For as long as I can remember, running has always had the reputation of being the ultimate test of fitness.
If you’re a runner, you must be fit and it must be good for you, right?
First up, this is nothing specifically against running per se.
For some people (certainly not all), running can be a fantastic form of exercise with numerous health and fitness benefits.
And if you’re an athlete, there’s a decent chance that running may play a part (how much depends on the sport) on your overall performance.
Football, Rugby, Cricket, all these sports require a certain amount of running and various points within the game and it even varies with position.
But for the man or woman on the street, it may not be that good an option when all things are considered.
For example, if you’re 50+ pounds overweight then running is possibly the last thing you need (or want) to do.
The sheer amount of pressure going through your joints as your feet pound the pavement is likely going to do you more harm than good.
In this scenario, walking would be a much more sensible option, at least to begin with.
Trust me on this, your ankles, knees and hips will be grateful both now and in the future.
What’s also important to remember is that fitness is specific and there’s almost limitless ways to measure fitness.
If you want to get better at running (and you have a very specific reason to do so), then running is an absolute must.
Going swimming in the hope that it will make you fit enough to run is going to make minimal difference.
Yes, you might build up a general baseline level of cardiovascular endurance but that will only take you so far before you blow up.
If you lift weights, you will get better at lifting weights.
You can get stronger, improve power, get bigger, or increase speed and/or endurance depending on how you structure your particular programme.
Again, there’s so many different ways to measure progress.
Some people enjoy running to get out into the fresh air and clear their headspace, I get it it and if that’s the case then carry on.
Always keep in mind why exactly you are doing what you’re doing.
If you’re running for weight loss, is it really the best thing for you?
To some walking when they can run can feel like a waste but remember that everything is to be considered in context.
If you’re strength training 4 days a week then go for a walk on your non-training days as a form of active recovery then that’s a good thing.
You can’t run yourself into the ground each and every day and not expect to burnout at some stage.
It’s finally worth mentioning that running typically comes in 2 forms – jogging and sprinting.
If you want to improve endurance then jogging is for you, if speed is your goal then sprinting is for you.
Jogging requires a commitment to your time, and sprinting is f**king hard if you go all out.
As with most things health and fitness related, sometimes questions bring answers that also lead to many more questions.
Context is critical.
Understand exactly what you want to achieve and ask yourself (or a qualified professional) what is the best way to get there.
Thanks for reading, have a great day.
Do you need confidential help with your health, fitness or nutrition? I have a range of services available, with Personal Training in my Private Gym in Manchester, also at your home or workplace in the surrounding areas. For clients further afield, I provide Online Personal Training, Nutritional Consultancy & Private Fitness Holidays.