Running and mental health…taking it out on the road

I have always tried to think of a way to write a blog about running and the way that it has helped me in a lot of different ways over the years but have never managed to get round to it. Running has been an important part of my life for the past 20+ years and has always had a positive effect on my wellbeing and mental health. It has helped me to keep fit, physically and mentally, and really helped with keeping me in check with my weight and my life in general.

River Thames Pathway, Marlow

I have been lucky enough to run marathons, ultra-marathons, and plenty of competitive races over the years but I always put pressure on myself to take it too seriously which resulted in me not enjoying the experience on some occasions. This isn’t a technical approach to running but just a breakdown of all the positives that I have taken from it.

River Thames Pathway, Hurley

Decision making – I have made all the important decisions in my life, personal and career-based, whilst out on a run. Without any distractions and plenty of time to think things through I have always relied on my decision-making process when running.

Mental health – Like a lot of people, life can be a real rollercoaster and the situations that I have been in, especially during the various lockdowns, have been a real challenge to me and my wellbeing. Without any doubt, a run has ALWAYS helped me in this situation. I write this today after a tough week where I haven’t been able to run for four consecutive days and have had some big issues to deal with. The run this morning immediately lifted my spirits and helped me with a couple of big decisions.

Weight loss – I benefit from being a vegan and teetotal which has again helped me for my overall fitness. A regular running regime has helped me to keep my weight to a constant over the years as well as having a healthy heart rate.

Hurley, Bucks

Music – this is the main opportunity to listen and learn mainly through the BBC Sounds app for Marc Riley’s show on 6 Music. 90% of any new music is introduced to me by this show.

– since I moved to Marlow we went almost into the first lockdown so I didn’t really get to know anybody in the area. Recently, I have joined the local running club, Marlow Striders, which has over 250 members. Even though the club has held a limited number of group runs recently due to the lockdown it has been a good opportunity to start to get to know people.

Sightseeing – when I was on the road with various bands I tried to get out for runs with the artists and crew as much as possible. I have been lucky enough to run in some staggering surroundings over the years including; Santiago, New York, Sydney, Buenos Aires, Tokyo, Melbourne, San Francisco, Auckland, and Los Angeles. Doing these runs has helped to keep me in shape, again physically and mentally, when on tour but it has also ensured that we get to see the sights of the cities where the shows have taken place. In addition to this, it has helped me to see the local areas of the town that I have lived in where I benefit from being close to both the countryside and the River Thames.

Culham Chapel Deer Park, Aston

This obviously isn’t a running blog but I just need to stress how important it is to my life and my general wellbeing. You don’t have to be an athlete to be a runner, you don’t have to do long distances or do super-fast times. Getting out in the open air can be exhilarating and has the ability to set your day up in a positive way.

Marlow Bridge

Recommended Reading:

Chris McDougal ‘Born To Run’ :

Stu Mittleman ‘Slow Burn’ :

Recommended Viewing:

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