Professor, Author, Runner

Jill Weinberg is an assistant professor at Tufts University and scholar. While juggling her professional life she has also found time to be a dedication runner who is racing the Berlin Marathon this coming weekend. Read her reflection from this summer on how she makes everything work...

I currently have 76 students enrolled in my courses, 3 students completing master’s theses, 2 research assistants, and answer roughly 75 emails a day.  I am a lawyer and sociologist teaching at DePaul University, BUT making the transition to Tufts University this July.  (Yay!!). Even though my face time in a classroom is minimal, I spend a few hours each day writing journal articles or finishing my book, attending to administrative matters within my department, and starting my transition from Chicago to Boston.  The greatest aspect of my job is flexibility:  I can take a yoga class on Monday morning at 9:30 a.m.  The worst aspect of my job is that there is always work to be done: a typical week is 60-hours and a busy week can exceed 80-hours.

 I was always involved in athletics, but I did not begin running until 2010 after a colleague convinced me to train for the Chicago Marathon. Since then, I’ve run eight marathons (including several Boston Marathons) and countless shorter distance races. As my running improved, my running-related activities increased. I see a chiropractor bimonthly, do strength training three times each week, sit in recovery boots and an ice bath four days a week, and the sporadic yoga class I take because everyone tells me my flexibility is bad.  I joined the Hudson Community because I needed a reset; I had several PRs in 2015 but my times were slowing when I believe I have a few more years of improvement.  My confidence as a runner was at an all-time low, and blamed myself for my poor performances.

Coaching is Efficient and Invaluable

I research for a living. I frequently look at the research on running – training programs, nutrition, gear, etc. – but I always find myself going down the rabbit hole of information.  Working with my Hudson Elite Coach, Kara, takes the pressure of having to develop my own training program.  Not only does she craft a program for my specific goals, but also she has the personal knowledge as a runner herself to speak about my questions and concerns. Can I switch Monday’s workout with Tuesday’s? My calf hurts, should I run? How many days each week should I strength train?  In theory I could find answers to all these questions, but I’ll spend countless hours and find myself more confused.  Kara’s expertise really takes the burden off me, so I can focus on running in of itself.

“All I Need is an Hour” 

My schedule is a juggling act.  I try my best to construct a weekly schedule, and I manage to stay on track 70% of the time. However, my schedule entails running at inconsistent times of the day.  For example, I teach Tuesday afternoon and evening, so I try to run late-morning after a few hours of writing, but on Wednesdays I run later in the evening because I have meetings first-thing in the morning.  My coach, Kara, is great because she recognizes that there are times when I have to run on a treadmill because it’s too late (and Chicago winter cold) to run outside.  Given my current half-marathon training program, I tell myself, “all I need is an hour, and I can get this workout done.”  This mantra has proven successful because I rarely miss workouts and have done less “switching” of workout days; although, I know Kara and I would work together to make weekly schedule work.   

How do I balance? 

Sometimes well, and sometimes not so much.  There are times where my hours leave me too exhausted to run, or I find myself starting a workout at 10:30pm.  There are other times when I feel overwhelmed that I cannot motivate myself to put on my running shoes, even if I have the time.  In recent months I have beat myself up over a bad race and thought whether I lacked dedication or could have trained better.  Even with my brief time with the Hudson Community, I am gaining confidence that I can have a training program that works with my lifestyle and still improve. For those who have significant time commitments, running can be done but it takes planning but also recognizing that life happens and you have to make it work.   

We applaud Jill for her determination and commitment, and we'll be rooting for her in Sunday's Berlin marathon! Check out Jill's published book, Consensual Violence: Sex, Sports, and the Politics of Injury