The Day I Stopped Running.
When I was a freshman in high school I played field hockey for one season. I remember showing up to my first day of practice during pre-season in August and we had to RUN. I thought, “I don’t think I like running…”. We only had to run one mile to warm up for practice, but sure enough it confirmed that I hated to run.
However, somehow, I started to run for exercise the second half of my junior year in high school. I would go out for three mile runs. I remember that part of me enjoyed the mental peace that came with it, sometimes it was a way for me to clear my mind, but my body was not always a fan of how I felt during or after a run. Also, for any of you who run, you know it’s quick and easy. You don’t have to make a scheduled class time or go to a gym. You just need to throw on your sneakers and head outside.
I continued to run for exercise through college and beyond. This didn’t mean that I liked it or even loved it, it had become habit and I had a love/hate relationship with it. I loved it on the days that my body felt good, that I could keep a fast pace, and that I could really zone out during my run and I hated it for the days that with every step I wished I was done with the run. Sometimes my knees would ache, sometimes my ankles didn’t feel good, and sometimes I’d get a cramp that would stick with me for the entire run.
I still continued to run and even went on to run races, 5k, 10k, and even The Utica Boilermaker one year which is a 15k (a little over 9 miles).
That was the turning point.
Eric is from Ilion, NY and he had always wanted to run the Utica Boilermaker. So I agreed to run it with him the summer of 2011.
During our long runs when we were training for it, I remember at the end of the run I would yell at him:
“Why are we doing this??? I hate running!!! WHY are we subjecting ourselves to this???”
Despite my angry episodes, we ran the 15k.
After that race both Eric and I were pretty much done with running.
I remember during that race I was good up until mile 7, and then after mile 7 both my mind and body were done running but I still had more than 2 miles to go. My hamstrings started to tighten up, my knees ached, my mental toughness to finish the race was weaning… I was not happy.
We both finished the race and then said to each other:
After that race I did continue to run for almost two more years but MUCH shorter distances like no more than 4 miles at a time and only once or twice per week. However, I noticed that the days that I had that I enjoyed running were less and less. I also noticed that the more I trained in Vibrams or barefoot with kettlebells the less my feet agreed with my big, cushy running shoes. Often my feet would fall asleep during my runs and I’m positive it was because of the extra supportive running shoe.
Then one day I was out for a run and I thought, “I hate this. Why am I doing this?”
At that time I decided to stop running distances and to start training myself to run “barefoot” or in my Vibrams (because my feet didn’t feel good in sneakers anymore) for much shorter distances (like no more than 1.5 miles) or sprints for no more than 15 minutes.
Then in January 2013 I decided to cut out running altogether. I was focused on training for my goal of the Iron Maiden Challenge and needed to cut out any extraneous activity that was not specific to my goal.
I did not miss running.
In May 2013 I attended the CK-FMS (Certified Kettlebell-Functional Movement Specialist) Certification and I ran one mile on the treadmill while I was on travel at the certification.
That was the last time I ran.
Then yesterday, over a year since the last time I ran, I ran to catch a commuter rail train. I posted about the adventure on my Facebook page. This was my post:
(Click on the post or “continue reading” to read the whole post…)
I used to think that in order to get in shape and to stay in shape I had to run. As I have weaned myself off of running, I have learned, that is not the case. There is plenty that I do that keeps me strong and healthy, and many alternatives to conditioning, other than running, that are faster, more effective, and much more enjoyable.
I’m not saying that running is bad or that you shouldn’t run, I’m stating that running is not for me and I do not like it and there are many other things that I can do for conditioning that I ENJOY instead of running. You ARE supposed to ENJOY your training. I will only run if I have to, or if I choose to work towards a specific goal like building up my distance tolerance for “barefoot” running. There are plenty of people who love to run and who are built to run. Look at Shalane Flanagan. Now THAT woman is built to run, she comes from a family of runners, and she loves to run. Me? Not so much… and if anything, (in combination with changes to my diet) since I have stopped running, started lifting more, and found alternatives to running for conditioning, my body composition has improved.
If you do not like to run, you do not have to. My story of how I stopped running is proof.
What are these conditioning alternatives to running that I have incorporated into my training? Join me for my workshop “I Am Not Afraid To Lift” on September 6, 2014 at Drive495 in New York, NY and I will teach you the alternatives that I use and how to program them into your training for ultimate success. Learn more and register HERE.