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Mental Health & Running, a compatible relationship?

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  • 20-11-2018 12:22pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 4,834 ✭✭✭


    Bit about this around here lately, not naming names so will leave it at that. My story to give it a brief outline is I went through a very difficult 18 months or so back 3-4 years ago now. I reached such a dark place in my life I strongly contemplated suicide on numerous occasions. I had worked out how I was going to do it, drive my car into a wall, had the wall picked out and everything where I planned on doing it.

    I was willing to leave a wife and two beautiful kids behind till I realised I had to stop pushing away what was making me feel the way I was, my reason was work, a job I have since fell out of love with because of what it done to me and made me feel. I broke down one morning to my wife, cried for hours as I tried my best to explain what was wrong, I sought help, it took a long time for me to return to normal. I could be out with my family sometimes driving and just break down in tears, trying to hide and explain that to your then 4 year old son is tough.

    Long story short I spent 10 months out of work before returning but it was just a means to an end as I needed to do it financially for my family. The one thing that was a constant and helped me was running, sure there were times to where I cried aimlessly when out running but I was happy when I ran. Running helped me and still does, i’ll never be completely fixed I know that, dark times have come and gone since but I can deal with them better now. Without running & some freedom I don’t know if I could.


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Comments

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 354 ✭✭El CabaIIo


    I don't mean to diminish all of intricacies of it but I think you can sum it up in one word, balance.

    You can't let a single thing become your identity even if it something that can benefit your health and well being.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,236 ✭✭✭AuldManKing


    Super post B - tough tough times indeed.

    The use of the word 'compatible' is interesting.

    As I mentioned in a different post, sometimes they are compatible, other times not.
    I have heard of many elites who go down a dark road 'in running' due to injury, or lack or progression or retirement or other reasons.
    I'm not sure if it is 'rife' in running compared to other professions, but there are a large number of elites who suffer or have suffered at some stage.

    Some people may question if its running or if there is some other aspect that is bringing these dark places on and running is just the vehicle for it at some stage.

    At a lower level than your experience - I know that Anxiety is a big deal with runners. Be that performance anxiety or other forms - but it exists - but is it "running" that is bringing this on??

    I do wonder how many people here on Boards run because of the help it gives them with a positive mental headspace and if they didn't run - would they find that outlet elsewhere - or is running a good hobby as it affords you the 'alone' time you need and also the pleasure & banter associated with a group run.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,033 ✭✭✭who_ru


    Hi 00negative. Thanks for sharing a brave story. I can relate to it a bit, job wise especially. Many times my job gets me down, I’m late forties and like most folks I have bills to pay etc but I don’t have kids. Never felt like becoming a parent.

    I exercise semi regularly and feel better for it. My mental health is sometimes good and sometimes bad. Anxiety gets the better of me a lot. I often wonder what I will do in old age when I can’t exercise like I do now, it frightens me a little to be honest.

    I recently started yoga, I’m the only guy in a class of 10! And when performed correctly I think yoga can be very effective and calming for the body and mind. It’s all about the breathing and stretching, trying to let go of anxiety and get connected to your own self. I’d recommend you try it sometime. Like I say I’m late forties but any age can start yoga. Good luck man.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,021 ✭✭✭Kellygirl



    I do wonder how many people here on Boards run because of the help it gives them with a positive mental headspace and if they didn't run - would they find that outlet elsewhere - or is running a good hobby as it affords you the 'alone' time you need and also the pleasure & banter associated with a group run.

    This resonates with me. Running is my escape now. It’s generally my alone time and my social life. My eldest son is on the spectrum and I’m not always the best at dealing with things. Running gives me the break I need and keeps me sane. I’m as happy running on my own as I am running with others and following a training plan and having a goal gives me something to think about that is just for me.

    It is all a balancing act though and if something happens to take running away from me I’m not a happy bunny. Sick child today had me in bad humour as I was missing my precious run or time to myself. Injury is the same and I can see why injury can send people down mentally. It becomes a vicious circle then I’d say when the running that gave you a boost is gone and makes you even more depressed or anxious than ever.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 354 ✭✭El CabaIIo


    Some people may question if its running or if there is some other aspect that is bringing these dark places on and running is just the vehicle for it at some stage.

    I think it's a complex situation where elites probably differ in how it comes about than a recreational runner but the bottom line is along the same line. Where your self-worth is tied to.

    For the elite athlete, athletics is their job and their self worth. Injuries and poor performances can hinder both their families and self image.

    For the recreational runner, running is probably used in more recent times as a way to break out from mental health issues. Neither is true of all runners but it's a trend I see among depression and anxiety among those who do have symptoms.

    While running can be a great reliever of stress, it can be abused as well and become obsessive, I always refer to it as a wonderdrug for mental health issues as it acts on your hormones and behavior but like drugs, it can become adictive to the point to the point where it controls your emotions and your life and on it's own, can be used just like a drug to paper over the cracks or mask the voids.

    This is something I've learned about life in general over the last 10 years of my life battling these issues, it's that if your self-worth is placed majorly on any single aspect is that it is on shaky foundations. I've had it with drug addiction, running and my job at various points in my life where those became a major identity of mine and I was shifting from one obsession to the next to paper over the cracks rather than trying to various things I enjoy to live a well balanced life. Variety is the spice of life and types of people who come to running from a depressive background can often latch on to running because it makes them feel good and helps them improve but they often forget that getting out of the dark hole should be a stepping stone to other things, not the finishline. If you are taking one thing so seriously that it consumes you and every poor performance or "failure" has a huge effect on your self esteem no matter how productive or healthy that aspect is in general terms, it has then moved into the territory of an unhealthy addiction.

    Running in general will attract obsessive types by nature, look at the numbers, stats, routine etc. People will hate me for saying this but you see will see the same behaviors among addicts when it gets to that point. When I can get the next score/run in? I'm injured/can't score wtf am I going to, I'm cracking up! Neither knows they have a problem or will admit to it but that doesn't mean there is none. What will say is that running is obviously a more productive and healthier than those other issues but you got to be able to realise when it also is becoming a problem.

    Does that mean you can't train and run a lot? Not in my opinion, your mental approach to it is probably more important than anything else.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,236 ✭✭✭AuldManKing


    El CabaIIo wrote: »

    While running can be a great reliever of stress, it can be abused as well and become obsessive, I always refer to it as a wonderdrug for mental health issues as it acts on your hormones and behavior but like drugs, it can become adictive to the point to the point where it controls your emotions and your life and on it's own, can be used just like a drug to paper over the cracks or mask the voids.

    Well put. Excellently made point.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,834 ✭✭✭OOnegative


    Well put. Excellently made point.

    +1 to that, as El C stated previously also in the thread finding balance in life is a big factor I feel. My issue was I let work dominate me way to much, never again.


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,851 ✭✭✭✭average_runner


    For me, running gives "me time". That might sound selfish as i have a family but its good to get your own time.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,208 ✭✭✭shotgunmcos


    Saw the title and in one word

    YES


  • Registered Users Posts: 55,649 ✭✭✭✭walshb


    Good committed and focused cardio based exercise is the best medicine there is for a good stress relief.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,340 ✭✭✭TFBubendorfer


    El CabaIIo wrote: »
    While running can be a great reliever of stress, it can be abused as well and become obsessive, I always refer to it as a wonderdrug for mental health issues as it acts on your hormones and behavior but like drugs, it can become adictive to the point to the point where it controls your emotions and your life and on it's own, can be used just like a drug to paper over the cracks or mask the voids.

    For the last 14 years I have used running to control my mental health issues, and the difference it has made are like night and day. I'm fairly sure my wife would not have been able to endure all the crap I was putting her through for much longer, so for me running was the difference between living on my own with all the demons, and having a happy family - the contrast could not be any greater.

    Of course it is addictive in some way, but if the alternative is such a dark spot I'll take being addicted to running any time. I don't want to contemplate what will happen if I can't run any more, for whatever reason, but even if that day should come one day, today is not that day.

    I'm sure there are other activities with the same benefits, but in general working out, and working out strenuously at times, provides a huge benefit mentally, and its effects are still vastly underrated.

    Not only is running fully compatible with mental health, it is a huge benefit.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 480 ✭✭ewc78


    The reason I started running was for my mental health and it's still the number 1 reason I do it today.
    My first born has special needs and when he was born I drifted into a dark enough place, it was a struggle coming to terms with his condition.
    Someone suggested exercise and I downloaded the couch to 5k app and went from there.
    I wouldn't be in that dark place anymore and my son is the light of my life now,but I know I need an outlet to keep my stress in check and running does that for me.
    I'd be lost without it to be honest. Don't like to think where I'd be now if I hadn't taken up running.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,417 ✭✭✭Lazare


    Mental health benefits are definitely the most important reason for running, for me.

    I never really experienced prolonged poor mental health issues before I took up running.
    I started C25K in January of 2016, our second baby was due in February. It was a really exciting time for us as we had gone through a really tough ten years with fertility problems. Many miscarriages and failed IVF treatments.

    Our first daughter was born in 2014 after finally succeeding with IVF. Her sister Sybie, also IVF was almost with us, everything was right with the world.

    We lost her four days before she was due. She died of an adrenal haemorrhage in the womb.

    We coped with all of the previous heartache, but this was too hard. It was incredibly dark and painful.

    I ran to deal with it. Running got me through it. I developed mental health issues from losing her, anxiety mainly, panic attacks. Running is still getting me through it.


    A really nice thread, thank you to the OP for opening up and encouraging others to.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,834 ✭✭✭OOnegative


    Lazare wrote: »
    Mental health benefits are definitely the most important reason for running, for me.

    I never really experienced prolonged poor mental health issues before I took up running.
    I started C25K in January of 2016, our second baby was due in February. It was a really exciting time for us as we had gone through a really tough ten years with fertility problems. Many miscarriages and failed IVF treatments.

    Our first daughter was born in 2014 after finally succeeding with IVF. Her sister Sybie, also IVF was almost with us, everything was right with the world.

    We lost her four days before she was due. She died of an adrenal haemorrhage in the womb.

    We coped with all of the previous heartache, but this was too hard. It was incredibly dark and painful.

    I ran to deal with it. Running got me through it. I developed mental health issues from losing her, anxiety mainly, panic attacks. Running is still getting me through it.


    A really nice thread, thank you to the OP for opening up and encouraging others to.

    That’s incredibly tough, can’t comprehend what you & your wife went through, glad to see things have improved with running.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 18,405 CMod ✭✭✭✭The Black Oil


    I was not running when I was a student (or even as a kid), but I did attend an occupational therapist in college. I still remember how she said the more points of contact you have in the community/your life the better this generally is for your well being. Quality over quantity there perhaps, but still a reasonable point. This is where, imo, the likes of parkrun volunteering is helpful, not just formal running clubs - the social connection. It gives you another outlook and a bit of a natter.

    Aside from the physical benefits of running, a sense of routine (X days per week, time of day, etc) can be important to reestablish focus, and bring things back - mental health problems can really knock that out of whack. I'd agree about balance and proportionality. Just earlier today I was reading about a 'body holiday', having never heard this sort of thing before. I've no issue with active holidays having done a few cycling trips, but there's a lot of nonsense out there on social media and I wonder if some of this chasing your dreams by hitting certain events is unhealthily pursued from that, or personalities. That said, the interest in running in Ireland is great to see. I don't particularly run for mental health reasons now, more do so for traffic avoidance, to put a long day in the office behind me, etc. I don't know where my mental health would be if you took running away from me over the last few years. I can relate to what some of people have said on the thread, plus I don't sleep very well which isn't great for mental health and part of the holy trinity, the others being diet and exercise.

    I find sports psychology very interesting as I think it's still very much emerging (compared to other areas of psych) whilst not being entirely new. I watched a talk by an Irish sports psych (who did London 2012) a while ago and wonder if there's anything transferrable from the elites to the rest of us.

    Things can go very badly wrong at the elite end, for sure (but Joe Soap too, as discussed above). There was an 18 year old British snowboarder who killed herself a few months ago. I remember hearing that on the radio around 11pm at night and it really brought things home compared to any suicide report, statistic and research I had read at the time (for work). She was so, so young and must have felt so bad. Sadly, I've heard a few stories like this re athletes from the US too.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,017 ✭✭✭Slideways


    I had a tree picked instead of a wall but my story is quite similar to the OP.

    I firmly believe running saved my life (although to be fair I constantly thought of the pain of those I would have left behind so that had a bearing and a fear of not managing to get it right)

    12 years later I’m not in the slightest inclined that way ever but running still clears the mind and I get a lot of thinking done while doing. The endorphins and fitness achieved while doing it is an added bonus


  • Moderators, Education Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 7,395 Mod ✭✭✭✭**Timbuk2**


    Thanks everyone for sharing.

    I've certaintly benefited from the headspace running provides - I think sometimes you only realise how good it is at reducing stress levels and improving mood when you take a break from running.

    For those that find running good for headspace, fighting demons etc - do you ever find yourself afraid to increase mileage or try something new for fear that you'll get injured and potentially go weeks without being able to run?


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,834 ✭✭✭OOnegative


    For those that find running good for headspace, fighting demons etc - do you ever find yourself afraid to increase mileage or try something new for fear that you'll get injured and potentially go weeks without being able to run?

    As long as your sensible about the mileage increase you should be fine, don’t go from 30 miles a week to 50 the next. Add a few miles easy running every other week gradually, not a few every week, till you reach the mileage you would like to run. Try make the miles easy as possible.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,584 ✭✭✭skeleton_boy


    I'm lucky enough to not have suffered any major mental health issues. Like anyone I do however get the blues from time to time or just have a sh!t day at work. A run always does wonders to clear my head.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,299 ✭✭✭ariana`


    Some really honest, raw posts on here including the OP's - thanks all for sharing.

    Like a lot of people i started running at a time when i was in the doldrums a bit with life and needed a form of release. It has served me well though sometimes i find myself wondering if i am just running from problems in the hope that eventually i'll out run them rather than really facing the problems. Running or should i say not running does effect my mood and my ability to cope with day to day stuff.
    walshb wrote: »
    Good committed and focused cardio based exercise is the best medicine there is for a good stress relief.

    I agree with this - but i think stress relief are the key words here, everybody has stress in their lives and stress relief is important for everybody. But everyday stress is not the same as having a genuine mental health problem. I think that maybe as a society we are in danger of over simplifying mental health issues and their cure. Celebrities (like Bressie) have done wonders for bringing mental health into the public domain which is a good thing, but i also think they may have added a bit to this notion that it's as simple as getting off your a$$ and doing exercise to "fix" these problems. Mental health issues are very very complex, very individual to each person and as such the path to recovery is unique to every individual - what isn't unique is that it is never easy and never predictable.

    Just my tuppence worth :cool:


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  • Registered Users Posts: 55,649 ✭✭✭✭walshb


    ariana` wrote: »
    I agree with this - but i think stress relief are the key words here, everybody has stress in their lives and stress relief is important for everybody. But everyday stress is not the same as having a genuine mental health problem. I think that maybe as a society we are in danger of over simplifying mental health issues and their cure. Celebrities (like Bressie) have done wonders for bringing mental health into the public domain which is a good thing, but i also think they may have added a bit to this notion that it's as simple as getting off your a$$ and doing exercise to "fix" these problems. Mental health issues are very very complex, very individual to each person and as such the path to recovery is unique to every individual - what isn't unique is that it is never easy and never predictable.

    Fair points....

    The word mental health and depression for me, at least recently are being far too easily bandied about and trivialized. It's gone from nobody wanting to discuss themselves feeling depressed to every Tom, Dick and Harry telling their story. It kind of really dilutes the "illness."

    Sadness (which is a sympton of depression) is probably the better word to describe the issue for a lot of people.

    Back to the point of exercise....

    Just me: Nothing better than a 45 minutes skip or bags session, or 20 minute run to make me "happier."

    Nice thread.....


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 7,056 Mod ✭✭✭✭Hannibal_Smith


    Running had the opposite effect for me. It actually brought me down. Initially I loved it. You couldn't take the runners off me. I could see improvement so quickly from running 2 mins to 10 mins to 30 mins without stopping. I loved the feeling when I got back and felt id done a good job. It was completely addictive. There was nothing really competitive in it and results were easier to catch.

    I never ever entered a race with a view to just completing, I always had something to aim for. 5k without stopping 10k without stopping.

    Then when I wanted to improve it all got so complicated. Am I training too slow, am I training too fast? What's a MP, what's a 5k effort. It all got very confusing and the joy of just running became a chore. Granted it was because I ran my training races too fast for the first 2 years, so mentally when it came to slowing them down it looked like I was going backwards all the time and there was no reward. There was no speed and because I was slowing down the long runs (which initially I loved) became so monotonous.

    My head is the type that needs gentle dealings. I am prone to dark thoughts and feeling totally insignificant. Initially running helped that and I felt i was doing something positive. It help with weightloss, gave me a much needed confidence boost and was a real joy. Until the pressure started and the feeling that all the goals were unattainable and I was back on the roundabout of uselessness and insignificance.

    Coupled with that, I am my own worst enemy. Studying for any exams, I cram at the 11th hour instead of studying consistently. When I started Running, I did it for the joy. But the it became running because that was what was on the plan. And I don't deal well with like that :pac: and you can't cram at the 11th hour!

    It really started to get me down and the motivation was gone. Then the guilt would seep in for not running and then starting back was worse than before because now you were slower than ever with memories of how faster you used to be. The dream of the 59 min 10k never materialised and I became absolutely miserable with it all and wished I'd never started. Life is too short to be giving yourself a guilt trip about a hobby!

    Eventually, I got myself back out, but its only 20 mins here and there. Not really any award or accomplishment, but it eases the guilt of not doing it. Myself and my friend go running together while the kids are training, so that at least quietens the demons telling me I'm so bad at it, or the worry that you thibk you're flying but actually you're shuffling like a geriatric. It was getting to the stage where I was going to give up altogether and learn to deal with the guilt than face the headwreck. But there still is a real love of it, when the demons fade and you're just motoring along.

    Last week my self and the friend were out and we picked this route that was quite tough. We were dying Initially, but then we got into such a rhythm it felt fantastic! To the point where I legged it up the last hill and felt I could have done another lap! So now rather than yesterpaces and dreams gone by, I'm chasing that feeling again because that was an enormous boost for the noggin.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 354 ✭✭El CabaIIo


    ariana` wrote: »
    I agree with this - but i think stress relief are the key words here, everybody has stress in their lives and stress relief is important for everybody. But everyday stress is not the same as having a genuine mental health problem. I think that maybe as a society we are in danger of over simplifying mental health issues and their cure. Celebrities (like Bressie) have done wonders for bringing mental health into the public domain which is a good thing, but i also think they may have added a bit to this notion that it's as simple as getting off your a$$ and doing exercise to "fix" these problems. Mental health issues are very very complex, very individual to each person and as such the path to recovery is unique to every individual - what isn't unique is that it is never easy and never predictable.

    Just my tuppence worth :cool:

    There also seems to be a rush to label these issues in general which becomes a self fufilling prophecy as it creates a nice little box to hold yourself hostage to when it rarely is as simplistic as that.

    I will say though that there is an element of get up off your arse and make a change though. It sounds insensitive and when you say to people who are having issues, it's usually brushed off as so. I've been in the same situation at my worst that when someone tells you to" get out and do something", you revert to "they don't understand what I'm going through and that I can't do that". It's not that you can't but that you think you can't in reality. You get stuck in a mental loop of negative feedback and feeling sorry for yourself and the only way to challenge that belief system is to do things that break that loop.

    It's a grind and something that makes you feel much worse at first, you'll see everything that didn't quite go to plan as a failure but the import ant thing is to keep trying and keep challenging the "I can't" mindframe. Your mind can't physically stop you going to that dinner with friends, trying to learn something new and broadening your horizons. You have to fight becoming a prisoner of it through action. You'll hate yourself when doing it but then again, you already do when when you are doing nothing about it so trying to be proactive is a win-win situation.

    While I think talking is good, often when you are in the abyss, you are stuck on irrational autopilot and action is the best form breaking those thought patterns.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,834 ✭✭✭OOnegative


    El CabaIIo wrote: »
    While I think talking is good, often when you are in the abyss, you are stuck on irrational autopilot and action is the best form breaking those thought patterns.

    I had to talk, the only so called friends I had at the time were within the job I done. It was zero use to me talking to them as there was and still is a stigma attached to mental health within that job, won’t say more on that though. So I attended counseling, and was challenged by the counselor to meet new people. I found this very very difficult as I had built up a wall towards ‘everyday’ people as I called them, they weren’t to be trusted so I believed.

    Eventually I plucked up the courage to meet someone new, TbL from these parts the way it turned out, he made me feel so at ease & it was strange to meet this person for the first time who had a genuine interest in who you were and what you are about. The talking with my counselor & the numerous new people I met, a lot from here, over those difficult 18 months really helped me. More often than not a meet up involved running.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 115 ✭✭M.m.m.


    walshb wrote: »

    Fair points....

    The word mental health and depression for me, at least recently are being far too easily bandied about and trivialized. It's gone from nobody wanting to discuss themselves feeling depressed to every Tom, Dick and Harry telling their story. It kind of really dilutes the "illness."

    Sadness (which is a sympton of depression) is probably the better word to describe the issue for a lot of people.

    Back to the point of exercise....

    Just me: Nothing better than a 45 minutes skip or bags session, or 20 minute run to make me "happier."

    Nice thread.....


    I think most people have contemplated suicide, just like most people feel like punching someone at times or more etc. But theres a big difference between thinking about it and acting on it.



    I think depression is misunderstood, theres so many different types of depression, serious mental imbalances can only be cured with medical help.
    No matter how much you run or exercise it wont cure that imbalance.


  • Registered Users Posts: 55,649 ✭✭✭✭walshb


    M.m.m. wrote: »
    I think most people have contemplated suicide, just like most people feel like punching someone at times or more etc. But theres a big difference between thinking about it and acting on it.



    I think depression is misunderstood, theres so many different types of depression, serious mental imbalances can only be cured with medical help.
    No matter how much you run or exercise it wont cure that imbalance.

    Well, it's all about doing things to help yourself feel that bit more content and happy, and for me, exercise and cardio work out is brilliant. Not "killing" yourself, mind you. This I wouldn't advocate. You need to physically enjoy it as much as is possible.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,760 ✭✭✭ReeReeG


    OOnegative, what a brave post and thanks for sharing. It never ceases to amaze me what a strong bunch of people are on here, and I would almost guess most of us here have had struggles that have led us all to become so engrossed in running that we are posting regularly on a running forum.

    My own problems are mentioned on my log, and although I was running before my OH got sick, it had been sporadic and a total hobby. As he got sicker, my running increased and it was exactly what I needed. I'd run home from work to have my time to myself and clear my head, before heading into the hospital for the night.

    When he passed away, I went for a run maybe 2 days later and I cried and I cried running, but I needed it. I stupidly entered a couple of races around then, which I shake my head about now, but you know what, if it helped me through those weeks then who the hell cares. As the weeks passed by, running was the only time I felt like "me" and less sad, which obviously brings some guilt but honestly, to have 30 mins where you actually feel like yourself again, it's quite moving in a different way.

    My mother often said she was so glad that I had been into running before all this, because she knows how much it helps with people's mental balance and shutting off. I think it helped relieved her worry over me throughout a truly awful time.

    I'm a firm believer in sharing these things and talking about problems. It's never enough to JUST talk about them, but as said above, it's an excellent first step. I frequently then encourage my friends or family to go walk parkrun even, any fresh air can be good for the headspace, doesn't have to be running.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,208 ✭✭✭shotgunmcos


    I echo many of the sentiments of the thread and appreciate the stories, the confidence to share and applaud you for stepping out of your clouds. Kudos to Oonegative for starting it off

    2007 the darkest summer of my life. No details. I just drove up a small mountain road with dark thoughts. Cried, roared etc.. But drove home. I was and still am lucky to have brilliant support that I rely on and support back too.

    I started running and it became the distraction. Helped me to cut up my credit cards and run my first marathon a few months later. 2 significant events. Life just got steadily better (through ups and downs) from there.

    This post is not to add a story though, its to say that running is NOT the answer. I trained as a Life Coach in 2009 and what I actually learned through that chapter was what it meant to not have balance, how to work for it and how to hold onto it. Running was just one cog in that wheel. You can run night and day to keep the triggers at bay but running itself probably did not create the darkness. It absolutely facilitates a clearer state of mind, purpose and a drive to improve but it doesn't fix anything in isolation.

    What is better than going for a run is actually talking, like many here are doing. There are many methods/techniques then to facilitate talking more and making plans out of it. If running gives you the confidence or capacity to open up then keep at it but you still have to talk about stuff, address the other stuff that is closer to the bone.

    In 2007 I ran angry mostly, trying to fix the world. I grew out of that with a lot of help from special people in my life, learned to love who I am and most importantly how to manage the balance in life. To do that you simply have to talk!


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,455 ✭✭✭✭Murph_D


    A major narrative of our times is that YOU are solely responsible for your own success, your own health, your own well being. That’s all very well, but if you’re not feeling happy, healthy and successful, for whatever reason, then that same narrative condemns you to taking personal responsibility for your own failure - it’s your fault, and only YOU can fix it.

    B u l l s h i t.

    The rules of contemporary social organisation mean not everyone can be a winner. Some of us will do great, others will fare OK, some will struggle, some more, by sheer force of percentages, will (relatively) fail. Some of us will be happy to fail or to be relatively insignificant, others will struggle with the weight of expectations of success (whatever that is), placed by ourselves as well as others.

    The unhappiness and anxiety that can accompany perceived ‘failure’ used to be reduced by social cohesion, a sense of community involvement, etc. But a lot of that community aspect of life has fallen away with our obsession with individualism and personal responsibility for everything. For instance the church - quite rightly - has declined massively, but so have the more valuable activities and organisations that used to go along with it: youth clubs, charitable work, community events, etc. Outside of work/school, there’s a bit of a social vacuum out there for many of us, and running can help fill it: being part of a community of like-mindeds, whether I’m a fun runner, club runner, sub-elite, or more. So it’s not just that running can release endorphins and make you feel good (the ‘drug’), but also that it can lead to a group identity of a sort, and help you meet people and talk to them, even if it’s just about your hobby, which is what we all have in common.

    I’ve noticed that quite a lot of runners - and I’m one of them - are quite introverted by nature. Introversion (not shyness, which is not the same thing) tends to be undervalued in contemporary times, and has as many good aspects as bad. One of the downsides is a tendency to avoid or minimize certain types of interpersonal interaction, as well as a genuine tendency to be physically exhausted by extensive dealings with other people. It’s not hard to see how running fits into this ‘introverted’ preference for solitary activities.

    Just a few random thoughts on the subject. We seem to be all in this together, in one way or another. This topic resonates because we know the value of being out there, in the moment, doing what we do - enjoying our bodies and what we can do with them. (Careful now). ;)

    Important topic, great thread. Float on.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,340 ✭✭✭TFBubendorfer


    For those that find running good for headspace, fighting demons etc - do you ever find yourself afraid to increase mileage or try something new for fear that you'll get injured and potentially go weeks without being able to run?

    I can only speak for myself, but for me it was the complete opposite.

    I tried to become the best runner I could be, and that necessitated to train a lot and take a few risks regarding potential injury. As it happens, in my first 2 years for running I had just about any running injury you can think of (Achilles tendinitis, shin splints, PF, ITB) but nothing major and I was always back on the road within 2 or 3 weeks. Once my body had gotten used to running and had adapted I was almost bulletproof, just 2 injuries in the last 12 years.

    The self-confidence I gained from the vast improvements as a runner were a God sent and helped me so much with the rest of my life, especially at times when I ended up working for a manager who was a total and utter ****. It was well worth the apparent risks.


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