Running and Therapy

Today is global running day. Really, you may wonder. Is there is actually such a thing? Yes! In fact, it’s the 10th anniversary! So, let’s celebrate running and how good it makes us feel! I started running during my teen years and found it improved my self-esteem and also helped me weather the more chaotic times during this period in my life. Jogging around the Central Park Reservoir, I gazed at the water while working through problems in my head.

In college and into my 20s, I faced new challenges trying to find a job, keep a job, cultivate and strengthen friendships and relationships and more. During this time, I started seeking out friends to run with me in Central Park. Stride by stride, we talked, joked, listened, panted and everything else in between. Several years later, when I moved out of the city to the suburbs, I looked to replicate my running group experience. I was successful in finding a new group with whom to discuss the challenges of parenting, balancing the demands of motherhood with careers and more, always feeling validated and supported during our runs.

In recent years as I have run with my friends, we talk about how our group runs feel like therapy sessions in the outdoors. Feeling relaxed with endorphins charging through us, we tend to share more freely, problem solve and finish our runs feeling better.  My running partners and I are not the first ones to discover the benefits of running therapy.

In doing some research, I found that the origins of running therapy in the United States can be traced to 88-year-old psychiatrist Dr. Thaddeus Kostrubula. He wrote one of my favorite books in 1976, “The Joy of Running.” In the 1960’s, Dr. Kostrubula incorporated running sessions into his work with patients. He found that moving while talking helped ease his client’s depressive symptoms and alleviated their anxiety.  He included his findings in a chapter in his book aptly called “Running and Therapy.” In the 1980s, he took his movement therapy on the road, working with patients while walking, jogging and running. He joked that sometimes he took 10 showers a day when he had a lot of patients! Since then, movement therapy – both walk and talk and run and talk therapy – has gained popularity in the United States and abroad. It’s easy to see why!

So, take a step today toward feeling better and try a Pace of Mind Therapy session with me. We can walk, jog or run together while talking. I use research-backed techniques that can help improve your mood, manage stress and anxiety and increase your energy and sense of well-being!

Happy Global Running Day!