Why We Stopped Running At Custom Fit

And maybe you should too...

We used to run at Custom Fit. We ran to warm up, we ran as a major part of our cardio program and sometimes, we ran to cool down. We ran up and down hills, on the road and around the edges of the farmer’s fields. We offered Sunday fun runs, we participated in local running races and, we got together outside of classes to run.

We did a lot of running.

As we head into our 12th year as a fitness community, we no longer run at Custom Fit and we haven’t for about three years. Here’s why…

Just because we can run doesn’t mean that everyone should run. The other day my husband, Derek, said, “Everyone thinks that they should be able to run. Running is free, it looks easy and people think it will make them lose weight.” He’s right. That’s what a lot of people think. The truth is, most people are not natural runners. That could explain why so many people look like they are suffering when they run. They probably are.

People who are bow-legged, knock-kneed, flat-footed, pigeon-toed, duck-footed and perhaps as a result, are not very light on their feet, might not be built to run. People who carry excess body fat may find running hard on the joints. It is.

When we stopped running at Custom Fit, the cases of chronic injuries commonly related to running went way down. Things like

are common ailments caused or aggravated by running. Since we took running out of our routine, rarely does anyone share with me that they have issues with any of these anymore.

Running wasn’t working. In my experience, running made the naturally lean person too lean and the average to over weight person heavier. Plus, some people just hated running and this put them in a poor head space to exercise.

There are better alternatives. When we made our cross-train classes strictly HIIT (high intensity, interval training) with a strong emphasis on body weight strength training, people got stronger. Functional training seems to serve everyone better. And, although challenging, most people at Custom Fit enjoy HIIT more than pounding the pavement (or the dirt roads) for a run. I do advocate sprinting (read this article for three tips for beginner sprinters) and recommend that our clients add a sprinting work out to their weekly routines. We follow this model for sprinting:

30 seconds of work (sprinting) followed by one minute and thirty seconds of rest (active recovery or walking) for eight rounds

You can sprint on a treadmill, outside, or on an elliptical machine or a stationary bike. You could power walk instead of sprinting. You could sprint up hills or you could snowshoe sprint like we do at Custom Fit in the winter. You could ‘sprint’ doing laps in a pool. The main idea is to go as hard as you can, recover, and repeat. Sprinting is great cardiovascular training for the heart and is a form of strength training as well. You can’t beat it for improving your fitness or for taking you to the next level.

Who should run? Although I no longer advocate running for our clients at Custom Fit, I respect that some people love to run. If that’s you, go for it. But, if you’re running because you think it will keep you fit, make you thin or help manage stress and you don’t really like to run or your body is chronically injured and sore, there are other ways to stay fit and manage stress. If you need help or inspiration, get in touch and come try some classes with us at Custom Fit.

The most important element of managing body composition, stress, sleep, digestion and mood is your food. I’m offering one more round of my nutrition coaching starting September 21st. If you want to finally get off the magical misery tour of what, when and why to eat, get in touch to reserve your spot today.

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2 thoughts on “Why We Stopped Running At Custom Fit

  1. Great post, Cait!!

    I do believe that, for many of us, running has its time in life. In my late 20s and 30s, running was mostly a wonderful activity, especially as an awesome way to enjoy outdoors. Road races also provided a great challenge that included not only the race but also social connection!

    Yet, after a couple of marathons and multiple 10Ks, I found myself burnt out on running. And now, years later, I’m still burnt out! Not only is there no joy in it, but running simply hurts. I don’t even like to do sprints, unless I’m using a rower or AirDyne.

    But I still walk, and love it! It gets me out into the weather, and adds to my overall fitness!

    Ultimately, running has led to many great memories for me, but I’m happy it’s just memories!

  2. Very sensible approach for most people Cait.

    However I could never get the sense of achievement that I got from running long distances from x number of repetitions of hi intensity routines, laps of a pool or lifting weights in a gym.

    Never a sprinter, although I did use sprints to build strength, the longer the race, the higher up the finishing order I came. I loved running, loved the satisfaction of recording another improved marathon time in my log.

    Loved running even though I could feel the incremental damage to my knees and came to realise that repeatedly running 85km ultra marathons must be a particularly masochistic form of insanity.

    Ultimately the pain in my knees required surgery and stopped me running.

    Your new approach is much more sensible for most people, but does it offer enough challenge for the few weird indiviuals like me (and I suspect a younger Cait) who feel compelled to discover just how hard we can push ourselves?

    Whether that’s on our feet, on a bike, on a horse or in the ocean?

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