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Old 01-07-2008, 09:29 AM   #1
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Default Why (Most) Women Shouldn't Run

I'm interested in everyone's thoughts on this article. I found it interesting and am inclined to agree with it.

Why (Most) Women Shouldn't Run

Saturday, 13 January 2007
Courtesy of "Core Performance"

The answer is a word that starts with P and ends with S and is not "plastics."


By Michael Boyle
I really like Diane Lee's quote, "You can't run to get fit, you need to be fit to run." In fact, I've used it in numerous presentations and articles. It really resonates with me. Simple, to the point.

I'm going to take the idea one step further. I'm not sure most women should run. When I say this in seminars, it really pisses off the female runners. Sorry, I'm not worried about you; I'm worried about all the other women. If you are a runner and healthy, read on, but realize that you are the exception, not the rule.

I'm going to go from bad to worse. Here's a riddle for you.

Q- What do most female runners look like?

A- Male runners.

Ever ask yourself why? I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Women who run successfully for long periods of time were made to run. They look just like men runners. Good female runners generally do not look like plus-size models. It's not a question of cause and effect; it's a question of natural selection. You can't run to get that cute little runner's body. It's actually reversed. You have to have that cute little runner's body to survive running.

Why do I say this? Two simple reasons. Anatomy and physics. My favorite two sciences. No matter how hard you try or how well you eat, you can't change your skeleton. The problem with most women and running comes down to something they call Q angle in sportsmedicine. I won't bore you with the details, but it boils down to this. Wider hips make for narrow knees. This angle of hip to knee creates problems. Problems are magnified based on the number of steps. The average person gets about 1500 foot strikes per mile. Do the math on your 5-mile run. Running produces forces in the area of two to five times bodyweight per foot contact. Do we need more math?

Let's go back to our elite female runner. Look at her body. You will generally see two things. She has narrow hips and she has small breasts. I know, there may be exceptions, but at the elite level, I doubt it. One thought process would say, Great, my hips and breasts will decrease in size if I run. The other thought process is more logical. Women with larger breasts and wider hips don't make good runners. It is the same logic as why there are no large gymnasts or figure skaters. Physics. Big people rotate slower. Natural selection rules it out.

So what happens when a "normal" woman begins to run? She becomes a statistic. She becomes a physical-therapy client as she tries to shovel you-know-what against the tide. Her wider knees cause her to develop foot problems or most likely knee problems. Her greater body weight causes greater ground reaction forces. Greater ground reaction forces stress muscle tissue and breast tissue. Get my drift yet? The end result is likely to be hurt and saggy instead of the cute and little.

The bottom line: Running is not good for most females. If you want higher-intensity exercise, ride a stationary bike. Take a spin class, use a stairclimber, and don't run.

PS- The best stuff is the hard stuff. Use the AirDyne Bike or the StepMill. Don't take the easy way out.




By the way - the "word" he was talking about was "physics". Get your mind out of the gutter.
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Every morning a lion wakes up knowing that it must run faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death.
It makes no difference whether you are a lion or a gazelle - when the sun comes up, you better be running!


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Old 01-07-2008, 10:23 AM   #2
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Makes sense. Jess would be happy to read this, she hates running.
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Old 01-07-2008, 10:46 AM   #3
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jamie too.

i had no idea what word to think of, but after i saw 'physics' a few words in...duh.
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Old 01-07-2008, 11:25 AM   #4
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Do you know of any other articles to back this up? My resolution for this year was to run a 5k every quarter. I don't want to do that if I'm asking for an injury. Any time I start running a lot I seem to get sick and feel exhausted. I also tend to get shin splints really easy. My knees are also bad anyway...

What about sprinting and such? He doesn't differentiate short distance running and long distance.
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Old 01-07-2008, 11:30 AM   #5
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Whether it's right or wrong in general, I think it's right for me. With the exception of short sprints, running kills my feet and my knees. I do not have the body mechanics for running. Obviously that doesn't give me an excuse to NOT exercise.
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Old 01-07-2008, 11:31 AM   #6
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Hmm...I think L might not like this article. But it might explain why she has hip and knee pain when she does run.

I can see us investing in a nice bike for her soon.
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Old 01-07-2008, 11:46 AM   #7
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Yeah, it just makes sense. Some women (and some men) just seem to be built to run. While others are not. And I thought the insight into potential problems from the specific structure of one's anatomy was interesting and something I had not thought of.

And like Leah pointed out - it's not an excuse to not exercise or not do cardio. This article is about long-distance "road running". If you don't feel you are made for long-distance running, there are other options.

Like Mike said in his close:

Quote:
The bottom line: Running is not good for most females. If you want higher-intensity exercise, ride a stationary bike. Take a spin class, use a stairclimber, and don't run.

PS- The best stuff is the hard stuff. Use the AirDyne Bike or the StepMill. Don't take the easy way out.
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Every morning a lion wakes up knowing that it must run faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death.
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Old 01-07-2008, 03:21 PM   #8
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Sorry, that was my point...what I was trying to ask. If you do sprints or 30 minutes on the treadmill, are you setting yourself up for an injury? I'm naturally very hourglass shaped, so this would definitely apply to me. I'm not going to do any long distance running anytime soon...meaning no marathons for moi. But 3-4 miles isn't long distance, is it? Well, after reviewing the article, the answer seems to be a yes.

I just don't want to use this article as an excuse not to get off my keister and run. I don't like running, but I thought it was good for you. If it's not then there isn't a compelling reason for me to do it. I can just go swim or jump rope or take a boxing class instead. I guess the kind of cardio you do doesn't matter, but I thought sprinting/running was one of the best things you could do?
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Old 01-07-2008, 03:25 PM   #9
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Sprinting is different. It's short and over with. Typically done on grass or soft track, too.

Clocking a lot of miles on the road (2+ mile runs frequently) is more what results in repeated pounding on your joints and such.

Treadmill is also different because the bed/track usually has a fair amount of cushion to it...so you'd likely have less issues on a treadmill than pounding the pavement.
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Every morning a lion wakes up knowing that it must run faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death.
It makes no difference whether you are a lion or a gazelle - when the sun comes up, you better be running!


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Old 01-07-2008, 03:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fireproof View Post
Sprinting is different. It's short and over with. Typically done on grass or soft track, too.

Clocking a lot of miles on the road (2+ mile runs frequently) is more what results in repeated pounding on your joints and such.

Treadmill is also different because the bed/track usually has a fair amount of cushion to it...so you'd likely have less issues on a treadmill than pounding the pavement.
lol all our runs on the road and are typically in the 3-5 mile range
maybe ill think twice the next time i see a female fall out of the run
i bet this could explain my shin splints too
when i run on a treadmill they dont even hurt
road runs, man they KILL!
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Old 01-07-2008, 03:41 PM   #11
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Here's a sarcastic yet serious reply from Lyle McDonald on the topic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lyle
I don't think running is very good for most people

what happens is that the people who are built to run tend to project their success onto the majority who are not built to run.

put differently, except for being bad for the ankles, knees and back, I think running is a great way to exercise
And here's some interesting commentary from another member on one of the contributing factors to why running is non-ideal for many:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaf
Concrete and asphalt - I mean, seriously, you might as well have someone bang on your legs with a piece of rebar. Not only is the surface really, really bad for running because it's hard, it's also really really flat. What does that mean? Every single stride, every foot strike, hits the ground the same exact way. What's that a recipe for? Overuse injuries.

To correct this is pretty damn easy. Trail running. Grass running. Running over uneven ground. No foot strike is ever the same, and you run with a dramatically heightened awareness, due to the natural ground you are running over. The second fix...vary the pace.
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In Africa, every morning a gazelle awakens knowing that it must outrun the fast lion if it wants to stay alive.
Every morning a lion wakes up knowing that it must run faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death.
It makes no difference whether you are a lion or a gazelle - when the sun comes up, you better be running!


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Old 01-07-2008, 03:49 PM   #12
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http://www.chiroweb.com/archives/21/21/02.html

http://www.oandp.org/jpo/library/2000_04_110.asp Sort of relates...mostly posted it because of this quote: "...those athletes participating in cross-country, track, recreational running, hiking, soccer, and basketball. Recreational sports involving uphill and downhill motion tend to exacerbate the problem significantly. "

Hrmm...I'm seeing this a lot...just put up the last bit to reply to those that said to get on the stairmaster. DO NOT GET ON THE STAIR MASTER thinking you're doing something better than running. It's actually worse. Plus, doesn't seem like running on an incline or decline is too great for ya either.

I did read somewhere while researching this that strength training (squats was mentioned woot) helped to reduce stress on your knees. Something about the quad should be twice as big as the hamstrings?
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Old 01-07-2008, 08:46 PM   #13
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running hurts my knees and hips pretty badly so i've stopped doing it as much as i used to...i am not the "running woman" I have hips so maybe I now know why i was in pain.
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Old 01-08-2008, 06:03 AM   #14
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Outside of soccer, running for me is not only just a bore but it tends to give me shin splints, my feet ache and it does not feel good all over. Nice to have an excuse now! ETA: I always thought that the aches I felt while running were attributed to the fact that I wasn't used to running and wasn't in running shape.

I was also wondering if sprints were considered differently as soon as I read this. Sprints seem to treat me a little differently than just straight running. I'm glad someone else picked up on this difference.

I have also read that your quad strength is usually greater than hamstring strength (causing a lot of injuries if the difference is extreme), but I can't remember whether it should be greater by a certain margin or not. Ok, I just Googled this and saw 2:1 or 3:2 difference in quad vs hamstring strength.
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Old 01-08-2008, 06:56 AM   #15
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For those who get shin splints, next time you run be cognizant of how your feet are landing. See if your big toes taking the majority of the landing
pressure, or if you tend to roll onto all of your others. I've found that focusing on keeping my big toes in line to hit the ground and take the load, that I can actually run without pain - and pretty darn well at that. Before such I couldn't go far at all.
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Old 01-08-2008, 12:50 PM   #16
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Thanks Dave, I'll have to look into that.
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Old 01-09-2008, 12:04 AM   #17
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Someone told me awhile back that a toe-lift exercise can also help with shin splints. Sit up against the wall with legs together and knees bent so your heels are pretty close to your butt. Put a 10 or 25 or 35 or 45 lb plate over your toes and then just raise your toes (with the weight) up a few inches. I used to do these quite a bit, really burned the muscles along my shins when I'd do 4 or 5 sets of 20 reps. I hardly ever run, but since doing these I haven't had any troubles with shin splints (which may very well be just coincidence but whatever).
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Old 01-09-2008, 01:45 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thread Title
Why (Most) Women Shouldn't Run
LOL, for a second I thought this was going to be another "iron my shirt" bit about Hillary!
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Old 01-09-2008, 06:28 AM   #19
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Also if you get shin splints be sure to stretch your calves(often) and do toe raises put a dumbell or a cable machine handle on your toe and pull your toes up. Gets rid of mine every time. Most of the time shin splints arent shin splints its the muscle. I think real shin splints have to do with small holes in your shin bone or something.
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Old 01-09-2008, 09:31 AM   #20
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Shin splints are caused by the tendons pulling away from the bone and taking tiny splinters of bone with them.
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Old 01-09-2008, 10:49 AM   #21
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I am a terrible runner. Not only do I hate it, but I hurt all over, especially my shins, no matter how uch I stretch or warm up.

Plus I was told I run like a duck....
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Old 01-09-2008, 02:28 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leah View Post
Shin splints are caused by the tendons pulling away from the bone and taking tiny splinters of bone with them.
Okay, I'm never running again.
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Old 01-09-2008, 05:23 PM   #23
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Now I know why Baywatch had to go off the air. it wouldnt be the same without the running.
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Old 01-09-2008, 06:01 PM   #24
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I used to run every day and LOVED it. I liked the solitude of it, the wind in my hair, the rhythmic sound of my shoes hitting the dirt. I found it very meditative and calming, not to mention a great cardio workout. Then one day my knees said "enough!" and I had to give it up. Believe me, I fought like mad to keep it but ultimately common sense took over! LOL!

The "outdoors" cardio replacements I've since found for it are rollerblading and powerwalking. Neither feel as good to me but powerwalking comes darn close. And it's much easier on my joints and stuff.

I have to agree that running is hard on the body, especially on asphalt and concrete as per that Shaf quote FP put up. It's a shame that it falls into that same category as so many other things - if it feels good or tastes good it's probably bad for you! Drat!
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Old 01-09-2008, 08:43 PM   #25
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I was on a rollerblading kick for a while back before I got married. I'd go out after dark, put on my tunes, and blade all over the place. Like you said - the solitude and wind in my hair was really relaxing. And since I hate running, that was perfect for me.

My wife and I used to rollerblade together before we had kids. One day we'll be doing it as a family.
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Every morning a lion wakes up knowing that it must run faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death.
It makes no difference whether you are a lion or a gazelle - when the sun comes up, you better be running!


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