Disclaimer: This post is purely anecdote and opinion, and running isn’t for everyone. But if you can manage daily runs, time- and health-wise, this is why I think you should do them.
In the last post, I noted that teaching spinning (the common, though trademarked, term for the generic activity of indoor cycling) wasn’t working for me. When I sensed that merely getting to and setting up for my class was cutting greatly into my day, I started alternating gym days with jaunts on the outdoor running trail near our apartment. There were several reasons for this:
1. Intrigue. I’ve held a respectful fascination with runners for most of my remembered life. I’ve always perceived runners of all stripes — marathoners, fartlek enthusiasts, people who join those jog groups that meet at Niketown – as a dedicated, more hardcore bunch. Compulsiveness and obsession speak to me.
2. Time Saving. By cutting out the time it takes to drive to the gym, put my stuff into a locker, and ward off overeager solicitations from the bored helpers staffing the weight room, I could put more time into my workout and lose less time in transition.
3. Snobbery. Regarding the aforementioned ubiquitous celebrity endorsements for indoor cycling, I was starting to feel burnt out and wary. Channeling Groucho Marx — who didn’t want to belong to any club that deemed him suitable to be a member — I began to question just how strenuous and effective indoor cycling was, if its devotees could look at me wobbling cluelessly on a stationary bike and deem me worthy to guide them through 55 minutes of expertly choreographed and DJ’d cardiovascular exertion.
Pursuant to my satisfaction with the above 3 points, I began to run regularly and soon I dropped the gym altogether. My boyfriend niggles that I need to be doing more conditioning, or at least more high intensity interval training. Indubitably he’s correct, but there’s no disputing the fact that trail running has helped me surmount the formidable hurdles of establishing a healthy routine. Simply put, I’m addicted, and addictions to life-extending activities can be hard to come by. (Still working on my addiction to cod liver oil.)
I know some people eschew running because it’s hard on the joints (valid) and the winter is cold and icy outside (valid in other places). But for me, with these joints and this weather, there’s no excuse for me to stop. Big Wheel (my name for the rabid, evangelistic spin-loving celebrities) sold us a bill of goods about the superiority of indoor cycling.
Truth is, you just can’t beat the ease, affordability and caloric burn of running. Seriously, get a heart monitor and track how many calories you burn going all out on a stationary bike versus running full bore up a hill for the same duration. Again, your mileage may vary (literally) depending on geography, joints and circumstance. But for me, if ever there comes a day where I want to skip my trail run, the deafening cacophony of voices rises in my head. They say:
1. You ran all the other days this week! If you skip today, your tracker app will show the gap. DO NOT LET ANY GRASS GROW.
2. It’s Southern California.
Because it is Southern California, you are spoiled enough to be able to go for runs in merely short shorts and a singlet in the dead of winter. Do not waste this privilege.
3. You have time. You have reliable joints. You have sources for great workout mixes (this site courtesy of my boyfriend–click it and you’ll be thanking him!).