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I’ve been a runner for well over 10 years. I got to know my husband on marathon-training runs. I’ve set and accomplished big, confidence-boosting goals through running. I lost the baby weight through running. I’ve cleared my head and solved many problems on early-morning runs. I’ve loved that my exercise of choice could always be done when traveling with no equipment needed. So why did I feel like I needed to stop, to change it up, to move on to a “better” exercise?

running-shoes

>> Read more: 5 Ways to Make Running Easier

I became a health coach and started following a lot of experts in the wellness field. I read a lot of advice columns and listened to many podcasts featuring fitness experts who claimed that running wasn’t an ideal exercise. In fact, many were against it! I heard things like:

  • The repetitive motions are hard on your joints.
  • Your body gets used to the repetitive movement and you will no longer receive the benefits from your exercise.
  • Steady state cardio won’t change your body composition.
  • You could be holding onto body fat simply because you run too much.

Eeks! But I wanted to look more toned! I didn’t want to injure myself and end up with life-long pain. I certainly didn’t want to train my body to hold onto fat.

So, I listened to the experts. I switched things up. I tried HIIT cardio and started lifting weights. I significantly reduced the hours I spent running. What did I find? Well, the experts were kind of right. I did see more positive changes in my body when I started focusing on resistance training. I did reduce the overuse injuries that used to crop up from time to time when running.

happy woman lifting weights

But I still craved those early morning trails. So I continued to run.

I keep running because:

1. I need the alone time — the time without kids, to-do lists and distractions.

2. I need the clarity that comes when I run and problem-solve that week’s dilemmas.

3. I love the feeling of accomplishment that only running a few miles can give me.

4. I love this simple exercise that I can do anywhere. All I need is running shoes! I don’t have to count, find the right equipment, or keep time.

5. I know running keeps me in shape and helps me stay at my optimal weight!

While I keep on running, I have now worked resistance training into my routine. I took the best of what the experts said but also acknowledged what felt right for me.

My advice: Sometimes you need to take what the experts say with a grain of salt. Decide what exercise works for you. What exercise are you going to commit to doing regularly? What makes you feel good? Go with your gut and if you decide on early-morning runs, enjoy the sunrise.