Why does running suck and how can I make it fun like burpees?
-by Nick Mounce-
There is probably only one part of that question that makes sense right now. By the end of this post I will, hopefully, explain what that means and put a nice little bow on the answer for you.
First, why does running suck? Well, my guess is that you are not particularly good at it. If this is news to you I’m deeply sorry you had to find out this way. Don’t worry though there is a way to fix it and who knows...you might even find yourself looking forward to going for a run.
Before we get to the answer let's go back a few years. There was a time in my life when all I did for “fitness” was run. I followed the LSD (long slow distance) training model. Gradually increasing the distance of my 3-4 runs during the week and 1 long run on the weekend. Following that approach got me through 12 marathons and several half marathons and 10k’s. It also left me broken and sick of running by the time race day came around.
I know you are sitting there thinking, “What happened? Why did you change from distance running to being amazingly strong with such a beautiful beard?” Thank you for asking such a thoughtful question sprinkled with unsolicited compliments. The answer is simple. My terrible running form and constant “pounding of the pavement” got me a couple sweet stress fractures in my right foot. Being gifted in the art of not taking advice from doctors I refused to wear the boot they prescribed and kept running. Bad idea, the foot is still a little shitty from time to time. Enter picking up heavy stuff then putting it down.
For a couple years I kept telling myself I’m not meant to be a runner. Clearly I’m built for picking up heavy shit and growing a beard. That was my mind set until I started hearing about Brian McKenzie, and the pose method. Mr. McKenzie’s blog and subsequent book introduced the idea of treating running as a skill.
Running is a coachable movement that can be taught and learned. MIND BLOWN. Since I learned how to move my feet faster then my face is moving towards the ground I haven’t given one thought to how to run.
Earlier this year a couple coaches from Travis County Strength went to the Crossfit Endurance Certification where we spent a good amount of time learning to run using the pose method. Retraining your body how to run is challenging to say the least. The thoughts, "This isn't right!" and "What the hell are you doing? This is not how we run!" kept running around my head for almost the entire first day. Then it happened. It clicked. I was weightless, it felt effortless, I was running. Then I freaked out kind of like when you string double unders together for the first time. Fart and fall down, start over.
So where does that leave us in our attempt to make running fun like burpees? But burpees aren't fun. I hear you and I agree, burpees aren't fun...until you are given the option of burpees for time or a run for time. Honestly both options suck, until the airdyne bike is thrown into the mix. Then running and burpees sound like great options to most people.
My point is this. Running can suck less. Running can be a new skill. This will take practice, patience, and a "little suck it up". The resources are out there. Videos, articles, books, podcasts, and coaches probably pretty close to where you live. So where does that leave us? It’s up to you.