The Recreational Runner

Recently, I asked a number of RunAsOne athletes to respond to a survey detailing their motivation for consistent early morning group sessions! The surveyed runners ranged from teachers and university students, to business owners and managers, health care workers, and people in marketing! While it is no secret to us that the strength and unity within our group stems from its diversity, perhaps the most significant point to make for a summary of these survey responses is that all respondents lead similarly busy lives! Therefore, I hold hope that this blog serves the purpose of inspiring others to make running part of their lives despite the often seemingly impossible task of finding time to fit it in!

It would come as no surprise to many that mental health was a popular subject of discussion throughout the responses. However, the nature of running and meeting others at a set time to do so seems counterintuitive to the popular solution for stress that encourages people to take a step back; to do less! However, as I read the responses, it became apparent to me that it’s the controllable nature of running that holds the key to its benefits. Respondents consistently mentioned the unpredictable nature of a typical work day as the primary source of stress, before proceeding to draw contrast between this and a group running session. Regardless of the outcome of any given work day, one respondent noted that they could “still draw positives from a great session in the morning.” Additionally, another respondent mirrored this sentiment by stating that “irrespective of what happens for the rest of the day.. you’ve already done something worthwhile.” In summary, it’s a unanimously favourable response for starting your day with a run for the benefit of your mental wellbeing!

While these responses might come as a surprise to some, but not to all, I was equally interested in reading the direct link between the outcomes of a work day that followed a morning running session. At this point, you could be forgiven for thinking we are dismissing the work day as a burden on our life that we need to take every precaution to get through without breaking down. Hopefully, this isn’t the case for most people, and your work is something for which you want to be in your best mental space in order to perform! Therefore, it was reassuring to read responses alluding to the performance enhancing benefits of a RunAsOne session before work. Respondents commonly commented on the state of mental clarity in which they found themselves in on the way to work after training. Similarly, respondents just as commonly referenced the added energy they felt throughout a post training work day! However, undoubtedly my favorite response stated the reason for pre-work training is “because mood follows action!” What a perfect summary of how I know we have all felt sitting in a sense of accomplishment following a hard training, but feeling equally as energized, motivated, and confident for the work day ahead!

So, we’ve covered some of the life benefits of running. Knowing its existing popularity, I need to make mention here that I am not naïve to the fact that many readers may already be aware of the benefits discussed so far. Subsequently, the last notably popular responses I’d like to summarise make direct reference to the group training effect! From these responses, it is made clear that the social aspect of RunAsOne, and similar groups, is perhaps just as powerful as the benefits that the act of running itself can offer us. Not only are the respondents motivated by their peers, and enjoy being around them, but they appreciate the support they provide one another in the form of accountability. No one is saying this is an easy benefit or solution; anything worthwhile rarely is. However, knowing like minded people who have a positive impact on your day will be there to support you if you make the effort, seems to encourage the respondents to be an equally stable, and supportive part of the lives of their training partners. Together, the rewards outlined in this blog can be attainable for anyone.

To conclude, I hope that this blog serves some purpose for you as a reader. As always, I urge you to make the first step to incorporating running in to your routine, and if that’s with RunAsOne then we’d love to have you!

A recent RunAsOne 5km Time trial.

A recent RunAsOne 5km Time trial.