Wednesday, October 19, 2011

If you are a runner, is running exercise?

I started thinking about running as exercise recently and how maybe I don't get enough of it. Or maybe I am not doing it right. Because if running is exercise, I am, sure as shootin', not losing weight from it. This year alone, I have run four half marathons, one full marathon, a smattering of 5Ks, 5 Milers and 10Ks, and even a 15K. Add to that a LOT of training, and you would think I would be stick thin. However, the truth is that I am almost 10 lbs. heavier than I was a year and a half ago. Now, granted, I do tend to nullify the occasional 4-miler with a dark chocolate mocha with whip, but I don't always do that. There are a lot of runs where I don't eat much of anything afterwards. So, what's happening? Am I eating so much throughout the day that I am making up for the running, or has my body somehow gotten used to running and I just don't burn nearly as many calories doing it as I think I am?

Whatever the case may be, I think I need a change of routine. So, I have signed up for a BOSU cardio conditioning class. I wouldn't have even considered this a year ago. However, running is not taking up nearly so much of my life of late. By that, I mean that recovery has improved a lot in the past few months. Whereas before I could expect a long run to sometimes wipe me out for almost a week (if I experienced delayed onset muscle soreness), now I am ready to go again in a couple of days. I can't remember the last time I had a case of DOMS. Even after the marathon, I was back running - such as it was - within four days. Not bad considering the first marathon I ran wiped me out for weeks. In any case, maybe doing something different like the BOSU will get me feeling like I am getting some exercise again. Besides that, since I bought one of these suckers in a fit of madness last year, I am also hoping a class will actually teach me how to use it as well. That would be a bonus.

Getting ready for a relay

Speaking of exercise and nullifying it, my five-person relay team is getting ready for our 50-mile relay this weekend. I'll run two legs of the relay - approximately 10 miles - and then immediately follow that up with half a day's worth of calories in beer at the after-party. (At least it's planned for.) I think our team is very excited to be underway. We had a bit of a scare earlier this week as our five-person team threatened to downgrade itself to a four-person one. One teammate who had been in the relay for four years - since before my time - fractured her arm this past week. Since it's apparently not a good idea to run when your bone is broken in two, she had to withdraw from the event. Luckily, we were able to fill in her spot with another running friend rather quickly. As usual, it should be a lot of fun this year. I am looking forward to getting up there and trying our new experiment of drawing our leg assignments out of a hat before the start of the race. It will add an element of surprise that we've never had before!

First group run in months?

This week's runs have gotten me in the mood for the weekend ahead. After a so-so penance jog on Monday after yoga to make up for my botched eight miler on Sunday, I got out today for a group run for the first time in a long time. Two of the regulars from the Wednesday Morning group weren't there, so it was just me and a couple of other ladies out for a four miler at what turned out to be a 9:44-pace. Despite the relatively slow pace (as compared to my mid-week runs pre-marathon), I felt like I was struggling a bit - perhaps due to my inability to be in a group of people and not talk. I am so used to running alone, where any conversations I might have are with myself and in my head, that the actual act of speaking out loud while running was a bit of a challenge for me. It was worth it, though. The reward for my battle? Yep, you guessed it: a dark chocolate mocha with whipped cream at the coffee shop after. Yum. Although, now that I think of it, maybe I shouldn't really consider that a reward. After all, I have met this group after their run plenty of times for this self-same coffee treat without having run a step myself. Apparently, rewards can come rather cheaply.

Do you consider running exercise? Do you do anything else to get exercise that is not running? I want to know. Please leave a comment!


  1. It better be exercise or I'm going to be pissed! No really, what a great blog post from someone in my neck of the woods!! Check out my blog here:

  2. Thanks for the comment, Amy. I know a lot of people use running for weight loss. It just seems that for me once it stopped hurting so bad, it also stopped being useful for that purpose. I am curious what others think about that. I'd actually like some tips so I can still stay in shape; I feel like recently I have started to lose the post-40-metabolism-slowdown battle. I've seen your blog - nice! Us NEW gals have to stick together!

  3. I've been running for over 20 years and believe that the miles we put on eventually become of our body's "base" so to speak. It seems that when we take time off running for whatever reason, those few extra pounds are very quick to find us!
    One of the most common mistakes runners make is that all they do is run! It's important for many reasons to mix it up. SOME strength training, especially CORE strengthening, also flexibility is important. Ride a bike, get on a stepper or a rowing machine. It's great for muscle balance and will help prevent injury and prolong your running years.

  4. Steve, I agree that I need to mix things up a bit. The question is how... How to increase other activities without the running taking a hit? Is strength more important or other forms of cardio?