By Drew Shriner| Echo
Speakers often use running stories to illustrate an important point of their speech. The comparison of people being crazy to run is often heard, garnering polite chuckles from audiences nationwide.
However, many do enjoy long-distance running. Even more shockingly, most of them are not "crazy." It begs the question "What, then, is the true value of running, and why are so many people missing it?"
Long-distance running is well-known for its physical benefits; it is a great form of aerobic exercise that allows one to maintain a high fitness-level. However, there are many other forms of aerobic exercise that create less strain on the body, such as cycling and swimming.
For many, being a part of a cross country team is a key motivation for running long distances. The community that forms from running together is one of the many benefits that Taylor's men's cross country coach Lance Vanderberg sees in running long distances.
"Running on a team is exciting because of the shared goals of the group and the community that forms over the course of many miles," Vanderberg said.
However, for most on Taylor's campus, being on the cross country team is not an option.
Still, there are more benefits to running alone. Freshman Jack McNeil, who is currently training for a marathon, enjoys running alone to destress or listen to music.
"I usually listen to music when I run alone, but I do use running when I'm stressed or stuck when I'm writing a paper and I don't know where to go with it, I'll run," McNeil said. "Just clear my head. Come back."
Unfortunately, long-distance running is not an option for some due to health reasons.
Junior Nathan Margosian, who is not medically cleared to run after suffering a concussion last year, has found cycling to be an enjoyable alternative to running.
"In the winter, (I use the) stationary bike and the stair climber with weights on my back, and when it's warm out I like cycling outside, and I do a lot of backpacking," Margosian said.
There are plenty of alternative types of aerobic exercises to running on Taylor's campus, such as swimming in the Eichling Aquatics Wing pool in the Kesler Student Activities Center (KSAC).
Vanderberg encourages students to participate in many different types of aerobic exercise.
"There are plenty of great ways to exercise, and I think it is important for individuals to get aerobic exercise in a way that is enjoyable for them," Vanderberg said. "My advice would be to try lots of things, including running."
The key to beginning long-distance running is to start at a doable distance. Many individuals find running multiple miles to be overwhelming, and do not even begin. It is important to build up to such long distances. Taylor's campus has several great places to start. The KSAC's indoor track is approximately an eighth of a mile around, and the Vayhinger Loop is 1.15 miles.
If you are interested in a race, the upcoming Furry 5k is an excellent opportunity to begin long-distance running. The race costs $5 for an individual and $10 for a family. All proceeds go to the Humane Society. The 5k is on April 14 at 10 a.m. at the LaRita Boren Campus Center. You can register online, in the Hodson Dining Commons or on race-day.