Taking Advantage of Your Summer by Running

Something that is vastly underappreciated are college summers. It’s a gift to have over three months to do whatever your heart desires. Of course, most people study abroad, work, or take classes during this time to keep busy. I believe that making the most of your college summers is important for your personal growth.

During the school year, it’s extremely hard for me to motivate myself to work out on top of being stressed from classes and outside commitments. However, one of my goals last summer was to find a workout routine that I actually enjoyed. After working at my 9-5 internship everyday, needless to say, I was exhausted. I didn’t want to do anything but nap or watch reruns of my favorite shows. However, I pushed myself to exercise and keep a consistent routine. I soon learned the beauty of running, beyond the physical benefits.

By all means, I never considered myself as a runner before last summer. Growing up, I hated all things running. I despised doing the timed mile test in grade school, and by the time I was in high school, I gave up and walked over half of it. The only sport I ever played growing up was volleyball, an indoor sport that barely requires any running.

So from barely being able to run a mile to being able to run over five miles by the end of last summer, I’d say I did a pretty good job. While sweating in 90-degree weather might not sound appealing to most, I became addicted to finding new trails and truly feeling a runner’s high.

I find that running is a great free alternative to pricey gym memberships and workout classes. The only thing I spent money on was a new pair of running shoes, which I deemed to be important, as I am prone to injuries with my wide and flat feet. I already had an Apple watch, which is phenomenal for tracking my workouts.

A report of my last run. I had to take multiple walking breaks in between because of my bad knee, but I felt really accomplished to run 3+ miles on a brutally hot and sunny day!

Running can be fun if you make it fun. I enjoy running both by myself and with friends. By myself, I blast my favorite music and let myself breathe. It’s strangely meditative to power through a tough run. And with friends, you’ll have someone to push you and keep you going.

There’s no doubt that motivation is the biggest barrier to anyone’s running journey. I understand feeling anxious about running at first, but having a negative attitude and telling yourself that you won’t be able to run x-amount of miles is toxic. Chances are, you’re right, you won’t be able to run four miles off the bat. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a failure, of course. We all have to start somewhere. Even if you can only run for half a mile at first, that’s still further than if you were to walk from your bed to your fridge on repeat. You will surely build endurance if you keep it up.

There are many ways to delve into the world of running, but my best friend Emily introduced me to the Weight Loss Running by Verv app, which is completely free and available on both iOS and Android devices. It’s a simple and easy-to-use app, consisting of three runs per week that get gradually harder over a span of eight weeks. Each workout is about 45 minutes long and starts with a mix of walking, running, and sprinting. By the end of the eight weeks, you will be able to purely run and sprint for the entire 45 minutes.

The combination of cooking my own healthy meals and working out consistently helped me to be in the best shape I had ever been in my life. Above all, working on your health and fitness goals isn’t just about your physique. It’s about keeping your mental state clear and refreshed, so that you can feel energized to tackle your to-do list.

Finally, the best part of running is that it’s all a process. This school year, I have been busy, so I haven’t been able to run three times per week like I did last summer. Regardless, I still try to go on a run once a week, and I want to build my endurance up again this coming summer.

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