Running Alone? Keep Normality With A Safe Space

Normality is a the heart of our daily routine 

The vast majority of us live our lives based on patterns and activities that create “normality”. Having normality at the heart of each day and each week gives us a feeling of comfort, safety and control - we tend to know where we are going to be on most days of the week, and within each day we have a regular pattern of activities in between waking up in the morning, and going to bed later in the day.

Occasionally our normality is disrupted - the birth of a child, a new job, or even a holiday could be the causes - but at some point, we either adapt to a new normality, or consciously decide to return to the normality that we are used to.

 someone is having breakfast, reading the newspaper, drinking a cup of tea and eating a bowl of muesli. On the person's wrist there is a watch with a black dial

World's Normality Challenges 

Today, the entire planet is facing a challenge to its state of normality, due to a rapidly spreading virus that none of us can see, touch, hear or taste.

For the vast majority of us, our lives have, or will soon change significantly. The normality that we have been used to is rapidly disappearing, and we have little control over how or when it will return. It is unsettling for us all, and the global concern encompasses individuals, families, businesses and the very fabric of our lives - the normality that we have become accustomed to, and which we have always had a large degree of control over, has been lost not just for now, but for a very long time to come.

Safe and Normal Spaces 

There are, however, still “normal spaces” that we can turn to, and these are so important at times of uncertainty. It may be eating a meal with family, watching a favorite program on TV or, as I have found, simply putting on my training shoes and going out for a run.

Running Alone 

Running on your own is one of the few places where you can pretty much guarantee being in a virus-free zone. I am fortunate to live near open countryside and rolling hills - this is my favorite running place, and when I am there, running alone, I am doing what I have done for many years, untroubled and untouched by a pesky virus.

Doctors and scientists have known for many years that running has mental as well as physical benefits, and at times like these, there is nothing better than running to bring a sense of normality and freedom at a time when our lives are in turmoil.

Running provides a “safe space” where we are, at least for a short time, untouched by the troubles facing the world. The hills, trees, weather and ground have not changed since before the virus sprung into our lives, and they will still be the same when it has finally gone.

very beautiful young girl runs with a black bra and green pants on a path in the mountains 

Where is Normality? 

Normality is still there - we just need to work a bit harder to find it, and there is no better way of doing so than by going out for a run. I found out yesterday that I am now going to have to work from home, probably for at least two months.

As the restrictions on our lives get tighter, I am determined to ensure that running - outside in the fresh air, along my normal running routes - remains part of each day.

I am sure there are many others like me, who are determined that the sport that they have enjoyed for recreation, remains as an essential and normal part of their lives, even during these difficult and challenging times


Author: Prof. Brewer, St. Mary's University 


By the same author of "Breathlessness: Embrace It When Running" 

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