With her recently released single “Love” climbing the charts, a busy touring schedule and an album in the works, award-winning country artist Jana Kramer has a lot to think about, which is exactly why she likes to run. Running has been a constant outlet for the 30-year-old Michigan native who’s now a successful actress in Los Angeles—you may recognize her as Alex Dupree from “One Tree Hill”—and a musician in Nashville. We caught up with Kramer between gigs and even got a glimpse of her competitive side.
When did you start running?
I was probably 8 years old when I started. It was something we did as a family, but it took me until my teen years to actually like it. There was a 2-mile circle around my subdivision in Michigan. I got to the point where I would do two laps. Now I really like slow, steady runs because they give me time to think and clear my mind. Even if I don’t feel like running, I know I’m always happier for doing it.
How does running fit into your touring schedule?
I’ve made runs and walks mandatory for the whole band. At first they complained—a lot! But now they like it. You can spend a lot of time sitting around on tour. It feels so much better to move, and it’s a great way to see the places where we’re playing. I’ll also run on a treadmill if I need to. I actually like them. Seeing the clock pushes me to go faster.
What’s it like knowing people have your songs on their running playlists?
It’s so cool! I love knowing I’m helping others to get healthy and fit.
I’ve heard you do something called “Meet and Competes.” What are they?
I’m a really competitive person and love playing games. We carry games with us on the bus because I like to play games before shows. And it turned into a fun way to connect with fans. Instead of meet-and-greets, we do Meet and Competes and play Ping Pong, corn hole and Jenga.
Have you run a race?
I did my first half marathon, the Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville, in 2011. I always told myself I couldn’t run more than 6 miles. So I decided I would run the first half then walk the rest of the way. My brain was saying no, but my body felt great. The power of the crowd and music really helped carry me to the finish line.
Gear to Go
Lululemon ¾ running pants are comfy, cute and don’t stink.
Tunes or No Tunes?
I prefer no music when I run. It gives me time to process and think through ideas; it’s time for myself. But sometimes I need a musical boost!
My favorite is a banana with peanut butter for the sugar and protein.
Favorite Place to Run
Percy Warner Park in Nashville is my home base. I love trails and being in nature. It’s just you and the woods. Although I played at Red Rocks in Colorado last year and it was beautiful—I want to go back there and run.