This weekend it arrives for another year… London marathon. The worlds largest organised running event. Just watching it on television is inspiring… To see so many thousands of people that have dedicated many hours of training, be disciplined to reach a desired outcome… So many of them having raised a fortune for a worthy cause… I look upon London marathon as something of a spectacle on many levels.

Let me explain why I am mentioning this today…

You regular readers know that I am a keen and regular runner… I am also a keen advocate of running and what it can do. That is — I run on a regular basis these days but don’t always enjoy it… I do love those stormy sea front runs when all is well in the world… But those important miles I need to clock up when preparing for a marathon can sometimes be a chore… I practice my self-hypnosis techniques and enjoy deep trance states often when running, and other times need some hard house, old school rave or new wave punk music blasting in my ears…

Now what are the reasons that regular exercise is considered one of the top coping tools for mental illness, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and so on?

The only people I know that love exercise are those that have been doing it for years and learned to love it… many of whom are fellow marathon runners who know about getting in that zone where we feel wonderful (the ‘runners high’)… I mean, we all seem to know that ‘regular’ people who don’t wrestle with demons of depression (et al) have a hard time sticking to regular physical activity — let alone those of us who are not wrestling said demons….

So I am often vexed… In my own personal experience, I’ve found that heart pounding exercise (running to be exact) is one of my best mood enhancers and balancers. It helps contain my energy when I’m hypo-manic, which is fairly often! Yet it also kick starts me if I’m ever sluggish… In fact, if I go too long without running (when injured for example) I get lethargic…

i want to put things in persepctive… I was afootballer… Either a strapping centre forward or a brutish centre half… I was designed to be a rugby player… I have legs that Stuart Pearce would proud of and a shoulder chasis that weighs several stone… I was not designed for running… have you seen how weeny those professional marathon runners are? Their arms look like they’d snap if I arm wrestled them!

I have to lug a big frame around with me when running. It is not always that easy. Like I said, sometimes, it is a chore… 

Now getting back to my main point today… I know my regular self-hypnosis, my regular sessions with my mentor, my regular 8 hours of sleep, even my meditation sessions aren’t always enough to keep me on an even keel… heck, the reason I got into this field was that I was ‘complex’ in my former years… I know, unlike me to be diplomatic about myself.

So how did I start running?

Not only did I get awe-inspired watching those heads bobbing up and down on the telly one Sunday morning watching London marathon and think “I want some of that” … I spoke to other runners and they are some prosperity minded, disciplined, amazingly supportive group of people (we all say hello to eachother when out on our regular runs even!)… And what do I do now to keep running on a regular basis?

Well, besides my vanity wanting me to be able to wear my Abercrombie and Fitch vests on the beach each summer… And wanting to walk my talk in the personal development field (it is good to show my clients, students and readers that I can master my body and mind, which regular marathon running does)… I started with goals so small that the greatest chance for success was created…

Initially, I aimed incredibly low so that I could not help but reach my target!

Those years ago, when I stepped off the football field and tossed my shin pads in the bin… After a fitness sabatical… I set my mind to the task of getting back into shape and enhancing my moods… I needed something both realistic for my body and my busy schedule… So I aimed to run 2 — 3 times a week, for 10 — 20 minutes — and that could include rapid walking if I got too pooped.

Who could not cope with that?!

Anyone can do that. I mean anyone!

In those days, I set no mileage or speed targets, just ‘getting it done’ was set as the objective.

These days, I run two interval sessions a week (hills and speedwork), a very long endurance run, two mid-tempo sessions and a recovery run… Pretty impressive for a 6’2″, 14 and a half stone hypnotherapist, eh? Yet I started with the tiniest of easy steps.

I still sometimes feel like I could not run non-stop for 30 minutes and want to stop early or curl up for longer in bed… But running just twice a week? That is something anyone can start with.

So if you are inspired by watching those masses of wonderful people running the marathon, it is easy to start… Put your trainers on and step out your front door… You can do your self-hypnosis at the same time too!