Running From the Law, and How You Can Too

Wade Foster '19
(he/him/his)
Guest Columnist

 Badass who moonlights as a law student, Wade Foster, puts everyone else to shame. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

Badass who moonlights as a law student, Wade Foster, puts everyone else to shame. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

First, I will admit, I’m biased—I find sick joy in running long distances. However, I would like to offer this modest proposal—that you, too, can and should be a runner. To demonstrate, I would like to offer a totally “objective” list of the pros and cons of running. 

Pro: Running improves your fitness level. Studies have shown that regular running improves bone density, strengthens joints, and improves aerobic endurance. Improved aerobic endurance means that you will have an easier time doing other vigorous activities (escaping zombies, racing to class, etc.). 

Con: Running hurts. There are two kinds of pain associated with running, the good kind and the bad kind. The first is general muscle fatigue and soreness, this is the good kind, pain is weakness leaving the body. The second kind is the bad kind—it’s the kind that feels like you sprained something, bruised something, or pulled a muscle. If you rolled an ankle you have a pretty good idea where this pain comes from. If you have shooting or sharp pain when you run any variety of things could be wrong (muscle imbalance, shoes, inflammation). Normally this can be addressed with better shoes and a visit to the physical therapist—but it needs to be taken seriously. 

Speaking of shoes: Pro: You get an excuse to buy new shoes, and who doesn’t love new shoes?! Depending on the type of shoe and your running form, you need to replace your shoes every 300–500 miles. Run more, get more shoes! Running also gives you an excuse to buy other brightly colored articles of clothing—shirts, socks, shorts, hats—the options are endless! As an aside, brightly colored clothing is encouraged not just for the fabulous fashion statement you make wearing it, but also to help drivers see you and not run you over (this is especially important as the days get shorter—consider adding reflective items to your obnoxious neon mix). 

Con: Running shoes are expensive! But when you amortize the cost of the shoes they are cheaper than a lot of the alternatives, like double bypass surgery.

Pro: Running burns calories. The exact number is a function of your body weight, your fitness level, your level of effort, and the distance you run. There are multiple calculators online to help you figure out how many calories you are burning,1 but a general rule is about eighty calories per mile.  So two miles burns a beer, ten miles burns five beers! That will almost make up for your night at Bilt. And the calorie burn doesn’t stop when you stop running, running increases your metabolism throughout the day. 

Con: Running a lot means being hungry a lot and that leads to eating a lot. Eating a lot takes time and money. But, is an excuse to eat really such a bad thing? 

Pro: Running gives you a reason to get out of the library and go commune with nature. There are miles and miles of trails and farm roads close to the Law School. Running gets you out into the fresh air and gives you a chance to be one with the squirrels. 

Con: Running is boring. When you run on a track or a dreadmill, running IS boring. You can alleviate boredom by finding better scenery or listening to music. If you are still bored, you might need to lower your standards for entertainment. 

Pro: Running improves mental health. Running has been shown to have a variety of positive effects on mental health, including improving focus and creativity, improving ability to learn and retain new information, alleviating anxiety and reducing symptoms of depression. They don’t call it a runner’s high for nothing! Running also helps you sleep better and we all know that law students can use more and better sleep. 

Con: It takes time. Running, eating, and sleeping all take time, but so does checking in on Facebook, but Facebook doesn’t make you svelte and improve your mental focus. Given the myriad of benefits running provides dedicating an hour out of your otherwise busy day will be worth it. 

*Disclaimer: There is no right or wrong way to run; fueling, shoes, distance, and exertion level all need to be tailored to your personal preference. There are many sects of the running community that think their way is the right way. The only right way is the way that works for you. 

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wcf3hy@virginia.edu

1 https://www.runnersworld.com/tools/calories-burned-calculator