I HATE running and that is okay

It is okay to admit it. If you are like me, you HATE running. I may be exaggerating, but I do strongly dislike it. Yes, if you have been following my blog you know that I recently ran a half marathon. That was silly! And after this upcoming weekend, my running season will be over for the year (perhaps). I cannot wait!!!

With that said, happy National Running Day! I run because I was told by doctors that I never would again. I run to keep a healthy balance to my workouts and fitness.

The allure of running

We have this grandiose idea that running will make us thin. If I could only run, I would – fill in the blank. You have in your head, the farther you run the thinner you will be! This is contradictory to science. So where does this idea come from?

Is it the runners we see in the Olympics? Who looks more fit and healthy – sprinters or marathoners?

Maybe it is the neighbor who runs 6 miles a day.

Maybe you ran often and never ate when you were younger and were thin. (Note: It was the never eating that kept you thin.)

Is it that running is the only cardio exercise we can immediately think of?

Fellowship and community

Despite the fact that I dislike running, there is something that I am drawn towards. I run because it is an opportunity to spend quality time with my crazy friends who actually like to run. It gives us a chance to spend hours together – talking, venting, or simply trying to breath. We have a connection – always something to talk about or someplace to go (while running on foot). I have built deep, meaningful relationships through running – relationships I would have never otherwise known.

I prefer to lift

One fact still remains. I much prefer to lift weights. Heavy weights. Kettlebells. Olympic lifting. Barbell complexes. I would choose any of them before running. My lifting regimen often makes my legs tired and heavy – making running challenging and less than fun. Further, lifting is safer than running and poses less risk of injury. Have you ever met a dedicated runner who has never been injured? I have not met one yet.

Sports Injury Rates (Hamill 1994)

Sport

Injuries (per 100 hours)

Soccer (school age) 6.20
UK Rugby 1.92
USA Basketball 0.03
UK Cross Country 0.37
Squash 0.10
US Football 0.10
Badminton 0.05
USA Gymnastics 0.044
USA Powerlifting 0.0027
USA Volleyball 0.0013
USA Tennis 0.001
Weight Training 0.0035 (85,733 hrs)
Weightlifting (snatch, clean) 0.0017 (168,551 hrs)

“The overall yearly incidence rate for running injuries varies between 37 and 56%. If incidence is calculated according to exposure of running time the incidence reported in the literature varies from 2.5 to 12.1 injuries per 1000 hours of running.” (van Mechelen, 1992).

The bottomline

It is okay to hate running. And know, you do not need to run to be thin – if that is your purpose for running or wanting to run. In fact, running is not a very efficient method for fat loss. And the risk of injury is far greater than weight training! Use that as food for thought.

Do not get me wrong, the benefits of running are incredible. But it is not for everyone. I write this post on the eve of my departure to run 200 miles will 11 of my closest friends. 200 miles of laughter, smiles, tears, and so much FUN

Like what you read? Please comment and share below.

References

Hamill, B. (1994). Relative safety of weightlifting and weight training. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 8(1), 53-57.

Stone M.H., A.C. Fry, M.  Ritchie,  L.  Stoessel Ross and J.L. Marsit, J.L. (1994). Injury potential and safety aspects of weightlifting movements. Strength and Conditioning, 16, 15 24.

van Mechelen, W. (1992). Running injuries. A review of the epidemiological literature. Sports Medicine, 14(5), 320-335.

Advertisements

Finding motivation to run with the wind

It is April 14th, and it is snowing. It is pretty windy and only going to get windier. As I dress for my long run, I am struggling to find the motivation. I keep checking the weather on my phone, hoping that I either saw it wrong or it will change. But…it isn’t changing. And I had better get out there soon, because the blustery winds and snow/rain mix are on the way for the afternoon. photo (1)

I am doubting myself. I am not sure that I will make it a full 115 minutes — two hours? It is April, it is not supposed to be like this. This lack of motivation has be weighing my options.

I could run inside on a treadmill. Ha! I can barely run 30 minutes on a treadmill.

I could skip the run altogether. NEVER! Not an option.

And so it looks like my only options is to bundle up at fight my way through the mild winds.

What is my motivation? Well, my parents taught me to do what I say I am going to do —

Training for sport: Running

Running is a sport. What many individuals fail to realize is that you need to train to run – you do not just go out and do it. Similar to other sports, in order to become proficient and remain injury free, you need to train for competition. This training is not exclusive to sport-specific training – for example, running if you want to run – but incorporates a full spectrum of cross training.

I meet more and more individuals who only run – and others who throw in a few crunches here and there. I also know many individuals who believe that running is the only way to lose weight or stay in shape. Please know, you do not need to run to be thin. Running is hard on the body. The human body is no longer regularly conditioned for this level of impact – as we have become an incredibly sedentary society. This is not to say that the human body is not capable of sustaining the wear and tear of running – it is – but we need to train for it.

runnerWalking & jogging

If you are not running now but want to start to run – you must first walk. Unless you spend many hours a day on your feet walking around as it is, I caution against the popular “Couch to 5K” programs before appropriately conditioning your body and feet to walking. Many of these programs have you running/jogging on Day 1 – allowing for generous walking breaks. While you might think, I walk every day, how much do you walk? And do you walk with intent and speed? Walking in preparation for a jog or run has a different impact on the body than walking into the supermarket.

Something running misses

Let’s say that you are beginning to run and you decide – I will train for a 5K. Awesome! I love these goals. So, you begin a running program, and by race day your lungs are ready and you feel like your legs are too! Later that day your knees hurt. Why? You train running in a relatively straight line. Race day, you are dodging manhole covers, puddles, and other runners. The lateral movements take their toll and later manifest as pain. This can be avoided with cross training – in include strength training and movement specific functional training. For example, adding speed or power skaters to a strength circuit.

Repetitive motion injuries

Common running injuries? Blisters, lost toenails, plantar fasciitis, shin splits, knee and hip pain, and iliotibial band syndrome – just to name a few. Blisters (and calluses) are out body’s way of protecting itself. This could be the result to ill fitting shoes, improper socks, or simply doing too much too soon and the body not being accustomed to being on its feet.

Many running injuries are the result of repetitive motion. We can categorize “runner’s knee” – or chondromalacia patella – as a repetitive motion injury and liken it to carpal tunnel or trigger finger – injuries most often sustain on the job. How do we reduce the likelihood of these injuries and/or lessen the effects of them? We cross train and we train to run.

My testimony

I started running longer distances to prove to myself and my doctors that I could. I have been very inconsistent about it over the years. In Spring 2010, while training for a half marathon, I sustained what I now know what a stress fracture in my foot. I did not run for a month – weeks 7-10 of my 12-week training plan. This is a large portion of the training and I missed 4 significant long runs. BUT, I did not miss my training. I converted my training program to the rower (Concept 2) and I trained for those 4 weeks with rowing and my usual strength training. I allowed my foot to heal and I was able to ease right back into my run training. I finished that half marathon – doing a third or more of my training on a rower and running 3 or fewer days a week for the other two thirds of the training.

So let me ask, is running the only method for training to run?

And is it the best method?

I am training for another half marathon next month. I run 3 days a week in preparation. It will be two years since my last half marathon – and I have run very little in those two years. However, I have cut more than a minute off of my per mile time. Again, with little to no running until about 8 weeks ago.

How often do you run?

The bottomline

This is all meant to be food for thought. It is often said that running is the easiest and most inexpensive physical activity you can partake in. Do you also know is has one of the highest risks of potential injury – often ranking with sports like skiing and soccer? (While walking and swimming have MUCH lower risks). Finally, I am not discouraging running – I am discouraging ONLY running. Train smart and your body will thank you for it.

Do you run and only run?

Are you feeling aches and pains?

Are you getting results?

You don’t have to run to be thin

I’m serious. This is the cold, hard truth. You don’t have to run to be thin. Or fit. Or healthy. Or happy. So many of us have this misconception that in order to be thin we must run and run and run. Where does this idea come from? I have a couple of theories.

  1. I’ve talked to dozens of folks who say something like, “I lost weight when I was running all the time and I didn’t really eat. But then I stopped and I gained all the weight back. So I know what I need to do…running works for me so I just need to do it.” Really? Does running work for you? If you tried (some of you more than once) and failed to keep the weight off, then did it really work? Is not the goal to keep the weight off for good? True, you may have that vicarious experience of temporary success…but it wasn’t sustained. Why not?
  2. We see runners and they look thin, fit, and healthy. I cannot tell you how many ‘runners’ I have known with eating disorders or other serious health concerns. How many ‘runners’ do you know who are injured? And I will tell you…most of the fastest and most successful ‘runners’ I know are not thin….but they are incredibly fit. (I believe that the difference between thin and fit deserves a post all its own to be discussed at another time).
  3. 5Ks and marathons are a dime a dozen. With the influx of mud runs and other novel race themes, running is receiving more publicity than ever. Running is FUN!becca2012

But you know what I say? Screw running. Running is not the answer to being thin, fit, or healthy. And in fact, it doesn’t work for a lot of us. I could go on and on about how humans are designed to run (to a certain degree) and that it is an exercise that requires limited resources, etc. If you want to know more about the science of running, pick up a book such as “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall.

I hate running. My body physically hates running and fights me tooth and nail. I have tried to force myself to run. I have forced myself to try and like running…only to come out hating it more. I’ve run half marathons and relays…hating every minute of it. And I noticed during every one of my running ‘seasons’ I gained weight. There are numerous physiological explanations for this, but I will just state that the weight gain was a result of doing something (e.g., physical activity, nutrition) that my body was not designed nor trained to do effectively.

I have friends who are addicted to that runner’s high. I have yet to experience that high. Therefore, I don’t run. Am I thin, fit, and healthy? I wouldn’t call myself thin, as I am proud to carry more muscle than most, but I am definitely fit and healthy. Don’t get me wrong, I will run now and again. But nothing more than a few miles. And I much prefer to complete my cardiovascular exercise via different methods. I elevate my heart rate during resistance training…adding jump rope if necessary but incorporating explosive and power movements.  Why would I want to run for a boring 30 minutes when I can do a circuit of 10 exercises, keeping myself mentally and physically challenged to keep up with the tasks at hand?

So, the moral of the story – you don’t have to run to be thin. Are you one of those folks who ran and lost weight but didn’t stick with it? Ask yourself why. Be honest with yourself – the chances are that running doesn’t work for you. Find something else! Running is not sustainable, FOR YOU, and it’s not a lifestyle, FOR YOU. There are so many other activities out there, why suffer through what you think you have to do?

You don’t have to run! Not sure what else to do if you aren’t going to run? I know someone who can help you with that…