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Should I run?

If you’ve followed Momsanity for a while you may know that Coach Debbie and I have a lot in common, but we are very different.  It’s what makes us a great team and part of why and how we have so much fun together. 

One of those areas is RUNNING.  Whereas she used to force herself to run on the treadmill thinking it was the only way to get fit and lose weight (by the way she is much wiser now!), I actually really enjoy running.   Where she was forcing herself to do it, there was a season in my life where I forced myself to stop.   

I was SO TIRED and finally realized that “requiring” myself to run 45 minutes per day (or more) on top of other bootcamp style exercise or cycling or whatever was not serving my body or my brain well.  Thank you Lord for that deliverance.   

After trying really hard to hate running and all cardio and be one of those girls who ONLY lifts weights for a few years (I did sprint sometimes), I realized that I really missed running. 
Truth is, I spend some of my best time with God when I am out in nature and just FREE.  I’m not sure about you, but as a Mom I have VERY little time that my brain is idle.  I am constantly planning, studying, working, providing for needs and more.  My fast and effective Momsanity workouts are fabulous for providing results and endorphins, but personally I’m not able to zone out and just be.   

Some women love a bubble bath, some do this well in silence with their feet propped up, others watching mindless television, some have dance parties, but not this girl.  I get most of my big revelations, best ideas, and really powerful time with God while I’m running. 
So a few years ago I reintroduced running.  Once per week or so I go for a run.  I put on TobyMac radio and just go.  I don’t run far by most standards and I’m not competing, but I run.  I’m not punishing myself or trying to “undo” a less than healthy meal.  It’s the physical release, the mental freedom, and the spiritual rousing. 
So… back to the question of the day. 

Should you run?   
I’m not sure. I know you don’t love that, but like any good coach I’m going to ask you questions before giving advice. 

Do you love it?  Why do you do it? Do you feel better or worse when running is a part of your routine? 

But first let me define what I’m talking about when I say “running”.  I’m not talking about sprints or run 1 mile as fast as possible.  I’m referring to steady state running (even when you’re fast), jogging, run/walking that continues for over 20 minutes or so.  This is not a hard and fast definition by the way. 

Let’s first talk about who should NOT run. 
Those who hate running (obviously).  You absolutely don’t “have to” run to get great results.  In fact, running is probably one of the LEAST effective ways to boost fat-loss results. 

Those who are running primarily to try to lose weight.  It doesn’t work at least not well. Running long distances is a big stress on the body.  More stress= higher stress hormones=fat storage.  Also running will absolutely make you more hungry and probably not for healthy foods.  Also the energy (calories) burned while running are sourced mostly from sugar not from fat often causing cravings. 

Those who are struggling with fatigue or unbalanced hormones.  It usually makes things work (back to the cortisol) 

Those who struggle with consistent nutrition habits and cravings.  See above, but running may make the situation worse. 

Those who have a primary goal of losing fat or becoming leaner.  I touched on this above, but those who DO lose weight primarily running often lose a fair bit of muscle along with the fat.  We want to maintain our lean muscle mass to help us burn fat faster and more effectively.  Steady state cardio (aka going for a run) generally doesn’t spike our fat burning and muscle building hormones the same way as weight training and sprinting.  We get smaller, but likely not a lot leaner. 

At Momsanity we are huge fans of playing “detective” with your own body.  What I mean is that if you start running and are feeling awful or dreading it or gaining weight or experience another side effect then stop running.  Running further or entering another big race will likely just make things worse.  If you love running and your body loves it too, then by all means go for it!  Just be smart, have a plan and make sure you’re resting, lifting weights, and stretching.  Personally I don’t recommend running more than 2 to 3 times per week no matter WHAT you’re training for. 

Want more on running?  Let me know!!!