Billy Sangster

Running

Fitness-wise, I relied upon dancing and climbing the Mither Tap of Bennachie, west of Inverurie out in Aberdeenshire. The first lockdown last year forced me to find some other way of keeping fit. I started walking every day through a park very close to me, around a golf course and back through the estate to home.

This was going pretty well, but I kept seeing these people running on the route and I began to toy with the idea of having a go myself. I had a girlfriend at the time and she was a regular runner and the idea was solidifying in my mind each day. Unfortunately that relationship didn't last, but just after it ended I decided to take the plunge and run the almost exactly five kilometre route.

It went okay and I really enjoyed it. The last time I'd run had probably been in the academy almost forty years ago - I'd always avoided it because I was convinced my knees wouldn't be able to handle it. I broke myself in gently, running again almost a week later, then five days - the other days I was doing the same route but walking. This escalated until I was walking and running the route on consecutive days, then running three to two.

Unfortunately, my lower back/right hip started to play up and the pain increased until I had to admit defeat and stop running, reverting back to walking each day again instead. Something disheartening happened, though - the pain didn't go away.

It was going through my head a lot and, overthinking as I usually do, I realised that the pain seemed worse on the days I walked.

I wonder...

I decided to take a risk and ran again two days in a row. The pain more or less disappeared.

Was it the walking that was causing the pain? I extended my experiment and ran the next day, then the next... Before I knew it I'd run thirty days in a row and had no back pain whatsoever. Wow.

I wasn't daft enough to keep up the running every day thing, so I started leaving gaps every third day - keeping this up until I gave myself another injury - a pulled calf muscle (or something thereabouts). After a break of two weeks I got back to it, attempting a run every second morning. I've stuck to this routine since (probably for around seven months or so now) and it seems to suit me very well.

The times I'm managing range from 28min to my best of 22:46 - averaging out at around 24min most days. Quite pleased with this at my age (54).

So never say never and go out there and have a go - you might surprise yourself like I did and like it!

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