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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Running for life or death?

       As an endurance athlete, I was startled by the Wall Street Journal article  "When Running Is Bad for You"/ "One Running Shoe in the Grave". Not only because of it's alarming title; it struck a nerve within me as well as cause quite a stir in my running group.  The article was also brought up by several clients and members of the group, when they asked my opinion on this issue. There where so many in fact, that it prompted me to delve into the article further and attempt to truly understand the potential dangers we face.

        Initially, when I read the article I noticed that all of the photos where of Triathlons which is an entirely different entity then marathon running solely. A slight digression, I know, but an interesting selection by the author.  The primary study referenced in the Wall Street Journal, is an editorial published in the British Journal Heart. The British Journal Heart is an international peer review journal for professionals in the health care field. In a brief, The Wall Street Journal article,  focuses on the new research metrics that are being tested on "Older" athletes, that are not competing solely in running events.The author discusses how previous research measured primarily the number of deaths during races. While the new research focuses on the negative impact it has on the longevity of runners as they age, specifically those who run over 25 miles a week.  The article included an opinion from two different Sports Cardiologist, one of which authored the paper. The other cardiologist, is a former elite marathon runner, opposes the new research. He believes the researchers are "manipulating the data" as well as strictly focusing there research on association as a runner. Thus, overlooking other potential causes for the negative findings like, pre-existing conditions or diseases. While both sides of the research have valid points, for me the article comes down to reconciling in some way my conflicting passions.  I will have to both agree and disagree with the findings. Tempering my athletic brain with my training profession, so that can both advocate caution to some while, half heartily accepting them for my own training philosophy.

      At the end of the day for me; running/training goes way beyond what health benefits I receive; it speaks to my soul. Every time the ever popular "GO" word is uttered it ignites my competitive drive and urges me forward even when the finish line is invisible.

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