Julia Kell

For the past three years, I have been running on a regular basis and working hard to improve my time and stamina on the trail.  Going out for a jog in the morning is one of my favorite ways to start the day.  Though I didn’t always enjoy running, I can now say it has helped me become a healthier and more motivated individual.  So, you may ask, what can running teach you?


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You are both mentally and physically stronger than you think.

When first starting out, running may be exhausting and it can be difficult to keep going.  My advice is this: don't give up right away.  Start small and build up from there. You can even use apps like Couch to 5K to help you.  This app allows you to follow a running plan that slowly becomes more challenging as you get more advanced.  Along with using an app to help you improve your physical strength, remember your mental strength is just as important. I often have trouble with distance running, but what has helped me is believing in myself and knowing that I can do it.  Staying positive while running has allowed me to discover my inner strength. It seems simple, but self-confidence is vital in any sort of exercise.

If you had fun, you won.

This is a quote from my gym teacher in elementary school.  For me, running isn’t always about being the fastest.  Running is fun because it allows me to relax and collect my thoughts.  If I have a lot on my mind, I either go on a walk or run.  Being outside and getting active can inspire you, bring you peace when you have a lot going on in your life, or give you that extra oomph you need to finish an assignment.  Though it’s great if you win a race, remember what draws you to running in the first place and focus on enjoying yourself instead.  When I first started running, I didn’t realize that it could actually be a fun activity, but it definitely can.  If you’re having trouble getting motivated and still don’t like running, check out the app Zombies, Run!  This running game allows you to virtually step into an apocalyptic world where you can get your heart rate up running from zombies, collecting supplies, and completing missions.  The game’s solid voice acting, realistic sound effects, and engaging storyline will turn your everyday run into an exciting adventure as you race to save the world from the walking dead.                

Don’t be hard on yourself.

There have been times when I haven’t had a great running day and stopped before I reached my goal.  If this happens, don’t be discouraged and don’t be afraid to take a break.  You shouldn’t force your body to do something it’s not ready for.  In fact, I’ve found if I take a couple days off from running and work on other exercises instead (such as weightlifting or kickboxing for example), I am ready to face the trail again.  As someone who can be too harsh on herself, running has shown me that I don’t have to be upset if I’m not perfect.  If you’re feeling frustrated, look back to when you first started running and be proud of how far you have come.  Progress is progress, no matter how small.  Remember you will no doubt improve with time and practice.

Keeping these tips in mind has helped me become a better, happier runner, and I hope they inspire runners and non-runners alike.  Next time you tie your tennis shoes and begin your run, think about what running has taught you. You might be surprised at how it can change your life for the better.


Julia Kell is an English major at Radford University who intends to work in book publishing after graduation.  Since childhood, she has enjoyed writing and is the author of multiple novels.  She also loves Broadway musicals, animals, and the outdoors.   


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