The trees have turned into sky scrapers, the grass to pavements and my running shoes to brogues. This week I am doing some work experience for Runner’s World Magazine and although I am missing my farmland view from my bedroom window, I am loving every second of it.
I planned to have this week as a ‘rest week’, thinking that I wouldn’t have the time / space to run. (Although I did pack my trainers and running leggings just in case a miracle opportunity happened to arise).
IT DID. This morning I set my alarm at a slightly hideous hour and went for a run around Wimbledon Common. After three days off I was itching to get my legs moving. I felt myself becoming restless and was having visions of all my previous training efforts crumbling and going to waste. Analysing my thoughts and behavior I am a little worried… Am I an addict?
Some physiological theories of exercise addiction state that exercise is linked to dopamine, the same neurotransmitter associated with drug addiction. According to these theories, exercise–like alcohol and cocaine, delivers dopamine to the nucleus accumbens area of the brain, the vulnerable spot that researchers call “the reward centre.”
It appears that because exercise makes us feel good, and I’m sure you’ve all heard of the ‘runners high,’ when we don’t give our bodies this ‘good feeling’ that it is used to – WE WANT IT. We want to run.
Before doing this work experience I was worried about what life might be like after University in terms of training. At Uni, there is so much freedom to plan your day however you please. Running and training quite easily fits around a University timetable. However at work (especially in a big city where a commute might take considerable time) HOW AND WHEN DO PEOPLE RUN?
Working at Runner’s World has made me breathe a sigh of relief. The hours in the office are fairly flexible as long as you do a 7 hour day. Some people run in the morning and finish a bit later, or come in earlier and go for a run later. Some randomly take an hour out of the day as they please instead of lunch to go for a run and will, in turn, eat their lunch at their desk. If you’re worried about a post run red face and sweaty smell – no need. There’s a shower room on the same floor. People wander around in their trainers/barefoot and there is an ongoing ‘help-yourself’ counter full of adventurous health foods.
I realise that not all jobs will be like this (it is RUNNER’S world). But I think I may have just discovered my dream job.