Hey, Doc. Don't tell a marathoner to exercise more


Maybe I’m overtired. (That’s a given.) But I’m finding this hilarious.

 Like nearly anyone with upcoming races (of any distance) on the calendar, this time of year spells active training. OK, for most of us, that’s pretty much the case all year round, but we tend to pour it on in the spring months, as we prep for warm-weather races.


Enter my physician here.

 Having postponed several checkups and procedures during the peak of the recent pandemic, I finally decided to book and show up for a routine physical. The doctor nagged me about some age-appropriate testing, which I did. He also ordered some lab-work, primarily as benchmarks.

  The short version is simple: Everything came back OK.

 Then I received a very brief letter (via snail mail) from my doc.

“Labs are normal. Try to get some exercise, if possible.”


Um, what? More exercise?

 This week, as the month of May comes to a close, I’m passing 900 miles for the year (so far).


More exercise?

 In the very expensive 12 1/2 minutes that my physician actually spent with me in his office exam room, he did ask me if I’m doing any more marathons this year. I told him I have a few half marathons on the books and might add a full one for the fall. (So many races were canceled in the past couple of years that I am taking a bit of a wait-and-see attitude on the pricier ones.) 

We also talked about the four cardio classes I do each week, along with my equestrian pursuits, cani-cross endeavors (with two large, happy, high-energy beasts), and other fitness activities.

 I might not have mentioned that every one of the fitness professionals with whom I interact each week frequently reminds me of the importance of scheduling down-time and actually taking rest days now and them. (I’m not so good at that. My idea of a rest day usually ends up with me trying to keep up with a busy two year old grandkid or spending several hours digging in the garden.)


Geez. I hope that was a form letter.

 And I guess the doc didn’t notice that my BMI is well within the best range, and my weight was actually down from the last time it was clocked in my file.

 Still, I’m lacing up my sneaks and dashing out for more exercise – but not because the doctor said so.

 Seriously, telling a runner to get more exercise is like telling a chocoholic to go eat another hunk of chocolate. Let’s call my physician an enabler…


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Have you been caught WALKING again?


Cue the blush here.

 OK, I’m totally kidding.  But sometimes it feels like that, when a runner is spotted out walking.

 A non-runner might say something like this:

“I saw you out there yesterday, but you were walking.”

 It’s as if we are expected to maintain an all-out sprint the whole time we are out on the trail or the road or the track in our sneakers.


It doesn’t really work that way.

 Even elite marathoners begin their jaunts with warmups and end with cool-downs. These may include giant steps, backward steps, lunges, and butt kicks. But they also include walking – plenty of walking.

 And plenty of fitness fanatics walk miles and miles and miles, burning countless calories without ever breaking into a jog. They’re on-the-move for hours, which is almost harder in some ways than running faster for shorter time spans.


Walking may be purposeful.

 It usually is exactly that.

 Walking is a primo plan for beginner runners, but also for those who have run countless races and are still committed to practicing physical fitness (perhaps past their primes). Professional trainers and physical therapists prescribe walking for those who are recovering from injuries or long races.

 Additionally, more than a few runners mix walks into their weeks for cross-training, socialization (with other runners and non-running friends), dog-walking, sightseeing, stress relief, or even phone calls on-the-fly.

 Let’s not judge one another, or ourselves, for slower steps.


Runners build one another up – at any pace.

 Mostly, the running community acts like a fellowship of mutual encouragement. We say things like “Your race, your pace,” and “You’re lapping everyone who’s at home on the couch.”

 Sure, runners want to become faster. We want to beat our own personal records, racing the clock more than one another. Some of us even want to win race titles – or at least place in our age brackets.

 But we generally enjoy waving at each other (at the run or the walk). We salute one another for getting out there and cranking out the miles, from 5Ks to ultras. We “like” each other’s online posts. We basically celebrate running, hoping to inspire anyone who’s getting up and trying.


So why do we almost apologize for walking?

 We act like we’ve been caught in a crime when another runner catches us walking. We trip up into a trot when we approach race cameras (if we spot them). We jump into a jog when a car comes along, if our routes take us on the roadway. We pick up the pace when another runner (or even a walker) approaches.

 Why are we embarrassed to practice a slower pace?


There’s no shame in walking.

 All miles count. And just by stepping out there, we are all burning calories, building endurance, improving our cardio condition, and doing the distance. All that makes us stronger … and yes, faster.


Related Items:

·        Long runs: Shared-track slowdowns don't have to be let-downs

·        Long runs: Sometimes ya just gotta walk a bit

·        Mixing it up: Cross training adds spice and fitness

·        Some training runs are simply dreadful

·        Walking works wonders for warmups and workouts


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Feel free to follow Runderdog on Twitter, as well as Run Run Run in Wisconsin and Northern Illinois (Runderdog Runs the Midwest) on Facebook. Please visit my Amazon author page as well.


RW's 'Not Today' video sounds alarm on runner assaults


Runners World’s January 2022 documentary film, titled Not Today, details the horrific experiences of three female runners, who suffered violent attacks while running. One of these runners survived the assault; two did not.


 Honestly, I hate that a video like this one even has to be made. But it does.

The film focuses on these three runners, profiling these examples, which are representative of so many more.

  1. Kelly Herron (36 at the time) was cornered in a restroom in a public park in Seattle in March 2017. She was able to fight off the attacker and escape.
  2. Mollie Tibbetts (20) was stabbed to death while running in small-town Iowa in July 2018.
  3. Wendy Martinez (25) was likewise murdered during a jog in Washington, D.C., in September 2019.

 According to the RW film, 84 percent of women runners have been harassed while running. Incidents range from catcalling to kidnapping, stalking to stabbing, following to full-out physical violence.

 You can watch the video on RW’s YouTube channel here.



 Every week, headlines announce new attacks on joggers of every age and gender, from Central Park in New York to Central Florida, from Michigan to Manhattan, from Arizona to Atlanta, from Cleveland to Chicago, and so on.


Despite these tragic (and infuriating) occurrences, we continue to run.

 Some pick partners for training or join running teams. Increasingly, joggers carry pepper spray, personal alarms, self-defense rings, stun guns, or even weapons. Although we almost universally enjoy music on the run, many have stopped wearing earphones, so we can hear our surroundings. (I prefer the neckband-style of Bluetooth headphones. Mine has retractable earbuds, which I do not use on the run.) Plenty run with dogs, who may deter strangers from approaching. Essentially, all of us run with fully charged phones and GPS mileage/activity trackers strapped aboard.

 Personally, I’ve experienced honking horns, rude comments, and uninvited approaches. I’ve changed my running routes midway to avoid creepy looking strangers, live-parked panel vans, and other shady looking situations. I seldom run alone in secluded spots or woodsy trails, choosing busy roads and familiar areas instead. I’d rather jump off the county highway shoulder into the weeds to avoid oncoming traffic than encounter an unexpected surprise in a desolate spot.

 Most of the time I run with at least one other person, or at least with a couple of big, alert, high-energy dogs. These two are snuggly pets at home, but they are trained to recognize danger and they’ll take down a full-sized adult or two, if they have to.

It's a crazy world, and it's terrible that runners have to take extra precautions and be super-vigilant about potential attacks. Maybe this video will heighten awareness to the prevalence of such violence, encouraging runners and others to be alert and to help one another stay safer out there.


Related Items:

·        10 safety questions to ask before going for a run

·        Do you plan your run routes?

·        Ever change your running route because of creepy people?

·        Hey, winter drivers! We're RUNNING out here!

·        Sorry, neighbor. But your dog's gotta stay away from runners.


Image/s: public domain photo


Feel free to follow Runderdog on Twitter, as well as Run Run Run in Wisconsin and Northern Illinois (Runderdog Runs the Midwest) on Facebook. Please visit my Amazon author page as well.

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