Why Running is My Favourite Kind of Therapy

As much as I’ve been trying to remain positive (going with the flow of my resolutions), I haven’t been able to ignore how down I’ve felt over the last few days, and it’s a feeling that I couldn’t shake off easily. The January blues did finally kick in. When my positive outlook quickly changed to a negative, I knew I had to do one thing: be kind to myself.

I woke up a couple of Saturdays ago with a grey cloud hanging over my head; a combination of thinking too much about M and it had been a long week at work for a number of reasons. I battled through my to do list and by 2.30pm, I had ticked off most of my weekend’s list – blog admin, making the sandwich filling for next week’s lunches, packing next week’s lunch snacks, and deciding what Sephora goodies I want my friend to bring over from Paris next week.

I knew I had to go for a run soon. It was going to get dark, and the weather forecast told me it would be snowing tomorrow. I have a half-marathon in seven weeks that I’m ill-prepared for, I needed to check this run off my list too. On procrastinating to change into my running gear, I scrolled through Instagram and quickly I saw something that put me on the verge of tears. The kind of thing that knocked me for six, and made me want to curl up in my warm bed, and definitely not go running. The motivation wasn’t there.

But I set my Garmin watch up, donned my favourite Nike trainers, doubled up on layers, put my headphones in, and pounded the pavements. I didn’t stop at the spot I’d stopped at last week, or the week before that, even though it was cold and people driving by must have thought “she must be mad”. I told myself purposely to not run at race pace rate, I was running in zone 3, and even though it was tough at times, it felt good. The music helped, but the cold didn’t. I ran the miles that I aimed for, and even though the time was five minutes longer than my PB, it didn’t matter.

For those moments, I forgot about the wave of sadness that washed over me some minutes before – or at least, I wasn’t purposefully wallowing over it. I wasn’t investigating social media even more to see what else I could uncover (and thus, inflict more sadness onto myself). My pace, my form, and the music I was listening to as I ran were my top priorities. For a moment, I had temporarily forgotten. I knew the problem hadn’t gone away, but I already felt better.

If running isn’t the best kind of therapy, I really don’t know what is. Endorphins are my favourite.

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