It’s time to start our spotlights on differing forms of exercise. Earlier this week I posted that any exercise is better than none. Above all else I want you to do what you love most, but I also want you to be aware of the pros and cons of your chosen form of movement so that you can make informed decisions to keep yourself safe and healthy. I’d love to hear your thoughts on these segments!
Today’s spotlight is RUNNING!
Running is one of my favorites yet it is under constant scrutiny. There are so many types of running – you can do short sprint workouts, you can run a steady pace for as long as you want. There is no right or wrong. There is no magic distance or speed that makes you a runner. If you lace up your shoes and run, you are a runner. You can run / walk (where you take walk breaks during your run) or you can run straight through. You are a runner. And if you can’t run due to knee issues, back problems, anything, do not be hard on yourself! We do not have to run, we just need to move in some form or fashion. But this article is for those of us who do or who want to run.
- Relatively cheap to start. Get yourself fitted professionally for a good pair of running shoes. The best shoe in the world is no good if it does not fit you properly and you need an expert to make sure you stay safe. Invest money in a good pair of socks. Ladies, a good sports bra is essential. Everything else is extra. You do not need fancy apps or watches or anything else. If it’s hot please carry water but that can be a disposable water bottle.
- No skill necessary. We all know how to run. Put one foot in front of the other in a running-like motion. There you go!
- You can start from nothing. I couldn’t run a block when I started. I have completed runs up to 100 miles. Yes, you can start from nothing. I did the couch to 5K plan. I repeated weeks multiple times and it took me 6 months but I finally got there
- It’s emotionally healing. There is a meditative state that comes with running, many runners need to run for their emotional health and stability.
- You can do it anywhere. I don’t recommend going to bad areas of town to run, but generally speaking anywhere you can walk, you can run. It’s easy to do while traveling, just pack your running shoes and you’re good to go!
- Community. Runners are almost immediately friends. We talk and laugh while running together. A good running club or community can brighten up your life with new friends.
- Repetitive use injuries. Especially while road running there is a lot of pounding on your joints putting runners at risk of overuse injuries. Running on trails will help mix up the muscles used. Cross training is always a good idea. Running 3-4 days a week with rest days and cross training days in between really help with this. Treat your body with respect – add in miles slowly, focus on recovery and listen to your body to try to stay injury free.
- Our bodies are amazingly adaptable. This is a good thing as we can train ourselves to run further and further with less effort. However, it also means as we become more efficient we are not burning many calories running. This is one of the main reasons that running shows up on the hater lists. They compare the finish line of a marathon to the zombie apocalypse. Broken down bodies, overweight and overused. Yes, you can and will get a better calorie burn running sprints, but the feeling of accomplishment of finishing a race is unlike any other! Just know that as you go further it’s for the mental release. It is not necessary to run far to get a workout in.
- Toys. It can get expensive if you keep buying more and more gear. I said above it is cheap to start but it can get expensive quickly if you let it.
Running long has it’s pros and cons. If you want to lose weight, sprints are the way to go but they do put you at higher risk of injury. Sometimes though, endurance running is not about weight loss or caloric burn. It’s about the love of running, the friends we make and the emotional release only running can provide. It’s not for everyone, and if you don’t enjoy it that’s ok. There are plenty of other workout modalities out there to choose from. If you do love…run long and be happy 🙂