Mental Health Birthday Run

“The strength of two or more is always stronger than going alone.”

My birthday is at the end of the month and I have in the past few years gone on ultra runs to think, celebrate and try and do some good on foot at the same time. This year is no different. Age 40 it was 258km in 2.5 days along the Rideau trail, age 41 was 100km along the Prescott-Russel trail, ripe age of 42 was 42km with my good friend Gesine (who I had honour of helping to run 200km from Montreal to Ottawa in June) one November evening. I am 43 this year.

I intended to run 143km for my 43rd year here. A challenge, a chance to run with friends and to celebrate life, not giving up and raising awareness about mental health and that we are all never alone. Well 143km I will do another day – this year it will be something that others can join me for.

Both myself and Gesine Freund invite you to join us for our 43rd birthday run for mental health in Ottawa. Life is worth living!

How to join me

Join me at the start or anywhere along the route. We will try and run at the pace of whoever joins us. It is a run about never being alone, friendship and life. I will try and post via social media (Twitter @NoelPaine and @Gesinef).

The Run

  • 43-kilometres for 43 years
  • Saturday October 27, 2018
  • 7am start at Michael Budd Park in Blackburn Hamlet (Gloucester)
  • Blackburn Hamlet into Ottawa along paths and city streets
  • Will be teaming up with my good friend Gesine Freund
  • IF we feel crazy once we reach 43k we may go for another 43k – but TBD.

map

The Route (Ottawa)

  • 7:00   Michael Budd Park to Innes Rd.
  • Tavette St. to Greenbelt pathway
  • Continue on to Ottawa River Pathway
  • Sussex Drive past Rideau Falls
  • Path along Rideau River
  • 9:00   Across Union Street bridge to Stanley Park (17.6km)
  • Rideau River Eastern Pathway
  • Rideau River Pedestrian bridge by Gee Gees field
  • 10:00   Rideau River Nature Trail to Bank St. (25.9km)
  • North on Bank St. to Slater St.
  • Over McKenzie bridge to Stewart St.
  • 10:40   Stewart St. to King Edward (31km)
  • North on King Edward to Rideau St.
  • Up Rideau to North River Rd.
  • North River Rd. to McArthur Ave.
  • Right along Vanier to Donald
  • Donald to Cummings
  • Cummings to Cyrville Rd.
  • Cyrville to Innes Rd.
  • 12:00   Innes Rd. to Rondel (finish) (43km)

*Times in ORANGE are approximate times based on 7min/km pace (intend to run with whoever shows up – so could be bit quicker or slower.

The Cause

It has been another tough year of growth, learning, struggle, love and not giving up. Life is worth living. I have decided to promote an organization I have just recently learned of called Worth Living.

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Worth Living (WL) was founded by Keith Anderson who battled back from depression and a breakdown and now talks about how life is now living. Sounds like a perfect fit to me. I am all about sucking the joy and energy from life and sharing and being positive – and promoting others who I think are doing good. Please check out what WL and Keith are doing.

*I hope to be a WL ambassador at a spring marathon where I am aiming for a 42.2km PB.

One step at a time my friends, focus on the positive, control what you can and do what you can with the rest, smile, laugh, love and live life!

 

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Beating the Bonk with Bonk Breaker

“Nothing hurts more mentally and physically than running out of fuel in a race or on a training run – all your plans crumble away.”

Okay – its another Runningdad review! I do this to have fun, share what I find and promote great stuff that enhances the running experience! This blog is about another company that has fuel to help runners perform better, fuel up properly or recover from training.

BonkBreakerLogo

WHAT IS IT?

Bonk Breaker is owned and operated by Jason Winn and Chris Frank. Jason and Chris are both elite level athletes in their own right, Jason a former Division 1 college football quarterback turned triathlete, and Chris a Category 1 Road cyclist. Since Jason and his Mom cooked up the first PB&J in the apartment kitchen, their mission has been to create the “World’s Greatest Nutrition Bars”. By combining great flavors with simple, fresh ingredients they have a lineup that includes 14 unique flavors of Energy and Protein Bars.

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Their Philosophy

Bonk Breaker Nutrition products embody a whole foods philosophy of creating simple, high quality, REAL food ingredients into great tasting bars, chews, and hydration products that provide both a delicious snack and a competitive edge to fuel the active lifestyle. Made with 10-12 REAL ingredients that you can recognize and pronounce, all Bonk Breaker® products are Gluten Free.

In my own words (much above peeled from their website) Bonk Breaker is about trying to make tasty, real-food based nutritional bars for active people.

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WHAT I THOUGHT

Bars

I started with the Nutrition bars (9-12 Ingredients | 4-6g Protein | Gluten Free | GMO Free | Vegetarian Friendly) and tried some delicious flavours (Banana cream and PB&J). The texture for each bar changed a bit but they were all really tasty and easy to eat. They do not taste fake and were easy on my stomach. I ate as a healthy snack during the day and after a few runs. I really liked the PB&J option. Were they the best bars I have ever had? Not sure – but way up on the list! The nutrition bar has a 4:1 carb-to-protein ratio  and aim is to provide sustained energy to fuel you through the day. Worked for me.

The protein bars were also a nice tasty post workout fuel. Once again – not amazingly different than other bars I have tried over the years – but natural ingredients and taste would have me leaning to Bonk as opposed to others.

Like all their products – they demonstrate thought behind what is put into their products. The protein bars use a  blend of pasture-raised collagen protein & grass fed whey for an all-natural, low calorie, low carb protein bar.

Chews

The strawberry chews with caffeine from Bonk folks were easy to eat, tasty and seem to give a bit of energy (like supposed to) – but did not really notice the caffeine kick (but seldom do). They were good and very similar to other brands of chews in size, shape and texture. Very good but not a lot different than others you may have tried. The natural ingredients might be the difference.

Ingredients

Organic tapioca syrup, organic sugar, organic tapioca syrup solids, pectin, citric acid, potassium citrate, color added (organic black carrot concentrate), white tea caffeine, natural flavor, ascorbic acid, sea salt, organic sunflower oil, carnauba wax.

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Check out all their products.

I loved the taste of everything I tried! In conclusion – being really straight forwared and simple — great guys behind these products, tasty, natural and well thought out and my stomach had no issues with them. Worth buying and testing out!

Listen to my Runningdad podcast chat with Bonk Breaker co-founder Chris Frank.

You can find Bonk Breaker on their website (https://bonkbreaker.com/) and on social media:

 

Keep on lacing up friends and keep living life to the fullest!

 

*If you have a story to share or a product you want me to test – give me a shout!

 

Running to Remember

“Running can put you in touch with your feelings, some you may not realize you had.”

I have a great respect for people who help others in general. Among that group of people in society who choose to help others as a profession are police officers. They are the people out there making sure people follow the rules and law but also there in disasters, conflicts and accidents. They put on the uniform and regularly put themselves in potential danger and harm. Some of them lose their lives.

There is a run from Toronto to Ottawa that remembers those that have lost their lives. It starts on two days on September 27th.

National Peace Officers’ Memorial ‘Run to Remember’

The run is to raise awareness and focus attention on the annual Police and Peace Officers’ Memorial Service. The annual Service is held on the last Sunday of September in Ottawa with the run occurring over a three day period immediately preceding it.

The ‘Run to Remember’ is a 460 km relay that makes it’s way through many communities between the start at the Ontario Police Memorial site in Toronto to the end at the National Memorial on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Not only does the run raise awareness about the Memorial Service it also gives peace officers and citizens along the route the opportunity to participate in some small way if they are unable to attend the actual Memorial Service.

NPOMR team
Laurie (far left) and fellow police officers on the Memorial Run.

The run was established in 2005 when the Peel Regional Police running team, The Pacers, decided to raise awareness of the annual Police and Peace Officer’s Memorial Service held annually on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. The running team wanted to create a way of raising awareness of the annual Service and at the same time pay tribute to those officers who have so valiantly given their lives in service of their community.

Go to the The National Peace Officers’ Memorial Run website for more information.

I connected with a running friend and officer to talk about the run. Her name is Laurie McCann.

Running

Laurie
Laurie has been putting on a Police officer uniform 20 years. After years of service she is now instructing at a Police college teaching Social Media and is also the facilitator and instructor for The Road to Mental Readiness.

Running
Putting on the same police uniform is not the only thing Laurie has been doing for quite a while. Lacing up and running is also something she loves to do and has been doing for for the past 15 years. “I got started in running when a friend asked if I wanted to run a half (how could I say no..lol) I have been hooked since. I have completed 10 half marathons, 10km and 5km races. Mostly I run for my mental health. It is my “me time” and it’s what keeps me sane.”

Have you personally been touched by death of a colleague in the job?

“I lost a friend of mine in 1994 PC Todd Baylis #114 he was killed in the line of duty. He was shot in the head. I have also lost a colleague to suicide as well.”

What does this run mean to you?

“The National Peace Officer’s Memorial run is so important, it is a time to reflect on the job we do and remembering all the officers who lost their lives while serving their communities. This run takes us from Toronto to Ottawa over 3 days and on the 4th day we put on our number ones and march up Parliament Hill and stand at attention to honour those who have fallen.”

Do you think running has helped you deal with job, its risks?

“I absolutely think running has helped me deal with the job of policing, it is a huge stress reliever for me. I do my best thinking when I run. Definitely helps keep my mental health in check.”

What do you hope this run accomplishes and what do you hope to take from it?

“I hope this runs helps both officers and the community to remember those who have lost their lives doing the job they love. To know they didn’t get to go home that fateful night. This run reminds me that life is fragile and we need honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice. For me, this also includes officers who lost their life by suicide because of a job related mental injury.”

What are running plans for the rest of 2018 and into 2019?

“My running plans for 2018 may include one more short race and hoping to add some more Half marathons to my schedule for 2019 and of course the National Peace Officers Memorial Run (@460km) . This year was about recovering from a bad injury sustained last May. But I am back and ready to train for 2019.”

Keep running Laurie. I find running helps people deal with pain, mental health and often just getting through life and it is also a great way to raise awareness or do some good on foot. Let us not forget those who have paid the ultimate price to help others.

Run on friends.

 

Do you have an interesting running story to tell or know someone I should profile? Love to hear from you!

Always stopping to think

“Life like a trail run is always full of ups, downs, turns, things to avoid and points at which you have to stop and make sure you are going in the right direction.”

A Runningdad update

It has been a while since I have made a personal runningdad update. I am sorry for all those going through withdrawal (that would be zero or some very small number lol) – but for those who do like reading – here is another!

So – I am no longer dealing with depression or struggling more than any other person out there. I have my tools and know what to do when I get blue or down. I feel on top of things in general and headed in the right direction. Running, meditation, self-reflection and focusing on the positive are some of the screwdrivers and hammers in my mental health toolkit. I never took medication but I did a lot of work and talked with a therapist and a life coach to dig out of where I was. I also continued to run.

Self Reflection

So had a real moment of hard reflection and gut-wrenching self doubt the other night. It was one of those moments – where you are sure of what you are doing, feel okay and that you are acting as you mean to etc. – then someone yanks the mental carpet out from underneath you for a moment.

I have always considered myself a positive person and even when depressed tried to put a positive face on for others when I could. I am a point in my life where I know it will not go on forever and I want to make the best of it. I am co-parenting my beautiful daughter with my ex – and we cooperate and work together. Are we super buds – nope, but I am actually at her house now after putting my daughter to bed – and staying until she gets back from an event she wants to attend. My daughter is my priority.

Am I a perfect dad – don’t know but I am trying and I am even getting the occasional ponytail done into something that looks less than a rat’s nest.

Am I better than I was? Well I have learned more about myself, have seen mistakes in my past and want to be positive, happy and help others in the time I am here. I want to meet other positive people, write more books, explore, love and learn. I always have really – its just really been reinforced.

Jolt

So I was jolted when I found out I was being perceived as someone I did not see myself being. Thats when surprise turned to self-doubt and concern. What was I doing, was I doing things I did not realize? I will not go into details – but it was a real moment of self-reflection. I am more confident than when I was younger but sometimes other people’s opinions really affect me. I really try and be a nice, kind person -for no other reason than I like helping people, I try and focus on the positive (but oh yeah I do occasionally bitch and whine lol). I am also a person who often takes charge in a situation – my time as an Air Force officer did not help. So often if no one jumps into the lead or wants to lead a discussion group, take the marker – I will. One of the things I have tried to work on in the past few years is relaxing and opening up – I have dealt with some tough life events by keeping things under control (myself) – not controlling people or life – but by trying to be organized, planning ahead and well it was tough.

Recently I went dancing with friends and loved it – I had not danced in years. I love to dance and I had fun. I am getting back to the me I want to be. Not that I think I was a monster but have been sidetracked the last few years by divorce, depression and a tough transition to being a dad – plus taking time off work (which I needed) but was tough and almost put me out on the street.

So I had to sit and think. Who was I being? What was I doing? Was I being the person I was being perceived as? Needless to say I had to go for a run!

A kick in the arse is worth two in the bush

Ya – no idea is that subtitle makes sense lol but deal with it lol. The jolt was a kick in the arse in the sense it made me stop and evaluate. And I am not sure what two things are in the bush but I came out of the self-analysis (1) knowing I am still ok with who I am and what I am doing and that (2) I need to have a wee bit more self-confidence. I know that if I the person I want to be (kind, open, positive, silly arse) and acting in way I approve of (helping others, being honest and truthful, trying to be a good dad and person) – then thats all I can do – and hopefully thats what people will eventually see. —-oh they’ll probably see one down right skinny runner with increasingly furry ears – but no one is perfect.

So I am working at a cool job where I am perfectly suited (skill-set and topic) with a cool team, enjoy my time with daughter, am still running and have someone in my life who I care about more and more each day. Things may change but I am taking one day at a time, enjoying life while still thinking a bit about the future. I am ok.

PS – I just self published my first book on Amazon – almost as a test for a few others I have been working on for years or have just become projects now – feel free to check out.

 

You are never alone. Run on friends.

 

You can also find me on Twitter, Instagram and can listen or fall asleep to my voice on my new Runningdad podcast.

The best running towel ever!

Its called the Chawel, a towel you can change with! I love it!”

Its time for another runningdad gear review! This is going to be a pretty straight forward and short blog review for what I think is a great product for runners and anyone who likes to get hot and sweaty and dirty outside.

WHAT IT IS

The Chawel is a Changing Towel made of breathable, soft, fast-drying synthetic material that is perfect for changing after a sweaty outdoor activity when there is no real place to change—-and you don’t want to have your arse hanging out in the wind.

The creation of the Chawel came to be in 2002  and was created by a beach lifeguard in Vancouver, BC, who often witnessed people trying awkwardly to try and change on the beach. The old towel wrapped around the waist method was just not good enough – so a better, more butt-safe piece of kit was created. (read more here)

2017-Chawel-Comparison-chart
Chawel options

They make a few versions – a full length one with just a head hole that works well as a portable changing room, one that can be worn like a sweater (that also includes a hood) after you towel off and they also have tips on how you can fold up to use as a pillow for various purposes.

It is basically a soft, breathable, synthetic towel that works to clean you off, dries quick and also serve as a changing room, hide valuables while outdoors, fold up into a bag —and keeps you from having embarrassing changing moments!

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Click here to watch my video demonstration!

WHAT I THINK

I think this is a simple but brilliant idea and solution to a problem many people have while outdoors! As a runner I love this piece of gear. I have used after a trail run, on an ultra, multi-day run with a friend where I needed to be able to change where there were no bathrooms or cover.  It works really well – getting in and out of it is pretty easy (although sometimes does not look elegant and smooth lol) and keeps the parts of me I want hidden – hidden!

The Chawels range from about $30-50 and I think are worth it. Great to have in the car for runners or anyone who likes being active outdoors. Absolutely perfect for any runner after a sweaty race!

Two thumbs up from this runningdad!

HOW TO GET ONE

Chawel website: www.chawel.com

Chawel on Twitter: @ChawelTowels

Chawel on Instagram: @chaweltowels

 

Keep lacing up, keep smiling and keep running friends!

Gesine Freund – 200km for Childhood Cancer

Sainte-Justine Hospital in Montreal, Quebec to the CHEO hospital in Ottawa

On Friday June 29th, 2018 at 6 am., Ottawa ultra-runner Gesine Freund will be starting a 205-kilometre run from the Sainte-Justine Hospital in Montreal, Quebec to the CHEO in Ottawa, Ontario. Gesine will be running to raise awareness and funds to help fight childhood cancer through the Phoebe Rose Rocks Foundation.

The run will be a non-stop effort; she will be crossing Laval, Oka Montebello, Masson-Angers, Cumberland, then will run along the Ottawa River pathway via Beechwood and Rideau River pathways as she approaches the finish line at the Ottawa CHEO on Saturday June 30th. Runners and supporters will be able to connect, cheer and run a portion of the route; follow her live social media updates.

Every kilometer and every dollar raised goes towards the Phoebe Rose Rocks foundation, a volunteer-driven charity. The foundation was formed in honour of Phoebe Rose who in 2010 at the age of nine-weeks was diagnosed with infantile leukemia. Phoebe sadly passed away in 2015 but her memory lives on through the foundation started by Phoebe’s family and community to raise funds for childhood cancer research and provide support to families.

Cancer is the leading cause of disease related death for children in Canada. 1700 children from birth to 19 years are diagnosed with cancer in Canada each year. While over 75% of children survive cancer, more than 80% of survivors face late effects of their disease and harsh treatment; including secondary cancers, neurocognitive impairments, heart failure, lung disease, and infertility.

Donations can be made on the Phoebe Rose Rocks website:  http://phoeberoserocks.com

To contact Gesine Freund email: runningwriter@hotmail.com or follow her progress – through connecting with her on Twitter @gesinef, Instagram @gesine.freund and her Facebook  page for the run: https://www.facebook.com/gesineruns/

Gesine thanks all the individuals, companies and supporters who have enabled her to plan, train and carry out her epic run to fight childhood cancer.

 

*The Runningdad (me) will be handling all media and social media during the run and will be there to help, run and support Gesine.

A view from the inside – Runningdad

“What you see from the road is not always a good idea of what is going on inside the house.” – Runningdad

Hey peeps and readers – its been a while since I have shared some personal stuff. Yes – I have done some reviews and been all over social media but it has been a while since an update on me.

Never be afraid to reach out to someone for help or reach out to help someone.

It has been quite a while now since I was at the bottom of the well looking up (suicide and dealing with severe depression). I have gone from -10 on the healthy mental health scale to somewhere above functioning I think. I beat back the depression linked to the transition to being a dad, my marriage breaking up and just being lost at work and in life in general. It has been tough.

You are never alone or the only one.

Tough —hard to explain – could mean a lot of things right? Well the title of the blog and the saying at the top says it all. I am better but sometimes the smiles and selfies still hide a bit of a struggle.

I beat back the depression, saw a therapist, started meditating, got back into running and put my head down to work on things and to look for a fulfilling job. Well I am now mentally stronger and can handle a lot more stress and anxiety than before (does not mean I don’t have rough moments) – but I am not afraid to reach out or talk to someone. I am better but I don’t mind asking for help (most times). Sharing with you (and on social media) also helps – through connecting and getting some simple thoughts and feelings out. But stepping away from a full-time job has been tough – I have and am barely surviving and have been to a food bank and had to think about what happens and where I can go when I can’t pay rent and bills. The stress is enormous and sits in the background weighing down on you at times and attacks when things are quiet.

Look for the little bits of positive and awesome in your life and day.

I am working part-time and doing free-lance work but its tough as I look for a full time job. I network and do all the things I can but some things are out of my control. I focus on staying positive, taking advantage of time I do have free, try to get better at being a dad and moving ahead. One step ahead is one more in the right direction.

Runningdad

Keep lacing up and I will see you out there my running and mental health warrior friends!

 

Be ready on race day – a book review

“Sometimes things need to be boiled down to the basics not made more complicated.” – Runningdad

I recently got a book from a fellow running dad and writer Denny Krahe and I wanted to share with my followers and readers of this blog. Yep – it’s a book about running.

THE BOOK

The book is 143-pages of running advice from someone who is a certified Athletic Trainer and Strength and Conditioning Specialist who is also an experienced runner. I was a bit envious of his ability to get a book published (one of my goals) and wanted to really take a look at what he had written. Denny wanted to write a book from the perspective of a middle of the pack runner for others who are not elite but still want to enjoy running and set personal bests  and run faster or longer.

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This is a summary of what he wrote(Chapter titles):

  • Before you begin
  • The basics
  • Workout variety
  • How to schedule your workouts
  • The taper
  • Pre-hab
  • Adjust on the Fly
  • Post-race recovery
  • Closing thoughts
  • Resources

It is a sensible approach to training for normal people with busy lives.

WHAT I THOUGHT

I really liked the approach and style of the book. It is easy to read and makes sense for someone who is not an elite runner, while at the same time has some basics that apply to runners of all abilities. Denny writes the book as if he is talking to you. Sometimes its nice to have a huge thick book on running that explains V02max and has tables of paces and complicated programs – but only if you have the time to wade through it. Like running watches now – the best one is one that gives you information you need and is something you have the time to use and figure out. A GPS running watch that has a gazillion options and information you need to download to analyze later is great – but only if you have time to use. This book is like that – it is just what you need, no unnecessary bells and whistles.

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A sample from the book.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a plain-language, really helpful running book that explains most of the key points to plan out your own training program or improve what you are doing now.

Find Denny on Twitter: @DizRuns

Find Denny on his great podcast: http://www.dizruns.com/podcast/

Find his book on Amazon.

Keep lacing up my friends and stay positive – see you out there!

 

 

The glasses that define me – a review

“I am hard on anything that I wear and use. I am very active and need clothes and gear that can keep up with me.” – Runningdad

This will be a short but concise review of the glasses I wear almost all of the time for work, play and running. They are the best eye-wear and favourite frames I have ever used. For the longest time I never had prescription glasses I really liked. I had frames that were okay and the only thing I could find – but that barely if at all were any good for running with. Running in sunny conditions was even worse as I then often had to sacrifice seeing what was ahead of me but not being able to dim the bright sunshine – but the glasses would slip down my nose and I always felt they did not suit me or my personality. Get the idea?

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My glasses are now good for when I am not running and working – or making bad selfies for social media or when I am laced up and out for a run.

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The glasses now define me and how I look and they completely suit this runningdad.

About the glasses

The glasses are a sailing frame from Rudy Project called the Zyon.

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The glasses are rugged with adjustable temple pieces, adjustable and comfortable nose piece and great optics. there are side wings that attach for more coverage but i do not use. The hinges on the glasses are quality and I have seldom had to tighten.

  • Sporty look
  • Do not move on nose or head when running
  • Can use for work and sport
  • Great field of vision
  • Can get Rx lenses
  • Work as sunglasses with transition lenses

With Rudy Project you can get Rx clip-ins (I don’t like but work) or you can get full prescription lenses! More information here. So to sum things up – why sit for hours looking at drab frames (that look almost alike) and not sporty – get a cool pair that suit you and your activity. I love mine and always get comments!

Rudy Project online catalog.

Rudy Project on Twitter: @RudyProjectNA

 

Keep running friends!

RunTherapy?

Running to not only help the body but the mind – Dynamic Running Therapy

Hey running friends! It has been a while since I have ventured into the blog world. I have started up a podcats (Runningdad podcast) which has turned out to be a lot of fun and –well life has just been busy!

But – I am still meeting and getting to profile amazing runners and people in print as well.

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A chat with the founder of Dynamic Running Therapy, an approach which combines psychotherapy, mindfulness and movement to help with mental health issues.

William Pullen is a 50-year old and lives in London, England but for a time lived in Toronto, Ontario. He is a psychotherapist, runner, author, and app developer and the founder of Dynamic Running Therapy (DRT). DRT is a therapy approach which combines psychotherapy, mindfulness and movement.

Along with using and promoting this new type of therapy that combines lacing up and more traditional therapy, Pullen has written a book about it called, ‘Running with Mindfulness: Dynamic Running Therapy (DRT) to Improve Low-mood, Anxiety, Stress, and Depression’.  He took a moment to chat about his book and DRT.

How did the idea of the book come about – and how did the idea for DRT come to you?

“DRT first – I had a bit of a meltdown about 11 years ago. I found myself depressed, scared and anxious. I knew I had to do something to help myself so decided to go into therapy, take up running and do yoga. It was while running with a friend who was going through a divorce that I discovered how helpful it could be. We both found ourselves talking very easily – what we were feeling seemed to flow freely, as though the running somehow was giving us clarity and license. 

The running also helped us to feel better on a physical level, as well as being psychologically empowering   – no bad thing when you are depressed! It was a relief to have a practice whereby I could show up, talk easily and feel refreshed and strong at the end of it. Not long after that I decided to train to become a psychotherapists and over the next 6 years took what I felt was best from my training and incorporated it into what became DRT.”

Who do you think can benefit from reading your book?

“Well the book contains a number of different things so is potentially attractive to all sorts of people. It has guides for mindful running and mindful walking which most people can benefit from. It also has specific programs for the treatment of depression, anxiety, anger and relationship issues, among other things. Each program takes the reader on a journey of self-discovery and growth using a combination of walking, running, and mindfulness. I ask them to walk or run with questions which address how they relate to themselves and others, lifestyle choices, their personal background, and the choices they are making today as well as the beliefs that they hold about themselves and the world.

The book also contains programs for running with your kids, as well as something called Empathy Runs which are a great way for bonding and sharing special moments with the people in your life.”

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What is it about running that can help those dealing with mental health issues?

“I believe that sometimes words alone are not enough for some people, and that through applying ourselves physically to our situation we can embody the kind of change and growth we are looking for. In other words, the strength and confidence I experience from the outdoors and from becoming the person who can get from A to M and then finally to Z helps empower me and heal me. You see mental health issues and debilitating and anything you can do to empower and help focus that person is of benefit. It’s a kind of hack sometimes but it really works. Of course its hard to show up when you’re depressed – really hard. But if we can make showing up feel like a rejuvenating, healing experience it becomes easier. Its also a great way to burns of energy if anxiety is an issue.”

What is one simple thing runners can try?

“They could try Empathy Runs – you can find this on my website but simply put it involves: Two people running together for about 20 to 30 mins.  One person listens (no interrupting, helping, saving, encouraging) in silence then repeats back a synopsis of what they have heard. Then the roles are swapped. It’s an incredible way to feel heard and unburden yourself in a healthy way of some of the natural stresses we have in our life. Of course its not always about stress – sometimes they become gratitude runs.

Or they could try and bit of mindful running – this involves emptying the mind of thoughts about yesterday and tomorrow and instead concentrating on the here and now – this is done either through focusing on the breath as you run (count to 10 and start again) or every other footfall. To begin with you will find yourself getting to footfall/breath 2 or 3 or 4 and then thoughts about the future or past will creep in. At this point you acknowledge that thought, let it go, and start back at one again. The real practise is not in trying to get to 10 uninterrupted because its not about success and goals. It’s about meeting your inner dialogue with whom we often have a dubious and ambivalent relationship with and trying to improve it through gentle recognition and acknowledgement f what is going on. So often we are caught up between pushing ourselves and then castigating ourselves when we don’t get to where we wanted to be – this is a tough prism through which to experience the world. Mindful running helps you find a more compassionate and easy going way of being – one that is actually more productive because it wastes less energy. “

If you find running a form of therapy and stress relief already, DRT may be something you should lace up for and learn more about.

I personally really like the read and it all made sense to me. I have a background in psychology and neuroscience and have been a runner for 30-years. The book is easy to read, straight forward and has a section where you get exercises to do and space to jot down notes/thoughts. Worth finding online and ordering.

Pullen runs now for fun and to stay in shape and can be found online on his website and on Twitter @PullenTherapy.

William Pullen

* In Canada – Kristy McConnell (Alberta) combines walking, running and therapy and is a runner. Her website: https://www.obpwellness.com/. I profiled Kristy a little while back (the blog).

You can find Pullen’s book on Amazon.ca and on his website. You can listen to my podcast chat with him here.

Keep lacing up my friends and keep looking for the positive in life – I am out there with you!