This year, Warwick will be holding a Well-being Week between 4-8 February 2019 to communicate key messages on well-being, including healthy lifestyles, physical health and activity, mental health, financial well-being, and sleep and the support and facilities available at the university. Find out more from the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team.
Exercise makes you feel good, but finding the motivation to do it (especially in the winter) can make it hard to get out and active. Physical activity causes the body to release so-called ‘happy hormones’ (like endorphins, dopamine and serotonin), which can help change our mood, making us feel less stressed and better able to manage anxiety and depression.
They’re many links to running and mental well-being and many of heard of ‘runner’s high’, an almost euphoric feeling experienced by runners from the endorphins surging in the brain area.
You can make use of many walking, jogging and running routes around campus. Warwick Sport also offers courses and groups to help you get active.
Lauren Elmore, Student Engagement Co-ordinator, runs six times a week and has taken part in the London Marathon and more. We ask her how running helps her well-being:
What made you take up running?
“I had just graduated university and I was incredibly unfit after three years of beers and pizzas. I heard about the couch to 5k app and gave it ago. I got to around week 4 and gave up. I didn’t run again for a couple of years when some friends suggested we try running the Nottingham Half Marathon. Being an overly ambitious idiot who’d never run further than a mile I thought “Why not?”. I finally completed the couch to 5k and trained hard. I got around the course in 2:45, not a spectacular time but I was pretty proud.
I kept up easy runs of 5 to 10k for the next year or so when a different friend suggested running Race to the Stones, a 100k ultramarathon. Again, I am an idiot and I thought “Why not?” and got back into training. After a hot and horrible 19 hours slogging around the Ridgeway I realised that although running is the most horrible thing in the world, I love it.”
(NB As a registered EA Run Leader I should point out that the above is a stupid way to get into running and not at all advisable!)
How often do you run and how do you fit it around work/study?
“I run six times a week, mixing up long runs with interval training, hill sessions, and tempo runs. I either run early in the morning, pre-work, commuting from Leicester at 6am to get a few miles in around the campus or straight after work with my running club, West End Runners.
Getting runs in when it’s cold or dark or raining or when I’d really rather be asleep can be tough but it’s always worth it afterwards.”
Have you taken part in any events?
“After my initial foray into ultra running, I decided running far is the best kind of running (they give you sweets and sandwiches every few miles, what’s not to love?) so I now regularly compete in events of 20+ miles.
Last year I won a 20-mile race in 2:29 (16 minutes faster than I managed my first half marathon!), got a PB at the hottest London Marathon on record, and came second in a 42 mile ultra in Wales in December.
Along with running London Marathon again this year, I am running a 24-hour pairs relay and around the Isle of Tiree.”
Do you think it’s improved your well-being?
“Without a doubt, along with the physical benefits of four stone weight loss and lean muscle building, I find running helps me stay calm and manage anxiety. I’ve also found that if I can’t make a decision going for a run helps me think straight and clears my head.”
Running at 3 am, 15 hours into a 24-hour team run
Racing at John Fraser 10
Celebrating after London Marathon. Because refueling is important.
About the blogger
Lauren works as a Student Engagement Coordinator at CLL. Working closely with students and academic staff, Lauren gathers feedback to enable improvements to be made to the student experience at the Centre.