Running away from depression

To go on a run everyday is to have a kind of battle with yourself. That voiceless debate you have with yourself ‘I want to stop. No, keep going! I can’t! I can hardly breathe. There’s only one mile to go!’ That’s the debate of depression but on a smaller and less serious scale.

Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive

This quote goes through my head every time I go running. I HATE running, but I LOVE the feeling at the end.

I’ve never been a runner, but running a 5k has been on my list of New Year’s resolutions for the last three years.

Last summer after I was admitted to hospital my psychiatrist encouraged me to start running – she said doing cardio exercise was the only way to get my metabolism going again and to lose the three stone I’d put on whilst taking quetiapene. Having someone to feel accountable to finally made me embark on that resolution – after all, the company I work for was paying her all this money to treat me and I knew I wouldn’t be taken seriously if I wasn’t doing all I could to follow her advice.

I started off following the Couch to 5k programme on the treadmill at the gym. To start with 60 seconds of running felt like eternity and I had to drink so much water each time I stopped, but I stuck with it three times a week and a few months later I felt brave enough to go to my local parkrun.

If you’re in England and haven’t been to parkrun then you definitely should! It’s a free timed 5k run every Saturday morning in parks across the country. It doesn’t matter whether you run or walk, or how long it takes; everyone is welcome. My local parkrun regularly attracts over 700 runners each week and it’s so much easier running with other people, plus it’s a great way to start the weekend.

Then someone told me about a local running group running a 5k to 5 miles programme on Monday evenings in my local park. I’m just home from week 3 having run 4.5miles – the furthest I’ve ever run in my life!

Whilst I spent most of the run questioning what I was doing, whether I should stop and walk and generally thinking about how much I hate running, the feeling of achievement at the end means I’ll be going back for more next week!