This January, I’m taking part in the Mind (mental health charity) initiative, RED (Run Every Day). The name is a bit misleading, because the rule is that you actually have to exercise every day in January, not necessarily run. Actually running every day is probably a bad idea for a lot of people, especially those prone to injuries. As Linda put it last year: “It raised my awareness of mental health issues by driving me mad.” The idea is that exercising every day will do something to improve your mental health. I will be reporting my findings back here, if you’re lucky I may accompany them with some waffle about mental health and I’m also going to stick a few posts on my genealogy blog about how my ancestors’ mental health suffered in the past. (Here’s one to get you started: Catherine Downing, who spent the majority of her life in an asylum in Essex. I doubt she did a lot of running.)
There are no official rules for the challenge but I’ve set my own: every day I must do one of the following…
Run (minimum 20 mins)
Outdoor or indoor bike (ditto)
A class at the gym. Yoga only counts on days after a long run.
Jillian Michaels video in living room.
Yoga youtube video in living room (only counts on days after a long run)
Only if ill, injured, massively hungover or other extenuating circumstances: brisk walk, minimum 30 mins.
So far, taking part in RED hasn’t involved any deviation from what I would have done anyway:
- January 1st: doubleparkrun (see last post)
- January 2nd: Strength class at the gym (attended by five people! I thought gyms were supposed to be full of resolutioners in January!), followed by short swim (also followed by quite some time in the sauna. This does not count but I am sure it improves my mental health more than lifting weights does.)
- January 3rd (today): 16km long slow run to Stratford. This was very pleasant and painless, even though my lousy headphones decided to run out at 6km. It was followed by at least another kilometre of fruitless searching for the mythical Greggs vegan sausage roll, which clearly had already been cleared out by a gaggle of ferocious Piers Morgan hating vegans.
Tomorrow is my first work day of January, and where it gets interesting. I do not have a great track record of exercising after work. I have the sort of job which involves getting up very early or staying up very late to spend a lot of time sitting in a chair not moving. This makes you feel simultaneously like your muscles are wasting away from disuse, but too tired to actually do any exercise. I used to go to the Shit Gym Opposite but it was a bit pointless as I just used to spend twenty minutes fartarsing about on a cross trainer hoping that the Fit PT would come over and make small talk about running. The place stank of BO and the showers looked like they would give you a verruca. When the Fit PT left I followed in his footsteps and cancelled my membership and started running after work instead, but I think that was equally pointless as I didn’t run far or fast enough to do anything other than “junk miles”. (I still mourn the loss of the Fit PT. I go to a much nicer gym now but none of the PTs are fit. Well, not in that sense.)
I also got a free pair of red shoelaces for signing up, which I must remember to put in my shoes.