Warning: Running a Marathon Can Seriously Harm Your Health

by Fitness Editor Paula Jager, CSCS Owner of Crossfit Jaguar

Have you ever noticed that the marathon runners in the Olympics look like concentration camp victims?

Have you ever wondered why marathons are considered “healthy” in our society yet the first man that ever ran one collapsed and died immediately after?

Yeah, and Pheidippides was fit too, likely selected for his job as a herald due to his speed and distance running ability – not some ancient Greek version of the modern couch potato.

While life may be a marathon your training program should not be. Running a half or whole marathon or competing in a triathlon are all admirable goals. But there are many dangers associated with excessive endurance training.

Dating as far back as the 1970’s, the misconception of mainstream training philosophies that 45 minutes to an hour or more a day of intense aerobic activity has led to an overtrained, unfit, immune-compromised exercising population.

Man was not designed for movement at a chronically sustained high intensity aerobic pace. We’ve all seen it in the local globo gym–day in and day out, week after week Jane and John plod away on the treadmills and ellipticals or pedal themselves into exhaustion in spin classes. It has done nothing to shed the extra fat on their butts and guts let alone tone them. I have never been impressed by any of these results.

 What exactly are the problems caused by training for long periods of times at high intensities such as what occurs during a marathon? Several things. . .

  • Debilitating osteoarthritis . . . at young ages
  • Tendonitis and other repetitive strain injuries
  • Recurrent upper respiratory infections
  • Increased oxidative damage (free radical production)
  • Decreased fat metabolism
  • Susceptibility to injury
  • Loss of bone density
  • Depletion of lean muscle tissue
  • Coupled with the common high refined carbohydrate intake promotes a dangerous level of continuous systemic inflammation.

Eeek! Sounds like a workout gone very bad to me and the sad part is the intentions of this exercising population are good; they are doing this all in the name of “health.”–they are not out to destroy it.

Aside from the disastrous results mentioned above why is high intensity aerobic pursuit such a dead end? One reason is the high level of carbohydrates consumed needed to sustain this activity leads to chronic inflammation. You’ve all seen it–Sally and Johnny are running a 5 K so they load up on a big bowl of pasta the night before and chow down on bagels and juice immediately after their 36 min 5 K. Type 2 here we come.

But quite simply because man was not designed (evolved) to work like this; we have 2 primary energy systems to power our muscles. The first relies on the slow burning of fats keeping us fueled while at rest yet allowing for continuous low level aerobic activity such as walking, gardening and day to day physical tasks. Fat is a very efficient fuel, stored and burned easily and cleanly when lots of oxygen is present

Our second primary energy system that evolved is an ATP fueled system that allows us to do intense loads of work in shorts bursts. It is our high octane fuel. Think of the woman that lifts a car off her child trapped beneath it. Or the person that sprints after a mugger to get their wallet back. In other words all out effort for fewer than 20 seconds; flight or fight and life or death tasks and situations.

Our energy systems are far more complex than that but it boils to the fact that we were evolved to either move slowly and steadily or briefly and fast and we become both healthier and stronger by exercising and living in this manner.

All being said there are still people out there that want to run a half or whole marathon or a triathlon and there is a better and smarter way to train for it while avoiding the negative risks mentioned above. The days of logging mileage in excess of 20+ a week are rapidly becoming archaic. And so is the weak and skinny appearance of the stereotypical endurance athlete.

Many are finding that by incorporating strength and conditioning workouts into their training routine along with shorter more interval based training they are improving speed, power and overall performance along with reducing injury potential. Not to mention having a lot more free time, fewer injuries and no long term scarring/damage to the heart.

This has been hotly debated but well documented in the past several years. Leading the pack in the defense is CF Endurance’s Brian MacKenzie www.crossfitendurance.com. His training has many top level endurance athletes setting personal records far above past efforts with a dramatic reduction in training time and mileage.

Fitness can and should be achieved without the need for pounding the pavement for miles on end, a huge daily time commitment, and a long list of extreme risks to health both short and long term.


Paula Jager CSCS and Level 1 CrossFit and CF Nutrition Certified is the owner of CrossFit Jaguar in Tampa, FL

Her exercise and nutrition programs yield life changing results.


Comments (221)

  1. Hello! Have you seen a marathon lately? Kara Goucher? Shalane Flanagan? These women are beautiful and not a bit scrawny. They have ab muscles and thigh muscles and lord, watching them run is like watching beauty in action.
    As a woman in her 50s who runs marathons and is training for a 50-mile race, I have to say that my body hasn’t fallen apart, I don’t look like a concentration camp victim and my diet doesn’t consist of huge plates of pasta, either. (And please–your reference about carbo loading for a 5K? Who does that? You body doesn’t need extra glycogen for such a short distance.)
    I’m think that the real reason why most CrossFit instructors probably dislike running is that it costs almost nothing! You can do it almost anywhere! All you need is a good pair of shoes!
    Yeah, not a lot of CrossFit instructors making money off of running, eh?
    P.S. There is a HUGE difference between running an 11.5 mile race and a marathon, honey.

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  4. Articles like this always need to have balancing facts. And the photo shown is one of a 60 year old vs. a 25 year old. Not a good comparison. Besides, how many people look like the 25 year old other than college or professional football (American) players. How high are his testosterone levels?

    Just too much to try and say here. It’s not running a marathon that is dangerous. It’s wrong training methods and wrong eating habits.

    And all this talk about how we chased animals 100 million years ago; no one here knows that.

    • If I may add. The 25 year old is a 100 – 200 meter sprinter max. Compare him to a 400 meter specialist, and then a 800 meter, 1500 meter, etc. and you will find that he is doing what he is best suited for. 99% of people could train all they want to and never, never look anywhere close to his physique.

  5. Have you ever trained for or ran a marathon? Just curious. I agree with you saying that logging loads and loads of mileage on in a training program may lead to injury, most of those injuries being doing too much too soon, but running and training properly for marathons is not bad for you. I’d love to see an article about all the debilitating injuries that have happened doing Crossfit… I’ve known young people that have permanently ruined their backs from lifting WAY too much weight too soon, and further screwing up their backs from kipping on pull ups because they were trying to finish the workout faster during an AMRAP workout… You can spout out all day long how running is bad, Crossfit is bad, etc… Any type of physical activity has injuries associated with them. It’s all about being smart with training and yes nutrition. But please don’t give running, or training for marathons a bad rep. I’d love to see a Crossfit person run a 2:08 marathon like Meb did at Boston on Monday… Yea not gonna happen. You know what his pre race meal is? Pasta. And lots of it. Just because not everyone eats Paleo, doesn’t mean they are carb loading on doughnuts or pastries either…..as a marathon runner I’m very cautious about what I’m putting into my body for fuel and recovery, and if you knew more about marathon training, you’d find that the majority of runners are conscientious about what they are putting into their bodies… I think you should do some more research in the area of marathon training and maybe run a few yourself before you write an article like this clearly based off of your opinion, making assumptions and generalizing running and marathon training. Maybe doing that can be your “WOD” (Crossfit lingo for workout of the day)

  6. Kaydee Tha Lady via Facebook April 24, 2014 at 1:10 am

    Have you ever trained for or ran a marathon? Just curious. I agree with you saying that logging loads and loads of mileage on in a training program may lead to injury, most of those injuries being doing too much too soon, but running and training properly for marathons is not bad for you. I’d love to see an article about all the debilitating injuries that have happened doing Crossfit… I’ve known young people that have permanently ruined their backs from lifting WAY too much weight too soon, and further screwing up their backs from kipping on pull ups because they were trying to finish the workout faster during an AMRAP workout… You can spout out all day long how running is bad, Crossfit is bad, etc… Any type of physical activity has injuries associated with them. It’s all about being smart with training and yes nutrition. But please don’t give running, or training for marathons a bad rep. I’d love to see a Crossfit person run a 2:08 marathon like Meb did at Boston on Monday… Yea not gonna happen. You know what his pre race meal is? Pasta. And lots of it. Just because not everyone eats Paleo, doesn’t mean they are carb loading up on doughnuts or pastries either….. I think you should just do some more research in the area of marathon training and maybe run a few yourself before you write an article like this making assumptions and generalizing running and marathon training. Maybe doing that can be your “WOD” (workout of the day Crossfit lingo)

    • Actually I’ve run a Tough Mudder (11.5 miles); using a CF Endruance training template which worked well. I personally do not enjoy long distance running. I didn’t say “running and training properly” is bad for you should one desire to run a marathon. It’s the people that log excessively and do too many miles that end up with the negative effects and injuries.

      Any exercise program–CF and weightlifting included when done improperly or too much too soon can certainly result in injuries. Kipping pull ups should never be done before one has the strength and shoulder stability to do strict pull ups.

      You get good at what you train for. Mainstream CF is not intended for marathon runners but for general physical preparedness. A combination of the 2 can greatly benefit the distance runner saving time and minimizing injuries.

      I don’t put a “Paleo” or “Primal” label on my nutrition; I eat traditional healthy real food. And if you think a bowl of genetically modified processed wheat is healthy perhaps you should do some nutritional research.

  7. Shame on you. Poor timing, poor taste, lacking sources…. On Boston weekend? Running makes people happy. It releases endorphins. The finish line of a marathon trumps the finish of any WOD for some people, and to post this stereotypical generalization of anyone that runs marathons is offensive, and is exactly what gives Crossfit a bad name. I love both, but I’m tired of the holier than thou attitude that Crossfitters often project. And, to talk about the “appearance” of runners… Really? People are born with different body types, different amounts of fast and slow twitch muscles. Skinny dudes are great, if it’s natural and healthy. Chicks with bulky muscles are great, if it’s natural and healthy. And, lastly, why don’t you go run a marathon…. Before preaching about how unhealthy it is.

  8. So interesting! People always say training for a marathon is so healthy and will add years to your life. Even if that’s true, they’re likely to spend all of that time if not more, running. Lol, no thank you!

  9. Nina Hewitt via Facebook April 21, 2014 at 7:52 am

    This seems in bad taste on marathon weekend, esp promoted by crossfit trainers that make money on these “facts.”

  10. Your assuming that people evolved. Evidence is showing that people are actually devolving and that the primary source of energy that the human body likes to run on is carbs – sugars, starches…

  11. Lux Louisa via Facebook April 21, 2014 at 12:54 am

    I watched a great set of videos by an isometrics expert and he was also talking about how damaging to the heart running can be.

  12. Maria @ The Good Life April 20, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    This is a very broad generalization about half marathoning and marathoning. While many people have had injuries (myself included) I can tell you it is because they are either increasing their mileage ridiculously fast not having run a marathon before or are not following a proper training (that includes strength and conditioning training nor a proper nutrition plan that supports the body through the training. I just think the generalizations made about long distance running are very broad.

    • Maria @ The Good Life April 21, 2014 at 10:26 am

      By the way, the fact that this was written by a Crossfit trainer says a lot about it. Nothing personally against them but they are well known for advocating against any type of long distance running.

  13. Whitney E Kamal via Facebook April 20, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    Seriously?!?!?! Maybe for some people, yes. But, on the subject of injuries, I have seen them occur with other sports as well. Shaking my head in disbelief.. Take care of your body~ inside and out. If an injury occurs, seek medical advice sooner rather than later. Educate yourself nutrition, etc..

  14. Crystal Topham Coston via Facebook April 20, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    However, after my wedding day and the births of my five children, the day I completed a full marathon ranks up there as one of the greatest days of my life! It made me realize more than anything else I’ve ever set out to do that with hard work I’m capable of amazing things. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I have no regrets

  15. Dana Stone Woodward via Facebook April 20, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    Although, I’ve seen plenty of injuries from running in my practice, I see them from all sorts of athletic activities too. I agree, no blanket statement for the whole population. Husband loses weight from running and it makes me store fat faster :p

  16. Jason Bo-bason via Facebook April 20, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    Tarahuara Indians and the book Born to Run would beg to differ. Also, why make a blanket stmt about all people? It’s like saying everyone should be vegan or paleo. Maybe some people are suited to long distances and some aren’t.

  17. Every human body metabolizes/ handles stress differently( ie training for endurance events). As a “has been” marathoner and triathlete, I can no longer handle these types of events. My body falls apart and feels fatigued for days despite a nourishing diet. As with most things health related- listen and trust what your body is telling you.

  18. Kristin Kauffman via Facebook April 20, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    I do crossfit and endurance events. Ive done long distance triathlon and marathons for almost 10 years. I will tell you that I believe some of this is true but endurance athletes are a different breed and love what they do! It is enjoyable to them and the smart ones train properly and eat properly. There are always outliers but you can’t tell someone to stop an activity they love doing so much based on that.

  19. It might be the 3rd re post but some things bear repeating. “Man was not designed for movement at a chronically sustained high intensity aerobic pace.” – continue to over do and most people will at some point find themselves with the above mentioned negative effects.

    Nothing wrong with running long and slow if you enjoy it–done in moderation and in conjunction with other activities. It can help facilitate recovery and clear the mind.

    Participating in a triathlon or marathon if desired can be done with minimal damage to the body provided the training is intelligent and adequate recovery periods are factored in between events.

    The picture may be extreme and is meant to make a point but it’s most on the mark. Your training will dictate what the body will look like along with your genetics.

  20. Stacey Hollen via Facebook April 20, 2014 at 8:30 am

    Two things: 1. Where are your references for the info provided. 2. Oh yeah, that’s right. Of course, she’s a CrossFitter. **walking advertisement for CF**

  21. A lot of assumptions being made in these comments… I trained for a marathon in my postpartum year after my first child was born. My bladder strength and control improved, I had no joint issues, and I was able to get pregnant within weeks of the race. I honored my body through the training process. I ate so well. I was so in touch with how food made me feel. I ran at a pace that worked for me. And when I crossed the finish line I felt insensible joy. I learned a lot about myself that day. I come back to that moment often to remind myself how strong I am after a life of doubting. I came back to it when I birthed my second child naturally after a long labor. The psychological benefits themselves were enough! I could go on. There are good and less good ways to do everything. Excess is always a possibility. But a marathon in and of itself, moving your body for 26.2 miles, I don’t think is inherently excessive.

  22. Chris Nagy via Facebook April 20, 2014 at 7:43 am

    How about a post now on how runners can heal faster and reduce inflammation by grounding or earthing….
    I brought my grounding sheet to Boston!

  23. Chris Nagy via Facebook April 20, 2014 at 7:41 am

    Running Boston tomorrow and can’t wait! I’ll guess I’ll just have to take this risk. I do pretty much every other over the top natural granola thing there is…
    Boston Strong!

  24. Hilary Cassady via Facebook April 20, 2014 at 7:27 am

    “The best way to exercise” , “is far more enjoyable” is just an opinion not to mention the photo-come on HHE! I’ve run a marathon, sometimes things are just about challenging yourself and feeding your soul rather than worrying every minute about dropping dead! Coming across that finish line was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done! Carry on runners :)

  25. Sarah Lynn via Facebook April 20, 2014 at 3:35 am

    roxanne great points. the least talked about eating disorder is the one where an atheliete is not getting adequete nutrition. it’s never discussed that athletics related injuries are a result of malnutrition. a sign that you are not giving the body what it needs to do what it needs to do. its the. number one reason for shin splints and other running rekated injurues.

  26. Roxanne Rieske via Facebook April 20, 2014 at 3:04 am

    What this article fails to realize is that A LOT of olympic marathoners are heavily encouraged by their coaches to maintain abnormally thin weights in the misguided belief that it will lead to more endurance (which it doesn’t). So, are these health ramifications listed in the article really the result of marathon running/endurance training or the result of long term eating disorders combined with intense training? I would go with the latter. Oh, and I’m not a runner in any stretch of the word. I hike, swim, and do a couple stints on the eliptical machine a few times a week (it’s easy on the joints), but no more than 30 minutes at a time. Generally, olympians are not doing their sports for “health” reasons. They are in to win a gold medal. They know the long term health risks of the intense training they do, and they are willing to accept the risk for the chance at a gold medal.

  27. Sarah Lynn via Facebook April 20, 2014 at 2:37 am

    well you guys know anything and everything in excess is bad for you right? with this said the healthy home economist likes being controvercial and always has.

  28. Shannon Engstrom Asbill via Facebook April 20, 2014 at 1:10 am

    My dad was a triathlete – runner, biker, swimmer. His heart started doing strange things, and now he only does mostly leisurely bike rides due to atrial fibrillation, brought on and exacerbated by “chronic cardio”. His brother, also an avid runner/biker, is having similar heart issues, and he’s only 50.

  29. Well, I’m glad you reposted – I’ve not seen it before. I love sprinting, especially on grass but for long, sustained andusually pavement exersize I go for speed walking. Far more natural and body friendly – just takes longer so 26 miles takes maybe five and a half hours.
    I’d be very interested in others’ feed back on this approach.

  30. Julie Baldizan via Facebook April 20, 2014 at 12:44 am

    I don’t know if I believe this! JoEllen Jolly-Shiflet you should know first hand. What do you think of this article?!

  31. Ce Adams via Facebook April 20, 2014 at 12:34 am

    I completed ( to say I ran the whole thing would be a lie) and it ruined my back and knees. Even though I trained for 6 mo.
    Never again.

  32. Amy Powell Oz via Facebook April 20, 2014 at 12:16 am

    My father was a runner….very fit and ran every day until his heart stopped at age 49…stopped 6 times before they got a pace maker in…

  33. Hmmm…this article is originally from 2011 and has been reposted at least 2 more times since then.

    Each time, it has garnered the same type of comments (“Oh, wow! Thanks for letting me know,” said every non-runner. “Your facts are messed up, and this article is wrong,” said every runner.)

    Why keep posting an article with erroneous information that is going to alienate part of your following?

    I’m going to think long and hard about being a follower of this page. There is an ulterior motive to reposting this article, and I need to decide how much I trust a page that is yanking the strings of its community.

  34. I started running to loose weight after being encouraged by a running friend in 2007. I lost 75 pounds by 2009 and ran my first half that fall. 2 halfs in 2010 and a tri & full marathon in 2011. It was 2 weeks before that marathon I started to become ill with horrible fatigue swollen lymph nodes. I completed the marathon but have never ran more than 5 miles since. I have spent so much money on test after test and new doctors trying to figure out what was wrong with me. When I look back at pictures I see my weight started creeping up in 2010 and 2011 when I was running more and more miles. So far have been dx with hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue pernicious anemia, CFS. I don’t know if training for a marathon caused my problems but I think I overtaxed my body to the point that basic systems started to shut down. My diet was pretty good but i consumed a the gels and gatorade and carbs the night before. All my experienced alete running friends do or did. Also the night before the marathon we went to a pasta place and was amazed at seeing very well fit runners with huge plates of pasta in front of them. I couldn’t eat like that or I’d gain 5 pounds. Lots of people run ultras and marathons with no problems, yes. Unfortunately, I wasn’t one of them.

  35. Chad English via Facebook April 19, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    I love to running but my legs are disabled. I disappointed it. But I glad I can ride bicycle will do better than running haha.

  36. Heather Mashnouk Brandon via Facebook April 19, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    Wow. A crossfit “expert” writing a surely nonbiased article. The vast majority of marathon runners I know are well versed in nutrition and variation exercise. Try again.

  37. I think the key word is excessive. Like maybe a marathon a month would be too much. I think the vast majority of us are not in danger. I would say Warning: NOT running a marathon can harm your health!

  38. I agree with the article that running is hard on you. But we did not evolve. Our intricate bodies where created by an all powerful God! Read Genesis 1.

  39. You’ve left a lot of room for large discussions. Just last week during a half-marathon in NC, a 35-year-old man collapsed between the 10- and 11-mile markers, and a 31-year-old man died near the finish line. Both were taken to hospitals where they were pronounced dead. Obviously, it’s an incredible stress on the body. We hear about deaths during races but not shortly after or a week later, so we don’t know for sure the true impact. But they could just as easily have died mowing the lawn. No one knows for sure.

    I was a 3 mile a day runner for decades. I think that’s reasonable and I didn’t go fast. But, I’m not a competitive type.

    I doubt the body is made for such intensity, but I could say the same thing about cross fit. I am in the best shape I’ve ever been in (strong, flexible) and I only use 3-5 pound weights. in the classes I take. When I had a guy trainer, I sustained two injuries with heavy weights, which took long healing process. Now I’m in the best training program, and I can feel the difference.

    If someone really wanted to do something for our culture, figure out a way to keep people in after age 45 when they drop out. I’ve been in the gym for over 30 years, but I’m rare. Cross fit is specifically designed for the 20-45 age group (who is well off and can afford the $250 a month).
    Running does break down barriers of age and wealth. I’d like to see more people of all ages involved in fitness. It would be interesting to know the stats on how long a person sustains a running life style vs. a cross fit life style. Not trying to put cross fit down, but I’ve noticed that if people are into cross fit, they look at others like “we don’t get it.” I know what I do get. Consistency. The key to health and fitness is not amazing abs, it’s a consistent doable life style. This consistency I’m talking about seems to be achieved most by the running community (for whatever reason).

    Still, a good conversation, and I do agree, don’t use the “concentration camp” example. Not a good choice of words. I flinched a little when I read them.

  40. I have SO many residual injuries from running in the Army…and NO Crossfit injuries. In fact, I have to scale a lot of movements due to running injuries. Oh..and the only way I could pass the running portion of the PT test in the Army was to do HIIT training…all of the miles and miles of running didn’t help me pass, but running sprints twice a week for only a couple of weeks was the remedy every single time.

      • This article makes me upset for a few reasons but the most upsetting is the body shaming in the article, and the body shaming in the comments. Is this really someone you want to get health advice from? Let’s try to support one another rather than comparing peoples’ bodies to those from concentration camps. That’s inappropriate on many levels.

  41. I think the issue at hand is that High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has been proven in many studies to be more effective at burning fat than long distance running when you look at time and effort. Granted, some people just love long distance running but I’d rather spend 30 minutes doing HIIT than hours running.

    Here’s some links to three different university studies proving this:




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  43. A big bowl of pasta before a 5k and chow down on bagels and juice afterwards? Get real!

    Real runners know that is a bunch of BS.

  44. Wow! Amazing article. I had no idea that long distance running/training was so bad for your body. Thank you so much for sharing this valuable info! Unfortunately, I already ran two marathons :( and developed a heart problem shortly after…it makes so much sense. Paula, I would like to know what you think about walking long distances. I am currently fast walking 3-4 hrs a day for my job. I’m not sure if this fits into the same category, it is obviously not as near as high intensity as running. I am not planning on keeping this job long term. But I am wondering if it could be further damaging to my heart. What do you think?

  45. I disagree with most of the points made here. It’s true that marathons and marathon training place lots of stress on the body, but that doesn’t have to produce these ill effects. Logging lots of miles strengthens the bones and tendons and increases blood volume when mileage is increased gradually and adequate nutrition is consumed. As long as you take rest days when you feel you need them and eat well, marathon training will only make you healthier.

    Also, not nearly all elite marathoners look like the “concentration camp victims” mentioned in this article. The picture is clearly chosen to support the article and not a realistic depiction of the typical marathoner. Look at athletes like Haile Gebrselassie, Kara Goucher and Ryan Hall. They’re certainly thin, but look pretty healthy to me. Elite marathoners are thin because that’s the body type that suits the sport most.

    • Agreed! I think it’s when people engage in activities that go against their natural body type that problems arise. Sometimes a specific activity is popular and then everyone feels like ( or are pressure to) participate. Not every person should be marathon running!

  46. Interesting that a Crossfit owner wrote this article. And while I do know that there are some really great, conscientious Crossfit trainers out there, the reality is that this generation of Crossfit trainers has the possibility of being as detrimental, if not more, towards your health than marathon running. I say to Paula, before chastising the running community, clean up the Crossfit backyard first.

    • Jes, the article was not meant to “chastise” but to educate on the proper way to train for an endurance event should one choose and how to avoid/lessen the detrimental effects listed above.

      As for “cleaning up the CF backyard” I only have control over my own which is very well kept. As with ANY profession there are bad, good and great.

  47. What about the Tarahumara- native american tribe – they were know for their their long-distance running ability. I believe nutrition is a huge factor in long distances. I did long distance and I had no injuries. I think it depends on an individual’s body composition. The human body is resilient. Some people have a natural talent such as Ethiopian runners while others do not.

    • You are correct. Proper training, the right nutrition and genetics will definitely play a very large part in the ability to run long distance without ill effects.

  48. Dawn Hering Manzo via Facebook May 6, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Yes, excess in any aspect of your life can harm your health. Why single out running? Perhaps running, and marathoning in particular, have exploded because we have smarter training methods that are accessible to the average person. There is plenty of evidence that we are indeed built to run long distances (of course everyone is different though!). Read Born to Run. IMO, this is such a silly, alarmist, uninformed and uninformative article.

  49. Which of these guys looks the strongest and least worn out and good posture lots of energy left? Yep, you got it the black guy and why? He is nose breathing. I am telling ya, it makes a difference…. along with nutrition it makes a big difference to have the oxygen readily available to your cells and organs and only nose breathing can make sure of that.

    • And fat plus protein would be much better than the carbs like pastas the night before. Do they still teach that? I know they used to for team in training. I agree with this but check the breathing too.

  50. Amy Combs via Facebook May 6, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    My husband runs marathons and recently ran started becoming an ultra runner by running 100 miles in 24hours. He does NOT look like a concentration camp victum nor did he even get sick this past winter when every single person we knew was getting strep, the flu or who knows what else. It’s all about training and fueling your body correctly.

    • I’m with you Amy, my husband is and ultra runner also, he is the healthiest man I know, he takes care of his body and what he eats. His decision to become an ultra runner wasn’t a light one, he like most of the people is not fool, he knew the risks involved and the demands of the endeavor, and is taking care of it. Endurance sports are not for everybody, and like any other sport of course have its risks, is the person decision to go with it or not! That kind of sports are more than just a physical achievement is a mental and sometimes a spiritual one, and that can be very misunderstood!

  51. Tyffani Weinhold via Facebook May 6, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    She didn’t say there’s no in between. Actually at the end of the article she mentions CF as a way to strength and endurance train.

  52. Za Kocher via Facebook May 6, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Bc there’s no in between, unhealthy obese and unhealthy (hormone disfunction) concentration camp victim. Nope…

  53. Lyndsey Stark Stang via Facebook May 6, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Glad you wrote this. It gives me more of an excuse never to run. I hate running and I hate running on treadmills because I fall off of them. I am not the most balanced person. lol I can just walk and hold on at least. lol

  54. Weldon Williford via Facebook May 6, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    marathon runners seem to be as bad as vegans when it comes to defending their lifestyles when the facts don’t agree with their beliefs they lash out and deflect from the real arguments presented.

  55. I disagree. You say carb-loading welcomes type 2 diabetes, but marathon runners don’t carb-load every night. Nor do they run marathons everyday. I would rather look like a “concentration camp victim” (as you say in this article) than be another obese and unhealthy American.

  56. I think we can all agree marathons are not for everyone.

    Being able to run a marathon is not and should not be a standard of health.

    People run marathons for the love of it.

    Just as people play other sports, for the love of it.

    I think focusing on health and healthy activity is the key here, not just the idealization of a particular activity.

  57. The writer is off target on this article. While I am willing to believe that extensive high intensity exercise is rough on the “system” that is about where my agreement ends. Firstly, you are not supposed to train like that for endurance sports. The vast majority of your training is long slow easy mileage so that you DON’T overextend yourself, prepare your body and then you up the intensity only in the weeks before your races.

    Hundreds of thousands of runners complete marathons every year and don’t die. The numbers tell the truth here

    Millions die from Chrinic disease each year that is a direct relation to lack of exercise and proper diet.

    You don’t have to eat copious amounts of starchy carbs to compete in endurance. Sticking to low GI foods like legumes and brown rice get the job done just fine and don’t throw your Glucose levels out of wack. besides if you are burning off your carbs you are essentially just refilling the tank anyway, not overflowing it like most people do that don’t train for enduracne sports.

    This article is a good example of ” a little knowledge is a dangerous thing”.

  58. Pingback: Everything You Know About Fitness Is Wrong!

  59. I don’t agree with everything in the article, but that doesn’t matter since it seems to have been written with intentional exaggeration to make a point, and I think the point is a good one. My anecdotal experience is this: after years of no running I decided to do a relay marathon with my family and am on the hook to run 1/4 of it in a few months. I was running running running at the gym, at home and it was pretty rough, not fun at all. And not much improvement. Then, I sprained my foot playing with the kids in the yard. When I started doing some light running a week later to get back at training I made myself take walk breaks, a lot of them. After a week I noticed a huge difference, I was enjoying running and running faster in between my walk breaks. I have totally moved over to training in an interval training style and I am NOT going back. The run run run tell you drop thing is no fun and probably bad for you too.

  60. Kristin Konvolinka August 24, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    I am an avid trail runner. I love my trail, I love running alone on my trail. I like slow long runs sometimes, and when I say long I mean 6 miles…because the human body was not meant to do much more than that. All it takes is a little common sense, look at those long distance runners, they look like they’re dying! On top of it all, athletes…often…are not well nourished. They’re all about their protein and sweet electrolyte drinks, but totally don’t understand real nutrition, or how their intense workouts are not just damaging their joints, but every cell in their body with free radical damage. Thanks for the great post!

  61. That is why periodization in training is important. Many self coached endurance athletes never take a break. Continued training at high intensity and high volume will lead to overtraining syndrome. A properly periodized training plan with a proper mixture of aerobic, anaerobic, and load bearing exercise is important for athletic success. I would argue also that nutrition plays a big role. Just another argument why endurance athletes should be coached properly.

  62. I understand your point about the comparison with concentration camp victims, but not all marathoners look like the one in the photo you chose and if you compare them to photos of real concentration camp victims you will see a marked difference. I think it important to note, as someone who is related to survivors (and those who did not survive), that there is a very, very, very real difference between someone who chooses to run a marathon (however unhealthy and hard on the body) and someone who is forced to live in a concentration camp. It is a sensitive point, which could easily have been avoided in the article.

    That said, otherwise this was an interesting article.

    • Hi, I think this is a great point and so happy someone else said it. Using the term “concentration camp victim” in such a way was a bit off-putting to me as well.

  63. After recently reading the Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson I have to agree with many of the points Paula makes in the article . Mark was an extreme marathon runner and he suffered from most of the sysmptoms of degeneration due to excessive excercising ( the man experienced eight upper respiratory infections in one year ! ) He thought he was extremely healthy but realized that he was actually killing himself. I know everyone is different but one must analyze if all this working out is really worth it in the long run.

  64. This is a bold article! We all know that regular exercise is good for us. Not everyone likes the same form of exercise and we all have our own reasons as to why we exercise. Finding something that you enjoy doing on a regular basis is the most important and then the other is that you need to increase your training as your body adapts. If you overdue with any sport or exercise program you are putting yourself at risk for injury. Genetics, nutrition and hydration all play an important role in what we do and how we perform as well. I had a neice tell me she did a “boot camp” class recently and she could barely move for a few days…How healthy is that… ? I also have friends that train on a regular basis to run marathons. These ladies look healthy and most importantly they are doing something they enjoy. This article was too narrowminded and judgmental.

  65. Lol this is hilarious. Of course elite runners overtrain to a point that is likely not great for long term health, as do elite athletes in pretty well every sport. However, to the typical recreational runner (even one aiming to run a marathon) she is preaching to the choir and saying nothing new. I am a runner and belong to several running communities online and in real life. We ALL cross train. We ALL use intervals in our runs. We ALL do strength training. Some of us are thin, some fat, some in the middle. The few emancipated looking runners I know I believe look that way because they are prone to that sort of body type or very disciplined dieters/exercisers and would likely get super skinny whatever thier exercise of choice.

    Also, nobody except perhaps a non-runner doing it once for fun or charity carb loads before a 5k. That is laughable. If I truly felt carb loading was required before running 5k…I’d be eating pasta almost daily…which I assure you I am not.

    • I agree with you Momma…

      You know what was going to give me diabetes and cause me to drop dead? being 240 pounds. I started running. Now at a healthy 144 for my height and a few half marathons and a full later my doctors couldn’t be more thrilled with how my numbers from blood sugar to blood pressure are stellar.

      As far as carb loading – if you consider a little whole wheat pasta with fresh tomato and homemade lean turkey meatballs pre-race or a bowl of oatmeal with blueberries, then, yeah… Guilty as charged.

  66. I’m a new runner (okay, more of a jogger) and I just wanted to address this statement made by Paula: “Aside from the disastrous results mentioned above why is high intensity aerobic pursuit such a dead end? One reason is the high level of carbohydrates consumed needed to sustain this activity leads to chronic inflammation. You’ve all seen it–Sally and Johnny are running a 5 K so they load up on a big bowl of pasta the night before and chow down on bagels and juice immediately after their 36 min 5 K. Type 2 here we come.”

    I’ve been on the GAPS diet the whole time I’ve been running (and a bit before) and have had no problems whatsoever with energy. I’m only “training” for a 5K so it’s not like I’m running the huge marathons, but it is possible to eat well and still run.

    And the ToughMudder looks awesome. I don’t have time to train for the one closest to me, but it looks like something my husband would love to. I’m interested in seeing your training schedule. Maybe we’ll plan for it next year!

  67. Please show me real hard data on how marathon training/running causes the following, and I quote:

    Debilitating osteoarthritis . . . at young ages

    Tendonitis and other repetitive strain injuries

    Recurrent upper respiratory infections

    Increased oxidative damage (free radical production)

    Decreased fat metabolism

    Susceptibility to injury

    Loss of bone density

    Depletion of lean muscle tissue

    Coupled with the common high refined carbohydrate intake promotes a dangerous level of continuous systemic inflammation.

    • Only a portion of your quote is correct. I did not say nor imply that “marathon training/running” causes the above conditions but that “excessive endurance training” or “movement at a chronically sustained high intensity aerobic pace” is well known to lead to those conditions. I am talking about people that are logging 30-90+ miles a week, over and over a period of time. Cumulative damage prevails.

      A few quick Google searches should pull you all the “very real hard data” you desire. And as for “high refined carbohydrate intake promoting systemic inflammation”, try reading Taubes book, Good Calories, Bad Calories. Lots of hard data there.

  68. As a recovering anorexic/bulimic from my younger days, (15 years wasted!) I can attest to the validity of this article. It is HIGHLY addictive to continually over-exercise and live in the “endorphin moment!” It has taken me years to get back to normal, with lots of twists and turns. The real moment of truth came when my sweet little daughters began worrying about their weight. It absolutely repeats itself in the next generation if you aren’t totally honest about why you exercise. Taking care of our bodies is a very good thing, even commanded by God. (He really does want what is best for us!) Moderation is key. I knew there would be some flack about this subject. Many aren’t ready to stop and look at whether or not they are addicted to the highs ( deceptive feelings of power) from this type of behavior. Thanks again Sarah! It is so good to get it out there and talk about it! Helps all of us!

  69. Obviously this isn’t true for every person who runs a marathon..but it can be for some. I have a friend who I would consider addicted to, not only marathons, but excercising. That’s all she does, she has let go of all her other interests and spends less time with her kids…just so she can excercise. She had a baby 3 weeks ago and is already back into it hard core…and I don’t think that’s quite enough time for your body to recover. I think it just becomes an obsession, and that’s when it’s dangerous.

  70. It seems many of the people here who are arguing against the “overtraining” idea are missing the point. The author is not saying running a marathon or training to run one is ALWAYS BAD. Those of you saying “hey I run marathons but” are actually supporting her point – you mention interval training, not being emaciated, etc. You are training in the way she is saying is the BETTER way. One of you said “I don’t carbo load” – well that’s great, you are already following the author’s advice and hey look…it’s working great for you!

    • I have to disagree with you, I think the author thinks that marathons are bad for you across the board, because the professionals are too skinny so it must be harming everyone. That is at least the tone that I am picking up.

      • Paul hit it spot on. While I have no desire to run a marathon some people do; done so with the proper diet and training and not in excess it can be accomplished without ill health effects. While many “professionals” are too skinny, a lot of amateurs are too fat. It’s the lack of strength and interval type training coupled with excessive carboydrate intake.

  71. quote from Melissa: “Sarah, you are brave and unapologetic and I am glad that you have the platform you do and the courage you show!”

    Here here! I agree. Not all the subjects in the world are warm and fuzzy. But they need discussion and consideration, too.

  72. I am glad that you brought up this intersesting point. I have always been shocked by the appearance of marathon runners. I remember two women crossing the line at the Greek summer Olympics and how they shook and were horribly dehydrated from the heat. This, along with their frightening thin bodies, made sure they looked exactly like concentration camp victims crawling along the ground and I remember being troubled by it. I know this is controversial, but especially in women just a lack of body of fat is contrary to health. While I am not a “fat-vocate” I certainly know that fertility is a function of feminine health and when fat drops too much, women are infertile. This indicates a health problem. Sarah, you are brave and unapologetic and I am glad that you have the platform you do and the courage you show!

  73. Amber Nerswick via Facebook August 19, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Not to mention running can be like an addiction, causing the user to get highs, and be in denial of ill side effects, etc

  74. Amber Nerswick via Facebook August 19, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Just because a person looks healthy while excessively running, doesn’t mean their heart is in good health, or other systems like hormones, etc.

  75. I hafta tell ya’ll – – one of my clients teaches a spinning class. Now, I’m from a different generation than most of my clients, keep that in mind. When she said spinning, I thought she meant with a spinning wheel – you know, like quilting or sewing type spinning of yarn. :slaps forehead:

    But the really funny part is that this girl is quite a bit overweight herself, yet she is “teaching” this class? I can only imagine her clientele. If this spinning idea was so great, how come this girl is still so overweight?? She teaches the class three nights per week. I’ve known this girl for a little over two years and her weight hasn’t budged one bit up or down since I’ve known her.

    The other funny thing is that her husband is a marathon type runner (although I don’t think he’s participated in any) and he looks, physically, on par with the guy in the first photo above (from Finland or whatever it says on his shirt). Skinny as a rail, all bones, and looking very anemic and undernourished.

    She is short and heavy – he is quite tall and super-skinny. What is supposed to be healthy about either of those body types? Not a dang thing from what I can see just from this one couple.

    Me, I eat WAPF as much as possible and I probably have 15 pounds I don’t need, but I am not 20 anymore, and I feel pretty good most of the time considering I had two medical issues to deal with before I ever started WAPF. I grew up eating a very healthy WAPF-type diet (grew up on a farm with little store-bought food) but of course in my 20’s and 30’s I ate low-fat and yada yada because that’s what I thought I was supposed to be doing (thank you Uncle Sam for all the misinformation over the years). When I started feeling crappy I knew it was time to talk to Mom! She told me my body needed nourishment from real foods and I listened because I knew in my heart she was right.

  76. Camille Vernarr via Facebook August 19, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Very interesting! Thank you for sharing! And praise God we are fearfully and wonderfully made by an awesome creator Jesus Christ :-)!

  77. Pingback: Ultra marathon(ers) - impressed? | Mark's Daily Apple Health and Fitness Forum page

  78. People can drop dead during most any activity, I don’t think marathon running causes death. People have heart attacks just sitting on the couch, or driving to work, or playing golf.

    I just ran my first marathon this year. I have run several half marathons and 25ks. I am not skinny and I do not look emaciated on any part of my body. I cross train and get regular chiropractic adjustments and I have been injury free. I feel strong physically and mentally when I run regularly. I have not had a cold or flu in many years. I am one of the few runners I know who fuels with high protein and quality fat before and after a run. Unless I’m running for more than 1.5 hours, I rarely need more than plain water and/or coconut water. I stay away from all the sports drinks and artificial stuff.

    • Body type is going to determine whether you are skinny running marathons. Some folks will never be skinny no matter what. It is very telling that marathoners at the top of their game look horrible and emaciated. Folks who don’t have this body type could never compete in marathons at the highest levels.

      Look at other sports that are interval training based rather than endurance training.

      Tennis, soccer, short sprints and medium distance runs .. these people look AMAZING at the top of their profession.

      • I’d have to agree with the article, in my opinion. Of course, that the marathoners coming to the defense of their sport doesn’t surprise me at all, and they have the right to their opinion (even if they have a “don’t confuse me with the fact” attitude). Well, 2 days ago, at the Chicago marathon, another sad death. Typical comment is- Oh , he must have had an “undiagnosed” condition. That’s almost always the response to these type of deaths. The other response might be, well he/she hasn’t trained enough. Well folks, I’d guess that it’s not an undiagnosed condition, AND, in fact, that those that train very heavily are probably in even worse shape- BECAUSE it’s the CHRONIC inflammation of continous training, possibly coupled with the fact of trying to beat your best time, that causes the death on the actual day of the marathon. Relatives of the dead marathoners seem to frequently say- “he/she was in the best shape of their life”… Oh really, how can you be in the best shape of your life and dead at the same time? It’s an INCORRECT assumption, that just because someone can run for a long while without stopping, they are in great shape. All it means is that they’ve trained their body to run for a long while…you can’t assume anything else other than this.

    • You are absolutely correct My husband is a Sports Nutritionist and endurance athlete coach (cycling & track and field). He believes that nutrition is very important for endurance athletes. Many of these types of athletes read the literature and eat diets that are high in processed carbohydrates. Although these diets work to replenish depleted glycogen storage. They do very little to compensate for the catabolic nature of the oxidative energy system that breaks down fat and muscle proteins for conversion to glucose and subsequently ATP. Furthermore, the body will release cortisol as product of the training stress that breaks down muscle and converts it to glucose in the liver. This is why endurance athletes require high amounts of protein and fat in their diet. Unfortunately most are missing it.

      • Thanks Sarah,
        I think if we would stay busy doing all these daily type activities we would have less weight problems. I am really trying to do this. I will also add the push hard, rest and see what happens. Personally, I can’t exercise to the point of exhaustion anyway. I would be in bed for 2 days. 20 yrs ago I got an autoimmune disease that affected my joints and lost my kidneys 13 yrs ago from it..I agree that too much hard and long exercise (marathon running)can be risky.. So glad I have found the real food “way” of eating. I feel so much better. My joint problems are better. No doubt I caused my problem by the way I ate yrs ago.. the SAD diet. Thanks Sarah so much for helping me with the videos and info you provide.

  79. Have you seen ultramarathon runners? They’re not emaciated in the least for the most part! They’re often quite sturdy-looking … and they *far* exceed the measly *26.2* of a marathoner. (As a note, I recently began my running journey a few months ago. I’ve completed two 5Ks and was working towards a 10K. I don’t think marathon runners are Weenies ;) ). I think a method of running is also important. There is a method called the Galloway method (formulated by Jeff Galloway) that is based on run-walk-run, inserting walking breaks into a run to keep you fresh. This bit of rest makes a lot of sense I think.

  80. Dawn Lane via Facebook August 19, 2011 at 9:39 am

    I’ve run several marathons, and done 6 Ironman triathlons – I am far from emaciated, very muscular, and never had health problems from participating in any of them. My doctors credited those activities with my drastic improvement in asthma as well – from very medication dependent with lots of asthma attacks to virtually med free and a much higher lung capacity than normal, let alone normal for an asthmatic. I’ve enjoyed many of your posts, but I’d have to disagree with this one as well.

  81. Hahahahahahha (*inhale*) ahahahhahahaha….. My Dad has run 8 marathons, 2 over the age of 50 (and respectable times to including qualifying for and running in Boston) and I can definitely tell you he looks great and healthy, he also doesn’t carbo load and it would be quite interesting to see the stats on Type 2 Diabetes in marathon runners. *eye roll*

    There will always be people who take things to the extreme in ANY case such as those Olympians who look like they could use a hamburger (or five). Is ice skating dangerous? You could be beaten in the legs by a hit man!

    • What about all the marathon runners that drop dead? Every marathon it seems, at least 1 person dies and several go to the hospital. Many also have permanent scarring to the heart muscle which you couldn’t tell by looking at someone. I seem to remember Mercola had an article on this recently how the heart muscle is permanently scarred by endurance training.

      • What about all those people who drop dead from sitting on their ass? (!!) People die or have serious injuries because they didn’t train properly or pushed themselves too hard not because of the magical 26.2 miles that they want to run. In this day and age I cannot *believe* someone would be discouraging people from a form of physical activity that CAN be safe and healthy. I just wonder if you have a hat somewhere with a bunch of ideas that 95% of the population things are good things… then draw out of it and set out to prove everyone that they are wrong are you are right. Too hot for me, gotta get out of this kitchen!

        • Please read the entire post as it doesn’t discourage running. Please see Paul’s comment below which hits the nail on the head.

          By the way, plenty of well trained, well coached marathoners drop dead (at young ages too like in their 40’s and 50’s) after running for years with seemingly no problem. Just because most people believe something to be true doesn’t make it true. I like how Paula dismantles the marathon sacred cow in this post. People need to realize that this type of exercise is dangerous and not healthy for the long haul.

          • But you know…lots of NON-marathoners also drop dead at young ages… Sometimes people just die.

            I actually don’t see too much wrong with training and running a Marathon. What does disturb me intensely is the people who run one or two a month… to collect a medal. I mean really….we are adults here. They don’t train well, and put themselves at fairly big risks to their health, all for a shiney piece of metal?

            Now. I’m a runner, a Marathon runner, and soon to be an Ultra Marathon runner…But you wont find me running 50 miles every day…

    • agreed. not to mention ancient humans were much more muscular and stocky in bone construction so they had very powerful bursts of motion and power.

    • No it would not be. The human body is made to run efficiently, walking would be a waste of energy. After about 8 km/hr it becomes more and more energy efficient to run than to walk. Not to mention the forces exerted on your body from the acceleration and deceleration of the interval training you theorize would create much more impact forces on your body vice a steady trot which in the long run.

  82. Rachel Stanton Jimenez via Facebook August 19, 2011 at 9:22 am

    I realize running marathons often are compared with long-distance hunting of animals but from what of seen of animals stalking their prey it’s not usually a continuous trot/run. It’s probably closer to interval training with speed variations and occasional breaks.

    • Yes, but before busting this “myth” there was another myth and preconceived ideas busted. The one that told us we were not able to run long distances, the one that told us we would died or get hurt, the one that told us it would be impossible. Granted, ultra endurance events is not for everybody, and it doesn’t have to be. If you want to shed some pounds or be healthier, you don’t have to be and endurance athlete!!! it is not a requirement! But if that’s something that you find inspiring and want to try it…. WHY NOT!? with proper training, and the right mental attitude it can be done avoiding injuries and damage to our body, and if you find out that’s your passion GO AHEAD!!! take care of your body and pursue your goals.

  83. Jennifer Tomany LeBaron via Facebook August 19, 2011 at 9:13 am

    I think Paula is wrong on this one. I think we are definitely “evolved” to run long distances (as in following game for the hunt.) The problem really only comes when we turn it into a race and keep trying to do it faster and faster. It may well be true that professional marathon runners are emaciated, because they are trying to win. However, I know many marathon runners who are not pro’s, and they are the very image of fitness. Strong and sleek and glowing with good health. Sarah is a big fan of the anecdotal evidence, and the anecdotal evidence for running as a healthy form of exercise is abundant. Even running longer distances.

    • Chasing game was normally done on the back of a horse. Where on earth did you learn your history? I live in buffalo country and believe me, they weren’t hunted on foot. :rolling eyes: We attend (I ride) in the Custer State Park Buffalo Round-Up every September. We aren’t even hunting them and it can be dangerous.

      Trapping and fishing were probably the only types of “hunting” not done on horseback because a quick get-away wasn’t usually necessary.

      Most of the runners I know are now suffering with joint problems. It’s a fact, not an anecdote. Sarah, this is just one of those things people have to live long enough to experience, I think, because judging from the amount of negativity being posted here, I can see you are dealing with younger, more inexperienced folks. Oh well, live and learn. And they will.

      • This comment about horses and trapping reflects a gross misunderstanding of both evolution and also the VERY limited amount of time in human history during which humans have participated in such activities as domesticating horses and using traps to hunt.

    • Running is very healthy. It’s when people overdue it and spend excessive time at a high intensity. When man went hunting his “chase” for game was nowhere near the distance covered in a marathon. It didn’t take 26 miles to kill dinner; more like a couple of hundred meters or less. He may have walked quite a distance, getting hours of low level aerobic activity but the intensity was limited to short burts of speed followed by recovery.

      • Have we forgotten that humans hunted on foot before ever taming horses? Have we forgotten that the glutes are the strongest muscles in the body? Or how about we sweat better than any mammal (most animals with fur must pant to keep cool) in the world and are able to keep our bodies cool with the least amount of effort? Humans are made to run. I do agree though that intensive training in any activity for long periods of time w/o adequate rest and nutrition are damaging. All of us could get out and run 20-30mins a day and be healthier for it. Aerobic activity is a must for optimal health.

      • This is false, persistence hunters would run at low speeds for 15-20 miles in the peak of the day before catching their game. Running is much more efficient than walking, our bodies are built for it.

        Next time you write an article with the intent of drawing people to crossfit you should try espousing the strengths of your own fitness style instead of improperly bashing on another. All of the negative effects you listed would be caused by improper training or inadequate nutrition. You could apply the same train of thought to crossfit and come up with an equally scary list of effects.

        • “Next time you write an article with the intent of drawing people to crossfit you should try espousing the strengths of your own fitness style instead of improperly bashing on another. ”

          Thank you. You just saved me the need to reply a long detailed response mentioning the flaws and lack of the validity of the claims brought forth in this article.

    • The book Body By Science explains this topic quite well. Our ancestors did partake in long, monotonous, moderate intensity activity. Our body’s metabolism is uniquely designed to respond to high intensity stimuli. The book also shows some interesting studies showing the health issues associated with endurance athletes.

  84. Maxine Horne via Facebook August 19, 2011 at 9:08 am

    I’ve never run a marathon but running a 10k was one of my dullest afternoons ever. You can’t say that about giving birth!!!

  85. Michael Guzman via Facebook August 19, 2011 at 9:00 am

    Why are so many of these “runners” deathly afraid of pushing themselves with weights? Heck even body weight? I see so many wimps running around & when I question training practices, I get the “stink face” or some snooty remark?

  86. Very interesting. I ran extensively in high school and suffered a few injuries but have not run so intensely since…however many of my friends have done marathons and 1/2 marathons and at this point a 1/2 is the farthest distance I’d consider.
    The other night I was watching a TV show on USA and a character was a “marathon runner,” but my husband & I noted that she was not skinny enough to be a typical marathon runner. You could actually see flesh on her body and she wasn’t just skin & bones (not that all marathoners look like that, but it seems many of the professionals do)!

    • The misinformation here in incredible. 1) With proper diet/ running form/ injury prevention, all of the injuries you listed can be prevented (btw I have never heard of running causing an upper respiratory infection). 2) You don’t need lots of carbs to run for long distances- fats and proteins burn better. 3) “20+” miles per week wont get you in shape to run a marathon, the pros do over 100 miles a week and are perfectly healthy. 4) crossfit and short high intensity intervals won’t increase your endurance very well either. Humans evolved to run, get over it

      • I agree completely. His two main energy scources are completely incorrect. ATP’s first choice is aerobic (with oxygen). The body uses oxygen until about 75% of maximum heart rate is reached. Once it’s about 85% it begines to use lactic acid because oxygen cannot keep up. But the point is that even professional marathoners do not exceed 85% of their maximum heart rate until the last 30 or so min of the race. I know a coach who has proven that anybody can run for an hour if they keep their heart rate under 170 bpm he has proven this with first time runners using heart rate monitors. You know nothing about distance training, the energy zones of the heart, and your statement that we have not evolved to run is completely laughable. Do you realize for 100 million years humans hunted without weapons? This is called persistence hunting. Persistence hunting is when one keeps an animal moving until it overheats and collapses, humans are made to run, from cooling devices like arm and leg hair to our perfectly shaped feet and highly effecient trot. This article was written by people who profit from the misinformation they provide. Running is a fantastic excercise, and a collaigent cross country and track athlete and a math/biology major I can assure that this article is bologna!

        • Thank god some people actually provide trustworthy info. It almost sounds like some people dislike running so they need to prove it sucks anyway!
          I don’t know much, but I do know enough to see some arguments in the post are kind of stupid. But with all this preaching about how running is bad I actually got to be sort of afraid (more like “sad”?) . And PHEW to your comments haha


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