Running is an underdeveloped and underrated skill of “fitness” devotees.
There are many myths that surround running, most of which are purported and supported by industries who do not want to go out of business.
Despite this, people cannot deduce that these myths are just that, thus displaying their ignorance of fitness, anatomy, and physiology.
Running is one of the best methods of training.Running builds the foundation of true fitness. A fitness regimen is incomplete if it does not include some form of running.
II. Misinformation Regarding Running
As previously mentioned, running has many negative misconceptions that turn people away from it. I daresay that no other physical activity has a more negative connotation than running. Now, let us dispel these myths, and bring forth the truth:
1. “Running Causes You to Lose Muscle Mass!”
I would wager that this myth strikes the most fear into the hearts of “fitness” enthusiasts (mainly meatheads ) everywhere. And that doesn’t even factor in the picture on the left, which has been on every garbage “fitness” based media source.
Protein catabolism (the process of breaking down the high-protein structures of the body (mainly muscle) for energy) is a last resort survival mechanism only used by the body in the most dire of circumstances. Running (or any other form of exercise) cannot ever come close to replicating these circumstances.
Furthermore, one would have to go through their entire glycogen and fat supply in order for this to begin happening. This means one would have to run nonstop for several days, even if they have a relatively low body-fat percentage.
Now, back to the picture.
Regarding these athletes’ physiques, it is obvious as to who has more muscle mass. However, this is more or less irrelevant as they both have the same proportional amount of muscular development.
Essentially, there are two types of muscle fibers, type I and type II, or slow- and fast-twitch muscle fibers, respectively.
Type I muscle fibers have a smaller diameter than type II muscle fibers, hence the “sprinter” appearing to have more muscular development. He has more muscle mass, but their muscular developments are proportionally similar. If the “marathon runner” were to do more explosive movements (i.e. sprint), and perhaps increase protein intake, then he would have a physique more similar to the “sprinter.”
2. “Running Is Bad for Your Knees!”
This one makes me cringe more than any of the others.
Running is only bad for your knees when…
you suck at running.
Any movement can injure you, if you lack the proper technique. Additionally, any movement can injure you, if you do not build up volume and intensity gradually. One must know their limits first before they can surpass them.
The proper way to run is to move from the hips, lean slightly from the ankles, and land on the balls of the feet. Additionally, keep a high foot cadence, and you will never have any running-related knee issues.
III. The Hidden Holistic Merits of Running
With the misconceptions out of the way, let’s dive into the various benefits of running, and how it can strengthen one’s physical and mental vigor.
Running endows one with numerous benefits such as increased circulation and the development of new blood vessels. This helps with overall bodily functions, and the helps nutrients be assimilated into the various parts of the body.
Muscular development is a given, even on the upper body, though to a lesser extent. Fascia and other connective tissues such as tendons and ligaments are strengthened as well, which most exercises do little for these parts of the body.
Endurance is a known benefit too, once you adopt a running regimen you will notice that most tasks don’t even tax your energy reserves as heavily as they used to.
Without endurance you are nothing.
I couldn’t care less about your bench press if you can hardly get up a flight of stairs.
But perhaps the most desirable benefits of running are the ones that are intangible.
Running is one of the greatest ways to achieve a zen state of focus.
There’s even monks that live in the mountains of Japan who use running as a means to Enlightenment. The rhythm of one’s breath and footsteps puts one in an intense and focused state of being. Things that most people disregard in everyday life— their breath, thoughts, feelings, and environment— are made lucid via the act of running.
Perhaps this is why people vehemently reject running. They are afraid of their own self-awareness, and what it will tell them. They know the message it will convey may have the power to shatter their subjective paradigm.
Last but not least….the runner’s high.
There comes a point in a run when one feels like they cannot push any farther.
Batman once said that “It’s always the darkest before dawn,” and in the case of running ( and anything else worthwhile), it is definitely true. Push past your pain and fatigue, and you cross into the threshold of the runner’s high.
It is an endogenous cocktail of hormones and neurotransmitters that make you feel more relaxed, energized, euphoric, pain-free, and ready to run for eternity.
Stumble into this state once and running will get you hooked. Though, the state is rather elusive. One does not always experience it in the beginning, nor is it a sure thing throughout every run.
Running goes beyond the misinformation and superficial motivations behind it, such as losing body fat, or because it is required at one’s sports practice.
It is a liberating form of training that gives one immeasurable mental gains beyond anything else.
And these new mental strengths shall support you and whatever endeavor you give your best effort.