So why do I use running to promote by mental well being? As I said earlier I have run at various times in my life but at certain times it was a bit obsessional, I bought running magazines, read books about training for different distances and chased pb’s. But also it was a bit of a punishment, bad day at the office go out and run a hard 10k, to blast out the crap of the day. Then 6 years ago I had a major depressive attitude and stopped running, I would try and go for a run but my brain would just say what are you doing? Why are you doing this? So I stopped. After a couple of years of not running and still not feeling great having just moved to Kendal, a friend bought me a book called Spark by John J Ratey – it was about the link between exercise and the brain, I didn’t read it for 3 years. Then 2 years ago I got round to reading it, it is not a feel good self help book but a scientific examination of the link between activity and the brain. Based around studies in America it looked at how schools with an exercise session at the start of the day had better exam results, then it looks at the link between exercise and mental well being. It wasn’t a revolution or a revelation but it made me begin to think.
For me I have a scientific element and a creative element, so anything that I believe in needs to have a basis in fact. So I began to run again. I had put on a shed load of weight so it was back to the beginning, run 400m then walk a 100m, run, walk, run, walk etc.
I also read another book Run Wild by Boff Whalley, a member of Chumbawumba, it was about just going for a run, in the countryside, it was not about pounding the pavement in search of a pb. It was about the idea of not having an idea when you go out for a run, but just going with the flow.
So when I restarted I tried to take this on board and generally it works. I do still get a bit obsessive and push myself a bit harder but I am learning to relax in to running and not punish myself. So I explore, I start off with a loop maybe 2 miles and as it heads toward home and I am feeling good then I add on another loop, as I loop round I look for roads, paths, footpaths, bridleways that I don’t know and explore. Occasionally I get lost, I sometimes run a lot further than I intended, because a path doesn’t go where I thought it would and if it’s good then I might look at a map when I get back.
My running now is about letting go, seeing where it takes me. I still do 1, max 2 races a year but I do them as a way of exploring rather than competing.
Run Every Day – Day 2 – 40mins
Working this morning, so after lunch and getting close to dusk I went out for a run. I ran faster than yesterday mainly because it was cold, but also because your body has got in to it’s stride by the afternoon whereas it’s a bit rusty first thing in the morning. I reversed my loop of yesterday and sneaked up on the castle with the sun going down behind it and the moon just beginning to appear in the sky. I don’t normally take photos when I run but the aim is to illustrate what you can see when you get out and about to either new places or familiar places at different or unusual times.
Dusk – Kendal Castle