There are certain topics I don’t care to write about because of the rabbit hole that inevitably unwinds when broaching such areas.
This is going to be one of them. Oh well.
Distance running is not a net positive long term fitness approach.
If you sense yourself lowering your eyebrows, clenching your jaw, and flaring your nostrils right now, relax.
*Deep cleansing breath*
The reason I’m writing this article is not to bash running, but rather to explain how to make running not so hard on your body.
After all, I know many of you are still going to do it, so you might as well do it right.
But, before we go any further, why do I dislike running?
Running has gotten popular over the years because it has one barrier to entry: a pair of shoes.
Assuming you have a pair of sneakers, you can be a runner. This also allows you to post “running things” on Facebook and Instagram and tell your blind date from the internet that you “work out”.
The problem is, although it has a low barrier to entry in a convenience and monetary regard, it has a tremendously large barrier on the physical side.
You probably think I’m crazy. After all, at your last 10k race you saw tons of amateurs, overweight folks, and people in their 60s.
Clearly, anyone can “run”.
Just about anyone can “move”, but not correctly and safely run.
The fact is, if you truly love running, you need to make sure you have first developed the correct muscles in the body to allow you to run with less likelihood of injury.
That means, get your butt in the gym and start lifting weights.
Your glutes and hips play a HUGE roll in the strength and stability of your knees as you run and cannot be avoided. Your core and upper body is also integral to proper form over periods of time as you get tired.
Potential for injury is also much more compounded if you are overweight as your form will break down faster and to a greater degree.
Some may argue that they have ran for years without lifting weights with no issues.
To that I say this:
Imagine if you had not so great form on a body weight squat. Assuming you aren’t overweight or very old, you could potentially do these “bad” squats in your workouts for years without getting a truly bad injury.
However, this type of wrong motion over and over will eventually catch up to you and put you on the sidelines. It may just take awhile to happen.
Side note: I have multiple clients who used to be big runners and did no strength training. They have since quit running almost completely and are now strength training just twice per week. All of them are faster in 5k races now with zero running and just strength training than they were when they exclusively ran.
Running is Approached Incorrectly
To answer the question I presented earlier — Why do I dislike running?
It’s not so much that I dislike it, but rather that it is almost always done wrong and used unwise in a fitness program.
After all, there is a HUGE difference between using forms of running to get lean and build muscle/power versus trotting around for a hobby.
I get that you want to just go out and do it, but like many things in life, it should come hand in hand with prep work and patience.
To safely take up running I would advise a few things BEFORE you begin.
- Start a properly designed strength training program that highlights the muscles you will need to run with good form and to prevent muscle breakdown. If you have no history of strength training I would do this for a full year.
- When you do begin running, start at the bottom. A half mile, mile, and so on. So many runners are always hung up on MORE MORE MORE. There could not be a more foolish approach. Hating your life for 6 months training for a marathon you have no business anywhere near does not win you any prizes.
Other than a personality no one wants to be around, aching knees, destroyed adrenals, and cortisol levels through the roof.
Get good at less before you try more.
3. Make sure you are doing it for fun. Contrary to what your string bean looking co-worker tells you, running is NOT necessary to be in good shape. AT ALL.
I have seen many people over the years complain and gripe about how awful their run training is, yet they keep doing it over and over because they think it’s so great for them.
Do it only if you truly love it and even then I would encourage you to air on the side of less.
Remember, at the end of the day your number one goal is lifelong sustainable fitness.
If I can answer any questions or help you with anything, email me at:
or to learn more, visit: http://www.JonWalters.CO