I Shall Run No More Forever

10.14.2005 | 3:39 pm

Every year about this time, I start thinking: maybe I should start running again. After all, cross-training is good for you, right? Plus my buddy John and I have a tradition of signing up for the Death Valley Marathon each year (I did a writeup on this race back in 2003, posted below as a surprise bonus for people who feel they deserve to be punished), so I ought to start training for it, right?


I’m not going to run.

Ever again.

This is why.


Guilty Relief

Last January, my training for the Death Valley Marathon went especially badly. I was the heaviest I had ever been in my life (around 192 pounds), due to steroids and holiday overindulgence, not to mention some pretty half-hearted training. I was planning to do the marathon with John, but had no expectations of doing much running. I was a very solid back-of-the-pack bet.

So when John called me from the hospital — five days before the race — saying he was going to have to bail on the race, due to the fact that he had had a heart attack that day, I had three reactions:

  • Relief that he was OK.
  • Concern that since John had a heart attack, I was probably at risk, too – he and I are very similar in the way we train, eat, and live.
  • Joy that I now had an ironclad excuse for not doing the race. Not as ironclad as John’s, but close enough.

I have not run since. Man, that sport could kill you.


Irrefutable Logic

I actually understand why runners run. They run for a lot of the same reasons cyclists ride: It’s a good workout. You can do it right out your front door. You get to be outside and see a little bit of the world. When you do it right, you get that endorphin rush and feel great.

Sadly, these reasons are not sufficient. Here is what is wrong with running:

  • It pounds the crud out of you. As you bike and get in better shape, you hurt less and less. That’s because your muscles are getting stronger and you’re not slamming all your weight and force into your joints several times per second. This cannot be said of running. Runners spend all this time stretching and warming up and cooling down, but they all wind up hobbling around with screwed-up joints anyway. Basically, I’m willing to endure muscle soreness because I know that’s part of the process of building fitness. Joint soreness is just the path to more joint soreness.
  • Lack of variety. When I get tired of road biking, I mountain bike. Or I get out the fixie. Or try cyclocross. With running, you get to do what to mix it up? Run really fast instead of at your normal pace? Run on trails instead of road? Maybe skip or hop? Or run backwards? When I bike, I never use an MP3 player, because there’s so much going on, my mind stays plenty busy. When I run, on the other hand, I need an MP3 player desperately. Because otherwise the tedium is Just. Too. Much. Here’s a thought: If an essential part of your exercise gear is a gadget that helps you keep your mind off that exercise, maybe it’s time to switch sports.
  • Lack of cool gear. OK, I admit this is a throwaway point, but if you’re a gear geek like me, you know what I’m talking about. With biking, there’s new frames and components and clothes and helmets and measuring apparatus! With running, there’s shoes (oh yes, lots and lots of shoes) and shorts and … socks? Maybe special running underwear? Headbands?
  • It injures you without giving you a cool scar, nor a story to tell. Both runners and cyclists get injured while doing their thing. That’s just a given. For cyclists, every injury has an accompanying story that can be treasured, tweaked, and told for decades to come. I admit that there have been times when, even as I writhed in pain, a little part of me was working on the description of how bad I hurt. Runners, on the other hand, get to talk about how they were jogging along when — spung! — their kneecaps fell off, due to overuse. Hey, if you’re going to suffer, you may as well have a story to tell. In short: when biking, you accept that something surprising and dangerous may happen to you while you’re biking. With running, you accept that you are injuring yourself because you’re running.

Call to Action

Runners, please: Quit running. Buy a bike. You’ll go faster. You’ll hurt less often. When you do hurt, you’ll have a nice little anecdote to share.

I’m glad I could clear this up for you.


Today’s weight: 159.8. OK, I’m done. Just going to try to keep it here for a few months, then drop to 150 for the race season; I’ll start on that in March.


Clarification of what "I’m Done" means: It just means I’ve hit my goal weight for the off-season. I’m not going to stop writing, I’m not going to stop training, I’m not going to stop dieting, I’m not going to stop going on massive burrito binges. I’m not even going to stop having the Fat Cyclist Weekly Weigh-in Sweepstakes. I’m just going to try to stabilize my weight for a few months before making the next big race season weight loss push, where I’ll try to get as close to 150 as I possibly can.


  1. Comment by pete | 10.14.2005 | 4:01 pm

    "I’m done." Whaddaya mean "I’m done"?I hope you only mean you’re down to your target weight, not that you’re stopping blogging until March! If so, congratulations. Well, congrats anyway but – and I don’t mean to rain on your parade here – I know I always find it more difficult to get out on the bike over the winter and end up putting on a stone or something ridiculous.

  2. Comment by Unknown | 10.14.2005 | 4:32 pm

    Congrats on the breaking the 160 barrier!Where is the pic for all of your female readers?

  3. Comment by Unknown | 10.14.2005 | 4:53 pm

    Okay first of all – Craig. Wouldn’t it have been more apropriate for a ‘female’ reader to ask to see a picture so the female readers could see slimmy?As for making sub-160. Nice job. I’m hoping to achieve exactly the same thing over the next couple of months (shift downwards from 172 to 155 before racing starts next year). Live the life of a 155 pound guy and you’ll have no worries. Did you ever have your Dr.’s appt? Maybe I missed it – I figured your healthier diet would have been dictated by now.As for waiting until March to get into shape for racing? I supose that means I should not invite you to do The 24-Hours of Old Pueblo in Tucson, Arizona in February (as part of a four-man team with two of my AZ friends). The only way to stay in shape through winter is to have an impending race. If you’re mind is set that you don’t have to think about fitness until March, you’ll slip. And yes, you need a break. But take a couple weeks off now and start training again in November. You’ll have a decent base by Feb.As for running – yuck. Why anyone would ever run is beyond me.Keep up the good work.

  4. Comment by Unknown | 10.14.2005 | 4:59 pm

    I wish I could edit a comment. I read my own typos and just shudder. And I call myself a professional. :(

  5. Comment by Unknown | 10.14.2005 | 5:18 pm

    see, I am a runner, and for the life of me, i cannot enjoy biking. I do tri-athalons in the summer, so i have to train on my road bike… but after 45 minutes, i start singing to myself to keep it going. I must say, that the scenery changes a lot more when i’m on my bike, then when i’m running… but i still can’t stop myself from running. i was thinking about it yesterday how i need to start getting out on my bike more since i can get a better work out in before it gets dark out… but i still can’t stop from running. And we do have cool gear… like heart rate monitors, reflector vests, and shorts with underwear built in. I will give you one thing though, running does do a number on your joints.

  6. Comment by Unknown | 10.14.2005 | 5:21 pm

    fatty,Thanks for the welcome back; you are too kind. I just bought a pair of running shoes as my girlfriend runs and we are going to run together and I am reminded about how right you are about running. Geez. Well, she lives near trails so maybe it will be ok. Having lost many pounds this year and feeling slim trim and terrific, I REALLY want to keep the lard at bay. Although I vow to cyclo cross or MTB in the winter, I do live in Minnesota so it never happens. I must point out that you omitted one of my favorite cycling realities: the ability to hammer on or out-sleaze guys you are riding with by using wisdom, guile, low morals, drafting, or distraction to win the city sign sprints or drop them on the hills or whatever. In running, it pretty much comes down to fitness and I get my butt waxed every time. It is a brutal sport. No place to hide. Congratulations on the weight thing. And what DID the Doctor say?

  7. Comment by Zed | 10.14.2005 | 5:31 pm

    I guess you answered my question from the Death Valley entry. I’m about to make a confession: I used to really enjoy running. It wasn’t anything I’d ever do for longer than a half hour, but I really liked the workout. I used to convert other people to running. I once talked a girl off a bike and into running, and two years later she ran a marathon. Now for another confession: I wrecked my knees while I was still a teenager. I got my mom to sign the release form for football in my senior year after a doctor told me not to play. That’s one of the reasons I have on my list for riding around on a bike in spandex now. I still like the workout running gives (cf. my blog), but I’d prefer to run faster over shorter distances. I know sprinting’s not really a middle-aged person sport, but it’s intense and I like that.Congrats on the weight loss. Good luck maintaining it through the holidays.

  8. Comment by Unknown | 10.14.2005 | 5:48 pm

    I’ve never really understood running, there are maybe four of us in my neighborhood that bike for exercise or fun every day, but there must be 50 or 60 people that run….all sweating like pigs and breasts heaving everywhere. What exactly are in these running magazines that change month to month? Maybe i’m just jealous cuz I look like a complete tool when I run. I probably look like a complete tool when I bike too, but at least i’m going fast enough to miss the laughing.

  9. Comment by Jim | 10.14.2005 | 6:10 pm

    kneecaps falling off! That’s priceless. I can’t wait for the FatCyclist book. Keep it up.

  10. Comment by Unknown | 10.14.2005 | 6:23 pm

    Please keep blogging. I need something to lighten up my day. We are now in the eighth day of rain during what is my favorite time of year for my outdoor activities (mostly hiking). The leaf peeper businesses are seriously bumming. A highlight of the week was receiving my chain link bracelet. Way cool and thanks to your wife.

  11. Comment by Unknown | 10.14.2005 | 7:11 pm

    Interesting to read right before lunch while I’m contemplating a run or a ride. Here’s why I usually run. To get the same workout on a bike as I get on a 45 minute 5 mile run, I have to ride an hour and a half. I wish I had an hour and a half lunch hour plus time to shower.So it’s time to dig out the MP3 player and drop a few kneecaps…(current weight >175)

  12. Comment by Robert | 10.14.2005 | 7:21 pm

    A few years ago, I thought the absolute coolest race I could enter was an offroad ironman triathlon: 3-mile swim, 112-mile mountain bike ride, and 26-mile trail run. My swimming and cycling were fine, but my running needed work. While doing an 18-mile training run, my — kneecap fell off. No, but I did ruin my knee. Bone cysts. After surgery, the doctor told me to never run more than 10k, ever, for the rest of my life, for time and all eternity. The warning means nothing. I can’t run more than a mile without my knee aching. I miss being able to run, especially in the winter. I miss triathlons. I still like cycling, but it’s only part of the picture, goofball.

  13. Comment by Jodi | 10.14.2005 | 7:42 pm

    I just have to say that before Junior was born, I exercised constantly. I’d tried pretty much everything, and always stayed at the same weight. Even when I was a Muay Thai goddess (yeh, I was a badass) working with a very disciplined trainer before combat, same same same. After the advent of Junior, however, I gave up Muay Thai because I decided I couldn’t always be injured while mothering the center of the universe. So I started running. And magically, I’m ten pounds lighter than I ever was before. Running is the only thing I’ve ever done that has made me loose weight. And, listening to music on an MP3 isn’t bad. Yes, I’m the dork running along and singing horribly, but I’m the happy dork, anyway. So, kneecaps be damned. Running makes me not be crazy, and allows me to eat, drink and be merry, while maintaining my girly figure. Um, right….so there.

  14. Comment by Unknown | 10.14.2005 | 8:26 pm

    you should try trail running. cuts down on the pounding. I love trail running for the same reason I love singlespeeding. you get into the zone and your mind wanders into deep meditative thought. No distractions. no cars, no shifting, no music, just you, the trail and your aching knees.

  15. Comment by Unknown | 10.14.2005 | 9:29 pm

    Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! You have done a magnificent job at this weight loss thing! Are you going to post your "after" picture to round out (pardon the expression) the series of before and during? I’m so glad you said you are done now because I expected at any moment to see a name change to AnorexicCyclist or AMereShadowOfMyFormerSelfCyclist.Shoe liners. We have shoe liners! I am actually in training for some far-off marathon, with a doctor/trainer and everything. Not long ago, I actually walked to the end of the block and back, albeit with walker and oxygen. There was alomst a season change before I returned. But you can bet I have the Special Shoes and Shoe Liners… LOL! I think I’ll pay attention to the Kneecap Danger noted here. Given that I already have bad knees, damaged hip joints and fractures in my spine, I think now that I’ll stop when I can walk a long ways at something somewhat faster than a snail’s pace. But I still get to keep the shoes and shoe liners!Hugs and congrats!MuMo

  16. Comment by TCP | 10.14.2005 | 9:50 pm

    Man,You really misunderstand running. You have to ease into it slowly to prevent injury.Cycling, on the other hand, can kill you. I am among the few unfortunate cyclists who sustained injury to my pudendal nerve, or pudendal neuralgia (aka cyclists syndrome). Two surgeries and three years later and I’m on high-dose narcotics to stay sane and am essentially bed-ridden. Can’t sit (not even for a second), can’t walk more than a couple of blocks, definitely will never ride again, and will probably die of some disease caused by a sedentary life like like a heart attack, stroke, diabetes, or blood clot in my legs. So, in short, cycling killed me. So if your pudendal area (between your scrotum and anus) feels tingly, numb, or you have pain while sitting (the last symptom being diagnostic), for God’s sake stay off the bike!That’s why I go by the moniker "Armchair cyclist" now, although "Bed-ridden cyclist in chronic pain" would be more accurate I suspose.Don’t get me wrong, I still love cycling and follow all the major road races. But it can kill you. If I had only run on the other hand, I would probably only have something like creaky knees and chronic shinsplints.The ArmchaircyclistP.S. I don’t post comments much, but I read your blog dailyhttp://parkerpuss.blogspot.com/

  17. Comment by Unknown | 10.14.2005 | 10:54 pm

    I ran the Logan, UT marathon once. It illustrates why running sucks more than almost anything. Here’s a recap:Two days have passed, and I guess I can type; only my legs are completely inoperable. And my nipples (such as they operate) are considerably smaller now than they used to be. I am stupid. But brave. But mostly stupid. I just ran the Top of Utah Marathon in Logan, Utah. I’d never run a marathon before, and I just wanted to see what it was like. I don’t run much, because it hurts. I prefer mountain biking, and easy events like the Leadville 100, the Laramie Range Enduro, and the 24 Hours of Moab. So my marathon training mostly consisted of buying an MP3 player for companionship, and sprinkling a 5- to 8-mile run once a week into my cycling regimen. Turns out I should have run a wee bit more, and mountain biked a skosh less. There were 2 inches of snow at the start, 15 miles up the canyon. We huddled in the buses until they chased us out, about 15 minutes before the gun. The blizzard wasn’t so bad, but it was still dark, for crying out loud. At least I had the right clothing: a short-sleeved Fox (cycling) jersey, and a Marmot light fleece-lined windbreaker, Marmot fleecey tights, and shorts. And a baseball hat. And some North Face windstopper gloves. Did I mention the blizzard? The first 13 miles are hardly worth talking about. I did the first half in almost exactly the same time as when I ran the half-marathon in Moab in March. Running 8-minute miles seemed effortless, I felt great, and I planned on finishing between 3:30 and 3:45. See, the only time I had ever run beyond 13 miles was — wait. I had never run beyond 13 miles. Aside from the half I did in Moab, I’d never been past 8 miles. So I was about to enter entirely uncharted territory. About mile 15, as we exited the canyon, my world changed. I began to feel like a very mean, very small man was chasing me, and hitting me on the legs with a piece of sand-filled garden hose, over and over and over and over again. Somehow I held on to the 8’s until around mile 16, and I even struggled up to about 19 trying to maintain some dignity. But after that, I started walking to, through, and beyond every aid station. I saw my lovely wife at the 19.5-mile mark, and as she ran alongside me in the freezing rain, I could barely hold back the tears, and as she tried to rally my spirits, I could only say, while drool pooled between my lower lip and teeth: "I want to die. I want to lay down in this puddle and die. Kill me now, please." Ignoring my plea, she said: "You can do it. You are going to finish. You’re my hero." And she got back in the van. Nothing had prepared me for the hell, the torture, the living death that was the last 6 miles. When I could bring myself to run, I shuffled, as if I was shackled with a ball and chain. My nipples were bleeding, because I had blithely refused Band-Aids at the start. And the dwarf with the garden hose had picked up his pace, and was now a whirling dervish of hose and pain, slapping all sides of my legs at once in a tornado of kung fu moves and numchuck smacks. He looked an awful lot like an old girlfriend of mine. As I passed each of the last six mile-markers, I would try to associate them with distances I was familiar with. For example, at 20 I thought, "OK, just an easy run around the high school and back." At 21, I just needed to run around the hospital. At 22 it was the church. At 23, my kid’s elementary school. But I hadn’t remembered each of those routes as steeply uphill, covered in a gray, freezing rain, and lined with mean dwarves armed with garden hoses. Oh, the pain. Had anyone approached me in those last 6 miles and said anything that was in the least insulting, demeaning, or even said anything that didn’t imply that I was the most wonderful human being on earth, I would have broken down sobbing, and lay down and died. Fortunately, the volunteers lining the course were well-schooled in their task, and smiled, clapped, cheered, and in general were the nicest people I have ever met. Bless their hearts. Somehow — and most of these last couple of miles are very blurry — I found my way to finish line. Kim, my lovely wife, ran out and helped me across the line in something close to 4 hours and 6 minutes, and the race officials, sensing my fragile state, didn’t disqualify me on account of her assistance. As I crossed the line, I blissfully knelt and kissed the muddy, wet grass in solemn gratitude. Two days later, I could not go down stairs without great pain and embarrassment. I finally rid myself of the bitter dwarf with the garden hose, but I knew his wrath for many days afterward.

  18. Comment by Fat Cyclist | 10.14.2005 | 11:02 pm

    army of cosh – i’m right with you; i always gain weight in the winter, which is part of why i’m putting additional weight loss on hold for a couple of months. right now, if i can just stay put, i figure i’m doing good. i’ll get back to losing weight when i can get out on nice long rides again.craig – thanks man. i’ll post a photo of me @ 160 soon.steve – i did a followup on my dr. visit on this post:http://spaces.msn.com/members/fatcyclist/Blog/cns!1pUmGvi9idWgOodsIbhHUOQA!1711.entryare you serious about doing a 24 hour race in AZ? i would love that. and i would train like mad in order to not shame the team. email me.mummphry – your root problem is that you’re a triathlete. i’ll address that issue soon.jimserotta – instead of buying shoes for yourself, you should have bought a bike for your girlfriend. caloi-rider – hey, don’t feel bad for enjoying running. on a good day, i enjoy it too. i’ve gone on trail runs in deep snow that are some of the funnest workouts i’ve ever had. however, running should be treated as a supplement to biking, not as a sport of its own. as you’ve noticed, it will mess you up.phil – another nice thing about biking v. running is that if a dog chases you, you have a better chance of getting away from it. and failing that, the bike makes a reasonable shield. failing that, it makes a reasonable weapon.formercascadecyclist – there’s going to be a fatcyclist book? i’d like to get a copy. i could crib from it, which would be much easier than making something up every day.northeast sue – everyone who’s received their bracelets have been very happy with them; this has totally made my wife’s week. i’ll pass along that you like yours too(actually, she reads all the comments to this blog, so she’ll see your comment herself). i’m thinking it’s time she takes the next step and starts selling them in some local bike shops.miles – i know, you get a workout much faster with a run than with a ride. and that’s cool. do what you want, man. just don’t come hobbling to me when your joints discombobulate.bob – your BUTT’s a goofball.errorista – you have permission to run whenever you want, primarily due to your muay thai experience, which has enabled you to completely kick my corn if you were ever so inclined.craig – i have good trails around my house, and from time to time i do go trail running. i’m not opposed to running, i’m just opposed to becoming a runner.mumo – shoe liners: i’ll look into that. got anything for the skull-crushing tedium? and hey, no hugging on this blog. armchaircyclist – oh, i eased. i eased. running still sucks, though. sorry about your taint.dug – your story, along with mine, proves — PROVES — that running is evil. we have built an unassailable wall of evidence! or something.

  19. Comment by Ariane | 10.14.2005 | 11:30 pm

    Shoot. i guess like the comment ship has already sailed. It’s not my fault I get home from school so late… Anyway, let alone all the joint problems; running is bad solely because it makes me look completely rediculous. I don’t need running to look like the utter fool that I am, I can do that on my own, thanks. The last time I tried running, half-way up the first hill my arms started flailing around uncontrolably, I had to stop to ease the pain once I’d gotten to the top, and I found myself rolling down the other side after getting my legs tangled. (Yeah…er…I don’t know how I did that; the lookers on probably thought that I threw myself to the ground just for the heck of it.)

  20. Comment by Fat Cyclist | 10.14.2005 | 11:41 pm

    a.toad – seriously, you flailed while running *uphill?* i could understand staggering or even head-lolling, but flailing?

  21. Comment by Ariane | 10.15.2005 | 1:30 am

    Our definitions of "flailing" may differ. I define it as "alternating between doing a limp impression of a flapping chicken, and flinging the arms forward as if to swim through mashed potatoes." of course, this is not far from my usual running form, the only difference in flailing is the intensity of the flapping and flinging.

  22. Comment by knobby tires | 10.15.2005 | 4:08 am

    long time reader, first time commenter;i was training to do tri-athalons this spring, but your latest blog persuaded me otherwise*. i s’pose that’s a sign of an impressionable mind and weak will, but oh well.i just hope you don’t start pushing drugs. i don’t know what i’d do.*that, and the shooting pain in my knees that lasts for days afterwards.

  23. Comment by BIg Mike In Oz | 10.15.2005 | 4:42 am

    Running is fun. Running is fun. Running is fun.Nup. Still doesn’t work. I chanted that mantra for over 2 hours in 1986 when the shin-splint midget with the sand-filled hose was trying to put me in hospital. A 1.2-50-12 triathlon should be no big deal. I was in the local swimming club while at school and as a bike rider my fitness was excellent and I was still a reasonable swimmer. I was out of the water within 3 minutes of the leaders, passed a few during the ride, then… running is fun, running is fun, running is fun. I ended up 80 minutes behind the winner after averaging 12 minute miles. Running is fun, running is fun, running is fun. And so was the knee operation to fix the damage.

  24. Comment by Christina | 10.15.2005 | 4:55 pm

    I think running is awful too. I had to play mental games w/ myself anytime I did the running thing for a while. "Only 10 more steps til that mailbox…only 5 more shuffles til that driveway…if I run from toe to heel for a while, maybe my shins won’t hurt…if I try to kick my own backside every other step, maybe I’ll forget how far away from home I really am…nice-doggy-with-bared-fangs–nice doggy, love scary doggies, please God let them have an invisible fence, nice doggy…-Beast Mom

  25. Comment by Unknown | 10.15.2005 | 8:11 pm

    I suspect something like the following is being repeated at rides around the world.As we were pulling out of the parking lot this morning for our group ride, my "good buddy" Ron rides up along side, taps my left brake, says something like "now how did he say to do that" and rides off to the front cackling like a hyena.You have become an icon.

  26. Comment by Alexandra | 10.15.2005 | 9:18 pm

    You’re right about the inury angle. It’s much more fun to say I blew out my knee and got a concussion falling down a ravine and then had to be piggy-backed out to civilization than it is to say I got achilles tendonitis from running around Green Lake.

  27. Comment by Tom Stormcrowe | 10.16.2005 | 12:00 am

    Hello! You think you are a fat cyclist? You should see me! I’m currently weighing in at 350, down from 581! NO KIDDIN! I’m averaging 20+ miles a day riding and plan to ride competitively next year! Since March this year I’ve gone from wheelchair bound on 10 liters of oxygen to riding a mountain bike! Admittedly, I had a lot of help to achieve this, and if you are interested, check out my blog, "The Amazing Shrinking Man", which is my homepage! Most of the credit for my weight loss is due to my resumiong cycling again as soon as I was able to! I agree wholeheartedly about the damage running does to your body and cycling is always a low impact sport…..well, almost always……sometimes you crash!::GRIN:: By the way, I’m no longer diabetic, off the Oxygen(Except nighttime), and ALL my cardiac meds(Used to be on 19 of them just to stay alive!) maintaining NORMAL blood sugar, blood pressure and heart rate is down to 68 at rest vs 99 before!

  28. Comment by Unknown | 10.16.2005 | 12:36 am

    Ok, I’ve got a pro-running story to tell.For the past number of years, I’ve signed up for the Vancouver Sun Run training clinics. I train for 13 weeks, do the 10K run, and then return to my sedentary ways for the rest of the year. Year after year I am in the "slow walk-run" group which this year they renamed the "Learn to Run" group which made me feel like a slow learner.One of the peculiarities of the run group is that the ration of women to men is about 20 to 1. Don’t know why, but it is consistent from year to year.One beautiful spring day, we were running along the dyke down by the beach when, as we turned the corner, there was a breath of a soft, warm spring breeze rich with the fragrance of all the perfumed soaps my running partners had used that morning. For a moment it was absolutely heavenly.But that’s pretty much it.

  29. Comment by Unknown | 10.16.2005 | 12:43 am

    Pictures, For God’s sake no pictures.John

  30. Comment by Unknown | 10.16.2005 | 1:17 am

    I ran pretty much all my life until I hit 35. I ran track in the spring in high school, ran to keep fit for soccer and hoops and summer TTs, ran all the time (4-8 miles per day) in the Army for nearly a decade, including forced marches with 80 pounds at a sub 10 minute mile pace, and ran to keep in shape for rugby, hockey, and for no apparent reason. Running sucks. It’s awful. Your knees hurt, your back hurts, and if you are lucky and it’s real hot or real cold out, your feet and head hurt too. Your legs ever go numb running? Mine used to, all the time, but it was nice, because the pins and needles distracted me from the acid reflux. Some people swear they enjoy the scenery, but I just don’t get it. When you run, the scenery is bouncing up and down. Slowly. It’s like drinking a shaken beer. Or being inside one. The realization that running really sucks hit me around 3 years ago, when my ankles started to fall apart at age 35. Literally. One of them looks like there is a bag of BBs in the joint, and I’m tussling with a surgeon about maybe getting it cut on. Part of the problem is my natural build. For a few years I kept my bodyfat at 7% – 8% – which put me at around 210-215… and constantly on the ice bags to keep the swelling down. I was really fast for a big dude – I ran a sub-11 two mile into my early 30s, but man, I paid a price. Matter of fact, since rediscovering biking this summer, I found I can ride the bike a long way at a decent training pace, while losing weight (25 pounds so far), having fun, and suffering no joint pain whatsoever, all this in spite of being a solid 60 pounds over my fighting weight. And the scenery doesn’t bounce up and down. Hey, Magnus Backstedt is over 200 pounds, and he looks healthy, is happy in his sport and can freakin’ hammer, yet I defy you to show me one world class marathon or even middle distance runner who even approaches his size. Running may be okay for some kinds of people if they have the right kind of body (first pre-requisite) and the right attitude. It’s not okay for me, and from the sounds of most of the commenters here, it’s notso-hotso for them either. And besides – any sport that doesn’t encourage you to drink strong coffee while doing it and eat a pastry afterwards, probably isn’t worth doing. Well, except for rugby and cricket – I’ll make exceptions for sports involving mandatory cucumber sandwiches / tea breaks, or compulsory post-match boozing.

  31. Comment by Sun Goddess | 10.16.2005 | 6:48 pm

    Whenever I mention I eat mayo on my fries I get grossed out reactions. I’m grateful I didn’t get that reaction again. We don’t have a Training Table restaurant nearby so I’ll try the fries with cheddar cheese, mayo, and bbq sauce at home. Thanks for the tip.

  32. Comment by Unknown | 10.16.2005 | 9:18 pm

    Well, my friend Karl & I had the Green Drive Five scheduled for today, a 5 mile run. We decided that we would bike to the start as a kind of warm up. As I cycled to Karl’s, I couldn’t help thinking how fantastic cycling is compared to running. I picked Karl up and we carried on to the start of the race & he commented on how nice cycling was. We did the race, don’t really know how Karl did, but I did 42 mins & felt comfortable, which met my goal of under 45mins. Karl seemed to have enjoyed it as well. As we rode back to Karl’s, I couldn’t help thinking how much nicer cycling is!

  33. Comment by Jay | 10.17.2005 | 5:35 am

    Fattie, Fattie, Fattie…what are we going to do with you? I’d started to write a really nasty response on your blog but decided I wasn’t in the mood to start a true blog war. At least not right now. I’ll do that later after I’ve figured out how people whose sport requires thousands of dollars worth of equipment think that they’re competing with the sport of the gods. Or why I have to ride <B>Four Times As Long</B> to get the same type of cardio workout. Or why I have to come up with different types of gear for each terrain. If I decide I’m bored with running on the road, I run on a trail. If I decide I’m bored with running on the trail, I run up a mountain. If I’m bored of running up mountains, I’ll go hammer some intervals on the track. And, for the record, I never listen to an MP3 player while I’m running (unless I’m doing one of those inside stairmaster thingees but that’s not really a workout). Remind me to take you running at some point.

  34. Comment by BIg Mike In Oz | 10.17.2005 | 10:07 am

    Jay, Jay, Jay… what are we going to do with you? I started to write a really nasty response on your message and decided to finish it.Running is pre-historic, literally. I notice that you have a computer. How much time do you spend tinkering with the abacus? How about a down home example – some NASCAR fans love Dale Jarrett, some love Dale Earnhardt even though he’s been dead for nearly 5 years.For every $1000 spent on a bike, $100 is spent on a comparable quality running shoe. Except bikes last for years, shoes last for weeks. If your running shoes don’t get replaced every 4-6 weeks you are either destroying your joints faster than the average runner or you aren’t a serious runner. Consumables on bikes are tyres ($15), tubes ($5) and handlebar tape ($15). Handlebar tape and tubes can last years, tyres about 4-6 weeks for a serious rider. Having more than 1 bike is personal choice. And all terrains remain available to the person who selects the right 1 bike. I’m sure you don’t run a mountain trail in you “Carl Lewis track spikes”. If I decide I’m bored with riding on the road, I ride on the paths. If I decide I’m bored with riding on the paths, I ride in the scrub. If I decide I’m bored with riding in the scrub, I ride on the velodrome. If I decide I’m bored with riding on the velodrome, I ride the rollers and watch a DVD at the same time. I don’t need an MP3 player, the bird sing to me and my tyres hum to me. Remind me to take you cycling some time.

  35. Comment by Zed | 10.17.2005 | 2:50 pm

    P.S. to Jay,If you really have to ride four times as long to get a comparable cardio working from cycling then you’re probably not doing it right. I’ve never met a jogger yet who can keep his or her heart rate at 195 for a half hour. If you can, feel free to correct me.

  36. Comment by Tom Stormcrowe | 10.19.2005 | 3:47 am

    Actually, you burn just over twice the calories with cycling that you do running, or more depending on your pace! 20 mph average and you burn 3 times as many! You get FAR less joint styress as well and a better cardio workout. The only excercise better than cycling is swimming! Mountain biking for example at race pace burns 1500+ calories per hr vs 730/hr running. I’mnot kidding, you burn more watts, you produce more ATP, you accelerate the Kreb Cycle and Glycolosis! It’s just by far better metabolically speaking as well as stress anatomically at the joints!

  37. Comment by Olivia | 03.29.2006 | 11:45 pm

    I cannot tell you how many stories I have heard of people who have knee problems because of running.  The little known truth is you only hurt yourself running if you’re doing it incorrectly.  And yes, there is a correct way to run…

  38. Comment by Unknown | 03.30.2006 | 12:03 am

    I absolutely love to run…
    and I’m a pretty avid cyclist too

  39. Comment by Unknown | 03.30.2006 | 12:10 am

    if running’s not your thing, fine..some people just aren’t cut out for it. running’s a more intense activity than biking- for example, it’s much easier to ride a bike for an hour than run for an hour. when i finished my century ride, i think that might’ve impressed one cycling-nut relative. when i finished my first marathon, everyone who heard about it congratulated me and asked me all about it. also, there recently was a study done where people who ran a lot of mileage every week as opposed to people who never run, developed arthritis significantly less and were overall in better health. non-runners just like to keep telling themselves that running beats up the body so much it’s bad for you, to make themself feel better.. but running really is the best way to stay in shape, and you’re using more muscles of your body, also. if your body tells you that you aren’t up for running, just stick to cycling, but lay off the criticism of running just because it isn’t for you. thanks

  40. Comment by Ruby Dereck | 03.30.2006 | 12:54 am

    I am so with you on both running and swimming.  Painful on so many levels.  You did however fail to include the humilation of wearing next to nothing in public.  Some bodies are just better with clothes on.  Since you are not female you many not realize it is also dangereous, humilating and painful to run if you are largebreasted.  Everseen a large woman in a triathalon?  Ever been slapped in the face by bouncing tissue.  To enjoy either sport you should already be smaller than the average American and have oodles of self confidence.  Cyclying is a genlter mor civilized i can go at my own pace and pick my own path and get home much sooner though traveling further.  Cyclyists untie!  or is that dyslexics?

  41. Comment by Louis | 03.30.2006 | 2:09 am

    What I’d like to know is, what excercise can I do regularly that will still maintain an ability to run the 1.5 mile in ten minutes, yet I never run except once a year?  I have physical readiness tests for being in the reserves, but I hate training for the running part.
    Anyone have any success on running fast for 1-3 mile distances by practicing a different cardio routine?

  42. Comment by Unknown | 03.30.2006 | 3:05 am

    This thread reminds me very much of something I heard 10 or so years ago, "It’s better to be rich than right." We  spend so much time trying to "prove" one sport is better than another sport. And for what? So we can applaud ourselves for being in the "better" sport or the "right" sport? Doesn’t seem to smart to me.
    If you enjoy whatever your recreation happens to be, keep doing it…and be happy in the fact you’re not watching your life pass by…on the couch, Big Mac in one hand, Doritos in the other.
    P.S. And yes, I continue to enjoy both sports equally.

  43. Comment by Unknown | 03.31.2006 | 5:20 am

    I commuted for a while on a route that included a couple miles of bike path.  It amazed me the percentage of runners who had headphones – conservatively 95%.  They were frequently startled by by passing even though I had a bell.  Could be natural selection at work.
    You should consider, however, that cycling is too complicated for some people; all those levers to operate while simultaneously trying to stay upright. The number of people you see riding around town in the small chainring/small cog combination should convince you.  I know someone who gave up cycling for running because she crashed while fumbling with her gears.
    As buddy of mine says, "what’s the difference between cyclists & runners?".  "The cyclists are smiling."


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