I am planning to run 300k in 30 days throughout the month of June. Sounds fun?! No.. but that's not the point of a challenge!
No doubt there will be days I can't be bothered/my legs are sore and I want to stop. The fact it will be uncomfortable is important; people still find mental health an uncomfortable subject to talk about. The number of people struggling with mental illness is rising, and Northern Ireland has the highest rate of suicide in the UK. It is time to start getting comfortable with the uncomfortable!
I am running for the charity Inspire. They are a local charity providing personalised, recovery focused, community-based support for people who have had experience of mental ill-health.They also work with people with Learning Difficulties, those struggling with Addiction, and provide counselling support to students in tertiary education. The focus is not just treating mental illness; it is about strengthening Wellbeing.
I have worked in Psychiatry throughout the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. As I'm sure most of us already know - mental illness does not discriminate; it can affect any one of us, at any time. I am not advocating exercise as a cure, but as a well recognised protective factor. Even for those of us who do not struggle with mental health difficulties; I want to highlight the importance of taking ownership of our Well-being; and taking steps to protect it. Just as we (attempt to) eat healthy and get regular exercise in a bid to look after our physical health; it is time to start thinking about our mental health in the same way.
Running is accessible to everyone with a pair of trainers. Just get up and Run. Or alternate between running and walking. It will get easier, and you will get stronger. This is not about milage, or speed, or how your body looks. It is about recognising the value of exercise in looking after your mental health and wellbeing; and making a point of building it into your day.
On a personal note; running has been a huge help to me. Whatever is going on in my life, through periods of stress/unhappiness - running has always been there. I'm not saying that it fixes everything, but it will certainly never make things worse.
I'm going to get pretty lonely logging 300k on my own; so I will post where and when I will be running every now and then - please come join me!
Lets Run It Out!