Thursday, August 16, 2012

Out of the Running

In my last blog post, I commented on how I had a failed relationship with running that deserved its very own blog post. This is that blog post.

[Disclaimer] Before I begin, I would just like to say that I'm not attacking the lifestyle of anyone who enjoys running. I am merely stating a personal experience that may or may not resonate with others. Feel free to agree or disagree with me, but I'm not here to argue.

It all started the summer before my freshman year of college. I decided I didn't want to be fat and I thought running would be the solution. Running's healthy, right? Thin people run! Running will make me thin and healthy, right?

So I ran and ran and ran and ran. For a LONG time. I HATED it. Even when I pretended to like it, I still deeply hated it. I would run about 3-5 miles a day, about four to five days a week, sometimes more. I intended to eventually run in a 5k, so I always tried to accomplish that distance or greater. On top of it I would count calories, track the length of my run, and input my food intake into a nice little calculator. Everything was so neat and tidy. The nice little calculator even told me I would be X lbs. thinner by the end of the week. The results?

Gained 5 pounds?!

"I'm too tired to run from you!"

Remember my last post about working out in the gym? That was going on too. And my diet? The same thing. My body was also inflamed. I had pain in my feet, ankles, and knees, yet I still continued to run. And for what? So I would eventually balloon up to the heaviest I've ever been in my life?

Being heavy almost wasn't the worst part. I experienced adrenal fatigue from this lifestyle. I had no energy, which led to fewer hours in the practice room. I even had inflammation in my shoulder muscles which physical therapy didn't alleviate. It was easy to get depressed.

I was a victim of what Mark Sisson refers to as "Chronic Cardio."

The reason I became that way was because I followed conventional wisdom's path to hell(th) and never questioned it. I believed frequent running to be healthy, so I did it. I believed eating Kashi was healthy, so I did it. The truth is that nothing changed until I started challenging what I believed in.

For me, that ultimately meant getting back to roots of it all. Human beings were not designed for chronic cardio. Our bodies were built for walking, lifting, and occasionally having to sprint for our food or from being something else's food.

"Can't run! Ate too much Kashi!"
Now sprinting is something I can do. I like sprinting.

Sprinting is a terrific alternative to running. Because it's high-intensity, you can accomplish a full-blown workout in a terrifically reduced amount of time than endurance running. I personally like doing Tabata-interval sprints.

20 seconds - sprint
10 seconds - rest
x 8 sets

8 sets = 4 minutes

The sprint time means "maximum effort." If your sprints are slower in the later sets, that's fine. Just put in the most effort you can muster. For beginners, I recommend starting with four to six sets and allowing more rest time in-between. And remember to use your arms to propel you! Sprints are a form of full-body strength training.

And there you have it. Four minutes, which is probably a better workout than running for an hour will do and less overall stress on the joints.

Ultimately, the reason why I dislike running is not only because of my weight gain, or even joint pain, but because it lacks the same efficiency as training with kettlebells or doing bodyweight exercises. I never gained muscle when running, not even in my legs which were doing most of the work. I never experienced progress in the same way. My day-to-day life became easier with strength training; the opposite is true for running.

Still not sure how to sprint? Just consult your local Greybeards!

Maybe you've had a similar experience with running. Maybe I've stirred an interest in kettlebell training. Perhaps you want to ask some questions? Feel free to contact me personally! Also, visit the Dragon Door instructor database to find a responsible and qualified trainer in your area.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Katie! I have never heard of "Chronic Cardio"...what is that?