Side profile of Track & Field athlete, Brenda Martinez, running in front of a colorful geometric wall mural

Beyond the Run

Running can activate your mind and body in ways that might change your life.

Why we run.

It’s a given that running can be good for you, but there’s more to it than physical fitness. We reached out to runners to gain perspective on the less tangible benefits. How does running help you improve your mental well-being, overcome challenges, and become the best version of yourself?

Track & Field athlete, Brenda Martinez, leaning against the wooden railing of a footbridge over a small body of water

When I’m running I feel grateful, strong, proud and happy.

Brenda Martinez – Track & Field Athlete

Q & A

What are your key ingredients for a great run? 

The preparation before I am out the door. I like to have breakfast before my runs and allow myself to digest and have that energy for the training load. It also gives me time to do a proper prehab routine. I do a routine that consists of dynamic stretches to wake up the neuromuscular system. Then I do hip mobility and band work to get those muscles activated. 

On days you don’t feel up to facing the next challenge, what motivates you to keep moving forward? 

There are days that seem difficult to get up and going, so I try to figure out what’s going on and I communicate with my husband who is also one of my coaches. I find it beneficial to be honest and ask for help. Sometimes maybe sleeping in, pushing the workout until the evening, or spending the day with family to reset. Rest or even a reset is a great way to take a step back and then proceed when you feel it’s right. 

What advice would you give to a fellow runner who is struggling to either get started, or to keep going? 

My advice would be to start slowly and don’t force it. It’s always a good decision to take your time building up day by day. I tend to feel my best when I have an immense amount of gratitude in my life. I try to say, ‘thank you’ and ‘I love you’ to myself every morning. Being kind to yourself when you are not feeling your best is key. It makes a world of a difference when you put you first. 

Runner and Music Executive, Jeriel Johnson, wearing a white NB hoodie and a green backwards hat, with the Washington Monument in the background

My alone time when running provides me the space to release, imagine, and process the different things going on in my life.

Jeriel Johnson – Runner and Music Executive

Q & A

How does running help you be the best version of yourself?    

I’m generally an early morning runner, which helps me to start my days off strong. Following a solid run, I feel more relaxed and focused at work, patient with family and friends and ready to tackle the day. I’m also thankful for the physical benefits of running. When I first started on my running journey, after 6 months of running 20-30 miles per week I lost 50 lbs. While I no longer run to lose weight, running consistently supports my overall physical and mental health. At 40, I have a whole new outlook on what it means to live a healthy life, and I have the gift of running to thank for it.    





Has running helped you overcome challenges in life?   

Running has become a sanctuary of sorts for me. As I focus on my breathing, it becomes spiritual even, and I find myself in and out of prayer and meditation. Once I realized what I’m capable of through running, I began to look at challenges I may face with a newfound confidence that I can and will persevere.    

What advice do you have for new runners?  

Invest in a gait analysis and proper running shoes early. When I first got into running, I was using a pair of shoes that had the look of running shoes, but they were actually lifestyle shoes. It’s important to find out what routines work best for you and align with your running and fitness goals. Lastly, take your time, be patient with yourself and enjoy it. Your only competition is you! 

Image of Katie Grossman running in the mountains

My love of running and drive to get back to the sport has pulled me through some of the most difficult experiences of my life.

Katie Grossman – Ultra Trail Runner

Q & A

How does running help you be the best version of yourself? 

I think at our core humans crave progress. Running is such a pure manifestation of that, whether it’s working towards a racing goal or the simple act of just getting out the door on a hard day. It’s something concrete - a daily accomplishment and affirmation - and a reminder that I’m never truly stuck. I have a very real power and fire within myself to always take a step towards what I want.    

Has running helped you overcome challenges in life? 

Most recently, my love of running and drive to get back to the sport has pulled me through some of the most difficult experiences of my life. From becoming a mother and suffering major pelvic injury through childbearing, to a simultaneous battle with an abdominal tumor and a series of major surgeries - the goal of running long, gnarly routes through the mountains again is what keeps me doing the daily work.   

What advice do you have for new runners?  

Always check in and make sure running remains a positive in your life. We go through seasons as athletes, and if we want to be the best runners and people we can, it’s imperative we accept and adjust how the sport fits at different junctures. Keep things fluid and you’ll be a runner for life, no doubt.

Beyond the Run with GaTa

You know GaTa as a successful hype man, rapper, and actor. Now get to know GaTa the runner. He’s looking to activate both his body and his mind, and along the way, increase awareness of the importance of mental health. Because there’s more to running than just physical fitness. Watch the full series here and follow GaTa’s journey from never even considering running, to his first organized race in NYC.

Get equipped for your running journey.