This is my new series of blog posts titled The Journey to A Month for Mental Health. I am going to be writing about my experience of training for an endurance event as a full-time student.
For those reading this that don’t know the challenge I am refereeing too here is some background. From the 1st of August to the 31st of August I will be attempting to run a marathon and complete an Ironman 70.3 while covering over one hundred miles – all in one month.
The reasons I decided to do this was just before Christmas an individual I knew well took their own life which hit me hard. Just before I was given the news, I was between doing a challenge for charity and not doing one at all. However, after finding out the news, I wanted to raise money for the Samaritans. As I prepare for this event in August, I wanted to give a deeper insight into what it is like to train for a challenge like this with weekly updates on my blog. So, I am going to start this with this blog post – the struggle.
Now, you may be expecting me to talk about it’s so hard to eat four thousand calories a day and train three times a day, but that is a false reality. In fact, there is no struggle at all regarding the physical activity as I enjoy it, albeit there are of course days I would rather not bike for an hour or run ten miles.
I struggle with the knowledge that the challenge is not enough, or sometimes I struggle with the knowledge that it actually may be too much. I struggle with the reasons I am doing it for and if it will actually make a difference. This, however, is the reasons I am doing it. To spread awareness regarding mental health and how it can affect everyone differently.
A big reason why I struggle is due to social media. Although I use it myself to show my activities and to spread the word about what I am doing, the use of it can be detrimental. Being rather new to ultra-endurance sport, it was quite a shock to me what people put their bodies through. There are many people on social media that are big advocates for the ‘twenty-four-hour work mentality’ in which you don’t stop, you train twice a day while balancing work, university, your mental health and your relationships. For me and I am sure many people, it is not a realistic way to live and there are many reasons why it is not healthy.
So, I have decided that I will not only train my body for this event, but I will dedicate time to my mind. I want to work on it as much as I work on my body, using training methods such as mediation and mindfulness. Now, of course it goes against the grain to discuss this with a lifestyle of ultra-endurance where you have to toughen the mind, but that is not the reason I am doing this.
I want to soften and quiet my mind during this time so that there I can do this challenge healthily.
Thank you for reading – week two will be coming next week.