National Mind and South Lakeland Mind are supporting an initiative to beat the January Blues by turning January RED (Run Every Day). I have decided to give this a go, mainly to raise awareness around mental health and more importantly Mental Wellbeing. You can also be sponsored and raise money for the South Lakeland Mind outdoor therapy work.
Opening up the discussion around mental health and wellbeing is important for me. Why? (I must declare an interest here, I am the Chair of South Lakeland Mind and a regular runner.) I have my own issues around mental health (Depression and Anxiety) that have caused me to reevaluate what is important in my life and career. Running is one part of my own strategy for mental wellbeing which is why I want to support this initiative.
So I have an advantage in that I already run 3/4 times a week but this will still be a challenge as I have never run every day, so I will need to take it easy and not go berserk and charge off on day one with a long run. (The current record for Running Every Day is held by UK marathon legend Ron Hill who has run at least a mile a day for 18,200 days!) So hopefully I can manage 31 days! Now that highlights one negative about running, if you are not careful you can become a bit obsessive about running, which is not a good thing. I have been that obsessive runner in the past and when I restarted running 2 years ago after a 6 year break I was determined not to go there again. So now I just take off with maybe an idea of where to run and for how long but I am prepared to be flexible and see how it develops. I use it to explore the area, either the fells/countryside or the town. I go out I see a path or a road that I don’t know and I see where it leads.
So running is one part of my strategy for mental wellbeing the other elements are medication, counselling and some sort of meditation/reflective practice. The advantage of having several elements is that I do not become reliant or obsessive on one part. I don’t worry if I don’t go for a run, although I will for the next 31 days. My meditation/reflective practice might involve an element of mindfulness but also going out with my camera works as well as a reflective exercise. Again, I do not worry if I do not do this on a daily basis.
So how can you get involved, you do not need to run every day, it could be as simple as going for a walk every day, follow the guidelines on the SLMind site and take it easy if you have not done regular exercise recently. If you want you can get involved via social media and the details are again on the site. Everyday I will post a few thoughts and details of my run and hopefully we will organise an event at the end to celebrate the hard work that people have put in during January.
Day 1 – 30 minutes.
January 1st, no hangover but I have a cold which is actually good because it will stop me from going too far too early. On a morning like this, cold, crisp and sunny it is easy to go for a run. Just a noodle around the river and then up to the castle to enjoy the view. Great views over town to the fells just north west of Kendal, then back down and along the river again to complete the loop. One down, 30 to go!