An academic year starting out as unusual as this one is sure to bog down some who want the traditional campus life back right now. Yet we still must fight and find our way through it all. One way I am spending my free time to not overthink the circumstances of this semester, is rekindling my love for running.

After being sent home for spring break to not return for months I was bummed out, so I wanted any advice to improve my situation. So, I looked online and a lot of advice that flew around when the pandemic first hit was to do something productive while you’re stuck at home. Even with me being somewhat of a homebody, I was frustrated that the option of going outside had evaporated. 

So out of a rebellious fit to just get out, I went to a nearby trail that I would run at off and on and just went for it. I ended up having one of the best runs I could remember where I went through most of the trail without a break, and on the walk back I got flashbacks of running memories from my childhood.

As an elementary aged kid, I was introduced to distance running through an after-school program simply called ‘runner’s club’. Where we would meet every Friday to stretch, learn the basics of running and go on a running route through a nearby neighborhood. 

Most of what this program’s aim was to keep kids in shape and teach them the basics of running. This might seem obvious because it’s in our nature as humans to walk and run, but to do it efficiently and to stretch properly added layers to the activity for kids at that age.

The basics the program taught me were instilled into me, and I could rely on and work at running as a hobby using them. Most years I went without running either because I was in other sports or just not going for it. 

I can now look back with hindsight and see that implementing this activity would have made those times way better. Distance running has become the equalizer for me and most of my days. Whether I’m up or down, it can bring me back to the middle and increase my focus. 

It helps me feel and look my best. It clears my mind of useless thoughts; the alone time I get during a run recharges my social battery for when I’m out and have to socialize. This is why it’s important for me to remain consistent with this and do it several times a week so I can learn my limits.

I am proud of myself because this summer I really went for it with running and have been tracking my progress with the hobby seriously. Since returning to Lubbock for the fall, I have gone all out by breaking most of my personal records, running a 5k (3.11 miles) a day, and training to improve my 10k (6.24 miles) time. 

So, I believe all Red Raiders out there should find something aside from school that speaks to their inner nature and ignites it. Looking back into what interested you as a kid like I did can work out too. 

Finding that thing can not only change getting through a rough time like now but can help you reach the good times in your future. 

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