/ running

Running: why it’s not right for everyone

Running is hard, probably one of the hardest sports we can do. And the truth is: it's not right for everyone. Here’s why.

Running has got very popular over the last few years. With more and more people running marathons and half marathons. That’s good news for our growing obesity problem. It’s bad news for people like me, who think they can run. It just encourages us.

The idea that everyone can run is a nice idea. That’s it, though. A nice idea. Everyone can have a go at running. Some of us just have to moderate how much we do - or not do it at all.

I’m sitting here typing this on my iPad. The soft touch keyboard is good news because I have a fractured right hand. So typing is a bit painful. I also have cracked ribs and plenty of cuts and bruises.

How come? Well, I was out running this morning and tripped and fell hard. There was a little old lady coming down the path towards me, so I moved over to give her room. Then I tripped, over what, I have no idea.

That’s the second time I’ve tripped and fallen hard in the last few months, while out running. There’s a chance that I have a balance issue or something. That's not the point I’m making here, though.

My point is, I was out running today, my fourth run this week. I was tired and felt knackered - before I had the fall. And that’s my point: why was I running feeling like that?

Here’s why: because running is what I do to stay fit. It’s got to the point where I’ll get out there, no matter what. Even though I feel crap. And even though I make little progress.

When I look back over the last three years, I’ve had many injuries and more failures than successes. This latest round of pain and injury is the final wake up call.

It’s time for me to do something else.

There is some research to back up what I’m saying. The concept of non-responders and super-responders.

If you are a non-responder, it means that you make little progress when you put your body through aerobic exercise, such as running. You will make some improvements if you do enough of it. But the amount of work is disproportionate to the effort put in.

A super-responder is the opposite. Aerobic exercise will result in fitness improvements and running ability is part of that.

There are those who don’t think the non-responder argument is valid. Well, I have empirical evidence that says it is.

There are other things I can do aside from running. Cycling, walking (Nordic Walking is an especially good aerobic exercise) etc. will all work.

Running is hard. How hard on your body it is, will depend on how your body responds to it. Some people are lucky and can run and run. Some of us need to get real and do something else.