Long distance running has been my passion for several years. I estimate that during this time I have run around 1250 miles and two marathons.
During my studies I started running with my friend as a form of keeping my body in shape. Back then I had only a cheap pair of trainers and was able to run one mile at the utmost. What started as an enjoyable way of spending time and maintaining our relationship, quickly turned into an extreme version of the sport. I started running regularly once a week and the distance was constantly increasing. I had to change my cheap sneakers into semi-professional running shoes to get more amortization and achieve better performance. Time quickly passed by and running a half-marathon once a week became a norm. It is then when I decided to run a full marathon. It took more time and effort that I had thought, mainly because I didn’t decide to use any professional help, I simply started increasing the distance that I was running once a week.
Once you start running more than 20 miles once a week, your body starts behaving in a strange way. You loose almost all fat from your body. Your body tends to burn muscles, so you definitely do not look like a copy of Arnold Schwarzenegger. But at the same time your muscles do have an extreme endurance. And you tend to spend two days after a run walking like a 90 year old cripple with both broken legs. But you continue to do it because running at some point becomes an addiction. Research shows that during long endurance sports your body releases a lot of endorphins which results in a moderate high.
Finally, after almost 3 years of training, I ran two full marathons in Cracow, in an area known as Błonia – a great place for runners. By the time I was regularly running around 25 miles once a week, I had got to know the whole Cracow city and most of small roads, paths and mountains up to 13 miles from the place where I live.
As it turns out, running is a great sport for gaining high endurance, for your heart and lungs, but not for you knees. My joints started protesting against almost a marathon run once a week and although consultations with specialists showed that my knees are still OK, one of the physicians explained clearly to me that running almost a marathon once a week like I was doing back then requires perfect genetic predispositions. And there is no way how you can test that. If you are not lucky in a long term you may get into serious troubles. After this advice I decided to diversify my trainings, reduced running, started martial arts training and bought two bikes(one for mountains, one for hardened roads). While I still run once a while, much safer bikes replaced my endurance training and allowed me to increase distances from 25 miles up to 125 miles.