What Happened to my Mental Health When I Ran Every Day? RED January days 28-31

First of all, I wanted to say thank you to everyone that has followed my Run Every Day January journey and has spread the word, taken part and supported the mental health charity Mind.

If you want to learn more about Run Every Day January and how it can help you, I’ve put together this post which gives you information on the charity and how taking part can help your mental health.

To read my full RED January journey, here are all of my previous blog posts, no holds barred and 100% honest:-

Continuing the RED January Journey

As RED January draws to a conclusion I’ll be sad to see it go. But first, here are my last 4 days of the run every day challenge 2019.

Day 28 >>> 0.64 miles >>> Sponsored snoozing

I was exhausted when I got home. I sat on my bed for a moment and then accidentally slept for 3 hours! Obviously, this is a new habit that I’ve adopted for RED January, does anyone want to sponsor me do that every day instead?

So by the time I got out for my run it was 9.20pm which isn’t the ideal time to go out obviously.

Day 29 >>> 0.7 miles >>> Snow thanks

Today’s run did not feel good! I was short of time so had to whizz around the block but it was also starting to snow. My legs felt super heavy and I had a little headache so absolutely wasn’t feeling it.

I then spent the evening driving around Bristol City centre hopelessly lost because of the new bus lane restrictions to turn up to the pub quiz an hour late to then come probably last. If you can solve any of the below anagrams and what they all have in common I’ll hand out a prize…

Day 30 >>> 1.1 miles >>> That was not (n)ice

Possibly the coldest run of RED January! The paths were very slippery in places and it was so cold I couldn’t really feel my face.

While running in cold weather is my ‘thing’ when it’s too cold I end up with a chesty cough when I get home which really isn’t nice.

I’m absolutely over the moon that I have one run left of this challenge and that I’ve run. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY! Who would have thought that I’d have been able to complete this challenge, certainly not me!

During today’s run I was thinking about next January and how I can hopefully take part next year too. It will be interesting to see where I am and what I’m doing in 2020, it’s all very exciting.

I had the day off today but I certainly wasn’t having much of a rest as I had so much to do so I planned in my run for a little later in the afternoon.

Day 31 >>> miles >>> The final day!

Wow what a final day! It was very windy and there was a promise of snow in the air. The wind made for a pretty miserable run, however, I’d resigned myself to the fact that I was going to get a January PB and smash out a 5k tonight using my training feature on my Garmin Fenix 5s.

I wasn’t disappointed, it’s not quite my 27 minutes all time 5k PB but I’ll take it! I feel kind of sad that the challenge is over but I’m definitely going to put my feet up and enjoy a girly cider and some chips to celebrate. The snow certainly came down this evening, I hope tomorrow isn’t a snow day although all of the street is completely covered and it’s definitely settled.

I’m running the London Winter 10k on Sunday which I’m looking forward to I just hope it doesn’t get snowed off! I need that polar bear medal in my sweaty palm whether there’s snow on it or not!

My RED January Stats!

Here they are in all of their glory, my total RED January stats for 2019:

Total distance | 45.1 miles
Total time | 511.74 minutes
Average daily miles | 1.5
PBs I achieved | 2
Times I ran in my pyjamas | Probably around 5
Vo2 Max Increase | +1 (this means according to my watch, I didn’t get any fitter)
Buttons I begrudgingly sewed on | 28 – at time of writing, I still have 4 to sew on. This was the real challenge….

What did I learn from Run Every Day January?

I feel like I learned a lot about myself during RED January. I realised that I’m actually a lot more determined and headstrong than I think I am when I put my mind to it. I felt sure that I was going to fail this challenge at some point due to illness or injury but I actually enjoyed running every day, even if it meant having to go out at 9pm!

I learned I need to work on my procrastination and to try and get things done in the moment instead of hesitating in starting. I am juggling many balls in the air at the moment so my free time is so precious to me and maintaining a good work-life balance, relationships and self care time can be difficult.

I often say I’m doing many things badly, which makes the overwhelm just that little bit more difficult to deal with. Running even for a short distance did make me feel like I’d accomplished something even if I hadn’t managed to tick off any of my other things to do that day.

Running every day definitely improved my mental health without a doubt. I’m the type of runner that can go out with a jumbled mind and come home with complete clarity. I do a lot of my best thinking when I’m pursuing another activity (such as driving or in the shower) so running is perfect as I’m getting fit while sorting my thoughts and feelings.

Some days I went running in my pyjama bottoms and I’m ok with that. I sure was generating a lot of washing during this challenge so some days I went in whatever I was wearing around the house and some days this was pyjama bottoms if it was dark enough for me to get away with it!

I’m not the type of person to get emotional from nowhere but a few times while running I felt this sudden sadness or uncontrollable upset creep over me. I never felt that this was a bad thing, I felt like it was an opportunity for me to address any feelings that may be bothering me and doing this every day perhaps was forcing me to address them sooner than I would usually. I’m 100% an overthinker and I’ll analyse every word I’ve said that I think may have upset someone or play back in my mind something that I wish I’d done differently.

One thing I really embraced as part of RED January was the community aspect of it. I enjoyed the fact that loved ones and colleagues and even people I’ve met online had been inspired to take part and everyone was automatically welcomed as a REDer with words of encouragement and motivation.

A surprising thing I’ve learned from running every day is that my fitness did not appear to improve at all… I’m wondering how this is possible??

My watch stats (while I know they are not exceptionally accurate and only a general guide) suggest that I didn’t improve my fitness levels at all during the whole month of January.

I also didn’t feel any fitter from the first day to the last day. I’m quite surprised how much fitness I’ve lost from taking those couple of months break, I can usually get back into it but couldn’t seem to the entire month.

I’m going to be doing some more cross training next month where I can get some great cardio and strength training in.

Running every day definitely took a toll on my body and I had quite severe side effects about 6-8 days in.

I had terrible stomach pains that I just couldn’t shift and they continued on and off throughout the month. If I had done more miles one day, I seemed to pay for it in the following couple of days.

Towards the end of the month this pretty much disappeared but I think all that jumping around and using core muscles that I hadn’t used for a few months was a little bit of a shock to the system!

Another thing I learned, not necessarily about myself but about people in general is, some people don’t want to be helped and that’s fine too. By forcing someone or harassing someone to take part in the challenge, they’re not going to necessarily gain anything from it as it will become more like a chore than a pleasure.

I want to take part in Run Every Day January, how do I do it?

I picked up some tips and tricks I learned along the way from RED January that will help you to conquer the challenge yourself and also motivate you along the way.

  1. You’re in this for the long-haul. This challenge is going to take determination to complete but don’t forget there are 31 opportunities for you to prevail so you need to keep your fitness up to last the entire month. Keep your mileage low! We’ve all got different fitness abilities so you will have to tailor this to your abilities but don’t go out all guns blazing smashing out 10ks every day. You will burn out and you’re likely to get injured if you aren’t conditioned to run these distances. My own personal goal was to get out with my trainers on every day but I soon upped the challenge slightly by challenging myself to a mile every day when possible.
  2. Sign up for RED January at https://redtogether.co.uk/. Here you can get lots of great advice on how you can get involved and how you can support the initiative. You can also purchase a Run Every Day January T-Shirt to tick off those days you were active.
  3. You don’t have to run every day! The community encourages you to do some form of physical activity every day but this doesn’t mean you have to run, this could be swimming, walking, yoga, tennis, anything that gets you moving.

4. Join the RED January community by following along on social media and make friends along the way.

Follow along with RED January with these links: –
Instagram | https://www.instagram.com/redjanuaryuk/
Twitter | https://twitter.com/redjanuaryuk
Facebook | https://www.facebook.com/redjanuaryuk/

Follow the mental health charity Mind with these links: –
Website | https://www.mind.org.uk/redjanuary/
Instagram | https://www.instagram.com/mindcharity/
Twitter | https://twitter.com/mindcharity
Facebook | https://www.facebook.com/mindforbettermentalhealth


I really enjoyed this challenge and I’m so glad I signed up for RED January. There are more resources, more people willing and able to help you and ways you can improve your own mental health than you could believe.

I hope that this post has inspired some of you to take part in next January’s challenge but you don’t have to wait until then, you can start today! I guarantee that if you put in just a little bit of time and effort every day you’ll feel the benefits because I did and there’s no reason why you can’t too. So get out there and start today!

Thank you to everyone that has supported and sponsored me this far on the journey. If you want to donate to the charity Mind, click here.

running every day | mental health and running

RED January Trail Run, Canicross & Wind Days 21-27

This week I ran my first race of the year, realised that my calves hate me, wrapped up RED January at work with a plank challenge and hula hoop challenge and met some cute puppers along the way!

If you don’t know what Run Every Day January is, check out this post here which will give you information on how daily activity can help your mental health and how you too can raise awareness of the positive benefits to help others.

To read more of my blog posts for my RED January journey check out these posts below:

Day 21 >>> 2.5 miles >>> My calves hate me

I feel like I’ve been taking this challenge a little too easy by doing a mile minimum every day so I decided to ramp it up a bit (not too much I’m not crazy) and try for around 2 miles.

Today’s run was brutal too. It was pretty darn cold and the wind was almost unbearable. I tried to put my head down and run through it but I felt like I was running in custard. Which would be awful because I HATE custard!

I’ve realised some very important things about myself during this challenge (I’m going to share them all in my RED January summary next week) but here are a couple for now.

1. I’m actually scared of my own shadow. There’s one stretch of path I run along where there are lots of streetlights which gives me around 4 shadows and one of them is right behind me. EVERY TIME I run this section I have that couple of seconds of panic where I think my own shadow is someone about to grab me. I’ll never learn.

2. My calves hate me and I need to stretch more. During today’s run, my calves were absolute agony it’s a wonder I managed to run at all they were so tight! I had to stop about 3/4 a mile in and try and stretch them out but I felt like I was hobbling more than I was running.

3. I’m really proud that I’ve made it this far. While I am a very determined person and I am my biggest competition, I was sure there were going to be days that I actually couldn’t get out and run or I was sick or I felt I hadn’t eaten enough etc. I’ve shared in the previous RED January weeks how much of a procrastinator I am and while that has been an issue some days getting out of the door, I’ve gone (some days as late as 9pm) eventually!

It sort of makes me feel like I need to continue with this streak once the challenge is over because I’ve resigned myself to doing something every day no matter what and fit it into my daily routine.

Speaking of being a procrastinator, I am terrible at getting up for work on a morning especially in the winter. It’s cold it’s pitch black and my bed becomes 200% more comfortable after my alarm goes off (is this some kind of physics?). So after I got into bed I decided to look for an alarm app that was going to get me out of bed when my alarm went off.

I’ve used alarms that you have to solve maths problems and crosswords before they’ll turn off but my maths is terrible and I wake up grumpy enough! I found one called Barcode Alarm which works by scanning a barcode of something in your bathroom or kitchen and the only way to cease the alarm is to scan said barcode!

I chose a small bottle of shampoo in my bathroom cabinet to scan and it worked a treat! If you’ve got problems getting out of bed I’d highly recommend this!

Day 22 >>> 0.7 miles >>> No time

I had a hair appointment not long after work tonight so I came home (zero time for procrastination) got changed and went around the block. It was super cold though the temperatures have definitely taken a dip!

Day 23 >>> 1 mile >>> Bambi on Ice

The pavements had frozen in places on tonight’s run so I was trying to run light-footed and try not to slip over.

Something very curious has happened since I’ve been doing RED January. I’m constantly in fear that something is going to sabotage my ability to complete the challenge! My first worry right at the start was an injury so I knew I had to keep my mileage low because I hadn’t run consistently for a few months.

Since then I’ve had the following thoughts while running:-

“That dog just barked at me, what if he chases after me and bites my leg and I can’t run”

“What if I slip over or trip and I break my ankle and can’t run for months let along finish the challenge”

“That child is going to step out in front of me and I’m going to injure them and myself”

“What happens if I get sick. You’re always sick and it would only take the mildest of colds to put you out of action”

I’m clearly taking this challenge very seriously and don’t want to fail but I need to chill with the worrying!

Day 24 >>> 0.6 miles >>> Oh my knees

I’ve been very lucky so far that I’ve not suffered from too much of an injury this month. I have had some old flare-ups of some foot pain but it’s not unbearable and I can comfortably run. But today… you know when you don’t realise you have something until that something is giving you trouble.

Like your ears. You know you have ears but you probably rarely think much about them day to day. Then you have them pierced and all you can think about are your ears!

Well, I can tell you I definitely have knees and they were definitely telling me they were there every single step of the way! I’ve never experienced knee pain before and I think my not doing a proper warm up and cool down every day hasn’t helped.

I wasn’t feeling too good tonight, I felt very tired and like I was getting sick! I felt a little strange before I left work and felt hot with a scratchy throat. I came home and sat on my bed and before I knew it I was tucked up under my blanket freezing cold and feeling awful. By the time I’d had a snooze and dragged myself up it was gone 9pm. It’s never too late but let’s face it no great distance was going to be run tonight.

In sewing news, does anyone want to come and sew on the 14 buttons I’ve procrastinated sewing on?? I’ve got a race on Saturday and want to wear it for that so I have to add them all on by then!

Day 25 >>> 0.5 miles >>> RED January fundraising

We rounded up our final RED January fundraising day today with a hula hoop and plank challenge. While we didn’t get a huge uptake of willing participants we did have tons of fun and we made a little bit of money in the process for the charity Mind.

It turns out hula hooping is harder than planking! Our gold medal winners achieved a 5-minute plank and our hula hoop champion broke 33 seconds.

We thought it would be fun to let participants know the world records for both challenges just to inspire them but no one wanted to, or was capable of doing an 8-hour plank or a 70-hour hula hoop!

I did have two attempts at the plank challenge and not having done one for must be coming up to a year I was pleased with my 2 min 9 seconds time while listening to the Rocky theme tune!

Really short run tonight because I didn’t go out until 9.20pm! My knees felt much better today but I didn’t feel too well in myself.

Day 26 >>> 5k >>> Warmley Forest 5k Trail Run

I wasn’t really mentally prepared for this race today and I was concerned that I might fall over especially after they announced at the beginning that it was ‘technical’. Technical translates to me ‘you’re going to fall over’.

My favourite part about today’s race was the Canicross participants. We got to ‘awwwww’ over lots of cute puppers who were raring to go running in the mud!

On the short journey to the run, the weather was awful and bleak with rain. I had to contemplate the possibility this might be my first race ever in the rain! But sure enough, it cleared up and we stayed dry.

The dogs set off first on both the 5k and 10k and the main event went just after. The course was 90% on mud or grass and in places, the mud was very thick and very slippery, I’m so glad I had my trail shoes on (this is only their second outing).

I managed to stay upright the entire race which I was impressed with myself for but I did suffer with my calves which were on fire with all of the hills and mud running.

A couple of lovely people commented on my RED January T-shirt and asked if I had really run every day. I kind of wish that there was more on the back to promote Mind because that’s the whole reason behind it.

White button for race day!

Mum, being the pro race photographer she is, asked one of the Canicross finishers if she could take their picture with him wearing his medal…

The cutest finisher

Really lovely race, a great way to end RED January on the last weekend. Getting to see all of the dogs just made it all that much sweeter.

One of the young marshalls around the 4K mark was one of the kindest marshalls I’ve ever had at a race. He was so lovely and wished me a great rest of the race it really made me smile.

Day 27 >>> 1.42 miles >>> Wind sucks (or blows)

I felt great today! Considering I had a tough race for my legs yesterday I had tons of energy, my legs felt fine and I was enthusiastic. There were blue skies and it was cool but not too cold… except the wind. My enthusiasm was short-lived as step by step the wind stole all of my energy.

This wasn’t what I wanted for today, I wanted to try and do 2 miles but I feared that might feel like 9 miles running into the wind. Give me rain any day but wind, no thanks.

If you’re taking part in RED January too well done, we’ve come so far, only 4 more days left you’re doing amazing!

Belle's Running Blog (3)

RED January The Struggle Is Real (days 14-20)

This week I sort of felt like I was doing the bare minimum but I was happy that I managed to get out every day even when I was busy and had plans. I’ve had a bit of an emotional week this week and I think that’s been reflected in my running.

Let’s get into this week’s Run Every Day January Challenge!

Read all about RED January here and how you can get involved and how it can help you with your mental health.

If you want to read more about my RED January journey so far check out these links below: –
How I conquered RED January days 1-6
– The Good the Beyoncé and the Flamincorn days 7-13

Day 14 >>> 1 mile >>> Is this still happening?

The procrastination is real in this one. Instead of coming home from work and putting my running shoes on right away and getting the run done, I’ll sit around for like an hour on the edge of my sofa so I’m not actually sat down but I’m not exactly stood up either… then I’ll eventually get my butt up and go out.

I don’t know why I’m like this, it’s so annoying I would’ve thought I would be in some sort of routine by now but apparently not!

Day 15>>> 1.1 mile >>> yep this is definitely still happening

Professional procrastinator that I am I distracted myself pre-run with some Zak Effron in Bad Neighbours. Do I want to order a takeaway before I leave now? No, I do not, I want to be as fit as that, please. I bet Zak doesn’t eat chicken kebab and cheesy chips from the local takeaway…

I’ve been finding that my right foot is not enjoying this challenge much. I’ve suffered in the past with the dreaded plantar fasciitis but managed to stave it off to continue running.

Tonight was my first run this year in the rain and that pretty much sums up today.

As does me trying to run around a man and two dogs in the dark by taking a short cut and not knowing where I was going and went down a dead end road and ended up coming out right in front of him anyway. Increases the mileage a little I suppose…

I felt heavy today, my legs felt heavy, my eyes felt heavy… feels like someone turned gravity on a little more?!

Day 16 >>> 0.8 miles >>> All about Mind

I appeared on the Mind Charity’s social media pages today for taking part in RED January which I thought was pretty cool!

I may or may not have sat down on the footstool and swayed side to side for 15 min because I didn’t really want to go out. It’s got cold again, my foot was hurting, I was super tired and my hair was a mess.

That called for a pyjama run (it was dark it’s fine) even if it was a short one. Getting out there is just the worst part I’m so bad, I should get straight home and go straight out… but I don’t so that’s just the way things are.

Day 17 >>> 2.03 miles >>> Lovely Runch

I was working from home today so I used my lunch break as an opportunity to go for today’s run (runch). It was lovely and sunny out but it was chilly and a little windy. What is it about being out of the house on a weekday afternoon when it’s sunny that feels so amazing!

I had a great breakfast but I felt a little lethargic while I was out. Once I got home from running I felt more productive and energised, RED January really is living up to its name.

That means I’ll have more time this evening to sew all of the buttons onto my RED January t-shirt that I’ve been putting off for 4 days…

Day 18 >>> 0.7 miles >>> Short and Sweet

I was meeting a friend in the evening for a drink and a natter so I had to get home and do a short run. Was pretty pleased with 0.7 miles to be honest…

Day 19 >>> 1 mile >>> Strange Run Today

I was in a very strange mood today and left my run until the last minute possible. I’d already done a 3 mile walk in the morning but when I finally went out for a run I was weirdly emotional and felt upset about everything and also nothing.

Seeing people out with their dogs made me particularly sad and made me miss my Pupper.

Day 20 >>> 1 mile >>> A mile is a mile

I stayed over at a friend’s house last night and had yummy pizza and a lovely chill out. I got home about lunchtime and decided I needed some breakfast before I went out for my run.

So, first I did that… then I watched the rest of You on Netflix (not sure how I feel about the ending) and then Inception. Then I had a snooze and finally went out about 7pm. Strangely there was no one around. Even stranger than that is that I feel no more fit than I did at the beginning of the challenge! How is that possible??

Oh, I also forgot to mention that I did another pyjama run tonight too… what can I say, running is running and if I’m doing it in my pyjamas then that’s happening.

The colder weather had made it very difficult to want to get out there and run this week but I’m pretty pleased I managed a mile every day except two!

On an absolutely unrelated note to running, I had to share a little project I put my hand to this afternoon (it wasn’t all films and snoozing).

While I was leaving Asda the other day I saw a clothes sale rack which had some sparkly skirts left over from the Christmas party season. One in particular caught my eye with the on-trend reversible sequin fabric.

There was one skirt which was in a large enough size that I felt it would fit perfectly over my old fashioned footstool! I borrowed my Mum’s staple gun and stapled the fabric all around the underside and made a pretty cool piece of furniture if I do say so myself!

I am a tad obsessive though trying to ensure every sequin is facing the right way…

If you’ve been taking part in RED January too, how are you keeping your motivation up? With 11 days left to go I feel pretty optimistic I can see it through the rest of the challenge.

How I conquered Run Every Day January (Days 1-6)

Wow what a first week for RED January! I was smug for a day, then felt the opposite of smug, then totally broken, what a challenge this is! I also quickly came to the conclusion that I’d rather go out and run every day than sew a button onto my RED January t-shirt! I’m so awful at stitching, I thought this was going to be a much bigger challenge for me every day!


If you haven’t heard about RED January yet, click link here where there’s tons of information on how you can get involved and what the aim of it is.

If you want to donate to this fantastic charity, please click the link https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/red-january-2019-57705432-194b-4cb3-b46c-8d38bd30bb81

In summary, it’s not just a January challenge, it’s been developed to improve mental health at a time when many people can feel low and money is tight after the Christmas period. In conjunction with the mental health charity Mind, it aims to promote physical activity by challenging you to run every day.

RED Day 1 >>> 2.78 miles >>> I’ve missed running

It’s been literally 2 months since I ran at all so my plan for my first run of 2019 is a steady slow one!

I did a nice long walk warmup for around half a kilometre and then got into what I can only describe as a gentle jog. Ooh this is nice, why haven’t I run for so long…?

Then my girl boss badass song came on Spotify (Demi Lovato’s Sorry Not Sorry if you’re wondering) and boy was I feeling pumped. I was singing along and having a great time and then BAM… crikey, I didn’t realise how unfit I’d gotten! This used to be my easy short route!

So, because I’m the sensible type (I’m going for the long haul here so cannot get injured!), I eased off the running and did more of a jog/ walk for the entire run and it actually felt pretty great. The weather was warm for January, the wind was minimal and I just enjoyed being outside and listening to some tunes.

Back at home I did a short stretch sequence which I’m terrible for neglecting usually.

I’m not sure whether I’m living in a parallel universe, a bit like Bandersnatch that I unashamedly played 6 times in 2 days, but when I completed my run it had logged it for 11.55pm on 20 December! Come on Garmin get it together! I did get a ‘night owl’ badge though so….. ok it doesn’t count but hey!

I’m learning Spanish so I’ve changed all of my devices to be Spanish!

Based entirely on this one run alone, I am thinking this challenge is going to be easy. Let’s see how it goes when I don’t have the day off and I’m back to reality and flying by the seat of my pants like normal!

Injuries: my right outside foot felt a bit off and by the end of the run the top of my right foot felt iffy too!

Not really an injury but my gosh we’re my legs and knees sore come the evening. Going downstairs, no thanks I’ll stay up here for now.

How I felt before: not too bad actually, I’d say I was in a good mood and felt happy and optimistic for the New Year.

How I felt after: mood stayed the same except I felt a little more badass than before. Tried not to feel too low that I’m starting from scratch again.

On the back of your RED January T-shirt there’s a calendar for you to ‘check off’ the days that you’ve worked out which is a nice idea. I intended to buy some iron on stars for each day but they were super expensive so I rooted around in my loft and found these really cute buttons which I’m going to sew on.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had to sew anything and this was much more troublesome than I imagined it would be!

RED Day 2 >>> 1.01 miles >>> no squats for me today

My legs… just… no stairs for me please I just can’t! Puts into perspective just how unfit I’ve let myself get, yesterday wasn’t a long run by any stretch of the imagination!

What a contrast to yesterday’s run! It was freezing cold and I ended up with a Rudolph red nose to go with my RED T-shirt. I’m going to try and make a mile my minimum daily distance but I’ll be happy getting out at all some days.

Also I’m getting better at sewing on buttons already!

I spent the afternoon and evening working and when I went to get up… I felt like an 80 year old woman… Yesterday I thought this challenge was going to be easy but I’m not so sure about this now. I read another blog post of someone who participated in RED January last year, who was a much more prolific runner than I am, and she said it nearly broke her! Eek!

On Instagram I’ve seen some people sign up for the 2019 miles in 2019 and I thought this would be a heck of a challenge! That’s 5.5 miles every day and I struggled to do one today! Perhaps I’ll leave that for the more seasoned runners…

Mood before: pretty good, if a little tired

Mood after: super cold but feeling energetic!

RED Day 3 >>> 3.04 miles >>> I feel broken already

I’m slightly embarrassed to say that I feel broken already with this challenge and I’m only on day 3! When I put my running shoes on, I felt a little bit of discomfort on one of my feet, a little like if you’ve been wearing a backpack all day and you put it back on.

The weather was overcast and so so cold today, what a grey depressing January day it was! I planned to go out for one short mile but, as oftentimes does happen, I get the idea in my head that I’m going to go further once I’m out there.

Not only that, but I decided I’d go up my nemesis hill (I’ve also affectionally nicknamed it the ‘Batman Hill’ because on Strava the elevation looks like Batman!).

I felt great… then awful… then great again all within 3 miles. Also, I found a new found appreciation for having a shower after a run… isn’t it glorious!

Mood before: a little bit drained

Mood after: felt happy that I’d gone much further than I planned and felt pretty great

Later on in the evening, I literally felt like I’d been stomped on across every part of my body. Wasn’t I the cocky one 2 days ago thinking this was going to be easy!

RED Day 4 >>> 1.01 miles >>> not quite as broken

I felt much better today, I didn’t feel quite so ‘stomped on’ which can only be a good thing! I’ve been reading other stories of runners getting involved in RED January and I’m so inspired by everyone it makes wanting to continue very easy.

I went out for a leisurely 1 mile but honestly even that felt difficult. It was freezing cold out again today which makes breathing in just that bit more difficult!

Mood before: a little exhausted

Mood after: tons more energy to get my chores done and warm up of course ?

I think it’s easy sometimes to forget why we are all joining in with this challenge as you get swept away with the days and miles but I am very keen to keep promoting the mental health aspect of this challenge as much as the challenge itself.

So with that in mind (no pun intended) I took as many tips from as many different places as I could get my eyeballs on. I updated my company Yammer page, I helped get the incentive out into our workplace as much as possible, we ran mini challenges, I promoted it on Instagram, Twitter and my blog here. I told everyone that would listen, I joined the Strava group and updated my posts with ‘RED January’.

Of course there are people that don’t want to be helped for many reasons. You can’t force people into doing physical activity. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink as they say. I can’t make him drink, but I can raise awareness of this brilliant challenge and provide people with as much information and support that they want.

There’s a whole community of people out there who want to help themselves, each other and everyone else. My favourite community is the one on Instagram. Search for the hashtag #REDJanuary and you’ll find a whole host of posts to motivate you and make some friends along the way.

I saw on Instagram that there are 60k people signed up for RED January this year which is just absolutely amazing!

RED Day 5 >>> 1.03 miles >>> Looks like we’re running again today!

This is a short summary of my day > wake up late > work until 3pm > have a scheduled 30-minute snooze > have a really weird dream > get woken up abruptly by my house rabbit stamping > procrastinate for an hour > decide that it’s too cold to warm up on my run > have a dance party in my living room (I didn’t learn Drake’s In My Feelings dance routine for nothing you know) > feel like that was a workout enough > go out for a run anyway

The run was pretty tough I’m not going to lie, although it wasn’t as cold as yesterday, it still was difficult breathing in and I left it so late in the day it was dark when I finally went out. I managed to grasp a 2019 PB but I feel that I’m so far away from my old mile PB which was 8 minutes on the dot that I might never see it again.

Mood before: pretty down and lethargic. Even had the thought ‘would anyone even know if I didn’t go out for a run today’.

Mood after: after my little dance party and run I was feeling happy and energetic. I even had a little impromptu Mary Poppins sing along because Spoon Full of Sugar popped into my head (and now I have a sore throat, I’m no Julie Andrews).

‘The mile most fast’


RED Day 6 >>> 3.1 miles >>> Virtual 5k Run

This was the toughest run I’ve had so far this month. It felt difficult, I felt very lethargic and my ankles felt horrible. It probably doesn’t help that I had 3 Quality Street chocolates before I left, which I don’t recommend as a pre-run snack!

I had decided that today was going to be my 5k Virtual Run day with https://www.virtualracinguk.co.uk for the Flamingunicorn medal, which is so cute so I set my watch for 5k and just went out there and did the best I could physically do.

Longest run

I followed up my run with Yoga with Adriene which was a nice end to this week.

Honestly, I don’t feel great today so it’s a bit of a low note to end on but I did run every day and did a total of 12 miles so that’s the main thing.

How have you got on with your first week of RED January? My main goal for the rest of the week is not to get injured so I can continue with the challenge.

My sewing skills throughout the week!

Getting REaDy for RED January

I first heard about RED January from people I was following on my Instagram account. I had serious FOMO (fear of missing out) and I wished I’d heard about it earlier so I could do it too!

If you don’t know what RED January is all about, let me tell you more. First of all, don’t be put off by the Run Every Day January slogan. The aim of the initiative is to support your mental health by doing something active every day, this could be walking, running, swimming, cycling, basically anything that gets you moving this January. They’ve also partnered up with the leading mental health charity, Mind, to help raise funds towards the vital work providing information and support.

If you want to donate to this fantastic charity please click this link

There’s no doubt that there are positive effects from physical activity on your mental health and we all know that January can be a challenging time. It’s cold, it’s dark, we’re getting over the Christmas season/ holiday lbs and we’re also broke!

Following RED January 2018, 87% of REDers reported feeling significantly better physically and mentally after completing the challenge.

I feel very strongly about encouraging others to get out there and be active and seeing others achieve great things too (this is one reason why I started my running Instagram account in the first place, it’s an actual online community that supports each other through the highs and lows of running, so if you’re thinking of setting one up, I’d highly recommend it).

I’m trying to also bring RED January into my workplace by doing fundraising and encouraging people to get out there and do more exercise. So far on the agenda, we have a plank challenge to see who can be the champion plank-er, guess the sports balls in a jar, hula hoop challenge and a quiz. Who out there doesn’t want a happier workforce and colleagues… no-one that’s who.

How am I getting involved in RED January? My plan is to run every day. That actually seems like a pretty terrifying prospect to me. Yes, I’ve run a lot in the past, yes I’ve done a total of 40 races in the last 2 years, but running every day! Sheesh! I’m pretty confident that I can do this though, I’m pretty determined once I put my mind to something. Not only that, when I signed up for RED January, I ordered one of their technical t-shirts for £10 so I can cross off each day that I’ve run. I’m going to purchase some little iron-on stars and stick one of those on every day to make it really pretty as some extra motivation.

This sounds great! How do I sign up? Visit https://redtogether.co.uk/ for more information and to register or https://www.mind.org.uk/redjanuary Both sites have tons of information, resources and ideas on how you can get involved. I’d love to hear about all of you that have signed up already and how you’re going to incorporate activity into your days and sharing this journey with you. I’d highly recommend following the hashtag #REDJanuary on Instagram so you can see other people who are taking part too and join the community.

I’m fully expecting to only run half a mile some days when I have a lot going on, and that’s fine with me, as long as I’m getting out of the door with my trainers on I’ll be happy with that. I have come across a stumbling block already though… my usual running shoes have been sabotaged by my house rabbit, Teddy, and he chewed one of the laces clean off! Luckily though, when you sign up for RED January, they send you a pair of beautiful red shoe laces so I’ll have to pop those on instead.

Here’s what you get in the full pack when you sign up.

If I haven’t convinced you already, go to the RED January or Mind websites, check them out and I’m sure you’ll feel inspired and look forward to January as much as I am! What a way to kick off your 2019 New Year’s Resolutions!