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Another article on marathons/ultras being bad for you

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Post  mul21 Mon Jun 04, 2012 1:55 pm

Ultra Marathons Might Be Ultra Bad for Your Heart

The last line of the article made me laugh a little though:

Indeed, these days, the best bang for your buck seems to be a daily
short session just 20 minutes or so of intense, , such as repeated
bursts of intense running, biking, swimming or strength training with
short recovery periods in between. And, hey, that’ll also leave you with
a heck of lot more free time than a daily 20-mile training run.

Yes, a daily 20 mile run, exactly what most distance runners do.
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Post  Nick Morris Mon Jun 04, 2012 2:09 pm

mul21 wrote:Ultra Marathons Might Be Ultra Bad for Your Heart

The last line of the article made me laugh a little though:

Indeed, these days, the best bang for your buck seems to be a daily
short session just 20 minutes or so of intense, , such as repeated
bursts of intense running, biking, swimming or strength training with
short recovery periods in between. And, hey, that’ll also leave you with
a heck of lot more free time than a daily 20-mile training run.

Yes, a daily 20 mile run, exactly what most distance runners do.

Ha, I know!! My 140 mile weeks pretty much kill my social life...
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Post  carleenp Mon Jun 04, 2012 2:58 pm

No wonder I'm such a slow marathoner, I was only doing 2 20 mile training runs in my entire program! I didn't know that they were supposed to be daily! lol!
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Post  Julie Mon Jun 04, 2012 7:28 pm

20 miles takes me way too long and takes way too much energy from the rest of the day. I'm attempting 3 this training cycle and that is enough.
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Post  Mark B Mon Jun 04, 2012 10:17 pm

Egad! A shocking truth... exposed!

RUN A MARATHON - EVEN TRAIN FOR ONE - AND YOU WILL SURELY DIE!!*





*-Just like, ahem, everybody else on the planet. Rolling Eyes


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Post  Dave Wolfe Mon Jun 04, 2012 10:41 pm

Pretty funny Mark.
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Post  Jerry Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:59 pm

From the above rebuff, the article either is wrong or only applies to white people. Either way, I am not worried. drunken
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Post  wrichman Tue Jun 05, 2012 1:29 am

I find it hard to take an article seriously when the writer doesn't do his/her research. I highly doubt many of us amateurs do "daily 20 mile long runs".
Plus (not to be morbid) you have a better chance of dying by driving to work. Or to a marathon.
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Post  Julie Tue Jun 05, 2012 5:50 am

wrichman wrote:I find it hard to take an article seriously when the writer doesn't do his/her research. I highly doubt many of us amateurs do "daily 20 mile long runs".
Plus (not to be morbid) you have a better chance of dying by driving to work. Or to a marathon.

Or sitting in front of your TV eating large quantities of high fat food. Seriously. I had a roommate who used to tell me how dangerous it was to run in the evenings. Well, how dangerous was it for her to be sedentary and morbidly obese? (and I'm not trying to be mean, she was just always criticizing my running).

I'm more likely to die while someone doesn't yield to the right and hits me with a car than with the training I do, because I seem to have a close call every month or two from that kind of situation.
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Post  fostever Tue Jun 05, 2012 11:09 am

"researchers found that many of these athletes had temporarily elevated levels of substances that promote inflammation and cardiac damage. One study found that as many as half of runners in the midst of, or who have just finished, a marathon show these spikes, which can last for days after an event. And over time and with repeated exposure, these compounds can lead to scarring of the heart and its main arteries as well as to enlarged ventricles all of which can in turn lead to dangerous irregular heart beats and possibly sudden cardiac death." The report for Micah True's death showed signs of this very thing. Even though the writer failed to understand the reality of educated runners doing smart training, some ultra marathoners at the top of their game do on average 20 mi per day. So I wouldn't be so quick to discount the findings. Jack Daniels says that once you get past about 35 min at 70-80% max HR there are increasingly diminishing returns for aerobic conditioning. My brother who ran competitively at a division I school, then got into competitive marathoning with a 2:22 PR, developed mitral valve prolapse later in life. He had open heart surgery a few years ago to repair it. That may have been hereditary or maybe not, they don't know for sure. I think making sure to incorporate plenty of recovery miles/days is essential to healthy long term training. These articles tend to be short sighted, ignoring runner's knowledge, but definitely peak my interest to know more.
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Post  Martin VW Tue Jun 05, 2012 11:39 am

fostever wrote: Even though the writer failed to understand the reality of educated runners doing smart training, some ultra marathoners at the top of their game do on average 20 mi per day. So I wouldn't be so quick to discount the findings.

i took the same thing away from the article. It was principally about the difference between ultramarathon training and what is required to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The reporter never said that marathoners run 20 miles daily. Problem is, she also didn't say that some ultramarathoners do. I saw several areas where the article was poorly edited. Maybe that key fact got cut?

But, the basic message is the same. 20 minutes of exercise, with some portion of that being vigorous exercise, is what research is currently showing as providing the greatest level of health ROI. To the left of that are all the people that exercise less, less frequently, less vigorously, or not at all, and they are increasing their health risk by exercising suboptimally. To the right of that are all the people that exercise vigorously more than 20 minutes a day. In some cases, superoptimal exercise can be detrimental to your health. We all can benefit by embracing that, and incorporating "smart training" into what we do, and especially by making smart decisions when we race.
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Post  Jerry Tue Jun 05, 2012 12:31 pm

Martin VW wrote:

But, the basic message is the same. 20 minutes of exercise, with some portion of that being vigorous exercise, is what research is currently showing as providing the greatest level of health ROI.


I don't really buy this BS from experts, not at all. It tortured me, but out of respect to Dr Copper, I forced myself to finish his book - Aerobics Program For Total Well-Being. I regret I bought the book.

I believe Alberto Salazar's doctor also said: had not been his great fitness, he would have died in the heart attack incident several years ago, maybe even earlier.

Who listened?

I can understand a book/program with 60 minutes run 5 days a week is harder to sell than the 20 minutes, 3 days one. Very Happy
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Post  jon c Tue Jun 05, 2012 1:22 pm

The reason that researchers are reporting these type of findings is that long duration exercise causes an increased metabolic load on the body. This load throws off a large amount of free radicals due to the inflammation that is created that the body then needs to deal with. Excessive free radicals are the components of what causes us to age and tends to create an environment condusive to developing diseases of aging prematurely. In each person, that may look and be handled differently by our bodies.

What one can do to combat those effects are increase your antioxidants especially in the foods you consume, crank up your production of glutathione (an antioxidant compound and immune system builder) via whey protein or supplements of the precursors to glutathione. Also avoid or minimize foods that increase inflammation in the body (pretty much all fast food and processed foods).

I agree that a sedentary life is inherently more dangerous, however this idea that distance running alone completely protects us from the diseases of aging appears to be false.

And I do plan on continuing my running....
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Post  Nick Morris Tue Jun 05, 2012 2:07 pm

Jerry wrote:
I believe Alberto Salazar's doctor also said: had not been his great fitness, he would have died in the heart attack incident several years ago, maybe even earlier.

I agree with your statement here, Jerry. A friend of a friend who was an Iron Man competitor at the time, should have died from a heart attack that was caused from nearly 100% blockage. The doctors stated that because of his training, he had developed more vessels on the outside of the heart, which allowed him to make it to the hospital and survive.
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Post  Admin Tue Jun 05, 2012 2:26 pm

Alberto survived his heart attack because he had trainers start CPR almost immediately after he went down. Luckily, he was walking across the field with Galen Rupp when he collapsed. Galen called 911 and another person got trainers immediately. It took about 14 minutes from the time he went down until EMS arrived and took over... they immediately went to the defibrillator and got his pulse back.

Also, his heart-related issues appear to be more from family history than anything else. He'd been on blood pressure and cholesterol meds for over 12 years. Both sides of his family have coronary disease history.

In an interview shortly after he was released from the hospital he said, "Runners need to know that it can happen to anyone, even if you're in great shape. They need to check their blood pressure and cholesterol, and to know their family history. And if anyone's really worried, they should consult with their doctor and consider an exercise stress test."

As for exercise, it makes perfect sense to me that there can be a level of 'too much' that begins to produce negative health consequences. I'm not sure why anyone would reject that basic idea. Now, what's constitute 'too much' isn't easy to quantify...

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Post  Jerry Tue Jun 05, 2012 2:34 pm

Mr MattM wrote:

As for exercise, it makes perfect sense to me that there can be a level of 'too much' that begins to produce negative health consequences. I'm not sure why anyone would reject that basic idea. Now, what's constitute 'too much' isn't easy to quantify...


I agree with the too much, but don't know how much is too much. I just believe 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week is too less. I had played soccer 2 60 minutes and 1 >90 minutes per week for years and was told having high cholesterol. Everything went normal after my first marathon with no apparent weight loss.

I also believe, with no science backing me up of cause, that we do need to work a little more to counter the aging, just because I felt good when I didn't exercise at young. Very Happy

The word "animal" in Chinese is "moving object". As long as we can move faster, we are at better health. Let's not over analyze it any other way. Basketball
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Post  JohnP Tue Jun 05, 2012 5:00 pm

I saw this in the article - I did not hear this about why Micah True died. This is consistent with the message about marathons temporarily hurting the heart. I wonder if this condition built up in him from all the miles and longer runs?

Earlier this year ultra runner Micah True, also known as Caballo Blanco, made famous by Christopher McDougall’s book (Knopf, 2009) for running with the Tarahumara tribes in Mexico, died at the age of 58 while on a relatively short trail run. The medical report concluded that he had a scarred, enlarged heart and likely died from arrhythmia.
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Post  Martin VW Tue Jun 05, 2012 5:55 pm

Jerry wrote: I just believe 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week is too less.

I'd agree with that. But, I don't think anyone said that 3 times a week is optimal.

And in fact, this article cites well more than that: "So the researchers suggest that athletes dial back intense exercise to about an hour per day (sessions can be longer if exercise is less rigorous)."
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Post  Mark B Tue Jun 05, 2012 5:55 pm

JohnP wrote:I saw this in the article - I did not hear this about why Micah True died. This is consistent with the message about marathons temporarily hurting the heart. I wonder if this condition built up in him from all the miles and longer runs?

Earlier this year ultra runner Micah True, also known as Caballo Blanco, made famous by Christopher McDougall’s book (Knopf, 2009) for running with the Tarahumara tribes in Mexico, died at the age of 58 while on a relatively short trail run. The medical report concluded that he had a scarred, enlarged heart and likely died from arrhythmia.

This is an aside from the general theme of the thread, but I'd read something from Christopher McDougall (in this article), in which he wondered if Micah True might have been suffering from a parasitic infection called chagas disease, which can over time cause cardiomyopathy and heart failure. McDougall was only speculating, but I never saw anything one way or the other about it in the post-mortem. Even so, it's an interesting possibility.
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Post  mul21 Tue Jun 05, 2012 11:47 pm

I don't doubt the research at all, it makes sense. I just thought the last sentence was an indication of the lack of understanding the author has of how most distance runners operate. It also reinforces my thinking that ultras are a bad idea, whether they beat your body up or you handle the mileage well.
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Post  Admin Wed Jun 06, 2012 1:18 am

On the topic of ultras, I'd just suggest that some (many?) treat ultras as a VERY easy but long exercise. I'm not sure that the evidence reviewed applies to ultras since the effort level is often very low. It seems that it's specifically hard(er) efforts over longer duration that are the issue. I am curious if there are studies like this related to ultras...

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Post  Alex Kubacki Wed Jun 06, 2012 7:30 am

Mr MattM wrote: It seems that it's specifically hard(er) efforts over longer duration that are the issue.

I think that's the crux of it right there. There's a big difference in a long run at marathon pace and a long run at a much slower pace.
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Post  Jerry Wed Jun 06, 2012 9:57 am

Martin VW wrote:
Jerry wrote: I just believe 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week is too less.

I'd agree with that. But, I don't think anyone said that 3 times a week is optimal.


It's implied. I have no problem for someone to promote a "moderate" health oriented workout routine. It just irritates me those pundits go over the top to attack "real" athletes like Jerry. lol!

There is no way I can believe the normal people is healthier than those ultra athletes even with all those chronicle injuries in their body.


Two key words I constantly see is moderate and longevity. They are basically saying health or happiness is to live long mediocre boring life. What about winning? lol!

On the other hand, I am glad to see they are attacking ultra athletes instead of marathoners now.
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Post  Admin Wed Jun 06, 2012 11:00 am


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Post  Jerry Wed Jun 06, 2012 11:08 am

Mr MattM wrote:Jerry... don't read this!

http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/24/4/274.full.pdf

Hong Kong national cyclist? It should be local Hong Kong cyclist. Very Happy
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