The Runnability of Running

It was the term ‘runnability’ that hooked me into the relationship with Gould Publication Papers.

In printing the term relates to performance and productivity; for a runner, especially an ultrarunner, that mixture has to be finely balanced - from diet and mental attitude to training and recuperation, even down to how your foot hits the floor.

I love exploring the methodology of this sport and feel euphoric when it all comes together, but here is a little secret... Sometimes, just sometimes, I loathe running!

There are days when it all feels effortless in terms of mind and body and I really can run 100 miles. Those are the easy days. There is no muscle pain, no boredom and I just slot into a rhythm, even perhaps going as far as to take my earphones out (I'm an addict to running with music, quite unlike 'true' long distance runners). However days like those are not as often as I would like.

If you read Pam Reed's 'The Extra Mile', it will tell you how this ultramarathon running legend goes out for 4 x 10km runs EVERY DAY, rejoicing in the magic of it all. I must say, I am not on the same wavelength.

I get tired for starters. Often, my legs hurt, it's dull, and I watch the clock, counting down the time when I can be finished, especially if I’m running laps. I much prefer to be heading somewhere than simply 'making up time' on a track.

So why do I do it almost every day? And more importantly, why should you?

Pure Vanity

Exercise tones your body, makes you glow for hours after and keeps fat at bay. Even if you don't eat much and don't exercise, having no muscle tone just doesn't feel as good (in my opinion).

Achievement: Look at the Big Picture.

Distance running and Triathlon are what I am good at and I endeavor to be as good as I can. Ultra-running provides me with a new challenge. Having a 100 miles goal is enough to scare me into training! Without goals it would all be a little pointless. So if you want to start running and keep it moving forwards, set yourself a target, such as a 5km event 8 weeks down the line.

Escapism: A Biggie!

When things get tough, I run. When things get very tough, I want to wallow. But if I can just get my foot out the door, I feel a million percent better afterwards. I find time on the road brings a more rational perspective to my problems and after a session I no longer feel like sending that angsty email!

Runners' High

The post-run high is a mixture of knowing you've achieved something, yet feeling nicely tired. It gives a great sense of satisfaction plus you sleep better.

Fresh air

We are animals, essentially. We are not designed to be cooped up in cages. How many of us go from a small room, to a tin can transport system, to a small room, and back again? Get out there! You'll look better and feel better.


Not in a spiritual way, although recently I ran to the top of a mountain, took a break at the top and found the view very uplifting, but more simply, I, and many others, have our best ideas when out exercising.

Just as in printing ‘runnability’ is something you have to get right, it takes time to get all the elements in balance and you learn a great deal about yourself and the process on the journey. It might be a tough journey but when you get it right, it feels great and you look even better.

You can follow Alice Hector’s progrees at Hectorcise - the Home of Alice Hector Training