So You Think It’s About Running

I’m not going to deny that I think it’s an impressive task when someone tells me they’ve run an entire marathon.  It’s impressive, 26.2 miles of constant motion on your feet.  It’s something I personally can’t even imagine doing myself without a lot of training.

Yet, it still amazes me that most people fall back on running as a form of fitness and as a mark of how much a person is or is not “in-shape” of “fit.”

Women Marathon

I understand the argument that running doesn’t cost much more than a good pair of running shoes as a form of exercise, far cheaper than equipment and a gym membership.  Yet at the same time it doesn’t cost any more than that to do a good bodyweight training program at home either.

Although I think running 26.2 miles is impressive I don’t consider it a check mark on the list of things that classify someone as being fit or in shape, if that’s the only thing you can do.  I classify it as someone who can run 26.2 miles.

In fact I’d be willing to wager a bet that most of the people who can run 26.2 miles can’t even do a set of 15 standard push ups.  Dare I say it, I know.

So here’s the question:  How in-shape can you be if you can’t even do 15 push ups, even if you can run 26.2 miles?

I’m also not going to deny that there certainly are a good handful of avid runners who can do 15 push ups, probably 50, deadlift more than their own bodyweight, do several pull ups, amongst an array of other exercises, and with good form nonetheless.

These folks I consider to be in good shape.

Women Sprinters

In regards to running though, I’d rather be out there doing various sprint intervals, and perhaps an occasional 5K, along with a good weight training program that incorporates a multitude of activities and challenges.

It’s my belief that the same movement pattern over and over again without any resistance training is only beneficial to a certain point.  Not to mention runners as a group (professional and recreational) tend to be injured 80% of the time.  If you broke that down into a single day, the only time you wouldn’t be hurt is less than half the time you’re asleep.  I don’t see the sense in that.

Mind you I’m not saying that all distance runners are weak.  I’m not saying that all non distance runners are cut and defined.

What I am saying is just because you can run, doesn’t mean you are the picture of fitness.

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  1. Josh Leyes says:


    I enjoyed reading this tremendously. Being a personal trainer and avid runner myself, I run across plenty of folks in my profession who equate running with fitness. While I agree that running a marathon is a definite accomplishment, it does not require someone to be in great overall shape to finish a 26.2 mile run.

    Virtually anyone who trains for a marathon can complete the distance. The problem is, most of these people have less than ideal posture and at least a few muscle imbalances. Without proper corrective exercise and stability/strength training, speed and power can never be tapped into without injury.

    Thanks for posting this Pamela! I’m going to share it with some runners I know. I was thoroughly impressed with your video clips on YouTube. You make me feel like a girly man…this runner definitely has to start lifting a bit more. Next step is to get a 32kg kettlebell!

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