Jogging IS terrible. “But terrible is such a strong word”. That is why I use it. It is my contention that there is NO benefit and undue HARM caused by jogging.
Let me clarify Jogging. This is the act of repeatedly running consecutive distances of 2 or more miles at a pace slower than 8 minutes/mile. If you aren’t running that fast you should speed up and shorten your distance.
People have the goal of “running a 5k” in two months from the couch, or the goal of “just finishing” a marathon, or “getting in shape”. These are not periods of life-long improvement, they are moments of stupidity and harm interposed between months or years of laziness.
Yes, I’m being harsh, but I feel strongly about this. I have treated MANY people for issues that are the result of nothing more than bodily neglect followed by abuse. They ignore their movement systems, create horrid imbalances by sitting around, then abuse these systems by putting it through an incredible load for little to no value; they wind up with shin splints, Achilles tendinosis, “runners knee”, IT band pain, or back problems.
Let me first explain what jogging is mechanically and then I’ll explain the two major ways it is terrible:
There are two distinct movements in the human system involving forward locomotion. One is walking and the other is sprinting.
- Walking – Walking was meant to carry us for incredible distances by using very little energy. The mechanics and loading mechanism shows just this. Using muscles are TAXING to our metabolism and thus walking uses very little of them. It instead places the forces on our bones, ligaments, and cartilege. Because walking is a relatively slow cadance and there is little vertical movement the tissues handle it easily and without issue. They rarely break down from this (unless someone is abnormally heavy) and the person conserves energy and their connective tissues stay intact.
- Sprinting - Sprinting is meant to carry us short distances extremely quickly by using a great deal of energy. Sprinting uses every muscle in our body to its fullest potential and is burns a great deal of energy. In doing so it saves our joints and bones by loading the muscles in a shock absorbing manner because otherwise the bones and joints would break down beyond repair. Thus, sprinting and walking look entirely different and should be used for different purposes.
- The problem with Jogging is that people often speed up their walk instead of slowing down their sprint to move greater distances. Elite 100m sprinters and elite marathoners look nearly identical in their mechanics. Hell, elite marathoners are essentially sprinting for 26.2 miles; running faster for the first mile than most can for only one. Speeding up the walk leads to the two issues that make jogging terrible. It increases injury rates by increasing a load on a movement not meant to handle that load. Walking does not spare joints but is safe at low loads. Jogging is not low load. It also does not burn energy at a greater rate than walking and not NEARLY as much as sprinting. By hardly loading the muscles, jogging does not increase energy burn from walking by an appreciable rate compared to sprinting. This means, you don’t “get into shape” any faster than walking for the same distance.
Jogging is terrible because it does not help you reach your goal any faster than walking, it helps you reach it FAR SLOWER than occasional sprint intervals, and it ups your injury rate to keep you from your goal. My suggestion is to learn how to sprint and use them like seasoning while long hikes on local trails are your main course.
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