You Can’t Run To Get Fit. You Need To Get Fit To Run

By: Tony Gentilcore, CSCS, CPT


Above is a quote that I “stole” from Mike Boyle whom I am sure “stole” it from someone else (I think it was Diane Lee actually).

The fact of the matter is, most (read: not all) people shouldn’t be running (especially women). What’s the first thing that women do to get into shape? They hightail it to the local store and buy a new pair of pearly white running shoes and go for a jog outside. What’s the first piece of equipment that women will gravitate towards if they have never set foot in a gym before? The treadmill. And more often than not, both scenarios DO NOT look pretty.

I watch some of these women running (you too men, you’re not off the hook) and it just looks painful. How can they possibly think that this is good for them? I can walk on a floor of broken glass barefoot and that would be less painful than watching some of these women run.

In all actuality, running is a fairly advanced form of exercise. Within any given mile, there are about 1500 foot strikes. Ask any personal trainer or strength coach if they would EVER allow an elite athlete (let alone your average soccer mom) to perform a plyometric protocol that calls for 1500 foot strikes on a daily basis consistently, and I am willing to bet you will get some perplexed looks. Yet, day in and day out, I will see women who are 20-30 lbs overweight trudging over to the treadmill to get their 3 miles in.

Why is running not so great for women? Well, there are a few, but the main one boils down to the Q-angle. Women, by nature have a greater Q-angle compared to men (wide hips, narrow knees) which predisposes them to a number of problems that aren’t normally an issue for men.

Please understand, that I am NOT saying that running is “bad” for all women, nor am I saying that it is “bad” in general. But what I am saying is that there are better ways to get into shape. And that’s the point…you need to be in shape to run. In doing so, you’re body will be able to handle the stress MUCH more efficiently and you will be less prone to all of those nagging injuries that come with being a runner.

I HIGHLY suggest you read this article written by Mike Boyle: “Why (Most) Women Shouldn’t Run” and read it with an objective eye and really make an effort to understand what he is trying to say. After reading the article, read Mike’s follow up article here. Needless to say, people tend to read what they want to read and often times miss the point of certain articles. If you’re already an “elite” runner or have been running for years with no problems, then obviously “we” are not referring to you and these articles and blog post aren’t meant for you. But for MANY MANY people out there, this information is so very important.

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6 Responses

  1. HY says:

    …guilty. years ago when I decided to quit being a fat ass I ran a mile to start every training session, sometimes I ran afterwards, too.

    I suppose I (and most fat people who run) did it because I associated ‘fit’ with ‘runners’… and I just didn’t know any better (i just went to gym without reading anything and assumed I knew what to do… and I ended up at leg extension).

    good or bad, my desire to run died when I started to squat and dead lift.

  2. Racer says:

    I’m with you on this Tony, I have used running in the past as a great way of losing bodyfat but I now consider the long term damage to my knees as an unacceptable trade off.

  3. Dpak says:

    Thanks Tony

    I will send this article to all my female friends who are into staying fit.

    To stay fit I also did a lot of running in the past and I did it daily but after I discovered the results a weight room can give me I never went back to running the same way again and I am so damn frustrated at all the years I had waisted running.

    The worst thing about this is that other people who think they know what they are talking about will come and tell you that running is the only way to stay fit and nothing you say can convince them otherwise

  4. Allen says:

    I hadn’t read part 2 of MB’s post and just read through all the comments on that blog he posted on there. Talk about highly deluded individuals on there.

  5. Linda says:

    I agree that you need to be fit to run! I’ve been running and racing for 22 years. I’ve had a few injuries, but nothing serious. I have also been lifting weights longer than that. I know that is the reason I’ve been able to run so long. I’ve watched all the people (men and woman), who NEVER lift weights, get sidelined with one injury after another. Plus, I like looking muscular and not gaunt.

  6. Donna says:

    Even more alarming are those that already have knee issues and will “wrap” their knee with some sort of tensor/brace and then proceed to run.
    Second observation is that they have to hold onto the railing of the treadmill when they run.