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Jon O'Hanlon: An introduction to running and the mind

  • 2 min read

In the midst of an unprecedented global pandemic, it’s clear that getting our daily exercise has taken on an entirely new meaning. In the UK, with regulations recently beginning to relax, runners may be starting the slow return to their previous routines. Here in South Africa, outdoor exercise is currently only allowed between 6am - 9am (it’s still dark at 7.15am) within a 3-mile radius of your home - that’s it!

For some of us, this forced period of rest will not have affected our running fitness much and may even have done us some good. Some may have regressed slightly, others may feel anxious about going out as much, and a few might even be considering whether they want to continue running at all.

Irrespective of which category you fall into, over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing my thoughts, ideas, and tips that I believe will add value not only to your running, but also to your everyday life - from adding some strength training to your exercise routine to using your mind to run more effectively.

But where to start?

The start point with everything that you do in life, is to ask yourself this question: “Why am I doing this?” For example, runners will often ask why they need to do upper body strength work. My response is this: in everything that you do in life there needs to be a clear sense ofbalance

Jon O'Hanlon

A balanced running programme has numerous components: base training, increased tempo, peak, taper, easy (slow/longer), medium (pace/distance), hard (speed/intensity), nutrition, recovery, clothing specifics - the list can be endless. 

Running may be just one part of your overall exercise routine. Exercise, in turn, makes up just one part of overall health. Without question, the most important component of all running and health programmes is the mind. And this is the part that many ignore, or don’t know how to engage with to change and use to their advantage. This is something I will continue to build on over the next few weeks. 

To get yourself started, ask yourself “Why?”. Why are you running, why are you doing exercise, why should you do strength training, or why shouldn’t you. Secondly, is what you’re currently doing balanced? And finally, are you actually using your mind effectively - or are you doing everything on autopilot without thinking?

In my next blog, I’ll be taking a deeper dive into these topics, as well as sharing some simple stay at home exercise routines tailored specifically to assist with your running, health and overall wellbeing.

Jon O'Hanlon

About the author: Jon O’Hanlon was the first person to run across Africa (raising awareness and funds for elephant conservation and water sustainability) and is a mental wellness training coach and motivational speaker. 

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