The notion of running came to me a little after I started to seriously consider my fitness. Perhaps I felt that training for golf would be more along the lines of upper body strength and core to improve stability and, therefore, driving distance. Holding me back also was the fact that I hadn’t been a runner at any time in my life so I considered it a little alien. I found it difficult to begin with but the benefits very quickly followed. I took advice, found a technique that worked for me, got the right gear and never looked back.
Now I see running, either in shorter, explosive bursts or of a longer duration, as a very important part of feeling fit and healthy. It sets me up for the day and clears my mind, helping me to focus and concentrate. Sometimes I like being on my own. Other times it’s nice to have a sparring partner. I enjoy doing shorter, faster running bursts on my own and the longer spells with company, if only to ensure I keep my pace from flagging — 5K can be a lonely 15 minutes!
There’s a great 5K run very close to my home in Holywood, Northern Ireland. It offers a mix of cross-country, track and road running. Whatever I choose, I’ll usually finish with a few 100-meter sprints to keep my heart rate up. And I’ll always have a mix of music with me. Typically, I’m keen on a little bit of Swedish house mafia or electro when I’m wanting to get pumped up. I like the steady beat. It helps me find the rhythm and motivation to grind out another lap. Running, or any exercise for that matter, always gets hard when fatigue sets in. I don’t mind if the run’s hard but I always try and avoid being tired before I start to ensure I don’t pick up an injury.
My goals are not necessarily times or personal bests. It’s not that I completely ignore times but I tend to concentrate on pushing myself that bit further each time I run, which is the same with all exercise or sport I’m involved in. For me, there are two real and obvious benefits to running: physical and mental wellbeing.
I have also found the benefits of running very obvious when I’m on the golf course – they translate very clearly. During competitive play in every weather condition, through delays, on the range and in practice rounds, my fitness has saved me countless shots over time. That’s all the motivation I need to make me put my trainers on and take to the road, track or country lane.