You Can’t Run to Get Fit, You Need to Be Fit to Run.


The title for this installment is stolen from a brilliant Canadian physical therapist named Diane Lee. I had the pleasure of listening to her speak in 2004 and this thought process was one of the many gems I took away.  This may be confusing to many as I’ve always advocated working at higher intensity to burn more calories and lose weight more efficiently. Here is the problem as Diane Lee so eloquently put it. Running is a poor choice for most people. I often talk about the group of people I like to call the “speed limpers”. They are the men and women you often drive by on the road that are running with a visible limp. Usually they have a knee sleeve of some kind on. When you ask them about their problem they will almost always reply “ it loosens up after a while and then I ice and take some Advil after”. What a lousy idea. Guess what, good exercise should make you tired but, shouldn’t hurt your joints. The discomfort should be limited to the muscles and should go away almost immediately after you are done. In my opinion running is only good for doctors and physical therapists. We have an entire cottage industry built up to take care of the injuries caused by running.

The reality is that most people are not made to run. More importantly, they are particularly not made to run long distances. Until the Cooper led aerobics craze of the seventies many of us didn’t know what a plantar fascia, iliotibial band or patella-femoral joint was. Most of us in the industry do now. We know because these are just a few of the litany of sites of injury afflicting runners.

More bad news. Running is even worse for women. Women runners seem to to sustain more running related injuries than men.

My recommendation. High intensity exercise is best done on a bike. The best bikes are the Schwinn AirDyne dual action bikes. They are the best work tools on the planet for fitness.  Not surprisingly most people who ever ridden an AirDyne hate it. Do you know why? Because it is really hard and nearly impossible to cheat. You can’t slump over or lean on the handle bars. I know this will anger the runners. The truth is I’m not trying to stop runners from running. I’m just trying to stop fitness enthusiasts from needlessly hurting themselves.

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30 Responses to “You Can’t Run to Get Fit, You Need to Be Fit to Run.”

  1. […] Mike Boyle says so often: “There are two types of runners, either in training or […]

  2. mboyle1959 Says:

    Nice to see that people still read the old ones.

  3. May I simply just say what a relief to discover someone who actually knows what they’re discussing over the internet. You certainly know how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More people have to check this out and understand this side of your story. I was surprised you are not more popular because you certainly possess the gift.

  4. Good article, keep up the quality work.

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