This week is mental health week and we know better than most how beneficial running and exercise can be on the mind.

In most lines of business you get to know your customer on a superficial level but our customers are also our friends that we get to know running, a confidante, a shoulder to cry on, a stress release, or just someone to put the world to right with.  We know all of our ladies have different reasons for running, but time and again it comes down to looking after their mind.

As it is mental health week, one of our coaches Catherine Hutchison, explains how running helps her.

“It always amazes me with running how the body and brain seem to sort themselves out.  A few years ago, I went for a run with a mum from school, I knew her but not particularly well.  We were having a great time chatting away about trivial stuff whilst running round the back of Gatton Park.  As we came up to Reigate Golf course a wave of emotion hit me, my father -in-law at the time was very ill and had been for months. It had meant constant trips to visit the family in Somerset and I didn’t realise what an impact it had on me.  The poor lady running with me, I was hysterically sobbing, unable to get my breath, but she just stopped and listened to me and within 5 minutes we were on our way again. I hadn’t even realised that something was bothering me, that I had all this built up sadness inside me, but by the end of the run I felt lighter, like something had been released.  It was my first insight into how exercise could help process thoughts in my brain.

A year ago my husband was diagnosed with an illness, at the time, I wasn’t coaching with RLJ but just running with them.  I hadn’t told anyone about what was going on with my husband, and I felt I was in a bubble as I went about day to day life, knowing that this life changing illness was about to hit our family and not knowing how to share this information with close friends.  I didn’t know what to do with myself but I knew that exercise always made me feel better. So on a Wednesday evening, I put on my running shoes and joined a mixed ability run, I didn’t really know anyone on the run but started talking to a nice doctor lady as I ran round.  There is just something about running that clears my head, within 10 minutes this nice lady started listening to fears about my husband having his eye removed and the prognosis the cancer may have. Now, I am not sure she had the funnest run of her life, but she listened intently as I ran and cried.  I could not believe that I could give away my darkest fears to an unknown person running but I couldn’t talk to my friends about it.

My head was in a mess and I decided that the only way that I was going to get through what our family was enduring was through exercise.  I decided to sign up to a challenge to walk 100 km of the Sahara desert in a week. I put our story out there for the whole world to see, not only to try and raise money but so that I no longer had to hide behind a facade every day on the school run and I put my walking boots on.  I walked hundreds and hundreds of kilometres training for the event and slowly but surely a cloud lifted from my head. I felt I could face the next few years, I felt I could support my husband, I felt I could look after my kids, I could see light at a very dark time.  Exercise has helped me enormously, it is my go to when life takes over, it is my therapy. “


Catherine is not unusual in how she uses exercise to help with her mental health.  Running is well known for reducing stress, releasing happy hormones, improving sleep and cardio activity can also help use up some of that adrenaline caused by anxiety.  If you feel like running could help you, please go to our website, or have a chat with us and we will help in any way we can.