I'm not opposed to running. Running has been shown to clear the mind, release endorphins, raise energy levels, improve cardiovascular health, and relieve stress. The longest distance I've ever intentionally ran was a 5k. And even then I could tell that my body was not pleased with that distance. That's why when a friend asked me to train for and run a marathon with her, I quickly turned her down. I just don't want to put that much stress on my body.
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "But, Stephanie, you just said that running relieves stress." Yes, I know what I said. Running short distances for fun is a great stress relief. I don't view running 26.2 miles at the crack of dawn as stress relief. I know my body wouldn't approve. Running a marathon is definitely not one of my bucket list items.
If you know me, you know that I've found some scientific facts to back up my claim. Endurance running isn't for everyone. In fact, different people have different muscle tone and muscle fibers based on their genetics. Some people were just not born to be endurance athletes. Through the power of 23 and Me, I found out that I have fast twitch muscle fibers. This makes me a great sprinter, but it makes me a lousy endurance athlete. But even if you're genetically blessed with the type of muscle fibers that make it easier for you to safely run long distances, studies still show that the majority of endurance athletes have chronically elevated cortisol levels. This isn't something I want.
I'm also not a fan of over-training. I don't love training schedules. I don't really like schedules in general when it comes to workouts. I like to do what I want depending on my mood that day. Some days I take it easy with mellow stretching. Some days I power-walk 6-8 miles on the greenbelt. I'm not about to let some marathon training schedule dictate my workouts. Plus, when I run, I sometimes eat more to make up for the calories I've burned. But I don't always make the best food choices when I'm hungry after running. I'm not the only one apparently. Studies have shown that on average, people who eat after a run sometimes eat as much as 100 calories more than they've burned off.
Another thing I don't love about running is that it burns through muscle as well as fat. Especially when you're not fueling your body properly. Having more muscle increases metabolism. So the idea that running can lead to weight loss is a common misconception. I knew someone who was training for a marathon recently. I assumed she would lose weight since she had a bit to lose. But the opposite happened. She started gaining weight when she began upping her running. I wasn't about to let that happen to me. I chalked her weight gain up to the fact that she was getting up super early to do her training runs, so her sleep was suffering. Her cortisol was clearly elevated. She would puke sometimes from running too much, yet she would keep going. And she would eat unhealthy foods, claiming that she ran that morning so a bunch of sweets wouldn't hurt her.
Just like diet is bio-individual, so is exercise. I know my body wasn't built for endurance running so I'm never going to run a marathon. To me, running 26.2 miles in one day sounds like a form of self-abuse. I'm not judging those who have done it. I think it's a great accomplishment if you know your body can handle it. But for me, I'd rather sprint short distances and stand on the sidelines cheering on others while they run long distances.