Is Running for Everyone?


The question to run or not to run may seem like a no brainer to some but countless others try time and again to become runners later in life. Some do it for aesthetic reasons, in the hopes of getting the lean physique and strong legs attributed to runners. Others do it because they feel like they should be able to run because hey, they have legs too and other can people do it. Sometimes those reasons are sufficient enough to get novice runners out there for at least a few miles harmlessly. Sometimes they are not. So who is a runner and who is not? how come some people can run for years without injury while others suffer even if they think about it? Well in my humble opinion I believe that for the most part running is an innate ability and the other part is about mental and physical conditioning. In other words, runners are born to run even if they discover the talent later in life and are able to because they condition themselves love it. That conditioning is what pulls the runner through those dark moments of self doubt and cajoles them to withstand the physically stressful act of running. It can be learned but it is most effective when the endorphin release and self satisfaction of running overrides its discomfort. When the discomfort becomes a tool to propel the athlete to work harder and faster, when the discomfort is changed into a positive then the athlete is in control and can win. There is no general rule that everyone has to be able to run or cycle or swim or whatever else. The rule for physical activity is to do what you love ( and what raises your heart rate) for at least 30 minutes a day. That could be brisk walking, biking, dancing, swimming etc. If running brings you great discomfort and injury then don’t do it! If you feel unnatural running then stop. That’s not to say that you should quit trying because of mild discomfort because mild discomfort is par for the course in exercise. But continuing to try to be a runner for no particular reason despite chronic injury or even intense dislike for the sport is masochistic and ineffectual. If you hate it you won’t do it so know yourself and find an alternate activity that can help you achieve your goal.