Is running bad for you?
IS running bad for you? It depends. It depends on your goals, your lifestyle, your programming, and your mindset. I heard someone ask a question once, “What is it that most children do every day that most adults never do?” The answer, of course, is run. I ran in College. I told you in past blogs I graduated from a military college. So, for us to go for a run was not only something we did to get in shape, but it was something some of us we loved to do to just clear our heads. We began running during our basic training period at O-Dark-30 in the mornings in formation with a little 2 mile run while “singing” a cadence. We had study period from after dinner in the evenings until 10:30 PM. The barracks had to be quiet and people studied. It was that or go to one of the academic buildings or library within an easy walking distance from the barracks. At 10:30 PM, it was not unusual to throw on our PTs, running shoes and go down to the Sally Port (the big arch shaped entrance into the barracks) and when the bugler played the note sounding the end of study period, we would take off for a 30 minute run. We had to be back in the barracks at 11:00 PM for “All In” but we got a good run in and then would take a shower and go to bed or continue studying if we had a big exam. So, running wasn’t just something we did to train for a race or weight loss, running was a part of our every day activity. We also got some interval training in when we SPRINTED from our cars as upperclassmen to make it back into the barracks before time was up. We were also very active. We didn’t sit around all day. We walked to class, to the mess hall, we marched in formation, etc. As a result, we didn’t have many “running injuries”.
Why is running bad for you?
Well, it isn’t. We were born to run. Running is something, like I said, that every kid knows to do and does and if you pay attention, you’ll hear parents say “QUIT RUNNING” in nearly every social situation. Try telling a 4 or 5 yr old they shouldn’t run around a pool, or in church, or in school. They don’t get it. We try to explain that it’s dangerous and they could get hurt, but they don’t get it. It CAN be bad for you if you aren’t careful though. I remember being in my early 30s and thinking “I’m a runner. I used to run all the time”. So, I laced up my shoes and hit the road. About a mile in I remembered, I hadn’t run in YEARS. The next day I paid for it. If I hadn’t listened to my body I could have pulled something, developed shin splints or worse. So, the way to make sure you don’t get injured when you do that is to take your time and ease into a running routine. Read up on it and make sure you do it right. Don’t think that you were born to run and it will come naturally. If you have a sedentary lifestyle and you sit most of the day and haven’t worked out in years, you really are risking injury if you just hit the road. Running can be fun and as I said, you can do it to clear your head, to lose weight or to train for a race, but if you injure yourself, it can be a very frustrating and long road of recovery.
How to make running fun
I don’t know why I just wrote that. How can running be fun? I said to myself when I graduated that I would never run again unless someone was chasing me and I pretty much kept my word to myself until after I had children and started putting on weight. I thought I could do what I did in College. In College, I ate very little and ran all the time. I didn’t take into account that my body had already started to change. I was heavier so my ankles and knees paid the price. I started too fast. I didn’t really know what I was doing and didn’t have a goal in mind. My shoes were awful (I didn’t want to spend $100 on a pair of running shoes) and besides, our ancestors ran barefooted, right? So, here is what I suggest if you want to start running and adding that into your workout program.
- STRETCH Make sure you stretch before and after you run and even during the day when you think about it. Flexibility will help you prevent injuries. Yoga or Tai Cheng (a Beachbody Program) is an absolutely incredible thing you can do for your body.
- Add some strength training, especially lower back and core work, to strengthen your muscles and joints.
- Get a good pair of shoes, fitted for your feet.
- Have a goal in mind and start slow. If your goal is a marathon, plan on running it a year from now, not a month from now.
- Listen to your body. If you start to get pains where they shouldn’t be, stop and evaluate it. Injuries typically don’t heal themselves without rest.
- Know your limits. I will likely never run a marathon, and that’s ok, but I still like hitting the road and putting a few miles under my feet now and then. I don’t have to run a marathon for self-worth. I’m good with doing what I can do.
We have many products that can aid in your ability to recover faster and hit the road running and blow by the competition. The main one to increase lung capacity and athletic ability for running that we have is Insanity. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. It is interval training but it stands interval training on it’s head. It is long bursts of activity and short periods of rest rather than short bursts of activity followed by long periods of rest. It’s worth checking out. The main thing is to be careful and listen to your body and running can turn into something that is good for you, healthy physically and mentally and something you can do for a long time. Abuse it, and your knees, joints and the rest of your body could pay the price for a long time. If you really want to start, check out Runner’s World. They have great tips for starting running if you have never done it or haven’t done it in awhile.