I get asked a fair bit if running is good for you. The answer is going to bug you because it depends :) What are your fitness goals and does taking up running help you reach those goals.
Personally, I am not a huge runner, I did run during my university years, and didn't start running again until the finial 8 weeks of my competition prep. Even then it was interval running not steady state because that is why I needed to do for my training.
Here is a great blog post from the guys over at Strong Athlete on running. Be sure to let me know what you think of the article.
Does running make you fat, slow, weak and tight???
I'm sure you've seen this image circulating online at some point and it tells an interesting story that I am going to elaborate on a bit today...
If you've been reading our newsletters regularly or have worked with me at some point you probably know my opinion on jogging or long distance running already but we're still going to go there today.
Let me first start by clearly stating that I have no problem with athletes who choose to compete in distance running or endurance events like triathlons.
So if you are competing in these types of sports it is obviously necessary that you do a significant amount of distance running in order to train for it.
However, what I am talking about today is people who are currently using distance running a primary training method for getting into great shape and improving health.
For those of you out there that are doing that, I have some bad news for you...
Chances are that your jogging or long distance running is actually making you fat, slow, weak and tight.
Just take a look at the picture above and tell me otherwise :)
Ok, obviously we can find tons of photos that would contradict those with a jacked looking distance runner and a fragile looking sprinter but that would be the exception not the norm.
So why is this the case?
The primary thing to consider is their overall approach to training.
For example, the distance runner is going to do far less strength training, if any at all, and the sprinter is going to do a ton of strength training.
This is obvious in the amount of muscle you see between each athlete.
Strength training is in my opinion the number one approach to getting into, and maintaining, high levels of health throughout your life because it helps you build muscle and increase strength.
Let's look at some examples:
The more muscle and strength you have the better you are going to age and that's a fact.
The less muscle you have the weaker you are going to be and harder life is going to be for you now and as you age.
The more muscle you have the more fat you are going to be able to burn.
Most people who distance run regularly seem to carry that extra 10-20 lbs of unwanted fat that they just can't seem to get rid of and their solution is often to just run more because that will get rid of it, right?
The reality though is that the more they run, the more muscle they are losing, making it harder and harder to burn fat.
Furthermore, distance running is notorious for spiking, and causing elevated cortisol levels and for most people, high cortisol levels means more body fat... especially around the stomach area.
Another key indicator of health in our opinion is mobility.
Take a close look at the two different running techniques of a sprinter versus a long distance runner.
You will notice the sprinter taking long powerful strides going through a full range of motion – it's like watching beautiful art in motion.
On the other hand, most distance runners take labouring short and choppy little strides with the smallest range of motion conditioning the muscle and joints to get tighter and tighter.
And tight muscles and joints are a recipe for disaster!
So what's my point here?
Simple, if you want to be in great shape and age well, my suggestion is that you make strength training a large part of training routine to help build and maintain a good amount of muscle and strength.
If you really enjoy distance running I say not a big problem, just don't make it the focus of your ongoing training routine.
And if all you're doing is sitting on the coach and eating junk food nightly then I say running is better than that so give it go!
So lift weights as much as possible, sprint often and go hard regularly and you'll live a glorious life!