FYPB - Catriona 1.jpg

Feel your personal best - Catriona

"During the winter, when our mental health often needs the most attention, running in a group has positive vibes. It lifts our energy, and we motivate each other."

Catriona Whitelaw is jog leader for jogscotland’s Milestones group, and recently won the SAMH Mental Wellbeing Award at the annual jogscotland awards. As we move into a new year with many people looking to achieve their fitness goals, Catriona talks about the challenges of running in the winter, and the benefits of being part of a running group. 

"If you are anything like me, you really want to pull over that duvet and stay cozy, yes?

"Well, occasionally I do do this, but mostly I get up, put on my running gear and take it from there! A tip I give to all my runners, put your trainers on and step out of the door, this can often be the hardest part.

"Winter can be challenging for us runners, joggers, or walkers - the weather isn't great and it's easy to find an excuse not to run. Joining a jogscotland group comes with benefits. You will always have someone to run with, chat with, let of steam with, and most of all, someone to laugh with: perfect for keeping our mental health in check. 

"I like to think of our running sessions as appointments, to meet my buddies. We are a team and work together to make everyone feel welcome, safe and supported.

"During the winter, when our mental health often needs the most attention, running in a group has positive vibes.

"It lifts our energy, and we motivate each other with challenges - can we run up that hill? Or dress up like Santa? Yes!

"Running on our own is great too, it gives us some much needed ‘me time’; but some people prefer not to run alone in the dark, so a group provides them with a confidence boost., It's very important to stay active and positive, particularly in the winter months, being part of a group can play a huge part in this.

"Here’s what a few of the runners in my group say:

  • 'I love to run with our group because if it was just me I'd probably cancel on myself, the group motivates me.'
  • 'Running in our group helps me to be consistent, I regularly catch up with other group members for a run outwith our main sessions, we have all become friends.' 
  • 'Running with a group helps to make sure I get outside in the fresh air, a benefit to my mental and physical health.'
  • 'Being outside is the best thing for my mental health, it gives me energy, improves my resilience and calms my anxieties.'
  • 'Working on my own and running on my own, I was fed up, I've made new friends and being part of the group totally boosts my mood, and this has really helped my mental health.'
  • 'I sometimes need a push out the door, and group sessions give me that push knowing I will feel great after it.'

"Once out, no matter the speed, no matter the weather, it's nice to be with people who feel the same. Running in a group brings you into contact with people whose path you may never cross, and inevitably you find similarities or common themes in life. No one is judged and there are no levels to reach in order to belong or be part of the group and everyone leaves smiling."

Find out more

Physical activity is central to good mental health and wellbeing. By finding ways to fit activity into your day, you will feel a difference in your mood and energy levels. SAMH, Public Health Scotland and sportscotland are working together to help you #FeelYourPersonalBest.


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