Studying Up On The Heart Impact Of Running

Marathon running is bad for your heart, there I said it.

It’s been coming across my desk a bit lately, most recently last night reading The Longevity Paradox, that yeah running marathons puts chronic stress on your heart and builds up scar tissue and unreversible calcium deposits. Really I’ve been bummed about it since I heard Micah True died after Born To Run.

To me it means it’s important to recover properly and to take an off season. And it reinforces the spiritual connection between ultra-runners and addicts, like we have to do something that’s killing us to feel alive. In running, like drinking, it’s important to abstain sometimes, do it in moderation most of the time, and have the occasional binge so that too much sanity doesn’t drive you nuts.

As I’m reading more on it you do have to be running a fucking lot and ignoring warning signs for the few people who that runner’s heart really happens to. 15 – 20 miles a week is apparently the sweet spot for running health and that’s a lot of miles as far as the vast majority of people, even runners, are concerned.

What I’m curious about is if you can build up your health with intervals and other cardio to make running quicker to recover from and less damaging acutely. And as I’m wading deep into I found this gem: Favorable left ventricular remodeling and increased left ventricular ejection fraction occurred after HIIT …which hopefully means I’m right…

I’ll let you know more as I find it, in the meantime pray for Karnazes

Why We Should Buff More Than Nerf

I linked to this video (Why We Should Buff More Than Nerf, a video about pro fighting game culture) in my Videos I Liked This Week a while ago and said that while it felt important I couldn’t quite express how it was related to Health & Fitness.

Then I was reading about pooping and it all came together.

Really I was reading about digestion and the consequences of a high protein diet but it was poop-motivated, shall we say.

And I added some pre-bed magnesium citrate to my routine. This qualifies as a buff, something added to make one stronger.

Whereas to Nerf is to make one weaker. Running shoes have nerfed our feet, they are weaker because of the raised heel and excessive cushioning. But really to back away from anything is to nerf. If you hit the treadmill and later your knees hurt so you think treadmill’s not for me and give up on cardio then you have nerfed yourself. I’m not saying fight through the pain, I’m saying adapt and learn and get stronger – i.e, buff.

A lot of people nerf themselves because they don’t want to be too different from their peers. It can be hard to say I’m not going to eat this or that because I want to look better around your friends who are broadcasting that they’re totally fine with how they look. So we nerf ourselves.

We can back away from things we want to do because we might not succeed and therefore confirm our loserdom. So we nerf ourselves.

But not everything that makes training easier is a nerf. I’m reading Road To Sparta by Dean Karnazes currently and just passed the section where he writes about the importance of keeping one’s feet dry and changing one’s socks during ultramarathons to prevent a host of problems (what a thriller! I know). So extra socks isn’t a nerf even though it seems a bit like comfort-seeking. Extra socks is a buff because preventing blisters and trenchfoot is going to make you run stronger, longer.

Now I think there is a danger of turning anything into a nerf and I’m thinking of people who bring an energy gel for every 10k of a race. It’s a mental crutch at that point, no one needs that much nutrition.

So you might be bringing all these socks with you everywhere thinking it makes you stronger but really it’s preventing you from ever tapping into your strength. Are you living this life or are your socks, man?

And now clearly this is about alcohol. Or any drug, really. But mostly alcohol. The great social lubricant can get a person out of their shell and into the conversation so it’s a buff but if you always use it and never your own strength, it’s a nerf. Especially once you believe you can’t do something without it.

So, are you buffing or nerfing? Are you adding things that make you stronger or are you hiding behind things that make you weaker?