November 29, 2012

"Running too fast, too far and for too many years may speed one's progress toward the finish line of life."

Why the hurry?

28 comments:

edutcher said...

I like the ad slogan, "Walk. Run. It's a pace, not a race".

LarsPorsena said...

How many ultramarathoners live to 100?

Mark O said...

I ran at least 6 miles a day for nearly 30 years, including many races of various lengths.

From that I now have a hip replacement and skin cancer.

But, I would do it again. I never felt better.

Expat(ish) said...

Disclaimer: I lost weight (75+) partially by taking up Triathlon and learning to run up to the base ultra distance (50K). And I'm in that ~50 age group they discuss.

So, given the network effect, all my exercise friends are in about the same boat, though most of them are much faster than I am, so really are more 'at risk' in the opinion of the study authors.

And there has been quite a bit of discussion, though very little denial and nobody is talking about cutting back their speed or distance.

It'll be interesting to see if there is any long term effect on behavior. I suspect not since one reason to run faster is to fit the workout into the available time.

If you want to run a marathon at any sort of reasonable pace, you have lots and lots of training time to put in. Saturday I am running with a friend for 20 miles to help him pace at the 8:30/8:50 for his Boston run next year. He'll run that marathon at a 6:30/6:45 pace.

If we did our run tomorrow at 9:30/10:00 pace it would take us 20 minutes more to finish the run. Add that up across all the training runs and you, well, you run out of time.

-XC

Meade said...

"Why the hurry?"

Uh... to win?

Duh.

Saint Croix said...

I had this discussion with a girl in film school about Krzysztof Kieslowski, who made one of the most awesome films ever. Kieslowski pushed himself relentlessly, writing a screenplay for another movie at night while shooting his movies during the day. And he died of a heart attack.

She said he should have taken it easy, that he pushed himself too hard and died early.

And I said, maybe he knew he was going to die, and wanted to get as much out of life as possible. He was frantic to get his art out there.

That's why people are frantic, I think. Life is a gift and you want to live it. Because time is precious and it all goes by so quick.

And that's one of the worst things, in my experience, when you're stuck and aimless, unable to do what you want to do.

When you're doing what you love, and it's awesome, the tendency is to do more and more and more!

Filmmaking is such an awesome career, when you have the opportunity to do it, you accept the insane hours. You work 16 hour days or longer. You work crazy hours, out of love. You're shooting at 3 in the morning. Because you know there's going to be a period where there is no work at all.

Also, filmmaking is quite expensive, so you try to jam as much as you can into as short a period as you can. If you know any filmmakers, we're always exhausted and happy. Or bored, aimless, and miserable.

I know it's a running thread, but kind of the same dynamic, I suspect. Restless people don't wanna rest.

EDH said...

Sports cardiologist James O'Keefe, an author of the Heart paper, counters that Dr. Thompson is an exercise addict. "He, like many chronic exercise addicts, is the one with an agenda," said Dr. O'Keefe...

Runnin' Too Deep

We scorch the earth, babe
For all it's worth
Last night
You in ecstasy
Now you don't remember me

It's runnin' too deep
It's runnin' too deep for me

The sirens and the curfews
Through the night
Everybody's locked up tight
What's going on?
It's been dark for much too long

It's runnin' too deep
Runnin' too deep
Runnin' too deep for me

If heaven looses face
What will take its place?

We've torn the treasure from the land
Watched it turn to ashes in our hands

Rory Moore said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SteveR said...

This sounds like one of those issues where people get very defensive. Like criticizing bike riders who don't follow proper safety rules.

William said...

Some people achieve moderation. Others have it thrust upon them. I've got bone spurs, achilles tendonitis, and arthritis. No more long distance running for me....I used to think that jogging was the best deal ever. Finally, a habit that not only made you feel good, but was actually good for you. Maybe not. I've retained my youthful good looks and am frequently mistaken for Jusin Bieber on the street, but my feet are old before their time.

ndspinelli said...

"I don't believe in running, I believe in training by raising gently up and down from the bench."

Satchel Paige

LarsPorsena said...

I wonder if this holds for high intensity activities like CrossFit?

Patrick said...

Jim Fixx is dead, Keith Richards is alive. Hardly original to point it out, but it bears mentioning.

Kit said...

Oh, who cares! As a 52 year old athlete (my younger-self never thought I'd still be doing this), I've accepted that I'm slowing down, parts are breaking down, a bit, but I'm adjusting. I don't do this stuff so that I might live longer - I do my running/biking/swimming/hiking because it's fun, it makes me feel good, I can eat with relative abandon, and it diverts me from other much less healthy activities (i.e., drinking, tv, smoking, etc...). When the big guy decides to throw the 'off' switch on me...I'm cool with it.

Expat(ish) said...

@Kitt - I'm with you.

I also have a teenage daughter and I want the boyfriends to see a scary dad. Not "Chris Christie in a thong" scary, the other kind.

-XC

Joe said...

I ran about 5 miles two or three times a week, at about a 11 mile/min pace. That accidentally put me in the sweet spot the mentioned - enough to get the benefits but not enough to do damage.

I did that in my 50s, and managed to lose 38 lbs. in the process. Still, I had to stop after about 4 years when my hip got arthritic.

And wow, do I miss it. Running really is addicting.

Stephen A. Meigs said...

Prostaglandins are degraded mainly in the lungs, and so heavy breathing of the sort that occurs when running and more especially in an elite runner when running can presumably be a purifying anti-sodomy defense. Just being trained to run fast a long ways can give some extra protection if something untoward happens that way in the future (beyond becoming more able to run away from something chasing you).

Prostaglandin E2, in particular, also causes increased sensitivity to pain, febrile response, tendency to spasm, and platelet aggregation. But it's not like typical masochism, running, no. If you cut yourself and you're not bleeding as much or it hurts more, that's a sign you may be messed up, but cutting won't help cure what ails you, beyond telling you with greater certainty that there may be a problem. If you're running and it hurts unusually much or you're beginning to cramp or you feel more hot than usual, it could be you're dying of heatstroke but nevertheless emotionally feel that to cure yourself of the condition causing the symptoms you need to run harder as if you especially need to oxidize prostaglandins into oblivion, especially if the back of your throat doesn't taste like you're about to cough blood from your lungs, which taste is probably what often saves runners from running too hard. I remember from PE in middle and high school that such a taste just makes one in every way want to stop running.

It's worthy of consideration that stranglers and creeps like Herb Baumeister often try to restrict breathing in their victims, probably because on some level they sense their abuse will have more effect if breathing can be restricted (discouraging algesic PGE2 degradation, making torture more painful). And there are probably a whole host of hidden creeps who restrict breathing during sexual perversions but who haven't become infamous merely because they were sufficiently unconfused as to torture for discreet sordid domination rather than pointless killing.

Lots of things probably have to do with PGE2 defenses. Menstrual cramps? Probably just a natural tendency in girls the experience of which may cause them to leap up and start running far away in terror if they start to feel something similar during sexual activity. And probably the reason there is something relaxing about feeling cold right away upon jumping into a pool is that it is a sign one's thermoregulation isn't being messed up with externally introduced PGE2. I remember when first learning to swim finding it sort of surprising yet reassuring that jumping right in isn't more unpleasant than just gradually inch by inch slowly lowering myself into the pool.

I don't know whether girls who mostly feel comfortable with the relationships they are in would much want to use jogging as a test or prudent defense, though--too bouncy. Probably something like tap dancing is more cool to the mostly confident as a cardiovascular exercise--not bouncy as much.

dbp said...

I am a member of a running club and the impression I get is that these people are not doing it with the primary goal of living longer.

For myself, I run in order to have a better life now, not to have more life later. I do about 30 miles per week at about 8 minutes per mile so 4 hours/week. As a result, I look my best (not great, but better than I would otherwise look), I feel good, I am stronger and I can eat what I like without any worry about getting fat.

Mitchell the Bat said...

At age 52, my resting heart rate varies from 58 to 63 beats per minute.

I'm a little overweight but I exercise in a half-assed way sort of regularly and do 35 pushups and 10 pullups, among other things.

I'll do a sprint uphill occasionally to see how high I can get my heart rate.

Once I got it up to 183 bpm.

I couldn't catch my breath for what seemed like way too long.

That was kind of alarming but I like to prove to myself every now and then that I'm an idiot.

ad hoc said...

While not a serious runner (3-8 miles, 2-3 times per week, 10-11 minute mile), the benefits of general well-being that accompany running regularly are enough reason to continue. It's not like one is guarenteed a long life otherwise.

Not running related, but I too am a big Kieslowski fan, with Red being my favorite of the trilogy.

Larry J said...

As a former paratrooper who had to run countless miles wearing combat boots, I've long suspected running causes brain damage. Ultramarathons seem proof of that. Now, it seems long distance running might cause heart damage. Who knew?

Kit said...

XC - that'll work, too.

Chad Brooks said...

Toward the end of the Bond movie Skyfall the character M (Judy Dench) quotes from Tennyson's Ulysses:

"Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."

As an older runner those words struck home. Weak by time and fate butnot yet ready to yield.

Earlier in the poem there are these lines:
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!'

It is better to wear out then rust out.

What are you saving yourself for: the nursing home, drooling and dribbling out you food while some stranger takes you to the bathroom.

I'd rather live intensely and well in this moment.

To

Michael said...

I run four days a week, usually three but sometimes five miles. I have done so for about forty years with only a couple of minor problems that have healed on their own. I have had one shot of cortisone in a troubled knee and that was that. I never run on concrete, always on turf or asphalt. I have always been slow and make no attempt to improve on my times which stretch every year. The article has been written a hundred times over the last forty years.

Darcy said...

Well, I'd hate for this to be true, having taken up running a short while ago at age 48. I love running. I love what it's done for my body and my state of mind. I'm fitter and happier than I've ever been. I run about 20 miles a week and I was hoping to do this for at least another 10-15 years.

DADvocate said...

My maternal grandfather probably never ran for exercise during his adult life. But, he stayed active/involved in many ways. He lived to 86. My mother never ran except to chase us down as toddlers. She's 87 and still going.

It 61, I can't run any distance due to foot pain. But, I can do low impact activities, walking, cycling, ellipticals, swim, etc. I do have a very non-serious arrhythmia and find I feel much better with moderate exercise/exertion. Plus, I can still kick garage's ass, too.

wyo sis said...

Kieth Richards might be dead. Who could tell for sure?

jr565 said...

Running is terrible for the knees. Have you seen marathoners after they finish a marathon. They look on the verge of death. Maybe they, in fact are.

But I dont think this discounts the concept of excercise. Just certain types of excercise. Cardio in particular.