But, you still kinda wanna get into it...
Oh girl, you are not alone. I've had tons of friends and clients over the years who've felt the same way you do. They kinda hate running. But, they still feel like it's something they'd like to get into, or at least should be able to do.
Many of them have even made numerous attempts to pick up the habit - investing in top-of-the-line kicks and using the most highly rated run programs - only to be disappointed by increased aches and pains, very little progress, and even less enthusiasm.
First off, let's be clear. If you really don't want to run, there are plenty of other ways you can get cardiovascular benefit and keep your heart healthy. You don't have to run.
So, Why Should You Run?
However, I will tell you this. You absolutely SHOULD be able to sprint. No, we're not exactly living in a world where you're being chased down by predators(although, my last boss was pretty creepy), but you may need to hustle to that 1 train before the doors smash into your ribcage. Ok, maybe that's just New York, but I'm sure you can think of a few scenarios in your own life where a better gait would come in handy. Sprinting is something we're meant to do.
And, I also happen to believe a 5K is a reasonable endurance test for any fit person. I'm not saying you should go out and run a marathon. Progressing from your couch to 26.2 miles is actually the opposite of health. But, training to run 3 miles will get your energy systems in tip-top shape; and I think that attribute fits everyone's abstract ideas of what makes one "fit."
So, if running is so good for you - and it is - then why do you hate it so much? Well, contrary to what you probably tell yourself, it's not because you don't have enough willpower, or whatever bogus self-shaming thought crosses your mind.
As a former track coach and strength and conditioning specialist, I've seen what passes as a typical 5k training plan in the magazines and running websites, and uhhh... they're mostly terrible.
There are a few problems I see with most running programs, and any one of them could result in a crippling lack of motivation.
Let's talk about the most important ones:
Running endless miles at slow speeds for days on end is both tedious and boring. But more importantly, this method prescribed by most running magazines, is really not effective at building you the specific speed and endurance necessary for a 5k. Your workouts should include varying bouts of intensity and time that result in both efficient cardiovascular improvements, and more interesting and fun challenges. A mere ladder of increasing bouts of running will not produce good enough results to justify your efforts.
2. It Feels Like You're Dying
It is completely valid that you don't like feeling like your heart is going to explode out of your chest, or that your legs feel like a hundred pounds of dead weight being dragged along with you. And both are signs that you're training in suboptimal conditions. Your workouts should have very specific intensity prescriptions and appropriate parameters to ensure that your training is making your body stronger and better, not weaker and overly stressed. If your running gets worse as the workout continues, it's not a good workout.
3. It Makes Your Joints Hurt
If you experience excessive aches, or pain in your joints during or after running, you may have another indicator that your workouts are too stressful for your current level of ability, or just poorly programmed from the get-go. Proper progression is key. And it's not just your heart and lungs that need to be built up incrementally, but also the capacity of your legs. Your training should factor in muscular endurance so that your workouts are pain free. And an appropriate strength training program should be completed in tandem with your running workouts to build resilience.
So maybe you do ACTUALLY hate running. You hate the way you've gone about it in the past. But, if you still find the idea of running for fitness COMPELLING, I can tell you there is a better way - a way that will help you get definitively stronger, faster, and even leaner... and I've got the solution.
My 12-week training program STRONG ENOUGH TO RUN combines intuitive speed workouts with specific strength training to help you start a running regimen. Take an extra $10 off with code SPRING5K and get started on your plan today!
Come on. Let's give this thing one last shot.