We’ve been fortunate enough this week to attend numerous talks on “What is mental health?”, nutrition, how to sleep better, stress – what this does to your body… all in the spirit of Mental Health Awareness Week. Now we know that exercise running is a ‘therapy’ for those suffering with mild to moderate depression and exercise is included in guidelines in the U.K as part of the first-line treatment. But what we also wanted to highlight is that although running makes you feel like you’re on top of the world – “athletes in individual sports are more prone to depression…because they attribute failure to themselves” (a German Sports Psychologist has found) of course this study has been conducted with elite athletes but as social media continues to run the show even amateur runners are painted as “superheroes”. Of course, we all see images on social media, here people’s new personal bests and put more pressure on ourselves to deliver. I found that myself when competing in the 400m – it’s good to have a goal but constantly chasing a time made me worse… I was so off what I should be running it was getting upsetting. The pressure of what I “should” be doing, what training suggested made me a little obsessive, over the top and so I didn’t deal with the stress of competition well. Even at amateur level the pressure we place on ourselves to keep up makes it less joyful than it should be. What I believe is that running should be meditative, relaxed and joyful. One way I found of getting to that place was accepting when I had these negative thought patterns, trying not to engage with it and concentrating solely on my technique. When you focus on what your body is doing and not what you should be doing or what the other person is doing – you’ll be far more controlled and far more relaxed.