The thing that nobody tells you when you take up running is how much time you will spend thinking about food. Yes, there is a lot of chat about finding the right trainers, so that you don’t end up with blisters, shin splints, stress fractures and other wince-inducing injuries.

Ditto exchanging eye-watering stories about chafing woes where, if the seams of your clothes are sitting crooked or your shorts are too short, the skin will shear clean off making even a freezing cold, post-run shower feel like molten lava.

I have discussed toilet-related matters with fellow runners in more detail than I ever have with my GP. And spent hours poring over maps, plotting distances, routes and paces like Churchill in his war rooms.

However, as I am fast learning, so much of running conversation revolves around food - or “fuel”, as is the parlance for the nitty gritty mechanics of what to eat before or during a run.

Then there is the fun bit: the post-run feast. The clandestine swapping of intel on what races lay on the best spreads (we’re talking everything from tray bakes to local cheeses and hot-filled rolls). Infinitely better than being handed a lone banana in a lacklustre goody bag.

I have started making a list, jotting down notes like a Michelin inspector. My future race calendar shall be selected not by geography, the prestige of the event or even how well suited the course is to my style of running, but rather based entirely on the gastronomic delights that await at the finish line.

Read more: Don't waste life waiting for the perfect moment – it might not come

Read more: I passed my driving test at 46 - proof it's never too late

Read more: Gone camping – is there an easier way to have a midlife crisis?

You might have started reading this thinking it was about fitness endeavours. Yet, as you are now discovering it is, in fact, an ode to one of my all-time favourite things: a buffet.

Just as Julie Andrews sang about raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens and brown paper packages tied up with string, I could wax similarly lyrical about sausage rolls, bite-sized pizzas and mini pakora.

It is no secret that I love a buffet. When my husband and I got married, we chose one over a sit-down meal at our wedding reception. I know some people might turn their nose up at this, but it suited us perfectly.

Albeit the buffet featured slightly fancier cuisine than I would have typically plumped for, with posh quiches and a pyramid of neatly stacked macarons.

My usual vibe is more kid’s party circa 1983, with bowls of Wotsits and Monster Munch, iced biscuits, cupcakes, marshmallow top hats and triangle-cut sandwiches.

Not to forget the crowning glory: a tinfoil-wrapped orange fashioned into a hedgehog with cocktail stick spikes, laden with cubes of cheese, pineapple and pickled onions.

It has been a tough few years to be a buffet fan. When the coronavirus pandemic arrived, these glorious smorgasbords suddenly became a no-go zone. All that breathing around food and touching the same serving utensils was impermissible. Now buffets are back in business.

The Herald: The delights of a buffetThe delights of a buffet (Image: free)

I should, though, add a strict caveat. There is a distinct difference between a buffet-style communal dining scenario and those who inexplicably like to “share” food. Which brings me back to running.

If you are ever in a coffee shop and someone is eating a slab of cake, they catch you looking at said cake, like a dog might eye a juicy leg of ham, and politely ask if you want to try a sliver, the answer is always no.

The same runner may have given you a handful of Percy Pigs or a slice of Battenberg out on the trails, but when it comes to post-run feasting, the scran is sacrosanct. Especially if that runner is me. You have been warned.