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Short Runs to Happiness – Hiking in Finland


Trapped in my Social Media bubble, I ran less and less because I didn’t have the time to run an hour or four each day. Until I realized: Short 20 Minute runs are my way to happiness, and totally fine.

Disclosure: I bought all of the gear in the photos from my own money. There are Affiliate links in this article which are marked with an ∞ Infinity Sign 😊 You can use these at no extra cost to you but I get a small provision from the company. As you know: I’m keepin’ it real and tell you how it is – I maintain full editorial control of the content published on Hiking in Finland. Read the Transparency Disclaimer for more information on blogger transparency and affiliate links.

All photos in this article were taken with the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

In my Social Media bubble (so the people I follow and interact with) the average person runs a 5:30 min/ km Pace, runs almost every day of the week and usually runs for an hour or longer. That wasn’t me even at the best of times: I have a family and going out for a run every day for more than an hour is impossible – unless I want to get up at 5:00 o’clock in the morning to realize that, and that is not going to happen either. At the best of times – during holidays for example – I can manage to get out two to three times a week for 30 to 60 minutes of training, and that’s already a lot.

This had as a result that during a normal week I ran less and less. I was trapped in the thinking of “If I can not go run for an hour I don’t need to bother at all”. And with two small kids, a partner I also want to spend time with, household work and another hobby I really enjoy finding 1,5 hours or more – because I need to change into my running clothes, go run, come home, go to the shower and clean up my running kit – it’s not just “One hour of running” – is in my current life situation impossible.

Slow and happy

But for me less running is also not good. Running is my stress-relief, a time where I don’t need to think about work stuff, doing the Taxes, articles to write, videos to edit and household work to do. I only concentrate on the trail in front of me, and where I should place my next step or two. I also can stop a moment and listen to the sounds of the forest, or observe the swan couple which has moved to the stream in our neighbourhood and smell the trees, moss and mud. But generally I simply enjoy running on the beautiful and varied single-track in the forest, and the exercise it gives me – because working from home means for me also that I don’t move as much as I’d like to.

Swans

Frosty trails

So a couple of weeks ago I decided “Whatever, I now go run for 20 Minutes” and it has been a revelation, to say the least. Going running for 20 minutes gives me all of the above benefits – moving and exercising, getting my head free, enjoying the forest and nature – and including changing clothes and taking a shower afterwards I have a turn-around time of less than 40 minutes. That means I basically can set the iltapalaa (evening snack) for the kids on the table, change into my clothes, go run 20 minutes, take a shower and be back with them when they are finished, ready to go to sleep.

Sweaty

Leaving trails

And so I have been running every day since that revelation. Yes, “only” 20 minutes – a stark difference to 99% of my Social Media bubble – but I know that I don’t intend to run an Ultra Race or Marathon any time soon and these short runs are perfect for me. After all, I run for myself, and not for some Strava records or people I don’t know on Social Media. I run for me, my health, my mental well-being, and running just 20 minutes a day makes me happy!

And that’s what I want to pass on to you, too. If you haven’t been running or exercising because you don’t have the one or more hour it takes – because that’s what everyone else around you does – break out of that bubble, do what makes you happy for 20 minutes and then be double happy – happy that you were running/ exercising and happy that you were able to fit it inside of a busy day, which would have prevented you of doing it any longer! Trust me, doing what you want to do, even just for a short amount of time, is better than not doing the thing at all because you feel you can not dedicate an hour or more to it. We are doing this for fun, so it is better to do it just for a bit than not at all!

inov-8 Mudclaw G 260 on snow & ice

Gear Talk

I bought a couple of years ago some cold weather/ winter running kit from ∞ inov-8 so that I could continue running in the winter, which after all last some six months here in Vaasa, Finland. While it is “spring” according to my calendar at the moment, when I go out run in the evenings it usually is around 0°C so I am very happy for my toasty warm ∞ Winter Tight in combination with their ∞ Base Elite Longsleeve and a ∞ Synthetic insulation Jacket which keeps my torso warm. If it is really cold I also put on some ∞ gloves but usually these stay in my ∞ hip belt where I also store my phone and water. On my head I have a ∞ Buff Beanie which is really thin and which I usually wear under a helmet when I go skitouring, but it works well for running, too! I track my runs with the ∞ Suunto Spartan Ultra which I use now since 5 or so years on all my trips and for training, and which is a superb smart watch. As I wrote in my All the Shoes article a few weeks ago, I mix things up shoe-wise but for the last muddy weeks I only have used the ∞ inov-8 Mudclaw G 260 and they have been performing great on the mud, snow and ice which currently is all over my trail. This kit has worked well for me now for three winters and gets a big 👍 from me!

Slow and happy, V2

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