Laurel Kincl loves to run and eat dark chocolate. When she isn’t teaching a course to School of Biological and Population Health Sciences students or working on one of her research projects, the assistant professor is most likely running. She runs up to five times each week and plans longer runs for the weekend. On weekends, you’ll find her with her social running group somewhere in McDonald Forest.
Laurel runs for simple reasons.
“It keeps me sane,” she says. “It releases stress, connects me with friends and makes me strong mentally, as well as physically.” Having goals keeps it interesting and Laurel says training in a smart way helps her stay active.
Although not for every race, Laurel sometimes challenges herself to run for specific times, such as her recent marathon on May 1. The challenge was to make a time fast enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon. The outcome? She qualified with a few minutes to spare.
When she’s not running, Laurel also enjoys yoga, various exercise classes, and core exercises she does at home. Not that she needs it, but she gets even more exercise when she spends quality time with her dog each day on long walks or hikes designed to wear him out.
Laurel’s been active for as long as she can remember. The fact that she enjoys being outdoors and on her own two feet make running and hiking a natural fit.
Laurel hasn’t had major hurdles to her fitness routine but she has moved a few times, which has posed some challenges. It takes a bit of time to find friends who are into running and working out, but she’s been able to find them by being persistent and asking everyone she meets if they share her same interests.
“When you combine exercise with something in your life that keeps you busy and is satisfying to you, like time with friends, partners or pets, it’s easier to make it work,” she says. “Use it to connect and it will be rewarding.”
Laurel still has fitness endeavors she’d like to try one day. She once went paragliding in tandem with an experienced glider and thinks it would be amazing to learn to do it solo.