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Running highs and lows: the CALM ambassador’s running kit

There’s nothing like a bit of team spirit to boost morale, that’s why we’ve called on some of our CALM ambassadors to talk all things running. Here to cheer you on wherever you are in your running journey, they tell us why they run for their mental wellbeing, how they warm up, and their favourite tunes to pound the pavements to. 

The CALM Ambassador’s Running Kit is really the only running kit you’ll need (Well almost. We do recommend also wearing some or you may attract some strange looks). So if you’re in need of a little motivation to get out for a jog today, this lot might just help you chase down your mojo.

Danny Jones, McFly 

Danny opts for heavy rock when he needs to push through the last leg of his run.

“Running is one of the first exercises I do when I need to clear my mind. It’s a great way to get time on your own, throw on a podcast and really have time to digest and learn about your body.

“I use a Theragun for around five minutes before I head out, just to fire up my running muscles, especially my glutes. I’ll also choose a pre-run snack that’s light and slow release, like a banana or health bar.”

Danny’s running soundtrack?

“I like to run to podcasts, but when I need music I choose pretty heavy rock towards the end of my run!” 

Richie Driss, Blue Peter Presenter 

Richie and his running partner like to get competitive, poking fun at one another to get motivated.

“My running partner, for me, is akin to my barber – they do a job but it’s also therapeutic. We’re competitive and insult each other in a light-hearted manner to get the best out of one another. It’s not recommended for everyone, get those stretches in kids!”

Richie’s running soundtrack?

Swizz Beats ft. Lil’ Wayne: Uproar

Mobb Deep: Win Or Lose

Kasabian: Underdog

Ivan Gough & FeenixPawl: In My Mind (Axwell Radio Edit)

Kings of Leon: Red Morning Light (shout out to FIFA 2004)

Shareefa J, Model and Body Positivity Activist 

Shareefa knows that the feeling of reaching the finish line is worth the effort it takes to get there. 

“When I run long distances there are moments when I feel like I’ll never get to the finish line, but I always make it (eventually) and it’s the most empowering feeling, like I can overcome any challenge. When I’m feeling down or things get difficult with my mental health, I remind myself of these moments and it helps me get through.

“My advice would be to start your preparations the day before by carb loading and eating really hydrating foods like cucumber. My new favourite pre-running hack is drinking some beet juice fifteen minutes before a run. It’s supposed to help endurance and it might be a myth but either way it somehow helps!”

Shareefa’s running soundtrack? 

“It depends on my mood but right now I’m loving Sia: Never Give Up”

Seann Walsh, Comedian 

Seann uses running to press the reset button on a bad day.

“Running, for me, is a good way to reset, especially if you’re in a particularly bad mindset that day. It’s like shaking the Etch A Sketch for the brain.

“Normally I’ll have a banana, promise myself I’m going to warm up, don’t warm up and justify it by promising myself that I’ll cool down, don’t cool down and continue to have incredibly tight hamstrings and back issues. Regret. Repeat.”

Seann’s running soundtrack?

Blink 182: Ghost on the Dancefloor 

Lucy Campbell, British Surfing Champion

When she’s not riding waves, Lucy finds freedom in getting out for a run. 

“For me, running is about the sense of freedom. Aside from training, I’ve used running throughout my life as a little escape from the pressures of life that creep in. Forget beating last week’s time, just take in the surroundings and enjoy the time to yourself to process thoughts and feelings. It’s a sure way to feel content and find a little more clarity.”

James McVey, The Vamps 

James uses his runs as an excuse to unplug and find some time just for him. 

“I run because it’s the one time I’m not contactable via email or text. I’m able to zone out and really connect with myself, focus on my breathing, the rhythm of my feet and the environment around me. I lose myself in a playlist and enjoy London in a way I’ve never done before. 

“I also love the challenge, the self-determination and drive to push myself that little bit further. You don’t need to pay a membership for a fancy gym or live somewhere posh, running is an accessible option for lots of people and that’s why I love it.”

James’ running soundtrack?

“I’m loving the Real Dictators podcast at the mo!”

Natalie Anderson, Actress 

Natalie sees running as a tool to keep her in the moment. 

“I absolutely love running, because for the duration I’m totally in the moment. My mind isn’t wandering, I’m concentrating on hitting the targets I set for myself and I’m focusing on my breathing. If I’m running outside it’s even better because I love seeing the things you often miss when you’re driving.

“I try to eat well before my run. This will normally consist of a bowl of porridge with maple syrup to give me the right amount of energy without overfilling me. I hate feeling too full when I’m running as it makes me feel heavy and sluggish, but equally you can’t run on empty as you won’t be as productive. If I’m on the go, I’ll opt for a granola or protein bar just to give me a bit of extra energy.”

Natalie’s running soundtrack? 

“I’ve had the same running playlist for years. It starts with Cheryl’s, Call My Name because I always feel energetic and ready to go when I hear it. Britney’s Work Bitch is also on the list and I think the title says exactly why it’s a great motivator!” 

If you’re feeling inspired to give running a bash, why not turn your training into an excuse to support CALM’s life-saving services? Looking to meet some like-minded folk who might help motivate you to get out there? CALM’s running collective is all about bringing people together, read more about it here

If you, or someone you know is struggling, CALM’s helpline and webchat service is open every day from 5pm until midnight. It’s free, confidential and open to anyone who needs support. Access it here.

Be part of something bigger 
At CALM we’re all about standing together against suicide – and we all have a part to play. Hit this link and we’ll send you a newsletter every month so you can campaign, game, fundraise, bake, race, volunteer, cheer or chat over a couple of beers… against living miserably.

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