Workouts That Gave Me Everything Running Promised (but Didn’t)

| Weight Loss

There's something about people who run that is beyond inspiring. Being out there alone with their thoughts, pounding the pavement for hours a week and glistening in that runner's high is a utopic daydream for us non-runners.

Interestingly enough, a writer (and used-to-be runner) at PopSugar shared a piece that may change the minds of runners and non-runners alike.

>> Read more: Exercises That Burn More Calories Than Running

blonde woman running outside

Written by Michele Foley 

There's so much to love about running — in theory, at least. It's a workout that I've always romanticized in my mind: it's just you and the road — no judgment or competition — and let's not forget that runner's high that can solve anything.

Sadly, my running reality is the exact opposite. In all the miles I logged chasing a runner's high, it never arrived. NOT. ONCE. Three half-marathons under my belt and not once was I left feeling like a gazelle or empowered. Instead I felt defeated and questioned what was wrong with me, why was running always so hard. All of my friends loved running, so why didn't I? It took many miles, injuries, and trips to a sports doctor to let go of the idea that running was the benchmark of fitness success.

It took a few years for me to get here — and maybe a breakdown during one pitiful training run — but I'm finally OK telling myself that I am not a runner, and that's OK. Fitness is a personal journey — personal being key. There is no right or wrong way; there's only your way. Once I fully embraced this idea and hung up my running shoes for good, my life changed for the better. Along the way, I was also happy to find that all the things I craved from running were there waiting to be discovered, just not on the track.

dance cardio class
(Photo: Photo via Well + Good)

The Runner's High: Dance Cardio

If you ever told me that dance would be my thing, I probably would have laughed. I've never been great with choreography, and I let fear hold me back from attending a dance class. On a brave day, I allowed my friends to drag me to Hipline for my first-ever dance-cardio class. I was nervous, inside my head, and made a beeline to the back of the room — but I am so glad I went. That first class and every class since has been one big ball of happiness. Instead of judgement and fear, I found pure, unabashed joy — and one hell of a workout. Here I am, finally experiencing the "runner's high" described to me by so many friends, except at a dance class! I find myself lost in the movement and the music and have a permanent smile on my face the entire time. While Hipline is my absolute favorite, I've found the same feeling of euphoria at other studios like Zumba, AKT, and 305 Fitness.

>> Read more: Cardio Hip Hop Dance Party [VIDEO]

soul cycle class
(Photo: Photo via Business Insider | Courtesy of SoulCycle)

Intense Cardio: Indoor Cycling

Even if my heel was sometimes left throbbing, I always appreciated the type of workout I got from an intense running session. There is no denying that hill sprints, speed play, and running intervals get the heart rate up in a major way. You know what else does? Indoor cycling. Whether I'm at Spin, SoulCycle, or Flywheel, I know I'm in for an intense workout that will having me climbing hills and maxing out — just like I did when I ran, except this time I'm enjoying the entire process from start to finish.

woman on rowing machine
(Photo: Photo via PopSugar)

Buns of Steel: Rowing

Like so many others, I walked by the rowing machine in my gym without giving it a second thought. Then I took a class at CityRow and realized what a fool I'd been. Rowing is the definition of a total-body workout; it works all the muscles of your lower body (plus your core and your arms!) while keeping the heart rate up. Unlike running, it's much easier on the joints, which is exactly what my beat-up body needed.

To get the rest of the workout alternatives from PopSugar, click here.

In-content ad newsletter