Now before the hate mail starts, let me remind you that I don’t believe movement can be “wrong.” Running is a fundamental way for humans to express movement. It’s also really helpful in the event that you need to get somewhere quickly (ie running from killer machines in the event of a robot apocalypse). However if you hate running and you’re doing it for fat loss… you’re blowing it.
Here. I made you a little Fisher Fitness Film for you visual learners:
Many people don’t have the right structure to be great at running. Women particularly tend to have a hard time because of the angle of their thigh bone in relation to their pelvis. Even if your structure is well suited to run, if you suffer from any muscular imbalances in the hips (and I hate to break it to you, but you pretty much all do), doing a technically unsound motion over and over is not gonna be a great thing. Also proper foot strike is an art in and of itself, and most of us don’t hit the ground properly. Furthemore, when you consider that every time your foot hits the ground you’re landing with the force of 2 to 4 times your bodyweight, and there’s 1500 foot strikes to a mile… do the math for those of you that log miles and miles every week. That’s a lotta load kids!
Now while I don’t always love long distance running, I DO enjoy sprinting. But even here, most people would benefit from a coach to make sure their technique is spot on so they don’t put unnecessary wear and tear on their joints.
And remember Kalos Sthenos? Beautiful strength? I like people to move well before they move a lot. And the simple fact of the matter is, most people do not move well when they run. They look like they are in pain and limping. They’re hurting themselves, and I really wish they would stop.
Furthermore, weight training has been proven to be a more effective modality in creating fat loss. I realize that running seems simpler to learn than weight training, but I’d like to gently suggest that that’s inaccurate. If you’re one of the vast majority that are not born runners, you should also invest time in learning how to run properly, which will often require hiring a coach. And let’s all remember that you can’t out train your diet, so if you’re looking for fat loss, this is a crucial element that can’t be ignored.
“Gotta run off that bagel!
Must ignore knee pain!
Gotta run off that bagel!
Must ignore knee pain!”
So if you love running, by all means, have at it. I myself enjoy running outside, particularly this time of year. And if you really love it and it’s causing you pain, find a qualified coach to work with who can improve your technique so you learn to do it in a safer manner (I’m talking to you marathoners who push through chronic pain cuz you’re addicted to the endorphins that come with running!!) And if you hate it and it hurts you but you are running from killer robots, suck it up and RUN dumb ass.
BUT if you hate running and are just trying to shed a couple of l.b.’s, please stop. Particularly if your joints are yelling at you. I want you to be healthy and hot, not busted and in the physical therapist’s office. Eat right, find an exercise modality that you like, and get help to make sure you’re executing your exercise with safe and effective form.
For further reading on why running may not be the best for you, check out these articles by Fitness Super Heroes Eric Cressey here (addressing long distance running for pitchers), and Coach Mike Boyle here (long distance running for heatlh) and here (the biomechancial (FANCY WORD) knock on female running).