Saturday, February 2, 2013

"Running Is Bad For You"

At work the other day, a co-worker said something to me that I have not been able to get out of my mind. I was walking out after a long day, and I saw a group of male co-workers - so I did the nice thing and I said "Have a good night." One of them said, "Are you heading out for a run?" to which I replied "OF COURSE!" Another guy, the youngest in the group, piped up and said "You're going to die soon."
My head whipped around like I was straight out of the exorcist. First of all, "you're going to die soon" is probably something you should never say - unless maybe you're a doctor. Also - this idiot does not know me well enough to something like that so casually. He justified himself by saying, "Running is bad for you. You only get so many heartbeats in a lifetime and you're speeding yours up."

This is nothing new. We've all seen the very depressing and scary articles that try to bash the benefits of a runner's lifestyle. I swear I read a new one every week. Here are the "reasons" why running is the equivalent to downing a pint of cyanide:
  • Running will ruin your joints 
  • Running will is a boring waste of time
  • Running will put unnecessary stress on your heart
  • Running is an ineffective way to lose weight
  • Running will cause you to implode when you reach an unspecified number of miles
Don't send me a bunch of hate mail; I am not saying that these risks do not exist to some degree for some people. Running can be intense and it does have some risks. More importantly, I am saying this: I think all of these articles about the problems associated with running are IRRESPONSIBLE. They do not paint a complete picture including the many proven benefits of running. I know way too many unhealthy, inactive people that don't need someone to say "running is dangerous and you shouldn't start." DO NOT ENABLE INACTIVITY. DO NOT ENABLE OBESITY. I've already been lectured by extremely over-weight family members because "Running is bad for you. You need to take it easy." Guess what else is bad for you? Sitting and bacon. All things in moderation, homies.

My second problem with my co-worker's complaint and the message in these articles is that it devalues a huge part of my life. I work really hard to be a competitive athlete living a grown-up's life. This means making a lot of sacrifices (time, socialization) and healthy choices (diet, sleep, whole-body work outs.) Runners put an incredible amount of thought into most, if not all, of the choices they encounter in a day, because they can't be successful without good choices. No, I am not saying that non-runners are not thoughtful - but I don't want my work and careful choices to be bashed by people that do not understand what they are saying. The fact of the matter is that running has greatly improved every part of my life - particularly my sanity - and I will live with that "research" over what I read on some shitty blog.


  1. OMG I LOVE THIS!!!! I notice that most of the running haters out there just don't want to run, and justify it by proclaiming loudly and stupidly that it is HORRIBLE for your health. I agree that bacon and laziness are far, far worse than running... UGH, get a clue silly people...

  2. What an ass. The second part of your post is what I think makes me so angry. Just because you can't understand what I'm dedicating a huge portion of my life to (not in running hours but in thought, decisions, etc) does not make it valueless or, worse, harmful. So frustrating to see those kinds of attitudes.

    1. Exactly! I don't think non runners understand that running is our life.

  3. You have no idea how much this post resonated with me. I've recently received some of the same comments and feel sad about the fact that people inhibit themselves to the point of being totally inactive. It's really easy to get wrapped up in these comments and get angry--trying to work through it myself. Thanks for sharing!