Running: America’s Most Dangerous Exercise Tool

Just this past Sunday, I arrived at FFOTB Endurance class a bit early and watched the action as a local 10K was underway. The irony of the whole situation was almost too much to handle. Here you’ve got the strength and conditioning coaching (me) showing up to fine tune his running mechanics and endurance output, while a heard of runners painfully trudged past. Given that it’s been my personal experience that it’s endurance athletes, or at least endurance advocates that are the harshest when it comes to criticizing weightlifting, I couldn’t help but watch these broken bodies jog past.

In the 30 minutes or so that was spectating, I watched nearly 1000 runners. I could count maybe six (one of which I cheered for) that didn’t run with a glaring inefficiency in their gate. Before you jump on me for bashing running and the endurance community, keep in mind which class I’m there to attend. You see my priority is performance and human movement. These priorities are what lead me to weightlifting, gymnastics, and yes.. even running.


It’s well documented that nearly 74% of all runners suffer from “a moderate or severe injury” during the year (Daoud). Yet, the disparity still exists in the public’s persecution. Squating, deadlifting, pressing, cleaning and snatching barbells is viewed as dangerous, exclusive, and unhealthy, while running is the clear choice to safe, effective exercise, while the data couldn’t be more opposite.

This isn’t about mileage or intensity either. It’s about body position. Sometimes mileage or intensity will pull a runner out of position and into form susceptible to injury but don’t shoot the messenger, because in the same way that deadlifts don’t hurt people, neither does running. It’s the brutalized attempt at both that cause injury.

Since it seems that these critics are hell bent on saving the world from the dangers of exercise, wouldn’t it make a lot more sense to start with the area of training most utilized and most brutalized, like running? Of course, I can’t claim that I don’t understand why folks think this way. An injury in weightlifting, though rare, is easy to put your finger on. Receiving a barbell improperly followed by, “Ouch! My wrist!” is quite clear, but 6 years of hip shredding heel striking gets passed off as everyday discomfort until it’s a chronic condition remedied with surgery, drugs, or both. The culprit in the latter isn’t as clear.

It’s seems to me that regardless of your training modality, that there’s plenty to learn with regards to safe, sustainable movement, even in counterintuitive areas like running. Until running is accepted as a skill it will, in my opinion, continue to be the most dangerous exercise activity in America.

What are your preconceived notions of weightlifting? What about endurance running? Is safety an issue for you?


Logan Gelbrich


Monday’s Workout:

5 rounds:
300m Shuttle
-Rest 2 min-


Max Plank

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