Three Things I Learned From NOT Running For Two Years
Today I did something that I have not done in two years.
I ran three miles and I survived.
I did better than survive; in fact I had a great run considering I have not run in two years except a sprint to catch a train last June 2014.
My legs did not feel like jello and give out on me.
My lungs kept up with me and I did not have to catch my breath.
I did not stop the whole time and I did not feel like I had to stop.
I am not built to run, nor do I particularly enjoy running distances beyond 5 or 6 miles.
I prefer shorter distances and sprints if I am going to run.
When I was in high school I started running because I thought that was the only way to get in shape and lose weight. I thought that by running and if I ran enough, that I would automatically get a stealth runner’s body with “long lean muscles”.
Not a chance. You cannot transform your body or change your body type through a specific modality of exercise. If that were the case then running aside, after 23 years of classical ballet training I would have adapted a stereotypical ballet dancer’s body.
No matter how much running I did, I still had an ass and I still had thick, strong thighs because that is how I am built.
Me at 20 years old in Aix-En-Provence, France at Ballet Class
I am a short, Greek, mesomorph who was born with short muscles and an ass and thighs that I’ve always had to stuff into jeans, and calves that rarely fit inside long boots. I’m not complaining, I’m just stating the facts.
I have learned over the years that you cannot change the body-type you were born with, your genetics, through specific modalities of exercise. You do not suddenly transform to have long muscles after years of ballet and running if you were born with short muscles.
I stopped running two years ago for many reasons that I write about in my post, “The Day I Stopped Running”, but primarily because,
- I realized that I did not particularly enjoy running and I wanted to enjoy the time that I spent training; and
- I was training for the Iron Maiden Challenge and I needed to focus on strength and building maximal strength and therefore needed to cut out any extraneous activity that was not specific to my goal and that might take away from my goal.
Now that I am no longer training for the Iron Maiden Challenge I have been itching to get back to kung fu and even to running. CRAZY, I KNOW. Not the kung fu but the running.
So today I decided to go for a run and this is what I realized that I confirmed and learned after not running for two full years:
- As long as you continue to strength train and incorporate cardiovascular activity like kettlebell swings, snatches, or some sort of interval training, you do not have to run to be in shape to run. I’m not saying that you will be in marathon shape, but lifting weights and keeping your cardiovascular endurance up with interval training will keep you in shape to go out and run three to five miles on the fly.
- I used to run to burn calories, and to change my body. After cutting it out of my life for two years I now only want to run for the movement. That’s all I care about. I don’t care about the calories I burn, I do not expect my body-type to change, and I do not care about the miles or the minutes. I was able to enjoy running today because it was a variety of exercise that I had not done in a very long time. I truly enjoyed the movement of the run.
- Per number two above, I will only run distances I enjoy running, e.g. three miles or less, or keep it to sprints. In addition, if there is a day that I have a planned run and I don’t feel up to running, then I will not force myself to do it because I know I can go without it and still be fit while doing everything else that I do.
I know I will be sore tomorrow from today’s run but I am excited to incorporate some variation of running back into my training and to actually enjoy it.
I also know that I don’t have to run if I don’t want to in order to be fit and there are so many other things you can do in your training for conditioning.
Double 16kg (70lbs) Kettlebell Snatches
If you want to learn more about how to incorporate this simple conditioning that is not running into your training then I hope that you will join me for my workshop Keep It Simple Nutrition & Conditioning in NYC, VA, or Boston. Details listed below…
In the meantime, next up on the blog will be a more in depth look at how I transitioned from a “Bus Bench” type program and training for maximal strength for the Iron Maiden Challenge, to now training a more “Park Bench” type program geared more towards strength endurance and conditioning, while maintaining a certain level of strength.
Join me for Keep It Simple Nutrition & Conditioning, coming to:
- New York City, New York on September 13, 2015 at Drive495
- Dulles, Virginia on October 4, 2015 at BSPNOVA
- Needham, MA on November 8, 2015 at Iron Body Studios
Read more and register HERE.
Also join me for Superhuman Strength Training at the Perform Better Functional Training Institute in Providence, Rhode Island on May 30, 2015 or my workshop I Am Not Afraid To Lift.
You can learn more and register HERE.
Next I Am Not Afraid To Lift workshops coming to:
- New York City, New York on September 12, 2015 at Drive495
- Dulles, Virginia on October 3, 2015 at BSPNOVA
- Needham, MA on November 7, 2015 at Iron Body Studios
Read more and register HERE.