Running Away

I am not a runner.  I have never been a runner.  And I don’t really aspire to be one.  But I do want to jog a little.  Just some intervals on the treadmill now and then.  Not too fast; not too long.  But more than walking.

I don’t like the jogging very much when I am doing it.  Some body parts hurt and others jiggle in strange ways.  And I sweat, a lot.  But the amazing thing to me is that I like that I did it.  And even while I am not enjoying going through the motions, I am enjoying the e-motions.  Because while jogging makes my body feel bad, it makes the rest of me feel really, really good.  I’m not sure it classifies as a runner’s high, but maybe I could call it a jogger’s medium?  Whatever it is, the endorphins kick in and my mind clears and when I am sweaty and tired at the end of my workout I am loving the afterglow.

But here’s the problem:  I think that my little jogging intervals may be wreaking havoc on my aging body.  It’s not just an excuse!  I could come up with plenty of those – believe you me.  But there are legitimate aches and pains that may actually not be worth the short-lived high.  And the pains seem to work their way around my body as I try not to compensate for this twinge or that ache.  Sometimes it starts with my feet.  The insoles hurt when I walk.  So I walk funny and then my calf hurts.  Or my hamstring.  Or my quad.  And then I get on my bike with all those twinges on my left leg and start pedaling and my right hip hurts.  And it is uncomfortable to get on the elliptical.  All thanks to jogging.  And age.  Or bad form?

I have been inspired by so many of you who are runners or who are beginning to jog.  Like Anna, who ran her way right out of her fat pants.  And Siobhan, who is working her way from the couch to 5K, a newbie like me who has also felt some complaints from her body.  And Kirsten, who ran a marathon in her own way:  one mile a day for 26 days.  And too many more running/jogging/C25K bloggers to name.  I don’t aspire to run a race, long or short.  I just want to push myself a bit now and then.  Just want to feel the good sweat.  The sweat that tells me I accomplished something.  The sweat that means I worked hard.

I haven’t decided if my jogging days are over or if I have many more yet to come.  Right now I spend most of my time riding my bike outside if the weather cooperates or on the elliptical while my husband takes over the treadmill beside me.  (He runs faster, longer, and more often than I do.)  I am casually paying attention to my post-jog aches and pains.  To see if they are worthy of deterrent status.  Or if they are just a temporary annoyance, worth the suffering.  No pain no gain?  Or no gain from pain?

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77 Comments

Filed under exercise

77 responses to “Running Away

  1. I have feet issues and running is simply OUT for me. If I’m not very careful, hiking will someday be out for me and I don’t even want to think about the effect that would have on my emotions. I hear what you are saying and agree that the stories our blog friends tell about taking up running following their weight losses are enticing. But for some of us, it’s just not in the cards. Be wise, my friend and do what your body tells you to do.

    • Karen

      Thanks Sharon. I realize that I should have prefaced this whole post with one about my foot problems. I guess I will have to do things backwards and write that for next week. I am with you though – I don’t want this enough to risk losing something else.

  2. I don’t run right now..I can’t. I would love to be able to.

    You are very wise to listen to your body. You don’t want to injure yourself!

    I love the eliptical..that’s my favorite.

    • Karen

      I got an elliptical for myself for my 40th birthday. I find it quite boring and not as good a workout. My husband, on the other hand, also finds it boring but thinks it gets his heart rate up higher than the treadmill. Hmmm. But I do appreciate the lack of impact on my body when I use it.

  3. running/jogging does help me burn more calories. However, I’ve been fast walking. Really pushing myself. In fact it’s time to go a bit faster. I’ve been at 4.4 mph and it makes me work more muscles.

    I would try fast walking.

    • Karen

      Wow! That is a fast walk. When I was at the spa in June I took a class (three times) that did treadmill intervals. At one point the instructor had us walk faster and faster until we got past the point where it would have been easier to break into a run. As fast as we could possible walk. My legs were screaming! So I am totally with you that it works those muscles.

  4. Ewa

    Aches and pains go away eventually but runners high keeps on coming back especially if you can run outside and possibly on trails. When I started running I did not like it very much but these days, when there is a period when I cannot run, I miss it terribly.

    • Karen

      I have never tried outdoors. On the treadmill I can see how fast and how long I go and distract myself with a good TV show. And not have anyone watching me:)

  5. At 57, I really get this. I was a runner for many years and loved it. I’d started adding jogging back in last fall with intervals, like you’re doing (only never on a treadmill). I think that jogging was one of the activities that helped officially tear my L knee meniscus in October. I would never have believed how much more easily the body gets injured, or at least strained, from activities that used to be a breeze. I get it – you’re really not making excuses; rather recognizing the realities of aging.

    I think JBS has a great suggestion of fast walking, on a hilly course or with a good steep incline on the TM. Much less impact on the joints.

    • Karen

      I think it takes being a certain age to get it. Sorry young readers:) Next week I will try to write about my own exercise induced injuries of years past. Part of my hesitancy now. I actually had even stopped walking for exercise for several years as a result.

  6. I’m with you, Sister! I’m not ready to throw in the towel, completely, but I’m pretty sure I’ll never be a serious runner. My alternative is to do 5k’s on the elliptical. (Working my way to an eventual 10k, of course.) Easier on the knees and available rain or shine. 🙂

    (personal note: thank you SO MUCH for you sweet comments on my blog and over on AOL. You sure know how to lift a person up!)

    • Karen

      I’m not sure my elliptical measure distance. I need to check that out. And on that same personal note – I meant what I said:) Hugs.

  7. Oh I have been experiencing the same thing.

    About a month ago I started jogging part of my daily 3 mile walk. It has firmed up my legs in a way that walking wasn’t doing.

    Now my knee caps hurt when I walk up and down the stairs! I get little aches and pains in other places too, like my rump!

    I don’t know if these things will go away or get worse. If I should stop jogging and just continue with the fast walking. Is this a normal adjustment phase or a sign of something worse to come?

    We need a runners advice. Any runners out there?

    • Karen

      Yes! I was saying in a comment above that we of a certain age have issues that the younger exercisers do not. Sad but true. And I think most of the runners who might read and comment are younger than us. That knee thing is scary! And my mom, who is in great shape for her age, struggles with both her knees and her feet. Sigh.

  8. It’s good to listen to your body. If it’s a muscle pain, then I’d say it’s to be expected, but joint pain can be worsened if you overuse that body part. I’d look for exercises to strengthen the muscles around that area where you feel the pain.

    I have some pretty serious arthritis-type pain if I try to run, but Omega-3 supplements have helped. I swim instead whenever I can to avoid the impact, but every once in a while I’ll try jogging to see if it’s getting any better. I’m convinced that I’ll be able to jog sometime within the next few months. Also, I’ve heard that good shoes can make a world of difference!

    • Karen

      In theory I have good shoes; I am a firm believer in that. But you got me thinking that maybe it is time to replace them. I should consider the supplements but I HATE swallowing pills.

  9. Okay, speaking as an exercise physiologist, this is my take:

    Jogging is much more violent and much more impactful action than running — and there is a difference. A jogging stride is vertical, with a true running/sprinting stride being much more horizontal. The horizontal stride of true running vs. jogging has a significantly lower impact, and is less toxi on the entire body. But, running is harder — often much harder than jogging.

    Suggestion: If you are going to jog, do so on a treadmill. Keep the pitch of the treadmill at a 5% grade. This will cause you to jog at a lesser speed, but that increased grade will actually reduce the impact on the ankles, knees, and hips.

    You can email me privately for more information on how this can help.

    • Karen

      Roy – My husband read this comment before I did and found it just as interesting. I am a pretty slow jogger and had never considered that running might have less impact. I had also not thought about adding incline. If I keep it up, I may indeed shoot you an email sometime. For now, the weather is holding so I have been hitting the bike instead.

  10. Ali

    I use to have really bad pains in the arches of my feet but I foun the more weight I lost the less pains I would get. Now I dont get any pain in the arches of my feet. I also could relate to what you were saying about then walking funny and getting pain in your calves. I did this as well. I promise you it doesnt happen anymore.

    • Karen

      What worries me is that I have had foot problems in the past. (More on that in another post which I realize should have come first.) I sooo don’t want to go back there. I once saw a statistic about how much extra pressure we put on our knees with each extra pound of weight on our bodies. It is amazing! I guess the same could hold true for feet.

  11. I will NEVER be able to even jog medium so I take my hat off to everyone who can do ANY type of sweating and jogging. smile.

  12. Life is too short to do an activity that causes that much pain. I think you’re smart to do what is healthy for you…and if running hurts, don’t do it. 😦

  13. I hear you, but it’s like this. If you love strawberries, you want to eat strawberries, you crave strawberries, but you’re allergic to them, you don’t eat them. They could kill you. Even if you like the idea and the “high” you get from jogging, it’s not worth it to mess up your knees, feet, whatever, for life because you felt the glow sometimes when you did it. Pay attention to the warnings you’re getting from your body. Me, I envy Syl with her new rollerblades, but I’m so uncoordinated, there’s no way I could EVER do it.

    • Karen

      Oh no way would I ever try rollerblades! The strawberry analogy is great. But it reminds me of how many things I know are not good for me but I still do them. (Think overeating for example.) Sigh. I can’t decide if I should be inspired by all the runners who I read about in their blogs or if I should just run vicariously through them.

  14. Aww, thanks for the shout out. 🙂 You know how I feel about running! But I echo your sentiments on pain. Even at 28 I am acutely aware of the pain it can/does cause at times. My right hip gives me lots of problems so I have to really take care of it. If I start feeling twinges of pain in my knee, it’s time to back off. I don’t know that I will be able to keep this up for forever considering my hip issues, sadly.

    • Karen

      I think it is great that you are doing some cross-training with the bike and the hiking. Someday, when you have gotten your fill of races and speed, you may do the other more and run less. But it certainly got you to a great place in your life:)

  15. I lost about 30 pounds many years ago when I biked all over Europe for 3 months steady and then continued to use my bike as my primary vehicle for the following year. I did not diet at all during those years and was the most fit I’ve ever been in my life. All I’m saying is that IMO we don’t have to run or jog or work treadmills to be fit.

    Now at 67, regular walking (only 2 miles a day) is shaping my legs and butt. Cardio benefits? Well, not really. Maybe I should try some speed walking intervals. Hmmmm… yes. But I agree with everyone above… pushed-muscle pain goes away, while pushed everything else translates into potential injury, forced inactivity, pain and suffering.

    • Karen

      I would love to read about those 3 months sometime…hint hint. I exercise to be fit, but I also am aware of the whole calorie burn thing. And for me, I would love to burn more calories so the eating thing would be easier. (In other words, I could restrict my food intake less if I burned more.)

  16. I’m not a runner- but over time with working hard on the treadmill I have seen a change. I have seen my legs get stronger and when I see myself able to job for more than a few minutes it makes me feel good. I never used to be able to run, but now I can- it’s AMAZING 🙂

    • Karen

      See – there’s that glow:) But again, you are quite a bit younger than me. I wonder what would have happened if I tried this 20 years ago?

  17. I seriously loathe running. I do not get how people run…say they like to run…or say they love to run…blech.

    I do jog in a irritated painful way in spurts on the treadmill. I figure it must be doing something. However…I don’t do it often, because I firmly believe it will make my boobs sag! Do I really need help with that? Age contributes enough…but I feel jogging will make matters worse. Plus…it kills my saddle bags…lol.

    OK….those are my excuses. I’m one fast walker though 🙂

    • Karen

      Oh I am laughing so hard now it must surely be burning a few extra calories:) This is one time I am glad to have my itty bitty titties. But what I feel jiggling is my bodacious butt. Bouncy, bouncy.

  18. Karen, I agree that nothing is more fun than runner’s high – BUT my feet and knees can’t take it at all and even when I’ve tried to add little bits here and there, it ends up causing other kind of injuries. Why don’t you check in with a podiatrist and see what she says? Some other great big calorie burn activity include spin classes and even walking on the step mill machine at the gym, and neither harms your body like running can. Good luck!

    • Karen

      I will post next week about what I learned when I had to visit a podiatrist several years ago. I should have started with that to make more sense. But I totally agree – which is exactly why I started cycling classes a handful of years ago. Now that step machine is just an instrument of torture!

  19. There are a lot of kinds of pain and some are not meant to be run through. How about inclines on that treadmill. Walking, when pushed is still fantastic exercise.

    It’s hard when out bodies don’t agree. I too don’t know if a full marathon will ever be possible given my past hip complaints, but I’m going find out 😉

  20. ahhh, the pain. I have bad knees so I know the running/jogging doesn’t help — but usually a knee brace helps and if it’s really bad I’ll ice after. I don’t know what you could do for foot pain other than get different shoes — but knee braces are wonderful, and I think tying your laces tighter are supposed to help ankles.

    When I was training for a marathon back in college (I didn’t end up running it, quit training at 16 miles) I read “The non-runners marathon.” In it the author says you should welcome pain… when you’re running and something starts to hurt he says to say “hello pain in my ankle – nice of you to join me!” (something along those lines… ) It never actually worked for me, but it was definitely humorous.

    • Karen

      Oh I soooo don’t see myself welcoming the pain. But it is an interesting take on it. I will have to think about that the next time I am doing any workout where my body starts screaming at me.

  21. I have really bad feet – flatter than a pancake, wide, bunions – yet I still jog, run & do intervals. I think you have to figure out what is right for you BUT may I ask if you have been fitted for a good pair of running shoes. This will make all the difference in the world! Also, I even buy special inserts for mine & take out the ones in the store bought shoe.

    Because I started out with bad feet & they just keep getting worse, at 52, they are really bad. I just ordered a custom pair of orthotics from Costco to see how that helps as I am having more probs. They are not the doctor $500-$1000 ones but I will see if they help. They have a 90 day return policy! I am not giving up!!!

    I agree, running is not that high for me that others get but I love the results & especially from the intervals & HIIT!

    PS: I commented yesterday & again, I don’t see my comment there. I must be doing something wrong or just too tired but I was sure I checked & saw it post….. dang!

    • Karen

      I actually have Birkenstock inserts in my running shoes. The podiatrist recommended them years ago. But I will have to check out Costco since they have that guarantee.

      I don’t know what is happening but you are the only one who has let me know about a commenting problem. Shoot. Sorry.

  22. sunnydaze

    I’m like you – don’t aspire to be a runner but I’d like to get in a “better” workout now and then with jogging and I like the feeling afterwards. My knee does not like me jogging though and has started grinding since I started walk/jog intervals, even though it doesn’t hurt…is it worth it to me? Not that much…I’m satistied with walking 😉

    • Karen

      I think that is the key – being satisfied with what you are doing. You are putting in some serious walking time. I found the elliptical was not making me feel that I was working hard enough. I’ll see what happens.

  23. I generally go with the “if it hurts don’t do it” philosophy. So if running hurts you? Skip it. I actually like running but it’s not very good for my knees at this weight so I’m waiting to do it. I do aspire to be a runner though!

    • Karen

      I know my husband feels very differently about running when he weighs more versus when he has lost some weight. The knees and the feet too now.

  24. I know I have knee problmes – had them since I was a kid and they run in my family. I have done work outs designed to build strength and put off the inevitible knee replacement as long as possible. When I kept trying the elliptical it hurt. Everyone kept saying it was low impact and it shouldn’t hurt, but it did. I kept trying but it caused my knees to become inflammed and pushed my osteo arthritis into high gear.

    So I say if it really hurts (and it’s not just about the jiggling!) – don’t do it. There is a reason. Your mechanics are off or something is wrong!!

    • Karen

      Well the elliptical may be low impact, which is good for my feet and why I got it, but it is certainly not without a lot of knee motion. As you found out. Maybe we should all be swimming!

  25. Karen — thanks for the h/t. I am probably the slowest person ever with the C25K … at this point I’ll be happy if I can get off week 1 when I work at it again. Love the feeling too.

  26. Just warning you…you might become addicted!!!!! 🙂

    I never set out to be a runner, really, I had no desire. I hated the first few tries and slowly, it became my life line.

    I can’t wait to see where this little bit of “hated” jogging takes you!!

    I’m so impressed you reply to every comment. Maybe I should start that. It never even occurred to me to make that a habit. Impressive.

    • Karen

      I don’t reply to them all every day. And some days I don’t reply to any. But I love the give and take and feel of having a conversation.

  27. Genie@dietof51

    Not a runner; no aspirations to be one, although I truly admire athletes of any persuasion. My body could not take it either. I’ll admit to my limitations.

    Congrats on the big 100! You’ve worked hard to cultivate a flock and you’ve hit a big milestone!

  28. I haven´t read through all the comments so I don´t know if anyone already said this. I go power walking, too lazy to run ;), and when my walking shoes starts getting worn out I get pains in my knees and and hips because thy don´t give my feet optimal support anymore. Don´t know anything about your situation but it could just be time to buy new shoes…? Remember reading something like every 400 miles you should replace your running shoes. Hope you´re having a good weekend!

    • Karen

      I definitely need to consider new ones. Since I used my old ones for walking or elliptical or other non-running activity, I have no idea what their mileage is.

  29. Hey Karen! Visiting you today from the Lady Bloggers Tea Party though I ususally stop by cause I love your witty posts! I think the treadmill is the culprit. I can jog outside without all the aches and pains that I get from the treadmill. I teach Zumba 3 times a week and the treadmill still makes me ache! I probably need to replace my running shoes like some people have suggested! Good job sticking to your guns though!

    • Karen

      Zumba is another thing on my list of ways to consider branching out with my exercise:) I tried it twice on vacation in June and had fun despite my obvious lack of coordination and memory for choreography.

  30. Kausambi@ColoredGrains

    I echo your sentiments! A non-runner here.. But I can walk for MILES!

    -Kausambi@Coloredgrains
    http://coloredgrains.wordpress.com

    • Karen

      Miles of walking is just as good. I think I am intrigued by running since I could burn the same amount of calories in less time; or more calories in the same amount of time:)

  31. just found your blog and love your thougths. so glad I am not the only one who loves to run at intervals and feels like their body is getting older in the process. I have been discovering that I have a lot more wobbling than I remember from several years ago. Sigh. will keep going. thanks for the inspiration. naomi.

    • Karen

      Reading so many other bloggers doing c25k sure does make me feel a bit like I should be doing something more than what I am.

  32. Hi Karen, I’m back from my mini-vacation with my sister and am just starting to read the blogs. Wish I could run or jog — it hurts my knees and I’ve very respectful of pain. When I was younger, the advice was to push yourself, “work through your pain.” Ugh! Then people who followed that advice were having serious injuries which then prevented them from any exercise while they were healing. I sure don’t want to do that to myself. I love my biking and treading and would be miserable if I injured myself and had to give up either of those activities. But I do understand the “call” of running and jogging. Talking Heads had a “Stop Making Sense” video years ago (I think it’s out of print now) on which they jogged through a couple of their songs (6 minutes and 4 minutes). So whenever I play those songs, I try to jog to them. Can’t do it every day because IT HURTS! But I love to try.

  33. Hmmm…. Running isn’t for everyone. If you’re not feeling it and you’ve given it a try for awhile then maybe move on to other activities. It took me awhile to really start to enjoy running. I did have lots of aches and pains but I think it was due to my overweight body.

  34. I used to run… a lot. I’ve ran 2 marathons in fact. But now…at almost 44 my body just doesn’t do what it once did. I do power walk and at times put a few “spurts” of jogging…I do want to start running again as I loved it. And it got me in shape. Oh, the dilemma!!

    I stopped by from Lady’s Blogger and really enjoyed your blog. I think I’ll be back:)

    Leslie

  35. Oh girl, I’m in my 20’s, and I can’t run if my life depended on it. Case in point, I ran/walked probably about 2.5 miles on Saturday, and I’m STILL hurting from it. Knees, calves, hams, everything. And I jiggle too! No shame in that!

    I’m not a runner either, and quite frankly, I don’t care to be. It’s not going to make me a better person. In fact, it might make me cranky because I hate it so much. 😀 There are always other exercises to do that will get you sweating, and are WAY more fun than running. You just have to find what works for you!

    Hope you’re doing well!

  36. Pingback: Waisting Time , Archive » Walk a Mile in My Shoes

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