Running – My Antidote to Exam Pressure

Jacob Thompson

Let me just start the article off by saying I’m more of a maths and physics guy than an article writing type of person, so my writing skills might not be the greatest. Let’s just say I’d prefer to approximate a binomial distribution with a continuous normal distribution than writing an essay.


Aside from that, let’s get to the point in question: running. I started my running journey back in October 2015, to try and lose some weight. I started by doing parkruns every Saturday morning, and that helped to improve my mood and I did actually start to lose quite a bit of weight (which helped a lot because I was very self-conscious about it). I continued just doing parkruns up until about April 2016, when I decided to join the Bramley Breezers (just putting it out there, one of the best decisions I’ve ever made).


About a month after joining, my GCSE exams started and because there were so many of them – between 20-25 – I started to get quite busy, and this meant my stress levels built up a substantial amount. At this point I realised that making the decision to start running was a very good one, as it acted almost like an escape from my exams – something I could do and just forget about all the pressure. I didn’t know it then, but it turns out there’s science to back all of that up – exercise releases endorphins which is basically a chemical that increases happiness.


Fast forward to now, I’m currently in the middle of doing my A Levels, which let me tell you – they’re about 10x worse than GCSEs. Which also means my stress levels are a whole lot higher, and this isn’t helped by the unthinkable amounts of homework I get. I’ll give you a quick example: 12 exams papers to do over the weekend is a pretty normal thing at the moment – this is a picture of the amount of work done in 8 months (I go through a lot of paper).



That ridiculous amount coupled with the fact that I also work at GO Outdoors on a weekend means I have very little free time, so – I won’t lie here – it’s hard to make time to go running, and when you’re under a lot of stress, even though running helps you, you just can’t be bothered going. When you mix that with how hard running can be sometimes, you’ve got yourself a cocktail of bad moods and feelings of just wanting to quit and stop running altogether.


I’m sure I would’ve quit a long time ago though if it wasn’t for the mass amount of support I get from the Breezers. Not only do the Breezers give me loads of support, but it’s helped me get out of my comfort zone a lot, because when I started running I never thought for a second I’d be standing up and speaking in front of around 115 people – which if you know me it’s something you’ll know I used to hate doing.


I know it sounds cliché, but running has genuinely changed my life. For the better, of course.


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