When it comes to running, there are two types of people in the world. Those that can and those that can’t. Surprisingly it’s not always about the shape you’re in or your size that controls your ability to run. I myself, a lean fit personal trainer, find that running is agony, both physically and mentally. Yet I ask myself repeatedly why can’t I run?
Obviously, the answer is I can run. It’s all about my mental state. So a few years back I focused my training on a 5K and did the work required. I was able to run a 5K. But I hated it! There was no endorphin high, there was no elation at the finish line, there was definitely no wanting to do another.
I had, of course looked at reasons beyond my mental perspective. I have knees and feet weakened by years of being a dancer. My muscle composition is predominately fast twitch muscles which are better suited to short quick bursts of speed and heavy lifting. (Slow twitch muscles work better for extended exertion, i.e., long distance runs.)
But these reasons were irrelevant. What mattered is that I felt running was an important factor to my overall fitness and it was my weak link. Now I well know that there are many other ways to burn as many or more calories than running that are low impact and even take less time. Yet there’s still something about running, and being a runner that I craved.
In talking with my friends and clients, I found I wasn’t alone in this way of thinking. Runners (and their bodies) are highly admired in our society. The Greeks created the marathon as a glorifying proving ground to one’s strength and stamina. It’s no wonder we all want to run.
But knowing what I do about physical fitness, as well as my own abilities to achieve what I set my mind to, I decided that it was simply ok for me to not be a runner. Jogging to clear one’s mind was great for Forrest Gump, but it doesn’t work for me. I can get my ya-ya’s out at the gym curling 30 lbs, I can met my aerobic needs dancing Zumba, and I can have great legs and endurance by walking on the treadmill at a steep incline while holding hand weights. Once I shared this sentiment with my clients, many enthusiastically relaxed on their own self-imposed ideals that they needed to run a marathon to prove something.
So for those of you that are runners, that enjoy running, and that can: we non-runners salute you, and will happily wave as you run by.