One of the most interesting types of members we train at Edge Fitness are runners.  By the time they get to us, running has either caused them some pain, or they’re plain stuck and need some help getting leaner.  Usually with strength training, and proper nutrition intervention, runners see a lot of success.

But, running is often sung as dangerous and unnecessary from many fitness professionals, and, honestly, that isn’t without it’s merits.

For one, running is far more difficult to progress and track when you start to get good.  If you’re used to running for 30 minutes 3x/week, eventually you won’t get better, and you’ll just do more (longer) or the same.  If you can’t figure out how to progress your squat or your metabolic workout, running is much more difficult.  In order to keep running effective, it’s necessary to adjust and progress, just like when you’re lifting weights. 

Second, running can wreak havoc on your joints.  I don’t have a single avid runner who comes in feeling like their knees, hips, and/or back are in great shape.  Every one of them has to do some prep work and extra maintenance to get through a workout.  Much of this can be resolved with the proper mobility and movement each day, maintaining a healthy weight without excess body fat, and strength training regularly.  

Third, because of the muscles getting weak, many runners experience “pancake” butt.  Unless your goal is to look like Nicole Richie from the back, I’d suggest making sure running is just a part of, and not your complete, exercise routine.

Whoa whoa whoa, wait a minute.  Didn’t you just say you started running?  Now you’re listing reasons why I shouldn’t?

Well, i’m listing reasons why running alone isn’t the exercise program that gets the best results.  If you love it, and it loves you, then go for it.  But if you’re like the hundreds of clients we’ve trained, you probably hate running and are nodding your head along with the above statements.   Not so fast.  I think everyone should run, get cardiovascular activity, or at least walk, within their program.

Running and cardiovascular health:

Running well increases cardiovascular health.  If you can run without causing stress and damage to your joints, then the reward is great.

Running and calories burnt daily:

Running creates a small calorie deficit.  You ever see the diet of a competitive marathon runner? Crazy amounts of food!  Now, you’re not a professional, and you’re likely not running a marathon, so you don’t need a bunch of extra fuel, but if your goal is to lose a few extra pounds while getting healthy, then extra movement is never a bad solution.

Running and mental acuity:

If you’re like me, your brain moves a million miles an hour.  While working out at Edge is one way for me to get my brain to shut up and focus,running requires a ton of effort, energy, and mental focus, so i’m forced to think about the task at hand.

If you’re going to run, and I think anyone should do anything they want, here are some considerations for you to balance your habit:

Foam roll your quads and IT band (the outside of your leg) daily.  They’ll need it.

Stretch your calves daily.

Track your progress in your runs.  Get better in them over time, just like anything else you do.

Get a fitness professional to help build a program that works with your runs and still gets you the result you’re looking for