Cross-country builds mental strength

Runners gathered for the cross-country tryouts at the BYU-Idaho Stadium to test their physical and mental stamina.

Cross-country running, unlike traditional track and field running, allows participants a greater variety in running terrain.

“I love the thrill of cross-country running,” said Reba Allen, a junior studying health science, “You can do it wherever you want and it’s not restrictive.”

From asphalt streets to muddied hills, Allen said the diversity of the running course entices runners to participate.

She said though cross-country running has set courses, the ability to cover various landscapes allows runners to practice by running freely wherever they please.

Allen said that cross-country running does not require coordination or skill, just a motivation to participate.

The motivation to run can be hard to develop, but Allen said that the desire to stay healthy and in shape keeps her going.

“It’s like therapy,” Allen said. “Whenever I’m stressed, I go running.”

Even seasoned runners struggle with being motivated to keep the habit of frequent running she said.

“I like it,” said Gregory Bacon, a sophomore studying paramedicine. “I don’t love it.”

Bacon said the difference for him between liking and loving running is the perspective he takes during the running moment.

“It’s hard at the time, but with any hard thing you appreciate it when looking back on it,” Bacon said. “It’s the result of feeling accomplished in speed, strength and just looking good.”

While engaging in the physical demands of running, he said participants must also combat the mental strain that accompanies the activity.

Kalan Lysenko, a junior studying computer engineering, said he focuses on the run at hand and the goals he has set in order to overcome the exhaustion of running.

Lysenko said the physical and mental benefits of running can be the prime motivation for getting off the couch and being active.

Running is a vigorous intensity aerobic activity that can meet physical activity requirements set by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC also explains that briskly walking for 15 minutes or running for 5 minutes is enough to help prevent cardiovascular disease, decrease blood pressure and increase life span by three years.

“It’s great to see that what shapes us are the small and simple everyday habits we choose,” said Hyrum Dyches, a senior studying health science.

Regardless of athletic ability, running offers the chance at a healthier lifestyle Dyches said.

“That’s what’s great about running — no matter what level you’re at, we’re all running the same race, and we all get something out of it,” Bacon said.

Copyright 2015 BYU-I Scroll