I am on the fence when it comes to long distance running!
Currently I am unable to fully make my mind up on long slow distance running.
Both anecdotally and scientifically show pros and cons.
So I am going to look at my experiences first.
When I was a teenager I loved running and would almost daily be seen running around Lucan.
Fitness wise I was unbelievably fit
Headspace wise it was great for shutting off from school and studies etc and just enjoying testing myself, enjoying my own company and just the fresh air and health benefits getting away from it all can bring.
However I ended up with extreme back pain, neck pain and hamstring strains.
This cannot be taken in isolation and blame running alone.
We as a society spend too long sitting and in poor posture while I also started lifting weights and I know I was doing these wrong too.
My pain and injuries lead me down the academic route of studying the root of my problems.
I loved sport, loved exercise but it brought me great pain and pain brought anger.
Most Academics cite the correlation between running and injury while a few talk about how the human race was designed to run…….but how modern lifestyles have changed this.
Other academics talk about the huge benefit psychologically that long distance running brings when people enjoy it and get to switch off from the other stresses their day to day lives bring.
The key word here being stress!
Many forget that exercise is a form of stress and that you need to manage the stress load brought on from exercise when added to the stress of day to day lives, work, business and relationships.
So while High Intensity Running can be more efficient at getting you fitter in a shorter period of time, can your body tolerate doing that a few times per week?
It is the same with gym training, should you or can you tolerate high stress loads in the gym a few times per week?
At ABC we are constantly studying, always wanting to be better and we understand that you probably feel the same when it comes to exercise and training. Always wanting to feel like you trained ‘balls to the wall’ ‘emptying the tank’ ‘no pain no gain’ and so on.
It is human nature to always want to see progress and see it fast.
This why in our training programmes we place a lot of significance on how we train the Central Nervous System (CNS).
We aim to have high CNS days, Medium CNS and Low CNS days. To you and our clients these all look and feel like hard work, they all can make you sweat and raise temperature and heart rate BUT placing different priorities on your central nervous system reduces the risk of injury but also gets you the benefits of High Intensity Training and some Aerobic Training.
Both our Strength work and our Conditioning (fitness work) reflect this and we feel this is the best approach to your running too.
Runners should be doing gym work, it should not be intimidating, it should not be considered for meat heads and bodybuilders but as something that improves your performance, reduces your risk of injury and aids how you look and feel in terms of muscle tone and body composition. Just like gym junkies should not be slating those who pound the streets running daily.
So rather than condemn running, I believe things can be done better and that gym and running, walking, cycling or whatever your activity can be done in conjunction with one another. The gym will help you get stronger, move better, look better, burn fat more efficiently but cardio is good for head space and reducing stress levels (depending on how it is programmed).
Strength and Conditioning is a must for everyone and for that there is no argument. (well again depending on the quality and expertise of your coaches). While you must get fit to run not run to get fit, most people learn this the hard way!!