Running on Empty

All of this summer sunshine makes me want to get outside and run. The theory is good but, unfortunately, it's the practice that lets me down...



Run for the hills

When we first moved down South, I was determined to make use of the beautiful scenery, the beaches and the hills to get fit. And in the first few years I was a demon; running on the Downs, leaping over the rocks, swimming in the sea.

I'm not sure when it all stopped, though, because one day I woke up and realised that I hadn't done any outdoor exercise in years.

I think it's because I started to use any excuse not to go. The mere glimpse of a cloud in the sky and I predicted a full on storm. The slightest hint of cold and I would scuttle back under the duvet. Then I had a problem with my back, and so even the slightest twinge made me put my running shoes back in their box.

Joining a gym

That was when I made the decision to join a gym, because no matter what the weather, there was no excuse not to go. Saying that, I have been known to drive to the gym (it's a 5 minute walk) and if I can't find a parking space, then I'll drive home again and have a cup of tea and a biscuit instead. I'm a hopeless case.

I hadn't been a member of a gym since we lived in London. There my gym was all shiny machines, wall-to-wall TVs and quite a few fit men. Down here it is a totally different experience.

London gyms vs South coast gyms

For one thing there is absolutely zero eye candy. It's the local University gym, so I expected it to be full of fit young guys. Unfortunately, the average age is 60.

There's also no fancy equipment laid on. A few treadmills, bikes, rowing machines and a selection of hand weights, but that's about it. What we do get though is an oxygen tank, a defibrillator and a red phone with a direct link to the local hospital. It gets a lot of use I can tell you. Only last week, a poor old dear fell off the back of the treadmill after he got confused with the controls and pressed the emergency stop button.

I've tried doing some local classes. The spinning one is a total joke - the instructor looks like my gran, the music is more Julio than Enrique Inglesias, and due to some student pranks, most of the bikes don't have any seats on them.

The frilly lizard

So this summer I'm hoping to revive my love of outdoor running. I'm not going to push myself though. I'm going to get my son, the frilly lizard, to join me. He won't last 2k, so that will be the perfect excuse for me to stop. And perhaps power walk back to the café for an ice cream.

Amanda Coxen, Working Mum and Tinies Director

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