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Self-Care + Mental Health + Running

Apps, Mental Health, Parenting

Written by Stuart

September 12, 2020

How do you stay sane with a toddler in the house 24/7 because you’ve pulled him from nursery during COVID? How do you keep a sliver of sanity when it feels like the world is falling to pieces amid a global pandemic? For me, the answer to those questions is running. Running is a positive mental health sanctuary; it’s a way to stay active and a tool that allows me to eat more pizza.

Person running amongst trees

I’m in no way an elite runner. I’m a runner. I run to feel better at the end of the day. I run to clear my mind. I run to challenge myself. Sure, I like to dive into my split times and other stats via Nike Run Club, Strava, or Garmin, but I don’t run to set local records. To me, running is about that release. It’s that hour where everything melts away, and a sense of mindfulness comes over. It’s lacing up my shoes and leaving the house in the mornings to find my starting line. The fantastic thing about running is that the starting line can be anywhere (the finish line can be anywhere too). Ultimately though, running allows me to return how with a slightly better state of mind and be a friendlier person to the people around me for the remainder of the day. 

Recently I’ve been following a training plan via Garmin Coaching. I have a few regular routes that I rotate through. The depend on how hot/humid the weather might be, how well/unwell I slept, or what asshole behavior my son was exhibiting that morning. The nice thing about the Garmin plan is it removes a lot of the planning, which allows me just to run. It’s one less thing I need to juggle between meal planning, laundry, and kid wrangling. 

With the entire world feeling like it is in a state of dystopia and constant friction, running feels like a sliver of release. Studies have shown that engaging in activities like running can act to alleviate things like stress and anxiety. I feel like anything that seems to have a positive effect on mental at the moment is worth doing. Whether it’s a placebo or not, that little boost of self-care goes a long way.

Nike Run Club

If you’re looking for an excellent and safe place to start your running routine, I’d highly recommend the Nike Run Club app. The team at Nike has done a great job creating some great audio guide runs covering the whole spectrum of beginner to expert. The guide runs vary based on distance and time. They provide a balance of pep talk, mindful reflection, and quiet running. A good chunk of the guide audio runs are produced by Chris Bennett, who is the Nike+ Run Club Global Head Coach. Coach Bennett is a lot of fun to listen to and run too. He also rocks a pretty stellar mustache. 

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No regrets. I wish. Actually, no I don’t. Regrets are important. Regrets remind you that you made a mistake, screwed up, acted like an ass, let people down. Regrets teach you about right and wrong. Regrets are examples of us when we were not at our best. But regret is proof that you are getting better… or at least want to be. Regrets are lessons. They are failures. Regrets are stumbles. Regrets are falls. Regrets are fu<% ups. They are wholly yours. You own them. And regret is not worthless. In fact, regret can be as valuable as you are willing to make it. Regrets can serve as a compass for you. Regrets can be a great counselor to you. Regrets can be the canary in the coal mine of your life. And as long as you’re willing to share your regrets… your regrets can be someone else’s way of learning a hard lesson without learning it the hard way. Just remember that regrets live in the past. They’re not now. They are not tomorrow. You can’t ever change what happened. But you can always change what’s happening… and that just might inspire what’s going to happen. No regrets? Screw that. I have regrets. But having regrets isn’t one of them. #everyrunhasapurpose #thisisaboutrunning #thisisnotaboutrunning #nikerunning #running #motivation #inspiration #nike #sneer 📸 @jjeffersoniv

A post shared by Chris Bennett (@coachbennett) on

What About You?

What are some ways you are paying attention to your mental health and practicing self-care? As a father or caregiver, are you taking time to step out of the chaos and find a healthy release? I’d love to hear how you are staying active from a mental and physical perspective. 

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