I fucking hated running.
Running may be one of the worst activities your body can do. Maybe hundreds and hundreds of years ago our bodies were better suited to running on land (and not concrete, asphalt, metal, etc.); but in this current development of evolution, running is hell — on your joints, internal stress systems, environment — it’s all hell.
From a training perspective, it's a terrible form of weight loss (your time is much better spent walking moderately up an incline). It isn't beneficial from a thought process of muscle gain either. It’s only purpose is to get you from point A to point B a tad bit easier and faster. At that point, you could just purchase a bike, which would save you from body pain and costly running shoes as well as get you there faster.
A year ago I never would have suggested running for any reason whatsoever and, as a fitness professional, even scoffed at a few elite runners who swore allegiance to the terrible form of “workout.” How quickly things change.
Today I ran a short 4.5 miles at 7:30 min per mile as a “comfortable” run. I am baffled that I am writing this as even four months ago anything more than a mile seemed impossible because of my knees and my hatred for running.
So what changed?
It's as simple as that. One day I decided I wanted to do a marathon and see if my body could possibly sustain what I thought was impossible — even if that meant doing something I really didn’t enjoy.
The first week was hell. In fact, the first two months were hell; but on my first long run of 12.5 miles, I had a revelation. Running is not, directly, about health and wellness, but rather it is about finding some peaceful headspace among the miles to drown out the greater world and be comfortable alone.
After mile 10, my thoughts focused on the simple things — breathing, how my feet pressed into the ground, my hip adjustments, the beauty of the coming trees, the smile of upcoming walkers — all of the things that a typically rushed me was missing.
I must admit that my habits of recovery have changed as well. I foam roll at least an hour a day now. I have to eat a ton more. I take daily baths. Overall, however, running has been really easy on my body after some gentle weekly gains.
Do I suggest that anyone and everyone pick up running? No. I still think it's generally terrible; and if you don’t have a great “why” behind the doing of it, don't go spending $200 on new gear. If you do have a good “why,” then please, go get started today (download the Nike Run Club app first) and let me know how it goes!
If you are looking for an incredible journey into isolated consciousness without running, I suggest the apps Headspace and Meditation Timer which will help you get there even without the muscular and physical strain.