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  • Writer's pictureHANNA BABEK

Just Run With It promotes health, happiness

1: L-R Kathryn Melo, Kaitlin Cummings ('23), Alex Waite ('23), and Adela Hruby pose for a photo at the Newton Turkey Trot last fall. Photo courtesy of Adela Hruby.

Just Run With It is a nine-week couch-to-5K program that prepares members to run a 5K. Adela Hruby, Associate Director of Health Education and Clinical Counselor, created the program last fall as a part of Well at Lasell, a program that promotes mental and physical wellness on campus.

The program meets twice a week as a group, and participants warm up, jog, and cool down together, with the workouts gradually building up over the course of the program to prepare the runners for the 5K. Completing a walk or jog on your own once a week is also a part of the program. At the end of the program when the participants complete the race, Just Run With It will reimburse them for the registration fee in the form of a gift card.

Last year, the program consisted of seven participants, all who completed the 5K.

Psychology major Kaitlin Cummings (‘23), participated in the program her senior year after discovering it through her internship at the Office of Health Education.

Despite having never run a race before joining the program, Cummings enjoyed the experience and said, “I had a lot of fun! I got to explore Auburndale and meet some lovely people I wouldn’t have otherwise. It enriched my college experience and is one of my dearest memories from that time.”

Hruby said it’s the in-person meetings that make a difference while working out. “I think it's that community piece that really makes a difference to somebody sort of going through with the program,” Hruby said.

The community aspect stretches until the last day of the program, which Hruby encourages to be the Newton Turkey Trot. Last year, she and several members of the program ran it together as a final group run for the program.

Hruby said the program’s goal is to ease people into healthy habits, such as jogging. “I think a lot of people have a desire to jog and to be runners or to have that as a part of their daily lives, but are intimidated or don't know how to get started, like walking into a gym for the first time, that can be very intimidating,” she said. “So the idea is to make it less intimidating, to make it fun.”

Hruby mentions the importance of physical activity, especially in places such as college campuses. “There's pretty solid research evidence that indicates that physical activity is one of the key antidotes to depression and anxiety with equal or better than the effects of the most common drugs,” Hruby said. “And obviously as a counselor, I'm pretty aware of the prevalence of anxiety and depression on this campus. So, just finding non-counseling ways to address those challenges is one of my broader goals.”

Cummings adds that physical activity-based programs can add a sense of balance to a busy student’s life. “Campus life, as a resident or staff member, is hectic. Programs like this make caring for your well-being much easier,” she said.

Hruby said often, the most challenging part of joining a program such as this is the beginning. She said, “The hardest part of showing up, so if people can just show up, then that's great.”

Cummings agrees the idea of joining a program like this can be intimidating, but is well worth it. “The training was less difficult than I thought it was going to be. I’ll admit that, yes, the actual race was daunting, but I’m so glad I did it. I had an incredible sense of achievement after finishing,” she said.

Hruby hopes the program lends itself a bit beyond helping participants run a 5K. “I mean, an appreciation for their bodies and what their bodies can do, sort of a strength of mind that accompanies more self-confidence in that regard. Like, if you put your mind to it you can do it.”


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