Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Deciphering the runners hierarchy

I have to preface this by saying, I'm not trying to stir some pot but rather trying to understand different aspects of others exercise routines.  So keep in mind my observations and curiosity are coming from a completely naive point of view nice!  ;-)
I'm not a runner.  I have no desire to be a runner.  Therefore, I don't have the mentality of a runner.  People who do it, seem to love it and you can tell they cherish that time...when they do it.  I see a trend among people I know who say running as their main source of exercise and maybe this is normal in running circles.  In the winter, I hear "it's too cold to go for my run today."  I get it.  No one wants to run in the cold but I see plenty of people doing it.  Now, I'm seeing people saying "it's too hot to run."  I get that too, I don't enjoy being outside whatsoever in any weather over 85 degrees.  It has nothing to do with weight, I just don't like it.  But then I see people run indoors or at the gym or early in the morning before the heat of the day kicks in.  So if it's too cold to run for say 2-3 months of the year and then too hot to run say 2 months if you add together all of the days that are too hot to run by the end of the summer, I'm seeing people who are copping to not doing anything during those times and that's 4-5 months of inactivity.

I am certainly NOT advocating frostbite or heat stroke but is it against some inner circle law for a runner to do something other than running?  Isn't that what they refer to as "cross-training?"  I'm not saying this to be an ass because I just want to understand.  I have lost my weight by doing at home exercise. I exercise when it's 100 degrees or -10 degrees in the same basement filled with pictures, motivational sayings, collages of other exercises I can incorporate and the like. For us, it's an excuse free way of living (from people who used to give a lot of excuses back in the day) because my ability to exercise has nothing to do with the weather.  So that's why I don't understand why some runners have an all or nothing mentality and then complain they're not losing weight.

Again, I'm not saying this to alienate runners or to imply runners are half-assing it because I see PLENTY of people who give their all.  I guess I just want to understand if this is like a universal thing that if the weather isn't cooperating that it's okay to skip or is there a hierarchy of runners where people who exercise rain or shine, heat or cold whether outside or inside consider themselves "true" runners where others are more, for lack of a better term, "hobby" runners?

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  1. I think it is likely the same for runners as it is for any formal type of exercise. You have people who are committed no matter what gets in the way and then you have some who just aren't as die hard about it.

    It might also have something to do with the goals that person has. For example,I have a co-worker who is a runner and when he is training for an upcoming half marathon, nothing will keep him from missing a run. But when he doesn't have a goal ahead, he is not as committed.

  2. I have no idea what the collective thoughts are from other runners, but for myself? I live in Michigan, which is probably the most unpredictable state EVER when it comes to weather. I run year-round. If it's waaay too cold or too hot to run outside, I'll do the dreadmill (at home, I don't have a gym membership). But if I was to skip weeks or months of running, I'd be starting at square 1 when I want to run again, and trust me, square 1 is HARD ;)

  3. I guess I always just figured that when it's too hot/cold/wet/whatever the people I see running in town exercise indoors. Months of inactivity and then running again sounds like a recipe for injury.

  4. I am not a runner - now on a "ncie day" I like going for a long walk, even on not so nice days, but not running.

    I do however, live along a service road, down the street from "The Running Room", and so rain or shine, hot or cold there are runners.

    Living in Winnipeg - we can get close to plus 40 in summer, and oh yeah minus 40 in winter - and there are several runners who live enar me that dress for the weather and they run every week

    Could I do that - probably not - but then again, if I liked running, I would make sure I had the right gear and I would do it

  5. Yeah I agree that it is much like other exercisers, some are in it and some just aren't. I also think that people who really want it will make it happen and those who don't will let the excuses keep them from doing it. Personally I don't like to run when it is icy out or too cold, and after last year with bootcamp I do not like to run when it is so hot outside. So I will either take it to the rec to run inside or I'll just do something else. Tae Bo, Zumba, one of my other millions of workout DVDs. Have I been as committed as of late? Not so much but that is all about to change :)

    I do see there are definitely different types of runners and maybe I'm somewhere in the middle. If I'm training for a race then I'm running no matter what. Course I still don't like to run in really hot or storms but thankfully the rec can protect me from that. Speaking of I gotta start that up the end of this month. Yikes!

  6. I like to run as my primary form of cardio. However, I hate to run outside when it is too cold/icy or if it is raining (chafage due to wet clothes is not fun in my book). Thus, I will move it indoors and do a shorter run on the treadmill or find some other form of cardio. I maintain a gym membership for just those times. I also plan my days based on the wekely forecast. I knew it was going to be hotter yesterday than on Monday, so I planned to run on Monday and took a Pilates class yesterday. I try to adapt to changing conditions. Sometimes people will use any excuse to get out of fitness, regardless of what it is. I've also heard I can't go to my fitness class/gym because my friend can't go with me, I've got too much stuff to do, my clothes aren't clean, etc.

  7. I used to be a runner back in the day. Because I hate the too cold/too hot much of my running was on the treadmill and I only ran outside when the weather was 30-75 degrees give or take...or at night when it cooled down after a warm day.

    I would say people who take months off at a time aren't necessarily "runners," but rather running is their choice of exercise when they choose to do so.

    Yep - "Runners" are people who do it all year round. It is part of their lifestyle. My guess is those in "running circles" wouldn't really consider part-timers part of the gang.


  8. I agree completely. I am in the same group as you. I have NO DESIRE to become a runner. I do not feel happy to do it, I do not like to do it, and I don't feel good afterwards. Its over 100 degrees here in Florida and I just do not want to run.

    However I will go to the gym and do the elliptical with no problem! Air conditioning and no pain in my knees? Yes!! Anytime!

  9. I'm a runner and it is my primary form of *preferred* cardio...but it definitely is not the ONLY form of cardio for me. I prefer to run 3-4 days a week, only 4 when I am training for a half marathon...the rest of the time it is a T/TH/SA schedule. So what do I do on M/W/F? All kinds of other fun stuff! Like Jillian, yoga, bicycle, aerobics, etc.

    In the summertime I wake up super early to run. In the wintertime, I bundle up to run. When it rains (without risk of lightning) I wear a hat and windbreaker jacket to keep from getting completely drenched.

    So perhaps I *am* a TRUE RUNNER! :-) LOL. But part of the reason I think I enjoying running so much is because I'm only doing it 3-4 days a week and I have a good mix of other activities in there.

    To me, what makes a runner is someone that just gets out and does it regardless of the challenges in getting it done. So I suppose there is some kind of hierarchy to it...just as there is a hierarchy to those that are aerobicsers (? hahaha), spinners, zumbaers (? again), turbo jammers, etc. Some people ARE and some people TRY TO BE and then some people are just passing through to the next thing.

  10. I want to run someday; when my body allows me to. I like the idea of running, because it's such an efficient means of burning well as one of those things I was never able to do. Even when I was in grade school, I never was able to run the mile and a half for the fitness awards. So when I do become fit and healthy, it's something I want to do, just to say I did it. For now though, I prefer to exercise on the eliptical trainer at my gym.

  11. I think your question stems more from the human need to compare and contrast then anything else.

    When it comes to spark, there are a buttload of "runners" talking about their running (because running a 5K is like a fatty milestone, right?, you've really "made it" when you can do a 5K *eyeroll*) so when you (or me or anyone on spark) sees all the runner talk we automatically wonder "is that a "better" thing to do then what I do" which can automatically lead to "what they're doing can't be as good as what I'm doing because they skip when it's hot/cold/rainy/whatever".

    I'd like to think that anyone ("runner" or not) who's really into exercising to make themselves more healthy (all weight loss stuff aside) is making sure they get some decent exercise more often then not. So if they're not running due to weather, then they have something else planned and aren't just lounging. But even if they do lounge, as long as they aren't whining about not meeting their goals (while being "lazy") then I try not to compare my program to theirs (though I still do, since it is my nature).

    (so says the person who is not a runner but is trying out a c25k program for the structure and change to routine)

  12. I am a triathlete so I not only run, I bike and I swim.....but I don't use the weather as an excuse because being from Oklahoma one minute we are 110+ next minute we are -20. (The joke is to wait 5 minutes the weather will change...)

    Anyway, I either suck it up and complete that day's workout, or I change what I'm doing. Like today I'm to train indoors instead of being out in 104 degree temps.

    So my point is that those that make the excuse that the weather is such in such aren't truly dedicated to their workouts....or they are like many of us that sometimes just use whatever they can as an excuse not to exercise!!!

  13. Thanks everyone for your thoughts! It kind of confirmed what I thought and feel, you're either commited or you're not regardless of the form of exercise. Again, I have no desire to run or take it up but was always very surprised that people who seemed to take big chunks of time off from running never got a bit of a nudge from their running bretheren. I just thought maybe there was some inner circle thing I wasn't aware of! LOL

    To those of you workin' it regardless of whether that's all you do or you do a mix of it or avoid running like the plague but bust your moves consistently in other ways and stick with it, way to go!!

  14. I can't speak for anyone but me. I started running because it burned a boatload of calories. Somewhere along the line I developed a love for running; when it's too hot, I take it indoors to the treadmill or do an early morning/late evening run. When it's too cold/icy/rainy, I take it indoors to the treadmill as well. If I have a race, though, I'm outside no matter what. Weather may affect where or when I run but not whether I run because I love to do it and I'm committed to it. Running is my main form of cardio, but I do other things, too, because cross-training (bike, elliptical, etc.) and strength training help my overall fitness.

  15. I run because I'm amazed that I can. I do prefer to run outdoors regardless of the weather; I have extra layers to put on and take off as the need arises. I don't run every day and I really only like to run in the morning. I hate treadmills and avoid them whenever possible. I'd rather run in single-digit weather and be outside.

    I just came in from an awesome bike ride through some scenic areas near where I live. I see a panoramic view when I'm on my bike; running gives me the "little picture" view of the things that I can't see when I'm riding by so quickly.

    Sometimes I plug into music. Outdoor Running gives me the opportunity to synchronize my body to my favorite music. Do I listen to music while I run or do I run while I listen to music? Depends on the day!! A treadmill cannot replicate this. You have to set the pace with no mechanical help.

    It's a strange activity and one I never believed I would be participating in. It burns tons of calories in a short amount of time, that's why I ever started in the first place.

    I hope you've gotten some good responses; I've enjoyed reading them!


  16. I didn't read all the comments, but I did stop to read by sister's (Kristen). I pretty much ditto what she says. I also consider myself a runner and it is my prefered method of cardio, but I have quite a few videos on hand for back-up. Your blog cracked me up, I see that behavior too and have to laugh at it. Okay, if you think it's too hot, fine, but do something else-lol!. We are fortunate to live in a very moderate climate. During the winter our coldest runs are just at freezing (only very, very rarely below) and a hat, gloves and jacket take care of that problem. In the summer our schedules get us out BEFORE the crack of dawn during the week and on Saturdays if heat is promised bright and early I swap out my shirts with sleeve for a singlet (without sleeves) and just go out with the metal attitude of "anyone who doesn't like my arm flab hanging out can suck it because it is 80 degrees at 6 am and I'm going sleevless gosh darn it!" lol Because it truly is my prefered cardio I'm willing to suffer through just about anything, except on rare rainy mornings when I was already wanting a break, but I accept that for what it excuse not a real reason and still try to fit something in later in the day when I'm more together. Also, stick me on a treadmill and force me to run that for any extended period of time, say 10 minutes, and I'll commit suicide-lol!! Can't do it...I only enjoy running because it takes me outside at an hour when most folks are still sleeping and the world is a whole different place then and I love it :). "Runners" will run in anything...joggers only when it's perfect. LOL----that is strictly my personal statement and I KNOW I'll take flak for that, but yeah.... :).

  17. At 250+ lbs I'm not sure you can call me a runner but I've been doing it regularly since December and have completed a couple 5ks. Running hasn't been some magic bullet to make me lose weight but it was so hard to train just to be able to run for 10 min at a time that I am loath to completely lose the habit. My hope is that in the long run if I drag myself back to the treadmill I'll keep from regaining as I have in the past. Or at leats as much as I have in the past. But it all comes down to discipline: either you do something every day or you don't. Weather is not an excuse not to exercise, although it may be motivation to skip a run and workout indoors. I don't mind the cold but the heat is killer, especially at my weight.

  18. I am a runner, and for me, running is more a hobby than a form of exercise. There is no "too hot", or "too cold" for me. Autumn and winter are my favorite running seasons though :) I LOVE running in the rain and the snow, best feeling EVER! I run throughout the entire year, 5 days a week. When we get a heat wave, I just set my alarm clock for 5am. Running is always my priority, no matter how hectic the day, I will always find time for it. And I miss it if I don't run for a couple of days. A whole month without running? I don't think I could do that without having a mental breakdown (I hope I won't get an injury forcing me to rest for that length of time!!).
    I've lost most of my weight from running (lost 80lbs total, about 50lbs from running) and have been maintaining my weight for about a year now, running being more or less my only form of exercise. Though I just recently started doing strength training again, for vanity reasons ;)


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