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Winter motivation: Night running, weekend mountains and great friends

Written by Fiona

December 08 2019

It is the period between autumn, with all its glorious colours and blue skies, and Christmas, with all its extra stresses and strains, that normally leaves me struggling with my mental health.

The days and hours of light are shorter, the darkness feels more oppressive, the cold gets into my joints and there are all the extra pressures of work clients who have earlier deadlines “because of the festivities”.

This year, rather than suffering the traditional winter blues, however, I have been buoyed up and enlivened by a range of great depression-busting strategies.

Night running

The fun of running at night.
Night running with friends. Credit: Graham Kelly

Instead of trying to squeeze my mood-lifting running into the short daylight hours and in between work and a generally busy life, I have extended the opportunities by night running.

Night running is basically he same as day-time running except you need a good quality head torch and high output lumens beam to guide you.

I do night run on my own and I describe my reasonings but I also run at night with friends, too.

My guide to night running in winter.

There is something very different and wonderful about running at night with only a light beam to guide you. It makes an ordinary run seem more fairytale and if you can run at night there are many, many more hours of winter to keep fit – and boost your mood.

Weekend mountains

Mountain bagging with my old school pal Ben.
Ben and I have enjoyed some superb mountain walks this year.
Running The Cobbler with Dan, Billy and Wispa.
The top of the Cobbler.

I work from home and I am a freelancer so, in theory, I have a lot of flexibility, which means I should be able to walk and run when I want and, certainly from Monday to Friday.

Yet it rarely turns out like this.

Walking and running in the hills and mountains at weekends is a necessity to counterbalance the stresses of a week of work.

I enjoy planning for these weekend trips, whether close to home or further away, and I try to make sure I meet up with like-minded friends.


Ben and I walk off a hangover near Peebles.
A mini circuits session after a run.

…And friends

Having a groups of like-minded friends who are keen to join me in my night running, weekend runs and hikes is essential for my mental health.

I spend all day on my own working and I know the importance of meeting with others to chat, laugh and talk things over.

Hubby G is great for this, too, but his climbing addiction means I do not always get his full attention. Plus, I think it’s good to lead an independent life with my own plans and friends.

My friends have been a wonderful asset over the last wee while. Having a small group of people who are always keen – when they can get away from other commitments – to be out and about in the hills is brilliant.

There must be a mention for Wispa the Wonder Whippet, too, who manages to enjoy most of my outings despite being in the later years of her life. She never complains and she always keeps up.

Truly, I feel like the start to this winter has been one of the best yet.

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