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Miles For Mind - The positive effects of running by Jon Lawrence

‘’Tough times don’t last, tough people do’’

‘’The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win’’

These are two of my favourite running quotes and really define my mindset now when I set out on a run. I firmly believe that running has had a positive effect on my health and my mental state and helps you deal with what life throws at you.

I started focussing on running seriously in 2009, completed my first marathon in 2010 and since then have gone on to complete multiple 10k’s, half marathons and marathons including the Manchester marathon this year. I run at least one marathon every year as I love the discipline and motivation it gives me. I belong to a local running club, the Waverley Harriers in Godalming, so the social side is important, going out on long training runs with fellow like minded people all helping and motivating each other.

As I write this blog, I reflect on why I think running is so important to me and how it helps my mindset and how I apply it to my day to day life. I talk to a lot of people at work, my own family and friends to try to explain and encourage them to also think of the benefits it can bring them. Running any distance is an achievement and everyone will find their own challenge. Mine has always been to conquer the marathon and do myself justice at that distance. My first marathon was completed in 3hrs 52 and since then my times have come down to 3hrs 18, but I know I can do more.

As I watched the horrific footage of Calum Hawkins collapsing during the final mile of the Commonwealth Games marathon recently, it got me thinking that these days, a lot of people take it for granted that they can go out and run the marathon, especially in light of the number of amazing challenges people take on these days, however to complete any running event takes determination, commitment and hard work, all traits that will help you in day to day life. A lot of this is down to how

you apply yourself mentally, and feed yourself and your brain with positive effects and thoughts, again to the benefit of your day to day life.

I look back on the marathon and think of how it equates to my mindset in life in the following ways; When I set out at the start of a marathon training period I set myself a 16 week plan. This gives me a specific daily and weekly goal to hit and ensures that I am preparing and training myself for the actual event on the day. The training plan means that physically and mentally I am committing to a specific goal, which will take hard work and dedication to achieve. It means that you head out for a training run on days when you don’t want to, and sometimes in conditions that aren’t ideal, but that builds your mental capacity to show that if you stick with something, work hard, and stay committed you will succeed. You arrive at the marathon mentally and physically prepared.

The marathon itself to me is like any kind of goal you set yourself in life, you set out with great enthusiasm and tend to start at a pace you cannot maintain, which is why you should actually start out at a steady pace you can maintain. The middle part of the marathon is about mentally digging in and ticking off the miles, with the end goal still in mind, and the last part is when you really have to rely on your mental strength and fortitude. It gets painful and your body is telling you to stop, on numerous occasions in the past I have done this, but not anymore. Now, I have coached my mind to a point where I know it’s hard work and I know it hurts, but the only way you get the job done is to keep on going and the longer you are out there on the course the longer it will take for you to achieve your goal.

‘’Tough times don’t last, tough people do’’

I think about people I know and the tough times they are going through and think to myself that the only way you get what you want and succeed in life is by digging in and keep going when things get difficult. When you cross the line the elation you feel is amazing, knowing that you’ve dealt with everything that has been thrown at you and knowing that you’ve achieved the goal you set out to achieve. The positivity you take from that shows that no matter how difficult things get if you keep going and give yourself positive thoughts you will reach your goals.

‘’The elation of crossing the finishing line’’

 

In summary, I do believe that I have become a better person, my health and mental state have improved hand in hand. Running has taught me life lessons I can apply day to day. I know that I never give up, I know that if I focus on a goal I have to stick with it and I know that when life throws difficult situations and times at you, you need to remain positive, stay focussed and keep pushing through and you will get over them.

I would advise anyone to take up running (obviously) as it can, and does change your life. You meet so many amazing and fantastic people who are all as equally motivated and supportive as you and this keeps you looking at things with a positive mindset..

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If you want to get in touch or like what you have read, you can contact Jon on twitter @strongjon

Thanks to Jon for sharing this story. As part of #MilesForMind we want to raise money for Mind and also awareness of mental health issues.

 
It's OK to have a mental health issue, it's OK to talk about mental health, and it's OK to ask for help.
 
We firmly believe that running can contribute to a healthy body, and healthy mind and we hope sharing people's stories of mental health and running will inspire others to lace up for better mental health.

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