I know this, you know this, everyone on my block knows this. Heck, I visited a friend at her office the other day and one of her co-workers recognized me as the woman who runs with a stroller and dog as the co-worker's house is on my regular route.
But, for some people, it's a new-to-them topic and it's an easy subject to talk about. The discussion will usually go one of three ways.
- I'm a runner, too. Are you training for anything?
- I hate running. I wouldn't even run if I was being chased by a pack of hungry wolves.
- I've tried to run but I just don't like it. My knees hurt, I can't find a groove, it's not comfortable, I can't get my breathing under control, etc. I wish I could run like you.
I actually give people reasons not to run.
1. Repeat after me: You do not have to run to lose weight. I lost about half of my weight by doing everything else but running - elliptical, walking, cycling, Crunch tapes. Yes, running burns a good deal of calories but so does any type of intense cardio training. You might even see greater fitness gains by incorporating high intensity interval training in place of running.
2. There are other ways to exercise. While it seems that everyone and their brother and their brother's best friend's cousin runs, there are plenty of people who don't run. You can find some of them in group fitness classes like Bodypump, Piloxing, boot camp or cycling. I've talked to groups of friends who found each other in strength and conditioning. And, really, do you want to do something just because everyone else is?
3. Not everyone has to, nor should they, be a runner. You'll find a million and one articles telling you how and why you should learn to love running but the truth is that running is not for every one. We each have our own interests, and we should seek to find something that fulfills us. It's OK if it's not running. Also, if you choose not to run, you are one less person competing in my age group.
4. Running is not cheap. Sure, all you need is shoes and public-appropriate clothing but let's be real, you will require more. Running socks ($14 a pair), specialty shoes ($100) and wicking clothes ($50 an outfit) are just the tip of the iceberg. If you get into racing, entry fees could easily surpass the boutique classes you've been longing to try. So splurge on the barre session and skip the "I really should run to save money."
5. Do what you want (as long as it's healthy) with your body. Who gives a crap what I do?