You need to be fit to run?

the hansenator

Level 6 Valued Member
I came across an old article argueing that "You can't run to get fit, you need to be fit to run". There wasn't much useful info except the idea that most people shouldn't be running, especially long distances, so I wanted to bring it up here and see what your opinions are. Is this a valid concern? How does one become fit to run and how do you know if you are?
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
I think one needs to ease into distance running, and perhaps many people start with too much, too soon, and end up with poor form - that would explain the sentence you quoted.

When I was a regular distance runner, if I took time off, I would come back by running about 5 minutes at a time, twice a day, and gradually build up the distance and switch to once a day from that beginning. It's an approach that always served me well because, at least about myself, I always felt like running quickly was where I found my good running form.

-S-
 

Augustus F-N

Level 3 Valued Member
I think it is a fair concern.

My brother is unfit after about 5 years of inactivity and is starting to run to train for an obstacle course race. He used to play sports so in his mind he believes he can do more than in fact his body will allow. He hasn't left much time to train. I'm a little concerned. Carrying extra weight and having been on his backside for so long, I reckon there's a risk of a joint injury if he goes pounding the pavement. Even if he survives training, the race itself poses a serious threat.

I can't remember where I saw it suggested, but I've heard as a recommendation that one should have some basic level of strength before running. To put some fairly arbitrary numbers on it, I reckon being able to do, say, 15 push ups, 30 bw squats, and a 1 minute plank would dramatically reduce my brother's chances of injury. But I'm no coach or trainer or doctor.

After gaining some basic strength, walking and then gradually running would make the process safer. And learning to run properly, whatever that means.

EDIT: in other words, for a detrained individual, get strong(er) first.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
EDIT: in other words, for a detrained individual, get strong(er) first.
A very good thought, without a doubt, but I think easing into distance running is still advised. Since strength is both general and specific, I think you're right - some general strength will make the ease into distance running better in every way. It will probably carry less risk of injury and also enable someone to progress in distance more quickly.

-S-
 

offwidth

Level 9 Valued Member
I think it is a fair concern.

My brother is unfit after about 5 years of inactivity and is starting to run to train for an obstacle course race. He used to play sports so in his mind he believes he can do more than in fact his body will allow. He hasn't left much time to train. I'm a little concerned. Carrying extra weight and having been on his backside for so long, I reckon there's a risk of a joint injury if he goes pounding the pavement. Even if he survives training, the race itself poses a serious threat.

I can't remember where I saw it suggested, but I've heard as a recommendation that one should have some basic level of strength before running. To put some fairly arbitrary numbers on it, I reckon being able to do, say, 15 push ups, 30 bw squats, and a 1 minute plank would dramatically reduce my brother's chances of injury. But I'm no coach or trainer or doctor.

After gaining some basic strength, walking and then gradually running would make the process safer. And learning to run properly, whatever that means.

EDIT: in other words, for a detrained individual, get strong(er) first.
@Steve Freides is right. Ease into running. Actually ease into any physical training.
Regarding OCR's ... the ones I've been involved in rely heavily on running. That being said, I've seen many large, oversized people doing OCR's. On one hand I certainly applaud their desire to get out there and do them. On the other hand... I also see an injury waiting to happen.
But back to the question... ease into it. Walking and walk / run are good entry vehicles...
 

Augustus F-N

Level 3 Valued Member
I think at OS they say you have to be able to crawl first.
But I am a newbie with OS, it just makes sense what they say.
Running is high impact, I would not start with that.
I hadn't thought of crawling but I can see how it would be very beneficial. I think having some general strength, mobility and body awareness before jumping into running is a good idea. Crawling could be one way of achieving this.
 

Kozushi

Level 7 Valued Member
People shouldn't be running? HAHAHA!

It's logical to walk a lot first, maybe for a few weeks at least, before starting to incorporate some short runs into it.

I have a few problems with running.

1. It's cold in Canada most of the year and I know from experience that breathing in cold air isn't super fun, and can aggravate "colds".
2. Running gets you in good shape fast, if it's done right, which means in a forward direction, which is what your muscles are made for and is why they respond to nice development by doing so. Running on the spot indoors isn't the same - not that it's not beneficial (and I do it by the way), but not so good.

Running is excellent, but it's inconvenient for a lot of us. Lots of stop lights and cars outside, let alone dogs and creepy people etc, nor the problems of ice, snow and cold. The magic of kettlebells is that you get high levels of cardio training out of them without leaving your living room.
 

jca17

Level 3 Valued Member
Is it safe to say that no exercise practice injures more people than running? While were meant to be able to, most people who are desk bound and sedentary have too much dysfunction and not enough patience to dose properly.
 

Kettlebelephant

Level 7 Valued Member
Is it safe to say that no exercise practice injures more people than running?
Probably yes.
Like always it's not running that injures you, it's the way YOU run that injures you.
In Run Strong Andrew Read has a passage that shows the tonnage your body (especially ankles, knees and hip) has to absorb during just a single 5Km run. No wonder that people with bad technique develop nagging injuries and why it would be wise to ease into it.

Also like Gray Cook puts it, people who only run go straight into "bounce".
He has this "four Bs"-approach, which is breathe, bent, balance, bounce.
Breathe obviously is about breathing right.
Bent refers to having adequate mobility and flexibility.
Balance is about strength in static positions.
Bounce is the last one and refers to things like jumping, running, KB ballistics, swinging golf clubs etc. (anything involving ballistic forces and momentum).
As you can see it would be a bad choice to jump right into "bouncing" before having checked the first three boxes.
 

Coach Cambio

First Post
Elite Certified Instructor
Good stuff by all! I can speak for OCR. The number one rule is start SLOWLY accumulating time on your feet (not mileage yet). Essentially walking or hiking. Once you build up to a moderate base, start very slow (below your aerobic threshold) running, meaning being able to hold a conversation. Again the goal is building a cardiovascular base. However, while you are accumulating time on your feet, start strength training, fixing those imbalances, etc. To do an OCR you need pretty significant strength, specifically grip strength. Great reason to train with kettlebells right?? :) Most people definitely start out running too much too soon an get banged up.
 

Coach Cambio

First Post
Elite Certified Instructor
Probably yes.
Like always it's not running that injures you, it's the way YOU run that injures you.
In Run Strong Andrew Read has a passage that shows the tonnage your body (especially ankles, knees and hip) has to absorb during just a single 5Km run. No wonder that people with bad technique develop nagging injuries and why it would be wise to ease into it.

Also like Gray Cook puts it, people who only run go straight into "bounce".
He has this "four Bs"-approach, which is breathe, bent, balance, bounce.
Breathe obviously is about breathing right.
Bent refers to having adequate mobility and flexibility.
Balance is about strength in static positions.
Bounce is the last one and refers to things like jumping, running, KB ballistics, swinging golf clubs etc. (anything involving ballistic forces and momentum).
As you can see it would be a bad choice to jump right into "bouncing" before having checked the first three boxes.

Andrew's book is great! Highly recommend it.
 

wespom9

Level 6 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Also like Gray Cook puts it, people who only run go straight into "bounce".
He has this "four Bs"-approach, which is breathe, bent, balance, bounce.
Breathe obviously is about breathing right.
Bent refers to having adequate mobility and flexibility.
Balance is about strength in static positions.
Bounce is the last one and refers to things like jumping, running, KB ballistics, swinging golf clubs etc. (anything involving ballistic forces and momentum).
As you can see it would be a bad choice to jump right into "bouncing" before having checked the first three boxes.
Haven't heard this from Gray Cook before, but this is absolutely brilliant advice
 

apa

Level 6 Valued Member
Not science related but in Born to Run, the Tarahumara have their young ones doing some strength training at first by standing on one foot if I remember correctly.

Some Goblet Squats and Swings and slow at first would probably be ideal. There's also technique to consider and maybe "proper" footwear.

I used to get some knee discomfort when I was running years ago. Switching to vibram fivefingers made that go away.
 

the hansenator

Level 6 Valued Member
Lots of great responses and information.

Do you think there are specific guidelines or benchmarks that should be achieved before starting a running program? Like in the sense of - You should be able to walk X minutes or miles/X days per week, or lift a certain amount in a strength exercise, or pass a certain mobility test?

I suppose achieving a level of proficiency in pain free walking would probably be the most important first step.
 

Stefan Olsson

Level 6 Valued Member
Lots of great responses and information.

Do you think there are specific guidelines or benchmarks that should be achieved before starting a running program? Like in the sense of - You should be able to walk X minutes or miles/X days per week, or lift a certain amount in a strength exercise, or pass a certain mobility test?

I suppose achieving a level of proficiency in pain free walking would probably be the most important first step.
Did you read the article above? It answers most of your question :)
 
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