When I was in high school, I hated running. It made my side hurt, it made me sweaty and it was pretty boring to boot. I’d do anything to avoid it.

Now I feel the exact opposite way: I love going on jogs, and at this point it’s almost more of a need than a want. I think, like in many situations, it was a simple change of mindset.

Running is healthy, and everyone knows that. There’s a plethora of good things that come from going on a jog that you might not know until you actually try it. Challenging myself by running as fast or as far as I can makes me feel strong in a way that nothing else can quite make me feel. Running gives me an opportunity to test out new music, jam to my favorite songs or listen to some thought-provoking podcasts.

Furthermore, if you pick your songs right and use your imagination, you can actually feel like you’re in a music video, movie, TV show or whatever you please. When you’re actually moving with the music, it gives the music a new feeling. I’d even go as far as to say, a new definition. This how I assume a talented dancer would feel.

One of the most valuable parts of going on a run is that it gives you the rare opportunity to explore your immediate surroundings and spend some time with nature. It makes you slow down and dwell on your thoughts, your body’s ability and your surroundings, but it also makes you speed up and get energized.

You’ll discover things you would have never otherwise had any clue existed. A bluebird’s nest filled with baby birds hidden in a grassy alleyway, a mobile library stand in the middle of a neighborhood and a pond behind all the stores you usually drive past are some of the many small wonders that I’ve discovered. I never knew that there were hundreds of fireflies all around where I live until I went jogging there at night.

Running wears you out and helps you sleep at night, but it also helps energize you when you feel lazy. It also causes your body to release endorphins that interact with a chemical in your brain, causing a reduction in your pain perception and, consequently, a positive feeling. Some people take drugs to feel that way, when all you really have to do is go for a good run.

A large factor that made me have this change in mindset is the realization that going jogging doesn’t have to be about running a certain distance in a certain time. If you want to take a break and walk some, or sprint, that’s up to you. When you go running, there are no rules you have to abide by. It’s just you and your body, so you can either make your own rules or not make any rules at all.

There are lots of places to run all around you. My first suggestion is to exit your front door and go. Just go whichever way your feet take you, and see where you get. Don’t worry about getting lost; you can map yourself back later.

Here are some other suggestions:

 

Broadway: There is a pretty consistent sidewalk going all the way down Broadway near campus. The number of places that you’ll discover on this run is incredibly high. You’ve probably driven down Broadway multiple times, but when you’re a pedestrian, you notice countless things that you would never notice while driving. Quirky restaurants, coffee shops, boutiques, speciality stores and even little museums line Broadway: you never know what you’ll find.

 

The football field track at night: While it’s typically not that safe to go running at night, the track that runs around the football field is usually a safe place to run at night not only because it’s lit up by the bright stadium lights, but also because there are many people around and TUPD is always patrolling nearby. Plus when you run on the track it’s easy to monitor your progress. I like running here because it is right in the middle of Trinity, so as you’re making your way around the track you can see different parts of campus: the sophomore and junior dorms, lower campus and the tennis courts and bits of upper campus and the Trinity tower.

 

East Contour Drive: This street runs along the Olmos Basin Park, a dense forest with some thin paths, mostly for bikes. The forest is on one side of the street and on the other is rows and rows of Olmos Park estates. It’s a friendly area, and if you go at a popular time like sunset, you’ll be accompanied by bikers, kids playing, couples walking and other joggers. It’s a long, curvy street with views on either side.

 

Brackenridge Park: The biggest benefit to running here is that Pets Alive! is located right on the edge of the park closest to Trinity and they love having volunteers come in and take the dogs on a walk. If you want a running companion but don’t have a dog of your own, this is a win-win situation! Those dogs need all the socialization, stimulation and exercise they can get, so taking them on a run with you would make their day and yours. The park itself is scenic and serene, which provides the perfect backdrop for a calming run.

 

The perimeter of Trinity: Trinity is large enough that running around it is the perfect length for a longer run. This is another opportunity to explore your surroundings. Seeing the outskirts of Trinity and the parts that you might not ever go to during the evening when there aren’t many people around can give you a whole new perspective.
Alta Vista Neighborhood: Neighborhood streets are always a good bet when it comes to running. There are usually not that many cars to worry about, and in some neighborhoods there’s a sidewalk to run on. In Alta Vista, the houses are magnificent, large and old, and the architecture is unique to each one. This will  definitely add some entertainment and safety to your run.