I work in a fast paced start-up, usually working over lunch and weigh 103KG. Why is this relevant? Well, I’m hardly the idyllic candidate (recruitment reference) for running… Never mind lunchtime running.
10 days ago, inspired by a friend, I set myself a challenge to run 5km a day for 7 days straight. The Mon-Fri runs would be done during my lunch hour and the other two anytime over the weekend. Achievable, right? Surprisingly, today will be my 10th 5km run in a row and I have no plans on stopping.
So, apart from the obvious that Mo Farah doesn’t weight 103KG and that having to go sock-less with a suit isn’t the best look, here’s what have I learned over the past 10 days and why I’m keen to do something that in principle sounds like too much effort.
1. I get a sense of achievement every single day no matter what goes wrong in my working day. In an industry where dealing with disappointment can be a daily task, this is priceless.
2. I have much more free time at night to spend relaxing or with those that are most important to me.
3. My mental attitude is consistently a lot more positive - I don’t need to go into the science of how endorphins work but I have found that it also helps with any anxiety or stress I might be experiencing.
4. There is no such thing as the afternoon slump. Whether it is the exercise or the midday shower, I feel re-energised the rest of the day. I’m even skipping the afternoon coffees.
5. A 5km run, a shower and some good food is more than achievable in a 1-hour lunch. If you need slightly longer, I’m sure your manager will be more than flexible given the benefits to your productivity and mood that will follow.
6. It is a great time to be creative and to come up with new ideas,. I often find it hard to be creative sitting in front of a computer or in a crowded office.
7. 30 mins off the radar with no WhatsApp, email, telephone calls, Instagram etc. is BLISS!
8. I really look forward to getting out at lunch and my mornings fly in. Focal point of my day.
9. Belfast is a beautiful place. Especially in the sunshine.
Preparation and good organisation are key, so here's how to make things easy:
- Tell your manager what you are going to do, so that they know this is your sacred running time and is not to be eaten into by more work, meetings or appointments.
- If you don’t have access to showering facilities at work or you don’t work from or close enough to home, consider joining a gym close by. The gym’s treadmills might be of use to you too.
- Leave a kit bag at work with enough gear to last you the week or prepare your kitbag every night as soon as you get home.
- Get into a routine of making your lunch at home so you don't waste precious lunch time. Your meals will usually turn out a lot healthier.
- Set yourself a target/ goal. In the starting out stage this is quite helpful to keep you on track to forming a habit so it becomes much easier.
I’m off on holiday in a few weeks, so my revised target is now a 5km run everyday until I go away. That will be 22 in a row from when I started.
The running thing might not be for everyone, but I think the main message here is that any form of exercise (gym session, yoga, walking etc.) will have a major impact on your working day and subsequently your mental health, physical health and personal life.
Hopefully this might inspire someone else to get out and do it. If so, that will be a success