Running Is My Therapy

“Running is about finding your inner peace and so is a life well lived”

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Running is one of the best ways to boost both your physical and mental health. It helps just about all aspects of your health, improves your mood and is a powerful stress reliever. Running will boost your energy levels and overall happiness.

Running has been an absolute godsend and lifesaver for me. It has given me what no person, therapy or money ever could and that is, a profound sense of inner peace, inner joy and inner clarity about who I am and where I am going. It has helped me to heal mentally from childhood and adolescent trauma and possibly also physical conditions of which I am completely oblivious.

Apart from the expected and routine amount of running that I did while I was at school, I did not take up regular running until I was aged 25. At that time my weekly running quota consisted of up to three 20 minute runs on the treadmill at my local gym and a 2 mile road run around the block with some guys I was keen to impress.

If I am honest I did not really enjoy running initially but just felt compelled to do it.  At that time running was tough and it made me feel uncomfortable and out of breath. I was never ever focused on the actual run itself but more on when it would end. Despite not liking it very much I continued to run (mainly on a treadmill at the gym)  for a couple of years until I eventually felt prompted to join a running club at the age of 28. Joining a running club was a good move and put me in a wonderful community of people among whom I formed strong lasting friendships and developed as a runner.

One of the most tragic moments of my life hit me at the age of 29 while I was already in the midst of training for my first marathon. With hindsight, I now believe that joining the running club and entering a marathon were divinely inspired as it was the 40 miles or so a week training schedule that got me through the aftermath of the tragic event. I went from being a runner who was more focused on when the run would end to being a runner who found great comfort, inner peace and clarity during my runs and was sorry whenever those sessions came to an end. In this way perhaps, I became addicted to running because of the healing and relief it offered.

To date, I have run in 14 marathons and am in training for my next. Even when not training for a marathon my running mantra is “Always be half marathon ready”

Apart from healing and comfort, running also brings out my intuition and creativity. Some of my best ideas come to me when I am running, whether it relates to where I should place a piece of furniture, what my next career move should be, or even where I might locate a missing item.  It has also enabled me to overcome and lay to rest some of the body image issues that I suffered earlier in my life. Running provides me with a means of communicating with the universe both on a conscious and subconscious level. I also use running as a platform for expressing gratitude to the universe for the amazing ( though at times complicated) tapestry of my life.

I am in no doubt  that running has significantly improved my life (if not saved it!)

Running makes me feel powerful. It is my alone time with the universe and a time at which I am at my most creative especially when running in nature. The more I run the more  I have a greater appreciation of my mind body and soul and  I  feel like a magical machine.

The Awesome Benefits Of Running

  1. Running is a great way to set a goal and then crush it –   Running makes setting and reaching SMART goals a realistic process. ( Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) Examples of relevant goals maybe just simply having a regular running habit covering up to 15 miles a week, to run a 5k without walking, get a faster 5k time, Run a 10k or half marathon, Run a marathon etc.
  2. Running can help you lose weight – Running torches serious calories. Running requires a lot of fuel especially if you include sprints and hill climbs into your routine. Even if you just maintain a steady pace for 45 minutes, you will burn more calories than when you push yourself to the limit in a 20 minute HIIT session.
  3. Running provides mental clarity and stress relief – Running will help to keep your mind healthy as you age. It also helps to boost memory and focus. Studies also show that running can improve people’s ability to cope with stress. Running is said to “recruit a process which confers enduring resilience to stress” The brains of runners have better connected neural pathways essential for higher level cognitive function according to researchers at The University of Arizona.
  4. Running can make you feel happier –When feeling sad, the last thing you want to do is to get up and go for a run. However, after just a few minutes of running, your brain starts to secrete hormones that naturally uplift your mood – “Runner’s High!” Exercise is considered to sometimes be an effective treatment for depression and has been found to be as effective as psychotherapy and prescription drugs in some individuals.
  5. Running improves your health, fitness and immunity – Studies have shown that runners gain about 3 years of extra life. The reasons for this include greater cardiovascular fitness, better body composition (less fat), lower cholesterol, excellent glucose and insulin control, stronger bones, better hormone regulation, and positive neurological functioning. There is evidence that running can improve the body’s surveillance against disease, lower inflammation, enhance gut microbiota composition, reduce risk of upper respiratory infections and influenza, and improve antibody response. General health benefits may include reduced risk of death from heart disease or stroke, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, reduced risk of developing cancer and other illnesses.
  6. Running is free – you can run anywhere and don’t require a gym membership or special equipment to get started. It is also a great way to make new friends and build strong relationships.

Follow me on my running is my therapy twitter page @Antoniaok

For me, running is a very powerful force and it helps me to unleash my inner magic. I believe everyone has inner magic in them and I hope that somehow you have already found or will soon discover your own inner magic. Who knows? Perhaps you too will find it in running. Let me know your thoughts and comments.

12 thoughts on “Running Is My Therapy”

  1. Not a fan of running myself but have to admit that when I have been training for small running events of physical events for charity it does help clear the mind and also helps you to leave the days stresses and events behind. It also helps to get you a good nights sleep.

    In all honesty, if running is not your thing, just going for a long walk or doing yoga outdoors will also help. Any form of actual physical exercise is the best way to cleanse the body and the mind. Allow yourself to be in the moment, this is your moment.

  2. I feel great after running but struggle with the monotony during the activity. Any advice for overcoming that Antonia?

  3. I started to run with Antonia during the Covid lockdown. She is such an encouragement and persuasion that I still cannot believe myself doing this. When running alone, I am repeating her inspirational quotes in my mind helping to push a bit further. It is so fun to run with her.

  4. Miss our runs Antonia. You gave me the confidence to push myself a little harder and further – and to get a marathon PB that I still cherish!

  5. Great article!!! Although I found running hard going, the time I had to myself was an opportunity to organise my thoughts.

  6. I could not agree more! As a kid I ran a lot, and was good. When I restarted aged 40, I was terrible and it took a while but getting a place at the London marathon gave me a focus (essential for me) and I lost weight and improved my fitness. What I didn’t realise is that it was also my therapy through my divorce.
    Now, with a few more years and miles under the belt, I’ve found myself saving my legs by other things like rowing. Nothing really comes close though.

  7. Antonia wow! Sorry it’s taking me so long to getting around to checking out your website- you truly are an amazing person and I used to love our therapeutic runs together- what a good listener and a very good friend you are – miss you lots will have to catch up soon x

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