My Aversion To Running

Oh running, running, running, I despise you!

Out of all of the exercises that I like to do, I can honestly say that running is not one of them. In fact, other than a random sprint from time to time, I have not done any distance running in several years.

I have to admit though, it does feel exhilarating to push your body to maximum speed for short distances.

I started thinking about my aversion to this activity, and think that I came to some good conclusions about this.

As I recall, growing up and playing in all kinds of sports – baseball, soccer, football, and wrestling – running was always something that was used as a punishment.

You drop the ball, run laps; you let them score, run laps; you lost the game, run laps!

wilderness running

I think that somewhere along the line I obviously started to associate running with something negative.

I don’t feel that I’m necessarily any worse off for it. The calisthenic and HIIT training that I do is really affective at working more than just my lungs and my legs. Also, every runner that I know is sidelined from time to time due to injury as a result of running. Twisted knees, sprained ankles, pulled muscles… I seriously don’t know any runners who haven’t had to take it easy for a couple of weeks related to these things.

Over the past 5 years, I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve only had a pulled muscle in my back and a couple of tweaks, but nothing has laid me out for more than a few days. Is this because I’m not a runner? Maybe I should knock on wood here, but I don’t think so.

Maybe it’s more likely to be due to the fact that I always warm up and stretch and cool down and stretch thoroughly before and after my workouts. Maybe my dedication to a weekly yoga practice has prevented injury. Maybe I’m just lucky!

I don’t want you to get me wrong. I think that running is great…for everyone else. If you enjoy running and it gets you moving and gets you exercising then run, run, run, and when you’re done doing that, then please run some more!

Me, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing because it’s working for me. I can’t help but wonder though if all of those laps I ran as kid in league sports shaped my current attitude about that exercise.

For you runners out there, I posted a good article to my Facebook page earlier this week about using yoga to undo the damage running does to your body. If you haven’t already connected with me on Facebook, please “Like” my page. Surrounding myself with like-minded fitness people sure keeps me motivated, and I’m always interested in seeing great articles and stories that you might want to share!

What do you think? Am I making excuses or is my reasoning valid? Do you have any types of exercises that you just don’t enjoy doing and how have you worked around them or substituted something in its place? Please comment below!

5 thoughts on “My Aversion To Running”

  1. Running is not my choice of exercise either. Your experiences in your youth with league sports seems to have shaped your aversion for running and if running was used as a punishment, I can see why you would have this dislike for it. Stick with what you enjoy and and what works best for you.

    My choice of exercise is Zumba classes and my new-found exercise with Kettlebells. I am not into walking machines or other fitness machines but use them at times. I am also trying to motivate myself to walk because I’ve seen so many others get in shape just by walking and changing their eating habits.

    1. Walking is a good place to start moving but use it as a supplement to other cardio exercise.

      To really receive the benefit of cardio exercise you need to get your heart rate up. Walking, while good for you, does not adequately replace more intensive exercise. I wouldn’t want anyone to walk for 30 minutes and feel that they’ve done their cardio for the day. It doesn’t quite work like that.

      The American College of Sports Medicine suggests that for people under the age of 65 who are in relatively good health, moderate intensity cardio exercise for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, is adequate. Or, vigorous cardio activity can be done for 20 minutes a day, three days a week. These guidelines should be paired with two days of strength training in which eight to 10 exercises are conducted in eight to 12 repetitions. These guidelines are for basic upkeep of health. To lose weight, you must do more cardio than that. Try doing your cardio routine for 45 minutes to an hour five days a week to lose weight.

      Of course my Cardio page http://www.johnnyfit.com/cardio/ has more information on this.

      Keep up the Zumba and kettlebells. They are so good for you and fun!

  2. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the fact that you don’t like to run. A lot of people don’t like to run, and they have no reason other than they just don’t like it. When folks find out that I like to do distance running, they don’t generally hesitate to list the evils: it’s boring; it’s hard on your body; it’s not something you should be doing as you get older; it will ruin your knees/ankles/insert body part; they know someone who had a heart attack/dropped dead during a run; takes too much time … it’s a pretty long list.

    There’s no question that running can be problematic for a lot of people. Because it is such an instinctive thing, you just do it. If it hurts you don’t want to do it, unless you’re a masochist. The thing is, recreational runners may not be aware that they have problems with form and stride that can actually be the source of pain. I’m NOT a medical person or trainer, but there are some common problems. For example, if you see someone running kind of “knock-kneed” chances are they are over-pronating, meaning that the inside of the foot strikes the pavement first. The body compensates by putting pressure on other areas of the leg which compund over distance. This can lead to painful knees and ankles, and sore hips and back. If you see someone really going all out – legs way out in front, toes up and heel striking the pavement solidly, chances are they are over reaching with their stride, and this can lead to heel and foot problems. It can also be the source of shin pain, as the muscles object to the extreme flex. Correcting issues with form can eliminate or reduce pain associated with running. Competitor magazine just ran an article about the many benefits of yoga for runners. This and the one you shared are both good articles, and both make a lot of sense.

    Running can be a great exercise for those of us who do enjoy it … but for me, it is also like an active meditation. I’m always trying to get to a place where my breathing and stride are in sync and I’m light on my feet. When I’m there, I feel like I can go forever, and my mind is free to soar. It’s a joyful feeling that I’ve only experienced on a long run.

    1. I hope runners don’t take issue with me for not liking it! 🙂

      Like I said in the article, run, run, run, if that’s your thing!

      You make some excellent points on running with good form here Jenny. I think that information would make a great article too!

      Unlike people who are getting into kettlebells, weight lifting, and other exercises, who look up information on form and techniques, I’d bet that a lot of runners simply lace up a shoe and hit the streets. I mean, it’s something that most of us have done since we were kids so why read up on it?

      1. This is exactly right, and even when we know about things like running form, some problems are not always apparent to us because there are no “symptoms.” I know I’m not doing the kettlebell snatch correctly when it smashes onto my forearm. The only indication of a stride problem may be localized pain that doesn’t manifest until late in the run or after. People then think that the problem is that they went too far too fast and don’t consider it could have been something more fundamental. I should have made the point that for recreational runners, a strong core may be the key to staying injury-free over the long runs. Since I’ve been strengthening my core with kettlebells, I can maintain decent running form for longer.

        I don’t think anyone would take issue with you not liking running, but you might get some evangelical types who will try to convert you. Not me … it’s all good 🙂

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