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TOPIC: How does running affect body shape?

 
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January 31, 2012 10:46 AM
Hello MFP - I'm one of those self-proclaimed "non runners"; my body isn't built for running. However, I've begun to try and think differently. Maybe my body isn't built for running because I never run. I suffer from thunder thys and am wondering what experience others have with running, be they runners for life or just new ones.

Basically: will running help my legs get skinnier? :)

Thanks,
Briana
  7470773
January 31, 2012 10:48 AM
Well your legs will definitely get more toned, but I have no idea how your body tends to carry fat (mine is around the mid-section, yours might be in the legs). But overall, I felt running streamlined my form. It didn't spot reduce, but my legs are definitely in better shape now than in my pre-running form.
  15600637
January 31, 2012 10:49 AM
Bump!
  1979954
January 31, 2012 10:51 AM
I have been doing couch to 5k for the last 6 weeks and i have lost 3 inches in each of my thighs.
January 31, 2012 10:51 AM
You can become a runner. You will get much, much better at it. Our bodies are amazing at adapting to steady activities like running. READ THIS: http://members.rachelcosgrove.com/public/The_Final_Nail_in_the_Cardio_Coffin.cfm

However, while your legs might become thinner running won't make you look like a "runner." As you know, I ran for years and my legs never seemed to get that much smaller. People with running body types are born that way. There's nothing you can do that will just make your legs skinnier, ie, you can't spot reduce. What you can do:

1. Develop the muscles (tone)
2. Lose body fat.

Running *can* help with these things but probably won't get you there. Look into (or talk to me about) resistance training. It will help with all of these. Running is an excellent source of cardiovascular health and can give you an amazing sense of accomplishment. It likely won't make your legs skinnier though.

PS Running, relative to other exercises, can be very hard on your body.
Edited by chuisle On January 31, 2012 10:55 AM
January 31, 2012 10:52 AM
I'm not a runner, either. My sister is, and we suffer from genetically 'generous' hips and backsides. I have to say, she looks fantastic. I think she is blessed to have curves and still run so much (seriously, the girl does marathons) although she hates that little extra that will never come off her thighs. Most runners I see are usually pretty thin and 'flat' for lack of a better word. I would love to have a runner's body, though, and I know I should work harder at it. Running is definitely one of the best ways to burn calories if you can keep your feet/knees/hips healthy.
January 31, 2012 10:59 AM
My legs changed a LOT from running, but I do strength training, too. I still have heavy-ish thighs and probably always will. I'm ok with that... I don't have a lot of boobage, so having hips and thighs keeps me looking more feminine. smile

But I will say that I never thought I could run, from the time in junior high when my best friend was asked to try out for the track team and I wasn't. I spent the next 26 years thinking I wasn't meant to be a runner, until I started the Couch to 5k plan in December of 2010. Since then, I've run in about a dozen races, even winning a couple of medals! Being a runner is just as much what's between your ears as how your body is built.
January 31, 2012 11:22 AM
QUOTE:

You can become a runner. You will get much, much better at it. Our bodies are amazing at adapting to steady activities like running. READ THIS: http://members.rachelcosgrove.com/public/The_Final_Nail_in_the_Cardio_Coffin.cfm

However, while your legs might become thinner running won't make you look like a "runner." As you know, I ran for years and my legs never seemed to get that much smaller. People with running body types are born that way. There's nothing you can do that will just make your legs skinnier, ie, you can't spot reduce. What you can do:

1. Develop the muscles (tone)
2. Lose body fat.

Running *can* help with these things but probably won't get you there. Look into (or talk to me about) resistance training. It will help with all of these. Running is an excellent source of cardiovascular health and can give you an amazing sense of accomplishment. It likely won't make your legs skinnier though.

PS Running, relative to other exercises, can be very hard on your body.


^^Big ditto! I agree with everything above, including the P.S. I was a "non-runner" all my life until a year ago when I started C25K. I had hoped for the "runners body" too. After completing C25K and becoming hooked on running, I realized that I needed strength training to maintain muscle tone and strength. What's nice is with strength training, I swear it has improved my running. I feel like my legs can take longer strides and carry me farther. It's a balancing act, I can't have one without the other.
January 31, 2012 11:43 AM
QUOTE:



^^Big ditto! I agree with everything above, including the P.S. I was a "non-runner" all my life until a year ago when I started C25K. I had hoped for the "runners body" too. After completing C25K and becoming hooked on running, I realized that I needed strength training to maintain muscle tone and strength. What's nice is with strength training, I swear it has improved my running. I feel like my legs can take longer strides and carry me farther. It's a balancing act, I can't have one without the other.


Ditto to this too!

I run very rarely anymore but just last month I hit the treadmill for the first time in months and ran a 17 minute 2 mile. I think this is because I maintain strength and cardio health through lifting and circuits.

The biggest change in attitude for me was realizing that lifting/resistance training needed to be the CENTER of my fitness, not an add on after running. I've got more tone and lower body fat now than I ever did before.
January 31, 2012 11:46 AM
When I started running I thought I wasn't the shape for it because all the runners I knew had big thighs and no boobs, and I had thinnish legs and ginormous boobs. Your body shape does change, it's true, though I don't know if your thighs thin down, I would say on the whole not, unless you are losing a lot of body fat. The main thing I have realised is that there is no ideal shape to be a runner. It's one of those things you do or you don't. It's hard at first for everyone, but it gets easier the more you do. And it's massively addictive.
January 31, 2012 11:57 AM
I'd say it depends on what distance you're training for, how you're cross training, and how you're fueling up.

Some people run and never lose weight because they eat back the calories they just burned. It's pretty difficult for me to run long distances (over an hour) and not FEAST a couple hours later. Running makes me ravenous.

I came from a weight training background and started running last year. I weigh the same as I did while weight lifting (132ish), and my clothes more or less fit the same. I'm an hourglass shape so I also carry my weight on my hips/thighs and upper arms. I stopped weight training so my arms look less defined than before, but my calves look ripped. My core is stronger (it's harder than it looks to keep upright for 2+ hours), but my thighs are more or less the same. I'd recommend wearing capris or running tights, I tried using body glide and wearing running shorts but my quads would more or less "eat my shorts" and push them higher and higher...not fun.

I think running is great, it's challenging but it's also a way to unwind and go with the flow. I wouldn't rely on running alone to change my physique.
January 31, 2012 12:02 PM
Since I am a pear shape and have a desk job, I too suffer from thunder thighs. Running is the exercise that got rid of them the most for me. Zumba has done a very good job too, but running still has the edge. I wasn't a marathoner, though. I ran 2-3 miles per day on as many days as the weather and life would allow. It wasn't the only time in my life I've been told I had nice legs, but I think it was the only time I really liked the way my legs looked.

ETA: I ran outside on rolling terrain, with one steep hill that was pretty short. I am too uncoordinated to run on a treadmill.
Edited by bcattoes On January 31, 2012 12:03 PM
August 2, 2012 12:51 PM
Hey, everyone! I have just recently started running! I have a nice, coke bottle figure and I am worried about how running will affect it. I want to keep my figure, maybe just tone up my "thick" thighs. Will running take my figure away? :/

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