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I’d like to think that I’m in pretty good shape for a 40 year old. In fact, I would argue that I’m in better shape now at 40 than I was at 20. I feel I owe a large part of that to running. I wasn’t in bad shape when I started running 18 months ago, but I certainly wasn’t in the shape I am now. As soon as I started running regularly (25 – 35 miles per week) nearly 30 lbs and a 5% body fat disappeared like magic.
As great as running has been though, it does beat up the body, especially if you run 2 marathons in 2 weeks.
After the Providence marathon my legs were worn out, particularly my right knee. So I took 2 weeks and self-rehabbed by laying off the running. I tried to keep up my cardio health by hopping on the elliptical or swimming laps, and I think I pretty much succeeded. That said, I noticed both in the mirror and on the scale, that I was getting a little soft around the edges. It wasn’t a lot, and I’m pretty sure nobody noticed but me. I was a little surprised in that I felt that I was doing a pretty good job of maintaining activity and effort. Still, the scale over those two weeks jumped 10 pounds, so I was obviously not working as hard.
This week I started running again. On Monday I went out for an easy 7 miler and on Wednesday I went out for a hard 5 miler in 92° heat. Nothing unusual about that, I know. But this is where I become ever more convinced of the tremendous power of running. Since Monday, half the weight gain has disappeared and when I looked in the mirror this morning when I got up, the figure I saw standing before me was a lot more focused. The softness was gone. 2 days of running and I can feel and see the difference.
That’s the power of running.
I know that swimming is supposed to be the best overall exercise for your body and that the elliptical is supposed to be much better for your knees, but I am more convinced than ever that the closest thing to a miracle pill is running.
It just works.