Get Up and Go: How Running can Teach you to Pace Yourself in Your Academics
The beginning of an academic year is often the beginning of the season for many athletes, and I remember always thinking that sports during school must be extremely difficult to manage. Between training, team practice, eating well, sleeping well, and performing at games or races, the thought of adding school into the mix always seemed daunting.
I found myself questioning my athleticism once I started university, especially with these thoughts in mind. I always wanted to find an activity where it was easy to simply “get up and go” to clear my mind and help with better overall physical and mental health. Nearly two years ago, I tried to run my very first 5k and I haven’t stopped since. I think what stops most people from running is the perception that high school gym class has put into our heads that we have to be good at something to enjoy it or to want to continue, but instead what running has shown me is the beauty of having room for improvement, as you’ll always have or be able to create new goals and challenges for yourself.
I started running because I found a blogger online named Kelly Roberts, a woman who titles herself “President of the I f***ing hate running club” and yet has recently been sponsored by Nike for their Project Moonshot—a project happening in major cities helping people shoot for their most impossible goals. Kelly seemed so inspirational to me because she preaches that everyone can run, because it doesn’t matter who you are, what size you are, if you’re fast or slow, or what distance you choose. If you enjoy it, you’re a runner.
I was so motivated by Kelly’s podcasts when I first heard them that I decided to try. I kept trying and am now looking forward to the Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon—an awesome local race that brings together more than 25,000 runners who finish a 5k, a half-marathon, or marathon in times ranging from 15 minutes to 5+ hours. That was when I truly realized that running is something you can do for yourself at your own pace; you don’t have to be the best, you can simply have fun. While training this summer, I discovered the amazing Toronto running community through Night Terrors Run Crew: a group that demonstrates crew love literally every step of the way. Be it a long run, a night at track, or even getting gelato, joining them has been the most amazing way to get fresh air, to really get to know Toronto, and never feel bad about my taco consumption.
I’m by no means a great athlete, but creating athletic goals has shifted my focus and given me a new perspective on my academics. It’s easy not to realize when and where you need improvement, but in school, like in running, you just need to pace yourself and take it week by week. This attitude has been crucial in changing the game for mental health, and that’s when I realized that having a balanced lifestyle instead of constantly studying actually benefits a student more than one might think.
This year, join a local community of whatever activity you love, it’ll help you mentally, physically, and academically. If you don’t have one, I dare you to try—take it one kilometer at a time.