Faith Mental Health Running

Running for Mental Health

Disclaimer: We are not mental health professionals. This post contains personal experiences, thoughts, and opinions and are not intended to replace medical care or professional help. If you need help, please consult a health care professional or licensed therapist.

Did you know that 1 in 4 people struggle with mental illness in any given year? The odds are you have a close friend or family member who has struggled. Or maybe you have. Today I want to talk about something really important and personal and that is mental health. People still don’t talk about mental health very much, but lots of people are affected by it.  Today I will be sharing my story and how running has been an important habit to add to my self care routine.

I want to be open about one of the main reasons why I run. Running helps me to manage my anxiety. I have struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember. For a long time in my life, I wasn’t even aware that I had anxiety and just thought that worrying all the time about every possible worst case scenario was normal. I thought that my overwhelming fear of social situations just meant I was an introvert. We all feel anxious sometimes, but when it is chronic and starts to interfere with your life, it isn’t normal. I didn’t have the awareness about the anxiety to be able to know that I had a problem until I was in my 20’s, and that’s when I was given the ability to get help and break free.

For me, seeing a therapist has been the most crucial part to finding peace and working through my struggles. I have grown so much through therapy that sometimes I don’t even recognize my old thought patterns. I also take medication. Taking medication was something I resisted for a long time, until it became clear that it was the right choice.

Another thing that has greatly helped me to cope with anxiety has been placing my faith in God. I used to worry about every possible thing that could go wrong and try to control the outcome of situations, which was impossible and self defeating. I’ve learned to lean on God as my rock during times of uncertainty and fear. One of my favorite bible verses is 1 Peter 5:7 – “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you”. I’ve learned to give up my anxiety to God and it’s like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

And of course, running is another way that I manage my anxiety. I like to tell people that I fell in love with running by accident, and I never set out to be a runner. I only intended to do a 5k to get in shape for my wedding, but I I instantly fell in love with the mental health benefits I was experiencing. When I was feeling down, I would go for a run and it would instantly lift my mood. When I was feeling anxious, I would go for a run, and it would bring me to a sense of calm that I couldn’t achieve elsewhere. Running releases endorphins and makes you feel good. There are lots of studies that show the mental health benefits of running.

Don’t get me wrong – running in no way replaces therapy or medication. I still see a therapist and take medication, but running is a very helpful tool in my self-care toolbox that I am so happy I have.

I am fortunate that I have become well-equipped to manage my anxiety effectively, and at this point, I am in a really good place. With the Coronavirus pandemic, the whole world is struggling through a new challenge that has thrust a lot of people into an anxiety that they might not have experienced before. If you are struggling, know that you are not alone. You deserve to get the help you need. Reach out to a friend, tell someone about your struggles, schedule a virtual appointment with a therapist, talk to your doctor about it. Life is short and relief is available.

Be well!

-Coach Lauren

Running

Get to know Coach Lauren

Hi everyone, there are a few new faces around here so I wanted to take a minute to do a little intro. My husband Jeff and I are RRCA Certified Run Coaches and co-founders of Running for Wellness. We have been married for 5 (almost 6!) years, and we’ve been together for 11. We met in college during an internship. We have an 18 month old son named Ethan and a fur baby named Colbie!

I started running at age 26 when I was trying to stay fit for our wedding. I signed up for a 5k because I needed a goal to motivate myself. When I started training, I couldn’t run for more than a minute straight without stopping. Finishing that 5k is still one of my favorite race memories because it taught me that I’m capable of taking on new challenges and it opened up the door for me to a path of personal growth. After that 5k, I was hooked and decided I wanted to do more, so I signed up for a half marathon and the rest is history.

I’ve now done tons of 5ks, 10ks, 4 half marathons (soon to be 5!), 2 marathons, and a triathlon, but the most important thing is that I’ve discovered running as a self care tool. Running has changed my life and has helped me to improve different areas in my life. It has improved my physical health, my mental health, my confidence, and even my spiritual health (I’ll be elaborating on these soon).

I want to share those amazing gifts with others, which is why I became an RRCA Certified Run Coach. I know it can be intimidating to get started and difficult to stay motivated. I’ve been there, and I understand. I’m here to show you that you can be a runner too and you’re capable of more than you think! You owe it to yourself to be everything you’ve dreamed of being.

Thanks for coming along on this journey with me! Happy Running!

-Coach Lauren

Running

Staying Active during COVID-19

The last month has been interesting to say the least. Being quarantined has thrown a wrench into all of our daily lives, and stress, isolation, and anxiety are increasingly common. Races are canceled. Fitness centers are closed. We cannot be closer than 6 feet away from other people. We’re living in a brand new world, and we’re all getting used to this new normal. Right now the days seem to blur together, and staying motivated to workout is harder than ever.

Establishing a running routine has been critical for me during this pandemic. Running has become my daily anchor that keeps me grounded. It’s the healthy thing that I get to look forward to each day. Running has helped me to clear my head, get some alone time, and has kept me feeling balanced – mentally and physically. Even though life is upside down right now, running is still there like a familiar old friend. I am currently following a training plan to prepare for the virtual Pittsburgh Half Marathon. Focusing on my training plan is helping me to stay motivated right now. I want to share a few tips to help you stay motivated as well.

Here are my top tips for staying active during COVID-19:

  1. Set a goal – Setting an goal that really excites you can be a great way to stay motivated. For me, the biggest way I stay motivated is training for races. I’ve been training for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon for a few months. Now that in-person races are either canceled or going virtual, I decided to run my half marathon virtually. Other goals could be working out a certain number of days per week consistently, running a certain distance for the first time, working out to feel healthy, or to help you manage the stress we’re all inevitably experiencing right now. Whatever it is, find the goal that lights you up and go after it!
  2. Make it a routine – Find a time of day that works best for you to get your workout in. Some people prefer to run first thing in the morning. I personally prefer to run in the evening. It’s the time that works with my schedule being a full time working mom. We all have different lives and schedules. Find the time that works best for you and stick to it. Make it a habit. When you make it part of your normal routine, it becomes much easier to get it done. Following a training plan can be a great way to make exercise part of your routine. Workouts are scheduled in advance and all you need to do is follow the plan! And if you need help with creating a training plan, we can help you out! Also, if you don’t stick to your routine exactly, be easy on yourself. Life happens. If you miss a workout, adjust and move on rather than getting discouraged or feeling like a failure.
  3. Find an accountability partner or fitness community – Even though you’ve identified a goal that lights you up and established a solid workout routine, it’s only natural that eventually you will hit a slump with your motivation. No one is motivated all the time. I have days where I am tired and have no desire to run. These are the times when it is really helpful to have someone who will be there to cheer you on and remind you of why you’re doing this in the first place. This could be a friend, a run coach, or an online community of like-minded people where you can draw inspiration and motivation. Surround yourself with others who are doing the things you aspire to do and will bring out the best in you, and it will be much easier to stay motivated.

Do you have a favorite way to stay active? Let us know by commenting below! Happy Running!

-Coach Lauren

Running

Why Hire a Running Coach?

You may be wondering why you should consider hiring a running coach. Why not just run on your own? There are many benefits to working with a certified running coach. Whether you are an experienced runner trying to improve your performance or a brand new runner who wants to get started in a healthy way, working with a running coach can be very beneficial!

1. Reach your Running Goals in a Safe and Healthy Way

A coach can help you to improve your overall performance and reach your running goals in a safe and healthy way. Run coaches are trained specifically on techniques to help runners improve their performance. That includes methods to increase pace, increase run length, and fuel and hydrate properly in a way that minimizes your risk for injury.

2. Motivation and Support

A running coach can be a great source of motivation and support! As your coach, we want to see you succeed and reach your goals! When you are trying to commit to a training program over a long period of time, it can be hard to stay committed by yourself. A running coach can keep you accountable and be the cheerleader you need to complete your workouts. A running coach can pick you up after a training disappointment and celebrate with you after you crush a new goal! Being there to support you through the process is one of our favorite parts of being run coaches!

3. Guidance and Advice

If you’re just starting out, you probably have a lot of questions and are looking for some general guidance. A running coach can help you with everything from how to find a good pair of running shoes to what to expect at your first race. A coach can help put your mind at ease so that you can just focus on your runs!

4. Working with a Running Coach can Take you to the Next Level

No matter how long you have been running, working with a running coach can elevate you to the next level. If you have been using the same techniques and getting the same results for a long time, it might be time to look into whether a coach can help you improve your performance. Working with a running coach can be a running game-changer that allows you to reach new goals that you didn’t know you were capable of.

Want to work with us? Reach out to us at info.runningforwellness@gmail.com. Happy Running!

-Coach Lauren

Running

Welcome to Running for Wellness!

Hello friends! I’m Lauren, and my husband Jeff and I are so excited to finally launch our new business, Running for Wellness! Running for Wellness is a run coaching business and community with the objective of inspiring, teaching, and guiding others to improve their mental, physical, and emotional health through running! Running has been life changing for both of us, and we want to share our passion for running with you! Right now, in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, most people are quarantined at home. Many gyms, pools, sporting events, and fitness centers are currently closed due to Covid-19. Running is an exercise that can be done solo and therefore is a great option to stay physically fit and mentally balanced throughout this crazy time. There is no better time than now to give running a try! Are you interested in starting to run but not sure where to start? We can help! Looking for some motivation to run even though your race is canceled? We can help! Everyone’s physical fitness needs and goals are different. That’s why working with your own personal run coach can be so beneficial. We will assess your current fitness level and goals and create a program that is customized just for you! Interested in learning more? Reach out to us at info.runningforwellness@gmail.com. We can’t wait to talk to you! -Coach Lauren