My fascination with riding many different disciplines in the world of bicycling, always brought me to the conclusion that running was for those who either took it way too seriously, not serious enough or for those who participated in it for a particular charitable cause. Either way, I simply thought it wasn’t for me due to all the stories of how boring it was and how many injuries you can get from running all the time.
This past June, I decided to give it a shot with a little help from my friend who is a runner. I hated the first month or so but after my body acclimated to the particular demands of running, I quickly adapted and actually enjoyed it. Boring still?…Yes, it is but with an iPod and/or a good friend to run with, I have maintained a consitent schedule of running 3-4 times out of each 7 day period.
I still lift weights pretty hard and didn’t want to run more than those 3-4 days due to not wanting to lose muscle mass. So far, it has worked out great despite losing a couple pounds of muscle and just a tad of strength. I am really happy with how lean and conditioned I am with my runs, lifts and my bicycle riding.
Some weeks, I only run two days and still maintain a high level of conditioning. This format allows me to run yet not become a “runner” in the sense that I am not focusing entirely on running but rather a variety of activities. However, I run just enough to be acclimated but not over-doing it.
Why am I telling you all of this? Well….I have a couple friends who are both former world-ranked, Olympic runners and they use a very similar format of getting in 3-4 runs per week at 20-35 minutes per session…thats it! They are not competing anymore and run just enough to enjoy many of its benefits yet not so much that they run the risk of injury, burnout or boredom. Each run is at a brisk pace to keep the “body machine” functioning at a high level, bodyfat at a low level and the heart & lungs well conditioned. Simple stuff!
It is very possible to run a few times per week without becoming a “runner” or spending a lot of time doing so. It is all about quality of exercise in shorter periods of time and getting it done! Obviously, if you haven’t run before or in a very long time, you should start slow and even get guidance from a running expert or exercise professional on how to slowly build up to a few days a week of running per week. Seeking help is a great way to ensure results in a safe and efficient manner.
If you are smart, patient and consistent, you too can start running yet not be a runner. Sweet!