February 20, 2020
NSU Jacksonville PA Running Club – Why We Run
Apr 13, 2016
I was a nervous wreck in the weeks before PA school. It wasn’t just the classes; when will I ever have the time to work out? I wondered. But when classes started, I was thrilled to find that I was in the company of athletes and others who understood the physical and mental benefits of regular exercise. So, when my friend Rachel mentioned starting a running club, I was quick to offer my assistance. Now, as vice president of our program’s running club, I am constantly inspired by my classmates’ choices to remain active despite the demands that didactic year has placed on us. In a year that is filled with fatigue, computer screens, OSCE’s, and four tests a week, it’s easy to spend free time in front of a television with a glass (or three) of wine. Yet, many of us don’t – opting instead for a treadmill, sidewalk, or occasional beach run. Why do we do this? Why not just enjoy the TV and bottle of wine? I decided to pose this question to my running classmates – here are their responses:
- It’s therapeutic – For Michael, a Boston Marathon finisher and the most experienced racer in our group, he finds that running offers stress relief. It’s a chance to forget about the noise of PA school. Even if for only 30 minutes, it’s the best 30 minutes of the day. It’s a break from studying. It’s a chance to spend time with friends and even have a bit of fun.
- To stay alert and keep studying – A quick study break of ice cream and a Netflix episode is a constant temptation, but deep down, we all know the end effect of that – increased fatigue and greater desire to push off studying. Phil started running consistently during PA school and says that a study break run helps give him the boost he needs to push through the study time blues. It also allows him to spend some quality time with his dog, Freckles.
- To model healthy behaviors – A longtime athlete, but fresh long-distance runner, Gabby trained and completed her first half marathon during PA school with a 7:30 mile pace! Afterward, she kept me company – and pushed my pace – in my 13.1 training a month later. Gabby says that, “as a future provider, it’s important to take care of ourselves so that we can be role models for our patients.” I couldn’t agree more.
- To maintain a healthy weight – Weight gain during PA school is a common fear. Stress, plus a mostly sedentary day, creates the perfect combination for that to occur. Christie says that she runs in order “to not be squishy,” something many runners can surely relate to.
- To aiding other fitness goals – Running isn’t the only sport our members enjoy. Ben uses our running club to compliment his triathlon training. He has completed 3 triathlons during PA school, even achieving his highest ranking yet. Some are a little jealous of his ambition.
- For camaraderie – Our fearless running club leader, Rachel, says she started the running club “to get a group of like-minded people together as support to stay active through friendly accountability.” And at the end of the day, that’s a motivating factor for all of us – hanging out and enjoying each other’s time in our shared interest of running, and not simply in the four corners of the classroom.
As for me, I run for the enjoyment and convenience. I ran before PA school because I simply enjoyed the feeling after each run – that runner’s high any long-time runner will surely tell you about. But I also ran to supplement my overall active lifestyle – 90-minute daily yoga classes, and a gym membership. While I still try to participate in these activities, the truth is both are costly in terms of both time and money. Running, on the other hand, can be done in any desired amount of time – a quick jog to the end of the road is better than sitting around – and is an inexpensive investment that offers enormous returns. So, I still run for the runner’s high – and because it’s the most convenient way for me to stay fit in PA school. Whatever your reason – I, and lots of other PA runners, encourage you to hit the road. Join a running group. If there isn’t one, start one! You won’t regret it.
Kate Gerstenberger, PA-S
Nova Southeastern University- Jacksonville
Class of 2017