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Running too long at High Intensity bad for heart? (Read 126 times)

Altair5


    I found this on Facebook, originally from a sports store called "GO RUN UK".  The article makes me think to be cautious about doing too much high intensity speedwork as it could harm the heart. Now I don't think my max heart rate is anywhere near the 180 or 200 mentioned in the article, I guess is is around 170, about what it gets to when climbing a hill and I am out of breath. So I guess the most I should have it get to is a fraction of that, like 160 or so, and I should only keep it in that range for like a minute when doing intervals. I don't know much about training for speed, comments would be helpful. Here is the article from Facebook:

     

    Interesting fact about athletics🔥

    How to kill yourself 🥵 training your heart 👇

    The world record 🏃 of the German Rudolf Harbig in the 800 meters, set in 1939, lasted 16 years 👍 In the same 39th, he set a world record in the 400 meters, and in 1941 - in the one kilometer run 💪

    Coached by ⏱ Rudolf Harb🔥ig Waldemar Gerschler 💁‍♂️

    By the mid-thirties, it became clear that warming the air with gigantic volumes of uniform running was ineffective 🙅‍♂️ The Finns began to run with accelerations by the end of the workout, the Swedes came up with fartlek - running at a spontaneously variable speed. And Gershler plunged into cardiology and physiology 📚

    The logic of his reasoning was as follows: the speed of middle-distance runners is limited by the amount of oxygen delivered to the muscles, and the ability of the muscles to work with a lack of oxygen ☝️

    ✅ The amount of oxygen carried depends on the size of the heart. And the heart, as Gershler found out after consulting with doctors 🧑‍⚕️ trains not during the load period, but during the recovery period. This means that there should be a lot of recovery periods, and the load should be close to the limit. The same mode of operation makes muscle cells look for internal reserves of energy supply in conditions of oxygen debt.

    ✅ This is how interval training appeared.

    🔹 Gordon Peary, a student of Gerscher, sets five world records: 6 miles, 5 kilometers, twice 3 kilometers and a 4 x 1500 relay.

    🔹 Luxembourgian athlete Josy Barthel wins the 1952 Olympics in the 1500 meters.

    🔹 Belgian Roger Moens wins the 800m Olympics in Rome in 1960.

    👉 Waldemar Gerschler and his partner, cardiologist Hans Rindel, accept congratulations and criticism.

    ⚠️ Opponents said: "too hard and dangerous."

    Interval training takes less time, gives a more intense load and allows you to accurately dose it.

    Athletes are progressing so fast that they surprise the organizers: Josy Barthel climbed the Olympic podium to the improvisation of the orchestra, the musicians had no idea how the Luxembourg anthem sounds 😏

    🔸 Now not a single cyclic sport is complete without intervals. It takes a big heart to run fast, literally.

    ❗️ But a little later it turned out that not everything is so simple.

    The heart is a muscle. There are two variants of its hypertrophy: L and D

    The heart is a muscle. Almost like thighs or biceps.

    🔳 Training increases the muscle, the heart grows.

    👉 And now let's figure out how the muscle fiber grows. There are at least two options:

    The heart increases in length and the heart increases in diameter.

    Cleverly, this is called L- and D-hypertrophy. If the fiber lengthens, the volume of the heart increases; if the diameter increases, the strength increases and the thickness of the myocardial wall increases.

    Let's run - for the first 60 seconds, the pulse accelerates to 180, for another 30 seconds we hold the pulse, then we rest until the pulse is 120 and so on 40 times. This is the classic German interval training that Dr. Rindel and Coach Gerscher tested on their trainees during the long war days of 1941-1945. With such work, myocardiocytes, myocardial cells, are acidified, which stimulates the growth of muscle fibers, myofibrils. The heart wall becomes thicker.

    What happens if you run 🏃 on a pulse of 200? The heart will contract as usual, it doesn’t know how to do it any other way, either to the fullest, or not at all. But the heart will not have time to relax - this is called a diastole defect. The heart did not have time to relax, but already it needs to contract again. Tension arises in it that does not allow blood to circulate normally and nourish muscle cells, hypoxia sets in, lactic acid is formed, which kills the mitochondria of heart cells.

    📍 Myocardiocytes die, turning into connective tissue. Exactly the same thing will happen if you run too long at a high heart rate.

    The connective tissue in the heart is like the bone in the throat. It does not stretch, further loading the muscle, and does not conduct electrical impulses, which prevents different parts of the heart from working synchronously. There are additional foci of excitation, and the heart contracts when it is not needed at all - extrasystole. As a result, myocardial dystrophy, microinfarctions and cardiac arrest occur 😮 Most sudden deaths in athletes occur at night or a few hundred meters before the finish line, when the body has already relaxed, and the heart cannot do this 🙄

    ✅ Football players are the most at risk, they play very often and make too many accelerations in one game. Marathon runners who run races once a week fall into this category.

    It is now believed that one interval training per week will not kill you, but will make your heart stronger, that is, in one contraction it will throw out more blood 💓

    We figured out the strength of the heart muscle, but this has nothing to do with the volume of the heart.

    ➡️ Volume increases the stretch of the heart. The maximum amplitude, that is, the maximum stretching of the myocardium, occurs with a pulse of 120 to 150 beats per minute. The heart has time to fully expand between beats and contract strongly during the ejection of blood. In order for the heart to grow in volume, you need to maintain such a pulse for as long as possible. By the way, this mode of operation is an excellent heart massage. Even if in previous workouts you almost killed myocardiocytes with lactic acid, then intense stretching and compression of the walls of the heart causes an influx of oxygen-rich blood to the cells, which resuscitates them. This stretching of the heart is called L-hypertrophy. Here it is to a greater extent responsible for the minute release of blood. The larger the volume of the heart, the more blood it pumps at the same pulse.

    👉 It seems that we have invented a new type of training - LSD 😜 I also have only one association, but for people who are seriously involved in marathon running, this is called Long Slow Distance - a long slow run. But everything was invented before us, just forgotten ☝️

    Clarence DeMar has won the Boston Marathon seven times. In 1910, after he finished second at his first Boston, a doctor strongly recommended that DeMar stop running because of his heart murmurs. The following year, the doctor did not allow him to start, citing a poor heart condition. Clarence didn't listen to the doctor and won the race.

    DeMar's running volume 🏃 in preparation for marathons reached 160 km per week. A significant part of this volume was made in office clothes. DeMar would get up early in the morning, run a few miles at a leisurely pace before breakfast, then run to the train, then off the train, then running through client offices, then back home in the same way. Over the weekend, he ran two long workouts. And they didn’t know about any interval training then. Lots and lots of slow running. Clarence DeMar ran his best Boston in 1922 in 2 hours and 18 minutes, and in 1930 he won this marathon at the age of 41. And no intervals 👏

    🔸 Paavo Nurmi set 22 world records and won 9 Olympic gold medals. At the 1924 Olympics in Paris, Nurmi won the 1500, 3000, 5000 and the cross-country twice. The leaders of the national team did not let him run 10,000 meters, which upset the Finn so much that in the same year he sets a world record at this distance - 30 minutes 6 seconds. Nurmi will win an Olympic medal in ten in four years in Amsterdam, repeating the success of Antwerp in 1920.

    🏃‍♂️ Paavo Nurmi's workouts consisted of several hours of walking, one five-kilometer tempo run and a seven-kilometer evening cross. And again - no intervals. Lots of slow work, but unlike DeMar, Nurmi introduces a daily tempo run.

    We don’t know anything about DeMar’s heart condition; he died of stomach cancer at the age of 70. But everything is known about Nurmi's heart. At 53, he suffered a myocardial infarction, after 17 years - another one. Paavo Nurmi died at the age of 76 paralyzed, completely blind and almost dumb, calling sports a waste of time 😕

    ✅ Modern trainers are unanimous - there should not be a lot of interval training, but you can’t do without them.

    "My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.” 

    wcrunner2


    Are we there, yet?

       

       

      🔹 Belgian Roger Moens wins the 800m Olympics in Rome in 1960.

       

       

      Someone slipped up in their research.  Moens was second to Peter Snell in the 800m at Rome.

       2023 Races:

            On IR for now

           

      Altair5


        wcrunner - Thanks, I looked it up and your correction was correct!

         

        Well, nobody has responded with comments on this article and there are things I find incomplete or questionable. So, I don't think my heart rate will ever get near 180, let alone 200, due partly to my age. Need I worry about my heart not having time to relax and killing mitochondria and heart muscle cells? Are tempo runs really dangerous if done too often? Is there research showing damage to the heart in elite runners? Is a series of short intervals once a week the best way to increase pace or, as this article seems to imply, doing many miles of long slow distance? You know, and this is not just in running topics, I often pose questions hoping an expert will weigh in and give answers supported by good data. Typically, I do not get a response, maybe because real experts are doing research and don't have time to answer questions! Or maybe they think me too dumb to understand any explanation they give. I hope to hear a variety of opinions, but if not, I may have to research this myself in my books and the internet and I'll post my conclusions here for my own satisfaction and anyone else who is interested.

        "My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.” 

        wcrunner2


        Are we there, yet?

          Note that Gerschler developed interval training primarily for a 400m-800m runner.  Yes, it can and has been applied to middle distance and distance runners with positive results.  Then consider what Lydiard did with long periods of base training involving long runs of 20 miles or so.  His runners garnered medals at the Olympics at races from 800m to the marathon.  You won't find a "best way" workout despite all the RW and other articles with leading headlines implying there is: "Do this to set a new PR".

           

          As for heart damage, everything I've read has either been alarmist or shown the damage to be temporary.  Sorry I can't point you to any specific research at the moment.

           2023 Races:

                On IR for now

               

          kilkee


          runktrun

            That's not a well written mind dump, either grammatically or with supporting facts.  There's a lot of poorly connected anecdotes.

            The handful of high level runners who have died from cardiac issues is statistically plausible when looking at the total number of runners of all abilities and the prevalence of cardiac issues in the entire population.  Just because a few runners who run hard tempo or VO2max die does not mean tempo and VO2max runs lead to death.

             

            A lot of stimuli can affect the heart muscle.  Not all adaptations are healthy, but they're also not exceptionally detrimental to health.  Physiologic growth differs from pathologic growth.

             

            I'm sure if you did some digging and vetting of peer reviewed studies you'd find statistically significant findings that indicate tempo runs and intervals are beneficial to training and not a cause for concern for the majority of runners.

            You don't have to do the research, experts have already done that. Here's a few often cited in other papers:

             

            Marathon run: cardiovascular adaptation and cardiovascular risk | European Heart Journal | Oxford Academic (oup.com)

            Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Cardiac Adaptation to Exercise (nih.gov)

            The Heart of Trained Athletes | Circulation (ahajournals.org)

            Not running for my health, but in spite of it.

            Altair5


              Thank you wcrunner and kikee for responding to my questions, your input was very helpful!

               

              wcrunner - I understand that there are many different training plans and which is best may be specific to each individual. Personally my training for a marathon usually consists of increasing my long run distances and I may do several runs of 20 miles or more, the only speed work I may do is just to try running certain segments at a faster pace. I now have ambitions to Boston qualify and now think doing intervals and tempo runs may significantly better my finishing time. I agree that reports of heart damage may be alarmist.

               

              kilkee - The article does seem rather thrown together, but it did scare me that if I don't train properly I may cause damage to my heart. I'm glad indications are that tempo runs and intervals are beneficial to heart heath. I did read the papers you gave the links for, a bit technical at times, but gave an idea of what the current medical thinking is.

               

              Here is what I conclude: Elite athletes can have an enlarged heart, but that enlargement is not the same as that associated with heart disease, rather it's an adaptation to increase the amount of blood being pumped. Markers of heart damage after a marathon will disappear in 24 hours and are temporary indicators of stress. Although the current findings seem inconclusive I think, like with any other muscle, high intensity stress will cause some tearing or damage to muscle fibers leading in time to replacement of some muscle cells with fibers of scar tissue. However in my opinion this would be more an issue for elite athletes. Generally exercise seems to improve heart function. I also have heard that prolonged periods of high intensity can damage the mitochondria, on the other hand training can increase the ability of the mitochondria to produce energy and burn fats. I guess this is why high intensity workouts are more recommended near the end of a training cycle. Middle aged or older athletes are suspected of being more at risk for heart problem in a long distance event like a marathon. I'm a senior of 70 years of age, guess I'll be taking a chance running 26.2 miles!

               

              So right now I am trying to build up millage and it is frustrating how slow my progress is, but basically starting back in December with one mile runs I've now have done an eight miler! I plan to add intervals and tempo run weekly in my training once I am able to do like 12 mile runs and weekly totals of like 30 to 40 miles. I may keep my fastest pace interval training to like a lot of short bursts giving enough slower paced rest times between to give the heart time to recover. I'll very gradually increase the duration and pace of my tempo runs to give me time to adapt. I think with some caution and patience I can make some improvement without having to worry too much about heart damage!

              "My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.” 

              JMac11


              RIP Milkman

                That's not a well written mind dump, either grammatically or with supporting facts.  There's a lot of poorly connected anecdotes.

                 

                You've described Facebook in a nutshell.

                5K: 16:37 (11/20)  |  10K: 34:49 (10/19)  |  HM: 1:14:57 (5/22)  |  FM: 2:36:31 (12/19) 

                 

                 

                  That article is full of misleading information, I think.  You have gotten some good information from wc and kilkee already but sometimes it is nice to have a comprehensive review to read that is not too technical.  For that I recommend reading the following 7 post series.

                   

                  Does “Cardio” Cause Heart Disease? – Complete Human Performance

                   

                  Long but worth the effort to get through to give you some peace of mind and more understanding.  Good job on your recent 8 miler!

                  "Shut up Legs!" Jens Voigt

                  Altair5


                    runinskirts - Thanks for the link, although I was only able to read parts 1 - 4, when I clicked to go to part 5 the computer said it was unavailable! Anyway the articles show that heart damage from running is not well documented!

                    "My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.” 

                    darkwave


                    Mother of Cats

                      One anecdote - this fall I checked in with a cardiologist, who noted a heart murmur and sent me for an echocardiogram (which was fine, as expected - the heart murmur is the benign consequence of having a muscular heart developed by running).

                       

                      The cardiologist and I discussed my extensive running, and she commented "as your cardiologist, I feel obligated to tell you that we are starting to see some evidence that a large amount of intense aerobic exerci may do some damage to the heart in the long term."

                       

                      She then continued..."but, because of your running, you are still much better off than so many of my other patients.  I'm not worried at all.  No need to change what you are doing."  (this is me paraphrasing - not her actual words).

                       

                      I took from this - a lot of high intensity aerobic activity (running or otherwise) might be bad for the heart as compared to a more moderate amount of running.  But it's still much preferable to doing too little, when you are only considering the heart in isolation.

                       

                      And that's before you start weighing in the other physical health benefits (stronger bones, lower blood pressure).

                       

                      And that's before you then start considering the mental health benefits of an active lifestyle.

                       

                      So yeah, if you want to absolutely optimize your health, you could cut the running back and do more yoga, weight lifting, swimming, walking.   But if you run a lot, including pretty intense workouts, you're still doing far better than the population as a whole.

                       

                      .

                      Everyone's gotta running blog; I'm the only one with a POOL-RUNNING blog.

                       

                      And...if you want a running Instagram where all the pictures are of cats, I've got you covered.

                      kilkee


                      runktrun

                        .... I now have ambitions to Boston qualify and now think doing intervals and tempo runs may significantly better my finishing time. I agree that reports of heart damage may be alarmist.

                         

                        Yes, that's definitely the angle some of the headlines take.

                         

                        ... but it did scare me that if I don't train properly I may cause damage to my heart. I'm glad indications are that tempo runs and intervals are beneficial to heart heath. 

                         

                        A totally valid concern, but for MOST people, exercise, even at high intensities at the elite level, is safe if you build up slowly and listen to your body. Your conclusions are pretty spot on with general consensus in the medical and sport community.

                        ...

                         

                        So right now I am trying to build up millage and it is frustrating how slow my progress is, but basically starting back in December with one mile runs I've now have done an eight miler! 

                         

                        There's a great piece of advice floating around RA:  "Run lots, mostly easy, sometimes hard."

                        You'll get there!  It can feel slow but try to enjoy the process!

                        Not running for my health, but in spite of it.

                          runinskirts - Thanks for the link, although I was only able to read parts 1 - 4, when I clicked to go to part 5 the computer said it was unavailable! Anyway the articles show that heart damage from running is not well documented!

                           

                          Weird.  It looks like there is some certificate error for part 5!  Well, here are the direct links to part 6 and 7 if you are interested. I had sent this link to my Mom a while back so had the direct address.  I really think this stuff is interesting.

                           

                          Athlete’s Heart: Why Bigger is Not Always Better, or Worse – Complete Human Performance

                          The Truth about Extreme Exercise, Oxidative Stress, and Your Health – Complete Human Performance

                           

                          As kilkee said, there is still a lot of debate going on about it all.  I'd rather take my chances doing more exercise.  I doubt my body could tolerate the levels of intensity or volume required to do heart damage without getting injured in some other way first!  Also, I find that as I get older I need more intensity to improve rather than volume.  I have found this to be true for cycling and running (when I was running more).  This is anecdotal evidence of course.  YMMV.

                          "Shut up Legs!" Jens Voigt

                          Altair5


                            darkwave - It makes sense that possible damage to the heart from intense aerobics may be balance out by by benefits gained. I'm sure an exercised heart has better circulation and works more efficiently.

                             

                            kilkee - I have the book "80/20 Running" by Fitzgerald which says 80% of your runs should be easy! I think running should be fun, but sometimes you have to go out of your comfort zone to make progress.

                             

                            runinskirts - Thanks for providing links to parts 6 and 7, too bad I can't read part 5! So you believe older runners need more intensity in their training? I did find this article which supports that viewpoint: high-intensity-training-older-runners

                             

                            I am not really sure how to approach doing intervals. It seems you should do a 10 to 30 minute warm up gradually increasing intensity to a moderate pace before starting the intervals, then run at or slightly below the lactate threshold. I have books that show how to estimate what that pace would be for me, but right now have no idea of how fast that is. Another question is how long the intervals and recovery times should be. I think I would just run until being out of breath becomes too uncomfortable and then slow greatly until  I am breathing easily. Actually I am thinking of seeing how long I could maintain a 7 minute mile pace, much faster than my typical running speed right now and I expect I would be pressed to keep it up for even half a minute! I suspect that pace would be greater right now than my anaerobic threshold, but I kind of want to experiment to see if I could gradually increase the amount of time I could maintain that pace and see if eventually, over the course of many months, I could do a 7 minute mile or even close to that pace for a 5K race! I guess this is not the smart approach, but sometimes I like to try stuff and see what happens! At the same time I would do slower intervals and a tempo run at my goal race pace, which for me to Boston qualify is a 9:55 pace, but would probably need to be a bit faster due to the cutoff!

                            "My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.” 

                            wcrunner2


                            Are we there, yet?

                               

                              I am not really sure how to approach doing intervals. It seems you should do a 10 to 30 minute warm up gradually increasing intensity to a moderate pace before starting the intervals, then run at or slightly below the lactate threshold. I have books that show how to estimate what that pace would be for me, but right now have no idea of how fast that is. Another question is how long the intervals and recovery times should be. I think I would just run until being out of breath becomes too uncomfortable and then slow greatly until  I am breathing easily. Actually I am thinking of seeing how long I could maintain a 7 minute mile pace, much faster than my typical running speed right now and I expect I would be pressed to keep it up for even half a minute! I suspect that pace would be greater right now than my anaerobic threshold, but I kind of want to experiment to see if I could gradually increase the amount of time I could maintain that pace and see if eventually, over the course of many months, I could do a 7 minute mile or even close to that pace for a 5K race! I guess this is not the smart approach, but sometimes I like to try stuff and see what happens! At the same time I would do slower intervals and a tempo run at my goal race pace, which for me to Boston qualify is a 9:55 pace, but would probably need to be a bit faster due to the cutoff!

                               

                              A couple rules of thumb for speed work:

                              For VO2Max, i.e. intervals, they should last 2-5:00 at a pace you could maintain for 12-15 minutes; recovery should last 75-100% of the interval time, usually at an easy run or jog

                              For LT, i.e. tempo runs, total time at tempo pace should be 20-30 minutes at a pace you could maintain for 45-60 minutes.  The 20-30 minutes can be run at one time or broken into several shorter runs, e.g. 2 or 3 x 10:00 with a short recovery, maybe 2 minutes easy run or jog.

                               

                               

                               

                               

                              .

                               2023 Races:

                                    On IR for now

                                   

                              Jogger bobby


                                I am definitely no expert but have run, lifted, played sports, skied, distance backpacked my whole life. My family dies of cancer, not CV disease, so that a consideration in my decision-making.

                                 

                                I am currently reading Train smart, Run Forever, by Bill Pierce and Scott Murr. The recommendations are based on 30-40 years of research done at the Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training (FIRST). I haven't finished the book yet but two early take home points:

                                 

                                1. Running over 15-25 miles per week does not improve longevity and may hurt it specifically through CV damage and immune system suppression (which has implications for cancer, not just infectious illness).

                                 

                                2. Their recommended training program is as follows:

                                 

                                Monday: x-train 30, strength train 15, stretch 10 minutes

                                 

                                Tuesday: dynamic stretch 5, run 50, stretch 10

                                 

                                Wednesday: repeat Monday

                                 

                                Thursday: repeat Tuesday

                                 

                                Friday: strength 15, stretch 10

                                 

                                Saturday: dynamic 5, run 60-90, stretch 15

                                 

                                Sunday: x-train 30, stretch 10

                                 

                                They recommend a mix of paces which are prescribed in the book. I found the long run recommendation interesting. Based on my most recent crappy 5k pace of 24, the long run would be 8:49-9:01 pace, which is just slightly faster than MAF tells me (which ranges from 8:50-9:20 depending on conditions). Also they obviously recommend considerably less mileage than most programs designed to increase speed .

                                 

                                They don't say that more running is bad, obviously if you're training for a marathon you need more. This is a program designed to support longevity as runners age and to deliver as much of the benefits from running as possible in a reasonable time commitment without the possible downside risks of higher mileage such as injury or any negative physiologic adaptations.

                                Born: 1973

                                Marathon PR: 3:44 (2000)

                                5k PR: 22:02 (2022)

                                1 mile PR: 6:09 (2022)

                                 

                                Goals:

                                5k - 21:42

                                Mile - 6:30

                                400m - 1:10

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