I wanted to re-post this today because there’s a little problem in the “health blogging” community that I like to call running. Actually, the problem isn’t the running, it’s the idea people have that to BE a health blogger or to BE a healthy person, they also have to BE a runner. And sorry I’m not sorry, but I don’t think running is the best way to lose weight or be healthy and fit. Period. That’s not to say you shouldn’t like it, just don’t delude yourself.
Running: You can love it, you can even be addicted to it, but you can FOR SURE be healthy and NOT do it — EVER. Basically, don’t feel guilty if you’re not a runner! Now onto the post…
Originally posted March 15, 2010
The girl dressed in blue and black on the far right is me at the height of my running career — the Detroit half marathon last October. I ran pretty intensely for about 10 months in 2009 (and was training for the half for about five of those months).
I don’t know if it’s obvious from the blog or not, but I haven’t run for more than five or 10 minutes at a time since around October 2009.
Maybe some of you are wondering why. Why, when it seems everyone in the whole food/health blogosphere is constantly training for races and uses running as their primary form of cardio, did I stop? And why in the world do I think you care? Well, I’d like to think you’re just curious, but also, I know a lot of people feel pressure to run because it seems like everybody can, does, and loves it. I want to make it very clear that’s not the case. Here’s why I’m not running right now:
- I liked running, but I never LOVED it. I enjoyed the social aspect of it the most (I was part of a running group when I was training for my half), and made some really good friends because I was part of a group. But I came to dread running by myself or running on the treadmill. It wasn’t all that fun for me. It was a chore.
- It made me hungry like nothing else! When I was training, I was constantly hungry. And often, that hunger led me to eat things I would never have eaten otherwise. I remember downing a huge portion of tortilla chips and store-bought seven-layer dip one night after a 10-miler that made me feel sick and bloated later. No other physical activity seems to spark hunger for me like running does.
- It… got boring. Running, almost by definition, is an extremely repetitive activity. You use the same muscles for the duration of the run. Yes, you can speed up, slow down, or run hills, but the motion is the same. I’ve always been a fan of workouts that involve constantly changing movements, weight, intensity, etc., so running is just a little too constant for my taste.
- For me, running doesn’t help much with weight loss/maintenance, and it doesn’t make me stronger. Weight training is the real key for me when it comes to weight loss/maintenance and strength building. Of course, running had a huge effect on my physical fitness. But mostly, running so much just made me a better… runner. And that’s not all I want to be.
- I like to try new things. Training for a race leaves little room for other activities. I never wanted to try other activities when I was training for a race because I was always afraid I’d strain a muscle and not be able to get my runs in. I think I have exercise ADD, and running only exacerbated it.
- Running is just not for everyone! I’m at peace with the fact that I may never run a marathon (but I’m not ruling it out either). I’m not totally convinced it’s not a little bit dangerous (the two deaths at the 2009 Detroit marathon were sort of scary!), and more importantly, I’m just not sure it’s something I really want to pursue. And I’m okay with that!
So if you don’t like running, know that it’s not the ONLY way to get fit. It’s not the only way to get stronger, and yes, faster. There are so many other ways to work out that if you don’t like running, you shouldn’t force yourself to do it.