‘My midlife divorce spurred me into running – now my mental health is transformed’

Ben Wilson, 41, is a journalist and pop of two. He lives close to Bath.

In the summer time of 2019 I accomplished a CBT course for melancholy, and parted methods with my spouse, whom I’d been with for nearly 20 years. We’ve bought two fantastic kids collectively, however had hit a routine and neither of us knew the place we have been going with our private or profession ambitions. When that occurred I checked out myself and thought: “Wow, I’m hitting 40 in December, I’m going to be single, I have to push myself into one thing new career-wise, and I’m off form.” 

By that time, I’d already been operating for 2 or three years. It was a strategy to clear my head – I’d simply come out and jog across the village, however not likely fear about instances. I made a decision I’d take the operating extra critically and, with a view to unencumber time, quit social media. I felt like I wanted tangible objectives, so I set myself two: keep off Twitter, Facebook and the remaining for at the very least a 12 months, and run at the very least one half-marathon. 

I’d tried to take up operating in my teenagers however a mixture of bronchial asthma, dismal health and pathetic shallowness meant this fad lasted three weeks. I did some 7-8k runs in December 2019, however the race I used to be aiming for was the Bath half-marathon in March and I assumed: “There’s no manner I’m going to be prepared in three months.” So I put it off. 

It turned out I used to be mistaken. I began operating much more, taking my conditioning extra critically, watching my weight-reduction plan and operating for longer and longer instances. By the time it bought to March, I hadn’t signed up, however I went out and ran 21k per week later and it was tremendous. 

Quitting social media helped, too (the one app I allowed myself to maintain was the operating app Strava, the place the neighborhood’s rather more supportive and pleasant than the one you’ll discover on Twitter). I had extra spare time, made studying books my default downtime exercise, and located my psychological well being was remodeled after years of melancholy.

I’ve performed eight half-marathons now and misplaced 1st 8lb since 2019. This 12 months’s Bath Half was a digital occasion, however I nonetheless signed up. You needed to cowl the gap in some unspecified time in the future over the race weekend and observe it on an app. There was an actual neighborhood spirit to it. I completed in 1:53, which is quicker than I as soon as thought potential, and got here one hundred and seventieth out of about 6,000 runners. I’m now operating one half-marathon a month, which was unthinkable final 12 months.

My exercise week

I run three to 4 days per week – usually 5k on Tuesdays and Thursdays and 10-15k on Saturdays, On the opposite days I stroll 5k.

What I eat in a day

Breakfast: Porridge, with an enormous cup of tea, couple of ginger biscuits, orange juice.

Lunch: A ham and mustard or beef and gherkin sandwich, bananas if I’m feeling wise, salt & vinegar crisps if not.

Dinner: The customary’s an enormous jacket potato with a slab of rooster breast – a mixture of carbs and protein. Usually with a aspect salad. Occasionally slathered in BBQ sauce, however not the night time earlier than a half.

Snack: Bananas, bananas, bananas. I’m additionally a sucker for darkish chocolate – even simply primary Bourneville.

Guilty pleasure: A mountainous pizza and may of Coke.

Lifestyle asides

Supplements: SIS restoration protein shake after a race, and SIS Isotonic Energy bars earlier than or throughout large runs. Although for half-marathons my secret weapon is obvious previous Wine Gums. Alcohol: I’ll have a glass of crimson wine sometimes, however I’ve actually lower down since my days as a videogames journalist – I can’t even think about consuming 5 – 6 pints in a night now.

Ben’s e book, One Year Without Social Media, is available now as an Amazon exclusive.

As informed to Joel Snape

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