Frugal Fitness: Running

Everyone says so: the best workout is the one you actually do. I think second place goes to the workout that actually challenges you.

For the first month of my Frugal Fitness challenge I took on, I did Crossfit. I was hesitant but ended up loving it and even bought another Groupon for a different Crossfit gym. I haven’t cashed that one in yet because I decided to take a month off from exercising in an attempt to get better at moderation. Well, that month is about up and I’m onto my next thing: Running.

I hate running, and I’m not exactly “good" at it. I might beat you in a race to the corner, but I’ve never been a “runner” and as a result, never really learned how to pace myself. I tend to run out of gas, and a two-mile run wears me out more than a 20-mile bike ride.

For me, biking is something I do so often that I tend to think of it as transportation more than exercise. I’ve been biking to work for years at jobs ranging from three to nine miles from my apartment. But biking is so natural for me that even a fast ride — which is all of them — doesn’t take much out of me. I’m totally the bicycle equivalent of the person on the next treadmill you just know is trying to race you.

Thing is, I like the idea of being a runner. Running is great for your lungs, heart and immune system. It’s also the top calorie-burning exercises according to the Mayo Clinic. If I ran eight miles an hour (which I can’t), I’d burn more than 1,000 calories. Running five miles an hour (which is more realistic for me) would still burn about 800 calories and comes in sixth place on the research group’s ranking of 36 different exercises.

In a strange way, to me, the main appeal of running is how much I hate it. I normally run around the track at a local park, which isn’t terribly challenging given the spongy polyurethane material. In an attempt to step up my game, I went for a four-mile run a few days ago and my calves are still screaming every time I take a step.

Any workout that has me sore for two days has to be a good one, right? The fact that it’s so out of my comfort zone will, at the very least, make me feel more fit, which is another reason people exercise, I suppose.

Plus, running is free.

What exercise pushes you outside of your fitness comfort zone?
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