I read an interesting post recently about how long distance running is really selling the runner short. Essentially it boiled down to the better you get at running, the harder you have to work, and the longer you have to run, to keep up the same results.
Makes sense. I had honestly never thought of it that way, but it makes sense.
Yesterday Neil (the founder and owner of GPP) posted a blog with this to say about long-distance running:
“What you need to do is re-channel that high you get from running into something more productive. This has to come with the recognition that YOU are the kingpin here. This running thing didn’t just happen. You did it. You became good at it. You achieved great things inside and outside of your running. Now YOU can take what you have done and learned and do more great things. Take some of the energy you have put into running and begin putting it into other things that interest you.” –Neil Anderson
While I have no intention of ever giving up running entirely—love it way too much—this man has got the wheels in my brain turning.
Every time I start to run long distances I get hurt. I can effectively (and safely) run 5K three times a week without my body getting pissed. But, beyond that my body begins to get a bit cranky. Am I just not “built” to be a runner? I mean, let’s face it: some people’s bodies are just engineered better for running. Mine is not one of those.
But that high… that amazing, amazing feeling I get from pushing myself beyond what I think I am capable of… it’s breathtaking and I don’t want to give that up.
It’s funny to me that I would ever feel such a way about running. But it’s because I only remember the good parts of running.
See that marathon photo above? I HATED the marathon experience. The training regimen, the long runs, and the marathon rituals, I LOVED. But I hated the race. And yet, I signed up for another one (that I won’t be running thanks to my stress fracture) less than three months later. Perhaps that stress fracture was a blessing in disguise.
That’s the other thing about focusing ALL of my effort on running. I get hurt—at this point in my 4+ years of running I’ve had two stress fractures, a strained calf, and tendonitis in a hip flexor. All thanks to running and running alone (literally—I didn’t do much besides running). But what if I enjoyed running AND strength training with the intensity I have devoted to running? Would I still end up injured?
Where am I going with this long-winded post? Nowhere. I don’t have any conclusions, yet. I don’t know if I’ll continue to run long distance in the future, or if, perhaps, I will stick to shorter distances. I don’t know if I’ll feel the same about running once I start again in a few weeks—though I suspect I will. I don’t know if I’ll get injured again if I return to long distance running in the future—though I suspect I will.
All I know is that I want to be strong and feel strong. Oh yeah, and I want to run. But how far?