Monday, August 2, 2010

Day 214 - Why Run? - Cardio

This week, I'm going to try to explain why people like me run.

It's weird. I bet everyone knows a runner. And I bet that secretly, even when they are making fun of us, they envy us.

I also bet that every runner has been asked many times "Why do you do it?"

For most of us, that's like asking why we breathe. Or why we dream. Or why our eyes are the color they are.

It's just who we are. It's just what we do.

One day, who knows when, we started. And we still do it. It's become a part of our life.

Many people start running. Lots. But the vast, vuh-ast, majority give it up.

Problem is almost all of these people start running for the wrong reason. They start to "lose weight" or to "get into shape". They see running as a cardio workout. A quick fix.

And in fact, it is. It's a great, probably the best, cardio exercise. You can burn calories quickly, you can get your heart rate up in no time. Regular running, when done smartly, will make you healthier.

But, and this is a huge but here, it takes a loooong time, and lots and lots of patience to become a runner.

The people who are looking to drop some pounds before their reunion don't want to hear that. They ran in high school, so surely they can run now.  That's true, they can run, just not well. They start out from ground zero, buy some shoes, maybe an outfit,  and pound some miles.

And they hate it. I would too.

It takes a long time for the body to adapt to running. There are muscles to build to support your weight, and to move that weight across the earth. And there are blood vessels to construct to feed those new muscles. Most of these people don't stand for 10 minutes a day. Yet they think that they can go out and run for 10 minutes.

You need to start slow, and progress only as fast as your body allows, over weeks. Maybe months.

If your goal is to lose weight, fast, hop on a bike, or an elliptical, or whatever new fangled contraption is the hippest machine at the health club.

Running isn't a quick fix. It's a lifestyle. And for the effort you put into it, it gives you not only a smaller perkier butt, but deeper, longer lasting rewards.

Meaningful change takes time.

Good running,

Numbers: 2.7 miles on trails.