What I Think About


Posted by in July's Magazine

Fantastic ideas rush through my head as I hurtle downhill from Arthur’s Seat. When I run, thoughts become fluid and I see the world with renewed clarity. Running is something I’ve done since I was a nipper. Growing up in the South Australian countryside, I could run for ages and not see another soul. It was my escape. And it’s a habit-forming escape.

Over the years my reasons to run have changed, nowadays my job involves showing other people the joys of running. Mind you, not all of my Personal Training clients run. For some individuals fast walking is sufficient, but for most as their fitness improves, moving at a steady trot is necessary to ensure they get a good workout. Getting into running should be slow and steady. You don’t need to sprint and absolutely knacker yourself. Listen to your breathing, take note of your posture, and enjoy the surroundings as you pass by. Running need not be about speed or constantly smashing PB’s (Personal Bests).

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In fact for many running is the only time they truly have to themselves. It’s ‘time out’, as it’s impossible to multi-task whilst running. Running is mono-tasking in action, and it can also be multi-purpose. For example, one of my favourite runs is simply along the cycle path to Portobello Beach. I stop at the Crumbs caravan and buy some liver cake for fitness pug Coco and then run back. I am seeing more and more people in the evening running with backpacks on, presumably having escaped the daily grind at the office. A running commute home is an excellent way to fit in a run and get home quicker (often quicker than a bus).

In this way, running is about more than running. It’s about giving yourself time and space to unwind whilst actually getting somewhere. It’s a great antidote to a shit day. Getting started is all about maintaining the right pace. This is what I specialise in, getting folk running and helping improve those who are already running. Speaking of which, big congrats to Leither stalwart Dot Mathie for recently winning the women’s Kilomathon – she’s a truly wonderful runner, and I’m proud to say, an old client of mine.

A favourite birthday present this year was a copy of Like the Wind magazine, a national journal packed with running stories of all kinds. I love running, writing and reading other people’s stories so this wonderful publication is right up my street. The beautifully illustrated stories, ranging from elite athletes to ordinary folk, are presented in an arty format I’d never encountered before. I’ve read (and written) many articles on running technique however I’d never read so many stories, written from the heart, on what it personally means to run.

Water of Leith
I’m elated my wee running story has been accepted and will be published in the June issue and if you love to run, you’ll love this magazine. You can read more or subscribe at likethewindmagazine.com. It’s [almost] as good as The Leither!

Quality over quantity is what really matters with running. Doing it enough so it’s not unbearably difficult (i.e. ideally move at a fast trot around three times per week) and choosing routes that are enjoyable are key. Leith is a haven of excellent runs, from a loop around Leith Links to exploring the cycle paths and witnessing the changing seasons along the Water of Leith, or getting a coastal experience around the front of Platinum Point, there is a route for all abilities.

If you fancy some hill training, Arthur’s Seat is just a trot up Easter Road, taking the back route into Holyrood Park at Abbeyhill. ParkRun is a good group run to start with, suitable for all fitness levels. It’s a 5km timed race that takes place across the globe every Saturday morning. In Edinburgh we have a Run on Cramond Esplanade, and recently a Run has started at Figgate Park, Portobello. Both of them are easy bike rides from Leith and are nice flat routes. The crowd are very welcoming, and it’s a great way to start a weekend. More info can be found at parkrun.org.uk

Running is also art, as the 2012 NVA Speed of Light performance for the Edinburgh International Festival proved. It was a choreographed mass run on the back of Salisbury Crags, with runners wearing light suits and making patterns whilst running in formation. It was a brilliant event to be a part of, and the Glasgow-based theatre company NVA has taken the show around the globe to different locations.

I still think back to the two nights I ran in the performance, and the friendly camaraderie of the other runners, as we were required to run cooperatively rather than competitively. If you love running and love theatre, check out the videos on their website at nvaspeedoflight.org.uk.

Info: Tracy has FREE group fitness sessions from time to time. Check out tracygriffen.com
Twitter: @tracygriffen
Facebook: /griffenfitnesss

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