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Is Ultra Running Healthy, or Harmful? General Discussion (Read 988 times)

    I can say my mind is much more healthy because of running.  I can say my body is much more healthy because of running.  I can say this because I know myself and I know what the alternatives would be.

     

    Ultra-running ... I could do a liesurely 50 mile trail race that would be less impactful and stressful on my body than an all out 1/2 marathon.  I can do an all out 50 mile trail race and it will be less impactful or stressful on my body that an all out pavement marathon.

     

    The actual act of running a all out marathon I do not consider healthy or not healthy.  I would guess that it has a negative health impact.  But training for one and the mental satisfaction from running one really hard is possitive.

    DoppleBock:

     

    Thanks for chipping in.  And this is quite interesting and it got me thinking.  Some of you saw my loooong post at the other thread about whether or not one should "increase mileage or increase speed".  Back in 1950s and 1960s, there was a medical doctor turned athletic coach by the name of Ernst van Aaken from Germany.  Some of you guys here may be interested in reading his literatures.  Back then, repeating fast runs with recovery breaks in a form of interval was the mainstream training for middle distance and long distance events.  As a medical doctor, or despite him being a medical doctor, he had an interesting theory backed with NO scientific numbers or graphs; but he said that any exercise with heart rate goes beyond 150bpm (personally, I feel it's a bit tight but...) is not efficient and could even be hazardous to our health.  In other words, he was one of the first coaches to say that an exercise of "anaerobic in nature" may not necessarily good for you.  Put it this way; you put 2 "points" on the table, say, about 15 inches or so apart.  Now try to hit them with the same hand and gradually try to pick up the rate faster and faster...  After a certain rate, you'll tense up and you can't hit them "smoothly".  As your heart rate goes up higher and higher (beyond 150 according to him), your heart can't contract as efficiently--it just doesn't "squeeze" fully.  In fact, if I remember it correctly, when Dr. Peter Snell had a "heart attack" a few years back, he told me that he was playing a racquetball and his HR shot up to something like 190 and it simply seized.  Look at it this way; have you guys done the electric impulse to frog's leg?  You plug in + and - of electric nodes to the frog's leg and it twitches.  As you make it the electricity frequency higher and higher and the leg starts to twitch faster and faster.  At a certain point, it just seizes.  Not to that extent but it's just not healthy, according to Dr. van Aaken.  Now what I wrote to the other thread was actually more of the affect of lowering of pH due to oxygen deficit due to the "anaerobic nature" of exercise.

     

    Oxydation of our cells due to "exercise" and its duration vs. metabolic imbalance due to too much intensity of the exercise...  Naturally, if you run too hard (like all-out 1500m), it's done quickly.  But would "ultra" running where it's VERY difficult to get down into the "anaerobic" nature, even though it lasts for quite some time be as bad or worse than exercise that screws up your metabolic actions and reactions???  I'm not sure and I don't think any of us know because I don't think people look at it this way (and DoppleBock actually nailed it here).  How many of you heard this line from non-runners, commenting about you running a great distance/duration; "I have no idea how you can do it.  If I run 2 blocks, I'll be out of breath..."  Most people, unfortunately even among runners, don't have a clue with the difference between long easy runs vs. short fast runs.  Many think; "If you want to run fast, train fast."  Or "you need to do more 'race-specific' training."  If it's true, the best way to prepare for 5k is to run 5k at race pace as often as possible.  Of course, it ain't work out that way.

     

    Arthur Lydiard used to say; "No one burns out doing aerobic running.  It's anaerobic training, and too much of it, that burns you out."  I think there are a lot of other sports or events that's more harmful than marathoning or ultra-marathoning.  Excess interval training for one...

      Hi Kris.

       

      Please pay attention to Nobby.

       

      mahalo

      I don't think Srlopez knows what he's talking about so don't listen to him! ;o)

        I run because it's fun.  Hard sometimes, but fun.  And the further I run the more fun I get to have.  

        Good on you!!  That's what I'm talking about!!

        xor


          I don't think Srlopez knows what he's talking about so don't listen to him! ;o)

           

          Nor should you, nobby-san, nor should you.

           

          SillyC


            Not an ultrarunner

            But I get it

            .

            Because it's not like the alternative of ultrarunning is logging three miles and doing an p90x video. It's more like playing eight hours of xbox and eating a whole  bag of tostitos.

             

             

            Yeah, I think you may be onto something.  A lot of ultrarunners (myself included) have obsessive personalities. 

             

            Incidentally, once, I ran about 36 miles and then ate a whole bag of chips in the car on the 3 hour drive home.  It said it was "Sharing Size".  It lied. 


            Refurbished Hip

              My mother is convinced that ultra running is ruining my feet.  (Note: Never show your mother what your feet look like after running for 15 hours through the rain and mud.)

              DoppleBock


                I am not sure about long term - But the short term really does not help them that much. 

                 

                My mother is convinced that ultra running is ruining my feet.  (Note: Never show your mother what your feet look like after running for 15 hours through the rain and mud.)

                 

                Reaonably much of the ultra-marathon is spent at aerobic heart rate levels, but almost every one I enter at some point I am close to pegging it out.  Often close to 2 hours of high heart rate - It does not mean I am moving really fast, but it does not take a lot after many hours.

                 

                I am a little interested in the endocrin system.  I believe Ultras and ultra training creates a stress on this system.  The stress makes the system stronger.  Is this a short term impact or will it stay stronger for the life of an individual.  What does this mean later in life?

                 

                My belief is that  there are parts of running and ultra-running that make me more healthy than most other people and there are parts that make me less healthy. 

                 

                The one thing I am worried about (Sometimes) - I have built a beast of a heart - I am sure it was large before I started running (6'3).  But after 45,000 miles in 9.5 years at an everage weight of 220 pounds.  I am pretty sure it is bigger than most.  Heck my lungs always tested to a huge capacity in liters even before running.  My lungs have not fully fit on an exray in years.  What impact will having a large heart have on me later in life?

                 

                I tend to believe it could become detrimental if I become inactive.

                http://a-big-horse.blogspot.com/ 

                2013 Goals ~ Mar < 3:00, 5M < 29, 10k < 35  

                 

                xor


                  My mother is convinced that ultra running is ruining my feet.  (Note: Never show your mother what your feet look like after running for 15 hours through the rain and mud.)

                   

                  Your mother is likely right.  I know my toenails will never be the same at least.

                   


                  And in the end...

                    Yes. The answer is yes.

                    ------------------------

                    The GITM is moot.

                      I don't think Srlopez knows what he's talking about so don't listen to him! ;o)

                       

                      I agree with your quote there, I agree.

                       

                      Actually, I am lying.  SRL may not like my posts much ever since I made my first appearance talking about cellphone use during a half-marathon (and it was a serious post) Big grin, but when SRL writes on most any topic, I respect his opinion because he is very knowledgable with most any topic on running.

                       

                      To DoppleBock + Nobby, I run for the same reasons.  I was curious about various opinions of others, but I think no matter what someone tells me, I am absolutely going to do it anyway.  And the comments about aerobic exercise versus anaerobic exercise make a lot of sense.      

                       

                      I know the personal course I was on, which was that I was drinking too much beer and went from about 140 to 190 in weight in just a few years.  Running allows me to be much healthier than I otherwise would have.  --- And to be honest, even if I was 'taking minutes off my life' or whatever every time I went full-bore in a long race, I'd do it anyway.  Again, I doubt that is the case, but even if it were, I'd still do it.  I have known too many people who have lived perhaps longer, but not happier lives by any means. 

                       

                      I think simply that running allows most folks to have both longer, and happier lives.  Double bonus if you ask me.   --- In fact, I am really surprised that more folks don't do long-distance running.  

                       

                      PS.  Dopplebock, you are famous... I was running a 5K this weekend and met someone who was talking about your posts on RA :-)

                      .

                      .

                      The Plan '15 (big parts)→  Feb:  Va Beach Distance Series 50K (Set a PR)     /// April:  Hampton, VA 24 Hour Run for Cancer  (Goal: >80.1+Miles for a PR)  ///    "Run Hard, Live Easy."   ∞


                      And in the end...

                        PS.  Dopplebock, you are famous... I was running a 5K this weekend and met someone who was talking about your posts on RA :-)

                         

                        Yes, his posting exploits are well documented and publicized...

                        ------------------------

                        The GITM is moot.

                        xor


                          And he's famous for a hell of a lot more than his posts on RA!

                           


                          Refurbished Hip

                            Your mother is likely right.  I know my toenails will never be the same at least.

                             

                            Mine either.  Once you've lost one and then lost it again.  And again. And again...it just doesn't grow back the same.


                            Ostrich runner

                              Objectively, the answer isn't clear. Subjectively to me, it's quite healthy. It has to be compared to the option of not running, and all that entails to me. I'm pretty sure ultra running is healthier than ultra drinking, ultra smoking, and ultra sloth. 

                              http://www.runningahead.com/groups/Indy/forum

                              xor


                                Besides, ultra sloths only need six toenails.

                                 

                                 

                                 

                                Ok then.

                                 

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