Mental health aspect of running, the journey of the marathon and great people you meet along the way.

From Tadhg O’Sullivan

My running journey began just over three years ago in march 2020, when all team sports including GAA had stopped and all gym amenities had also came to a close. GAA and the gym for me at that time were a big part of my life, as they meant I could compete, meet like-minded people and also distress from work. When all that was taken away from us, I was a small bit lost.

As my shift in work are all 12 hour days and nights which can sometimes be physically and mentally demanding, I felt I needed an outlet where I could clear my head, reduce stress and release some endorphins. Running seemed to fit the bill for all this, so I began running 5ks at a very easy pace every second day and over a period of a few weeks build this slowly up to 8-10k maybe twice a week. The pure high and enjoyment I got from a run was something I had never experienced before and I was well and truly hooked at this stage. My favourite thing about running back then and even to this day is that you are your own boss. You train whenever suits you and if you have plans for a weekend get your run done early and off you go!

One summers evening in June 2020 on the straight Road I met Brian Ahern, who advised me to buy a pair of Nike Pegasus and also convinced me to join Bweeng Trail Blazers which would be my local club where I grew up. Since then I have met some great people who have been very helpful and given great advice. I have been very fortunate to have very experienced club members, my coach and training partners to train with and learn from over the past few years. In recent years, I been lucky enough to compete in numerous races, complete full marathons and meet brilliant people along the way.

Obviously there are huge physical benefits to running like improving cardiovascular health but the mental benefits are also huge. Running helps to improves sleep, improves mood regulation, releases endorphins and improves memory. Another aspect of running is the social side. You meet many like-minded people a few times a week when you train and often after races where you chat over a coffee or a tea.

Fast forward three years, I am currently preparing for the 2023 Dublin marathon. This will be my 5th marathon. My current PB IS 2:41 and I hope to take another chunk off this is Dublin. Although I like to race a range of distances from 5k to the marathon, the marathon is the event which I really enjoy. I love the training, the journey and feeling you get when you come across that line. The marathon is demanding both physically and mentally, however there is a great sence of achievement in putting a block of work together which you know you’ve given 100 percent to the achieve a special goal.

Although running has all these great benefits, running is also hard! Anyone who trains with intent over any distance knows that not every day you will feel great. There are days you will feel tired, sluggish and unmotivated. This is all normal. The most important thing is not to feel disheartened. Stick at it. Consistency over time will yield results. Trust the process and keep ticking the boxes.

Best of luck to everyone in their upcoming races.

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