sense of renewal at New Year and the resetting of goals. Often – in fact nearly always – health related.
And so, running welcomes a new influx of participants.
It was certainly noticeable at my running club in the first Monday of the New Year. It was absolutely packed. Maybe it was my own tardiness in attending club nights in recent weeks that I didn’t recognise everyone. But there was definitely a few wide-eyed newbies in attendance too.
My own introduction to running as an adult wasn’t prompted by the New Year – although my first marathon was prompted by a drunken pledge one New Year’s Eve.
It was aged 29 when I first began to run. I wonder how many other people began with a 9 or 0 at the end of their ages? But when I think back now, I remember how naïve and green I was around this new scene. Slipping into a pair a Dunlop Green Flash (told you I was green), I just went out to run a lap of Edinburgh’s Meadows.
It was an inauspicious start and a bit of a struggle. No warm up - let alone a warm down - and no real appropriate running apparel either. But it was a start, nonetheless. The notion of long runs, intervals, hill reps were a foreign language to me then. And if you had invited me to join you for a Fartlek session, I would think you were one to be avoided. To be honest, I didn't know my foot arch from my elbow back then.
It’s a step every new runner makes. It might not seem like it at the time, but it can be a life-changing step for some. It certainly was for me. For those who ‘discover’ running, it can be a really joyful time. New goals are around every corner. First 10k, first time running more than 10 miles, first intervals sessions.
And then the thirst for knowledge…carbo-loading, pronation, running gait...you absorb it sponge-like. Then there’s the new toys you hadn’t even heard of six months ago - suddenly head torches and compressions socks are must-have items.
Christmas has come again for these new runners. They just don’t realise it quite yet.