Could running be a form of therapy?

‘Why do you run so much? Does it not get boring?’

I get asked that a lot. The answer is no. I love to run, it’s one of my favourite things to do.

I run most nights during the week and usually head out early on a Saturday morning. I run for around an hour after work and usually a little longer on the weekends.

mile1

Why, you ask?

To keep fit? To lose weight? To look good?

Partly, partly not. 

I run to relax.

Now there’s an oxymoron.

Let me explain.

When I tie my laces and put my headphones in – I feel disconnected from the world. It’s an hour of my day that completely belongs to me, and I love that.

It’s MY time; time to think, time to reflect, time to evaluate. But sometimes, it’s my time to not think, to zone out, to meditate.

I see running as a form a therapy, not a chore or an exercise. Running gives me the chance to take some time out – to truly disconnect – allowing me to reconnect in calm, positive mood.

If I’m having a bad day I go for a run, and sometimes when I get back I see things in a different light. If I’m having a good day and I go for a run, I use the time to reflect on how grateful I am.

I often go into a trance – I forget what I’m doing. I daydream, I fantasise, I let my mind wander – I really believe I remove myself from the real world.

Other times when I’m struggling to disconnect, I take the time to notice my surroundings. Whether it be the way the houses I run past are built, or the old man I always see at the bus stop, who’s finally started to smile back at me.

It’s funny what you notice when you take the time to really look.

mile 3

We all know running releases endorphins which make us happy, and I think that plays a major role in why I do it, too. It makes me feel good. I could be sat at home watching Come Dine With Me eating chocolate cake- which sometimes, I admit we all need to do.

But doing something that’s chemically good for your mind, body, and well being is important, and I think we should all try and give it a go – especially when we aren’t feeling great.

I’m not saying running is for every one.

Some people will never enjoy it, but a lot of people do, and the more you do it the better you’ll become.

At one time I couldn’t even run up the stairs without breaking a sweat, but I wanted to try something new and I was determined to succeed.

mile 2

Running improves mental strength

You might think running is simply a form of physical exercise, but believe me when I say it’s so much more than that.

To run for a long period of time, or to keep going when your knees are weak and you’re tired, requires a lot of determination.

The more you go out, the more you’re testing your mental strength. You train your mind to believe you ‘can’ do it- and you won’t stop regardless of how you feel.

Why I run marathons?

I ran my third marathon this year and smashed my personal best. I’ve been running for five years – and 26 miles never gets easier.

I said to a friend the other day: “It was like taking a ride on an emotional roller coaster.”

I went from feeling pumped, excited, and energetic, to weak, tearful, and angry. Then I felt motivated again, then I felt proud, determined and passionate.

It was exhausting. On my body – yes. On my mind – hell, yes.

mile 4

So, is it worth it?

The sense of accomplishment is surreal and knowing you’ve pushed passed so many barriers proves how strong you are.

To do something you know is going challenge you, and possibly even break you, then succeeding, is a million dollar feeling.

Nothing can beat that.

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