When the dreariness of winter gave way to spring, I realized that the time had come (again) to whip my ass into shape and be healthy. I’ve never been the guy who was itching to peel his shirt off, but with summer around the corner, I told myself (again) that this is “the year.” And so, I decided to commit myself to getting in shape by using the most odious of methods: running.
After briefly flirting with track in high school, I gave up on the notion that distance running is for me. Like Gimli and his fellow dwarves, I’m not built for distance but I’m very deadly as a sprinter. But, since everyone I see running marathons is thin and beautiful, I resolved to work myself up to at least a 5k, with a half marathon in October as my goal.
In late April, equipped with new running shoes, an overhauled diet, a water bottle case, a dope playlist, and all the optimism I could muster (basically a quarter past meh), I started on the famed “Couch to 5k” program. Almost four months have passed now and…nothing’s really happened.
That’s a bit of an exaggeration, I lost a few pounds, my body fat percentage (if I’m measuring it right) dropped a bit, and I can run a bit further than four months ago. Overall, though, I look basically the same. The drastic changes I was promised have not materialized. Worse yet, there are some pretty serious negatives that have come with this new regimen.
I feel duped, cheated. I was made to run based on the understanding that it would make me thin and healthy. So to help all you good people, here are some reasons that Men’s Health magazine gives to trick you into running, and why they are bullshit.
Running can help you live longer.
First, you could get hit by a bus tomorrow and it wouldn’t matter what your average mile time during your last half marathon was. Second, why do people care so much about living longer? This is just tacking years onto your late 70s and 80s when you’re in constant pain, disability, and sickness. I’ll gladly trade a few years in my later life if it means enjoying my prime. And people of any age will enjoy their lives more if they don’t have to run.
Running can get you high.
Ah yes, the famed “runner’s high.” This is without question the most overhyped lie perpetuated by big running. At no point did I ever feel a sense of euphoria (as runners have described it) while running. Scientists claim running releases endorphins, which are apparently the active ingredient in the shittiest drug ever.
You know what I did feel? Pain. A lot of sweat in my eyes. The burning in my lungs and cramping throughout my body. An overwhelming desire to stop and fall over. And a feeling of hatred at my body for being so weak, society for shaming me into needing to be thin, and the concept of running as a whole.
You know when you feel the best during a run? At the end. Because you don’t have to run anymore and you can sit down.
Running fights off beer bellies.
*looks down* Fucking liars.
Running burns crazy calories.
I’d say see above, but this actually led me to discover another interesting point. I was counting calories throughout the summer (outside of weddings, bar crawls, and barbeques, where calories don’t exist), but I wasn’t taking away calories from when I ran or just hit the gym. So I had to do a little research to see how much my semi-daily runs and workouts were burning.
A 30-minute run for 3 miles (close to the pace and distance I ended up at) burns 400 calories. 400. That equals 72 Cheez Its. 5 Oreos. 2 12-ounce Lagunitas. That’s your reward for suffering through a half hour of wishing for the sweet embrace of death. I’d rather stretch my gym session by another 20 minutes to equal it out. At least I won’t look and feel like I just swam to freedom from Alcatraz afterward.
You can run anywhere or anytime.
Don’t you guys know? You can go running whenever you want, and the whole world is your treadmill! Oh, right, see there are these things called jobs that kind of limit the “when” of it all. You either have to wake up way early in the morning (pass) or after work, when you’re mentally beaten down and exhausted. But yeah, whenever right?
Also, this article proudly crows that you can even go running at 2 a.m. Like it’s some sort of commonplace brag among joggers and not pure insanity. Look, I’m against police profiling, but if the cops arrest someone solely because they saw them out jogging at two in the morning I won’t even question it. That guy either just committed a crime or escaped from the loony bin.
In addition, there’s this thing called “weather” that affects whether I will go on my scheduled run. I am not going running if it is: raining, snowing, thunder storming, the temperature is over 90 or under 60. I’m also not going out in the dark, so definitely not more than an hour after sunset or before sunrise (like I’m waking up that early anyway). Hell, I’m not going out to run even if it looks like the weather might turn south.
So, anywhere or anytime? How about in an air-conditioned room, sheltered from the elements, when I’m not dragging from work or just waking up? Oh yeah, that’s called a gym. And the treadmills are always taken.
Running strengthens your bones and makes your knees healthy.
Oh, so then there must be some other reason that my shins and knees creak and ache even hours after I’m done. Please don’t tell me to get special shoes or insoles or whatever gadget will make this awful activity slightly less painful because I tried those. And do not, for the love of Christ, advise me to stretch for ten minutes before and after runs. Didn’t work, as I knew it wouldn’t. Tallahassee from Zombieland said it best: “you ever see a lion limber up before it takes down a gazelle?”
Let me tell you what running did cause. First, I know have blisters constantly on the soles of my feet, which is pretty incredible. I grew up playing hockey. Anyone who wore skates for two hours a day will attest that skates will harden your feet into calluses that a saw couldn’t cut through. But now, after just a few months of running, I’m constantly pulling quarter sized pieces of skin off my feet, molting like a goddamn snake. And the pain of ever stepping on one of those little pockets of pain is just the cherry on top to remind me, at all times, how awful running is.
Second, as many of you might know, running will cause you to chafe in certain… sensitive areas. So now I’m walking around like a cowboy at high noon for a couple of hours after my run is done. Luckily I haven’t had to tape my nipples like Andy Bernard because I don’t know if I could ever look at myself in the mirror again.
Running makes you tenacious.
For the last month or two, my runs have plateaued pretty heavily. I’m able to get about 2.6-2.8 miles in a half hour, with a few spells of walking thrown in, before my legs are shot and I’m barely able to stumble into my house. You would think that consistently running would make me tenacious and able to, you know, run farther or longer? Nope, not so much.
Because running consistently hasn’t made the activity easier, or shown any real progression, it’s really hard to enjoy the activity. When I do run, I feel like I’m being forced to do so at gunpoint, only if the gun was pictures of my dad bod being thrown onto social media on a daily basis. I’ll do it, and I’ll give it my best to go as long and far as I can, but only grudgingly.
You might say that willingness to persevere, itself, is tenacity but that’s really not true. Believe me, if tomorrow science invented a pill that would make you fit and healthy without having to run, I’d take it even if side effects included impotence, anal fissures, or homicidal mood swings. I am not addicted to running; I really can (and want to) quit whenever.
Running keeps your eyes healthy.
I don’t have anything funny or pithy here. This is just a real benefit that a fitness magazine listed for running. Running, which works your legs, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems, will help your eyes. It’s studies like these that make flat earthers not believe in science.
In conclusion, I’ve been running 3-4 times per week for four months. I hit the gym on my off days when I’m not running, and occasionally I’ll double up on the weekends. I’ve lost little weight, I’ve been able to run slightly longer without stopping, I’m otherwise less healthy than when I started, and I hate my life. Learn from my mistakes folks, and listen to the wise words of Ann Perkins: “sure jogging keeps you healthy, but God at what cost!?” .
[via Men’s Health]