3 Reasons to Stop Running (so much)

3 Reasons to Stop Running (so much)

Here at DCF we are all about functional movements.  Set aside for a moment the question, “Well what does that mean?” Because quite frankly I’m not exactly sure what is “functional” about Snatching I just like doing it and think everyone should learn.  But considering we love functional movements we should love running.  I mean running is the functional movement to end all functional movements, right?

Well yeah.  Definitely!  Running is probably the most primary movement pattern known to man.  To run is arguably the truest expression of human movement.  It’s awesome.  So why then am I writing about why you should stop running (so much)?  Well read on, dear reader, read on:

Running is Dangerous

CrossFit gets a lot of criticism for being “dangerous.”  And even as a CrossFit enthusiast for over 7 years now I can understand where people are coming from.  A recent study showed that those who participate in CrossFit get injured at a rate as high as 3.1 per 1,000 training hours.  Basically, if you were to come 5 hours a week religiously you’d average 1 injury every 15 months.  That sounds bad, right?  What about running?

Well according to this study, runners suffer an injury rate as high as 12.1 per 1,000 training hours.  According to the same math you’d see a running injury every 16 weeks.  Not only that, but according to the same study, running injuries can re-occur at a rate of 70%.  How could such a natural activity be so dangerous!?!?!

Running is Stressful

I know this seems counterintuitive.  Most people (I’ve been told) run to relieve stress.  Had a stressful day?  Go for a run and get in the zone to forget your troubles.  Well mental stress is one thing; physical stress is another.  If you run at a 12min/mile you’re taking roughly 7273 steps.  Think about that for a second, that’s 7,273 reps.  Imagine if your WOD was 7,273 box jumps!!!! I imagine that’d be a fairly low attendance day.  Well running is basically a series of very small box jumps.  When you take into account gravity, we can be talking about a load of 3x your bodyweight per rep.  Three times your bodyweight for 7,273 reps?!?!  No wonder people can get hurt!!!  “But Andrew,” you might be saying “there used to be tribes in Africa that would hunt by running!  Surely it can’t be inherently dangerous!!!”  Sure.  I agree.  But….

Running is a Skill (that you probably don’t practice)

Let’s just come right out with it.  Runners have egos (arguably worse than any other athletes).  “I know how to run!  I run all the time.  I express myself through running!  You can’t tell me how to run.”

But running is a complex activity.  Running is every bit as technical as olympic lifting, gymnastics and oh yeah ALL THOSE OTHER OLYMPIC SPORTS IT SHOWS UP WITH EVERY 4 YEARS!!!!  Running requires skill and practice just like any other sport.  You shouldn’t assume you know how to run just as you shouldn’t assume you know how to squat perfectly.  Squatting is every bit as primal and natural (Odds are you’ve poo’d more recently than you’ve run) but it’s perfectly reasonable to work with a coach to help you squat.  If you truly enjoy running (which you should and I encourage you to run) you should want to do it for the rest of your life.

How to make your running better?

  • Get stronger.  I’m not saying “get bulky.”  I’m saying that strength training can buffer your bad movement
  • Actually learn to run.  Hire a coach.  Not someone who can tell you how much to run; rather someone who can tell you how to run.
  • Run for the right reasons.  Stress relief is vital.  But if running is your main stress relief it’s counterproductive.  Just like dopamine release is great; but doing heroine to get it is a bad strategy.  Don’t be a running (read: heroine) junkie.

In summary, I’m simply saying that running is complex and bad movement is bad movement.  I like to tell people you’re only born with so many “bad movement credits.”  When you run out of them, injuries happen.   Think of it like saving money, the more “bad movement credits” you save now, the more you’ll have to spend later in life when you could really use them.  I think running is awesome and everyone should do it (even more than snatching).  I just think the movement deserves more respect than you’re probably giving it.