Am I running too much?
Am I running too much?
A TriJake Fitness fan recently asked me if I thought she was running too much. I answered the best I could. I asked if she ran 50 miles a week, to which she replied “sometimes.” I asked if she was feeling injurious or weak, she answered “no.” I told her that my opinion was she is not running too much. Mind you, this interaction took place on the sidewalk, where she happened to be running by me. So, she smiled with confidence and ran on her way. I turned to go back to my studio and started to think a little deeper on the topic. That is today’s inspiration.
The question is, “How much running is too much running?” This is a very objective question with many subjective answers. I will remind you that this article is just my opinion, my take on the topic. I say that because discussing if a runner is running too much with a runner is about as fragile as telling a priest they attend too much church. Now that we are clear about that, as I continued to think about the question, several factors popped into my head.
The first factor was another question. Why do we run? What is the motive? Are we running from someone, something, or running toward someone, something? Do we run solely for fitness, or are we training for something more? Is it a social crutch, or even a means to participate in active body image disorders? I don’t take fitness lightly; I understand people have rooted motives when it comes to practicing fitness routines. As a fitness professional, I see it all: the good, the bad, the unhealthy, the sad, and the happy. So I began to ask myself if someone is running a lot because they enjoy the freedom of running? Is that different than someone who runs because of a bad breakup?
So, Why do you run?
I am not a psychologist, but I understand the mind has many defense and coping mechanisms, perhaps none more primal than running. Whether we are on the chase, or running for our lives, running is a way to satisfy. So, why do you run? I run because I love to move fast across the land, covering great distances in short time. I love the overcoming fatigue and meeting challenges face to face. I also run when I am scared, nervous, and/or confused. Running is a physical tool I have to escape and feel safe. Think about when you run most, then maybe you will touch the cornerstone of what makes you, you. A smart man once said, “You wanna run? Run a mile. You wanna life changing experience? Run a marathon. If you want to talk to god, run an ultra marathon.” Again, subjectively, I have found this to be very true. Pushing yourself beyond your limits is healthy, but how much is too much?
Black and white?
Maybe it’s not as black and white as 50 miles a week is fine, 75 miles a week is unhealthy. Perhaps we each have or own path, and we need to figure out what’s best for us. If we can agree that there is no rigid guideline, then we must call upon experience. Sometimes when in a training session, my client will tell me they hate running. I feel somewhat sad, because I assume they had a bad experience with running. The truth is, most people that hate running haven’t had an experience running since childhood. Then why do they have so much contempt for the purest form of athleticism? Because they have compiled information based on observing a sport that is not exactly a spectator sport. Do you think NASCAR is boring? “Just left turns all damn day,” one might explain. I bet your perspective might change if you were driving, same with the person that hates to run. I ask that person when was the last time they went for a run, and they usually have no idea because it was so long ago. Then I ask if they were ever taught how to run, more often than not, the answer is no. People also think they need to buy all the gear, train for the Boston Marathon, and become a vegan to qualify as a real runner. That’s bull. All you need is space and time. The point I am trying to make, is you need to find your limit, and push. Push until you have a new limit, and another. It’s not a black and white issue, it’s an experience issue. You don’t know what you haven’t experienced. So, before you go off on the runners of the world, maybe you should go for a run yourself.
Where do you start?
Hopefully I have convinced you to consider a future run date. If I have, and you don’t know where to start, let me help. Strap on some shoes and throw on your gym clothes. Walk out the door and act like you’re going to miss the bus at the end of the street. It’s a good way to get your wheels turning. Once in motion, keep the pace until you can’t run anymore. Stop, catch your breath and return home. Congratulations, you’re a runner. If you want more, then do it again. Maybe throw in some pushups, sit-ups, and planks. That’s a great way to start.
There is no end.
You are done when you say you are. People don’t stop running because they are old; they are old because they stop running. Distance running is the great equalizer between men, women, and age brackets. You run until the end. This article was inspired by a short conversation about whether a young lady was running too much, then took the turn of our motives to run, and now I’m wondering why people don’t run? You don’t need to run far or fast to tap into your playful heart. You can run just as well slow and short. One person’s slow is another person’s fast. Remember that the next time you yell, “ON YOUR LEFT!” That said, I always gently approach the runner I am about to pass, and let them know how cool running is, and how much fun we are having. Then I ask if I may pass. We are on the same team. That is evident in every race I attend. Runners give it all to the sport that has given them the freedom to fly.
Please write me. Why do you run? What’s too much running look like? How do you train?