Did you know that running was bad for you?? At least that is what every non-runner loves to tell you. So if you are reading this and you are a runner – you may want to skip this one because you know exactly what this post is about(or maybe you should read it and chime in and help support the cause). If you are NOT a runner – then this post is just for you
It is humorous to see and hear all of the times that, we as runners get the statement that “Running is bad for you” or “Running will destroy your knees”. Almost every single time we hear that it is coming from someone that has never had the desire to run and is almost irritated that, we as runners don’t quite see things their way. Now I believe that in a lot of the cases, these comments are coming from very well intentioned and loving friends and family. Nonetheless – there is probably nothing that can irk a runner more than having someone smugly tell you “Running is bad for you” – especially if they are not and have not been a runner.
Several of the folks that I run with on a pretty regular basis have been injured at some point over the past few months. It has almost been a game to watch and listen to how many times I see a Facebook post or overhear someone lecturing them about the dangers of running. Each time, the runner will typically just smile and ignore the comment but any runner will tell you – our internal reaction isn’t all smiles. Top that off by the fact that if we are injured we probably don’t even want to admit it in the first place because we might have to stop running for a few days aaaaannnd this all just make us more grouchy because we have not been able to run!
So why is there the need for a non-runner to always jump on that bandwagon. I have yet to see a single runner respond with – “Holy cow… are you sure… wow.. THANK YOU!”. Maybe I am just hanging out with the wrong crowd and there are some very appreciative individuals that like this type of unsolicited,(and most of the time baseless) advice. Ever wonder why runners don’t respond to those comments positively? Well consider this;
- Runners that are passionate about their sport, will run anywhere between 3-6 days a week and can average anywhere from 20-100 miles per week(or more).
- Runners that are passionate about their sport, will set alarm clocks for 4:30am to make sure they can get a run in before work or run after the kids are in bed at night to make sure they get their run in.
- Runners that are passionate about their sport, will spend hours each week reading and researching the latest shoes, clothes, running technique, breathing techniques, routes, times, miles, – you get the picture?
- Runners that are passionate about their sport, connect daily with other runners that are equally as passionate about the sport and share information, stories, etc.
The point here is that most runners spend huge amounts of time on a daily basis either running, planning running, thinking about running, and/or the gear and techniques of running. So there is A LOT of research that we do on a daily basis about our sport. Contrast that with the individual that has just smugly told you – “Maybe you should give up that running stuff and do something more sensible… I told you it was bad for you”. How many hours have they spent researching what running form is best? Ok … maybe not that topic… how about “Is barefoot running better for you than shod running?”. NO??? – well surely they at least know whether or not a motion control shoe is needed to correct a pronation in gait. Still striking out here huh? The fact is – most of the people that give that look and suggest that you should have listened to their advice before… have NO IDEA whether running is good for you or bad for you… they are just chiming in unsolicited.(Disclaimer – I know I can not blanket every possible scenario and that there might be one person that used to run across the Sahara twice each day to get food from the market to their remote location that you feel has some reliable input… I will exclude them from this statement)
Fact is – there are some studies(like the linked article here) that dispute the notion that running is bad for you and even go so far as to say it has NO IMPACT on your joint health and is a huge health advantage. I also believe that you can find a study to support any position you want to take – so take that for what its worth.
I am not sure what drives people to want to get on the soapbox about running and their thought on how it affects health. However I do know that between a runner and a non-runner – I will take the advice of a runner 10 out of 10 times in regards to whether running is good or bad for your health! Just if for no other reason – the amount of time we put into our sport and learning more about it.
So the next time you have a friend or family member that is a runner who is passionate about their sport and is injured…. please don’t get that look on your face and tell them about how many times in the past you have told them running is bad for you. Instead, try this out – “Man that really sucks!! I know it has to be driving you crazy to have to take some time off… hope you can get back out there soon!”
I promise you – you will be amazed at the response you get from the runner and they will truly appreciate your concern!
*** Final Disclaimer – this post is made in good fun and we as runners do know that there are those that truly care about our health and are not just jumping on the bandwagon