Runner’s Low

I’m running well. But afterwards, I’m cranky and worried about breaking down

A runrer looking thoughtful
Image: Tom Wheatley/Unsplash

After the party, the hangover. After the sun, the rain. After the ups, the downs.

And after the Runner’s High…. comes the Runner’s Low.

I went for an extra, unscheduled, run yesterday in a bid to raise my mood, because I’d been drinking and stuffing my face with crisps again on Tuesday night. I hadn’t been very productive at work either, and felt guilty and a bit useless.  

The run, as it almost always does, worked splendidly. I sloughed off the part of me that I don’t like and felt wiped clean.

As often happens when I set myself a fairly small distance to cover, I ended up running further than I planned. Partly because I was enjoying myself – but also because I would feel like I was the sort of person who smashed targets, who excelled.

Last night, I had a keen appetite again instead of feeling sluggish.

I felt like something approximating a healthy and worthwhile person, and didn’t even think about having a beer.

But the low has hit me hard this morning. It’s aches and pains mostly: stiffness and discomfort in my right lower back, my right hip and knee. Even my left forearm hurts, and my neck is so stiff that, when I roll it and it cracks, it sounds like a bone being snapped.

I’m worried that I’m going to get injured, and I can’t have that. Not in mid-January in London, when life is austere and dark enough.”

I’ve been a bit grumpy with my daughter and my wife. I didn’t want anyone else in my kitchen early on, while I was groggily struggling to come to. I didn’t want to talk about clearing the upstairs loo and the bathroom sink first thing…

So this is not the good ache that runners get when they are pleasantly aware of the tiredness of their bodies. When the stiffness is almost a caress, making you smile with satisfaction and fondness at the work you got under your belt.  

And I’m worried. I feel – with the hip and the knee in particular – that something is about to break down and I’m going to get injured, and I can’t have that.

Not in mid-January in London, when life is austere and dark enough and I need the mental sweeties that running has become to me.

Maybe I should just calm down. Post-exercise aches and pains are natural at my age and I still have three more days to recover before getting out there again on Sunday.

By then, I know I’ll be moving freely again. And, in the meantime, to combat the aches, the twinges and tightness, there’s always yoga.

I’ve had three months now of sitting at a keyboard all day, feeling the tightness across my neck and shoulders ratchet up and up, but I haven’t even thought about a Downward Facing Dog in weeks.

Time to get back on the mat, then. Get myself limber and roadworthy again, and make sure that there are more ups than downs in the future.

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