We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Wednesday, September 14. 2022
A good rule of thumb is to mix in the opposite of what you usually do. Muscle-builders need to do cardio, runners need weights, etc.
We do not recommend road running or jogging. Treadmill or soft track is a bit better, but your joints do not like sustained pounding. In time, your joints will punish you. We do recommend sprinting as good cardio stress. It might be just me, but I hate bikes. Loved them as a kid, but not anymore.
Best idea: Move hard for an hour or so daily.
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
40 years running here with winning a 50 miler at 7 min pace, qualifying for and rUnning Boston in my thirties and setting state record for 2 miles at age 58 as my highlights. Now 62 and finding strength training necessary if I want to be running in my 70s and 80s.
Here you go, Mark, get to it!
The Barbell Prescription
You won't regret the added strength.
Distance running is not about strength. It is conditioning the heart and vascular system and the lungs. Secondly it is weight and age factors. You will never see a heavy distance runner. Age is trickier because the heart of a 21 YO man can pump 2 1/2 times more blood than the heart of a 60 YO man. Typically a well conditioned older runner can run 50 mile marathons but cannot win them, His condition is adequate but simply not enough to overtake the natural physiological ability of someone much younger.
The damage to your joints from running is exaggerated. Obviously running on a softer surface is going to be better than running on pavement. But it is simply not true that running for years on pavement inevitably causes joint harm. Broken field running as in sports can and likely will cause you joint harm and if your weight is excessive the odds of doing yourself damage increase dramatically. But some of the problem with athletic injuries is genetic, not everyone has the build (or "legs) for running.
If you get injured take care of it, don't run through the pain. Take time off and heal. Don't exceed your strength and ability. While you may push the limits if you do so excessively you will likely injure yourself. Posture counts. Not "just" standing straight but everything about your body position when exercising. You have probably seen athletes reach or twist excessively to score or prevent a score in a game and they injured themselves. The way to prevent this is keep your body, limbs and muscles in proper position when you exercise. Don't get over confident. Everyone gets over confident when they exercise or play sports. It often results in injuries. You have many more small muscles than you do large muscles. Your exercise will typically increase your large muscle strength faster and greater than your small muscle strength. You will feel "strong" and you will push those larger muscles and if your movement is such that some of that energy is directed at or concentrated on those smaller muscles you will injure them. This relates directly to the point about body posture.
I consider running to be a life skill like swimming. You might never need it, but when you do there isn't time to get up to speed.
Running can be bad for your ankles, knees and hips.
Just like dead-lifts and squats are bad for your back and like overhead presses are bad for your shoulders.
Which is to say if your form is bad, you're going to have problems. Or if you have pre-existing conditions, you're going to have problems.
I had knee problems through the mid-2000s. Very painful to run long distances. I quit smoking in 2002 or 2003, and my knees started getting better. I had lots of other foot and ankle problems unrelated to running (I didn't do much running from 1990 until 2019). In 2019 my wife wanted to run a 5k, so we started running and ran the 5k. My wife then stopped, and I kept on running .
Last year I ran 1135 miles. Which is an average of 5k a day.
No knee or hip problems. I did have some problems with planter fascitis, but I had that when I started, so that doesn't count, right? And I wound up pissing off my achilles tendon on the same side, probably as a result of a shitty stride (aka "form").
It turns out I probably started running with overly tight ankles and calves, and I hate stretching, so that didn't get any better.
Now I've started working on my ankles and uncovering problems with the rest of the toolchain.
Running a treadmill is crap, and oddly enough running on trails is probably not any softer than road running with appropriate shoes and good form. If you're on asphalt or concrete you can run with a much more cushioned shoe than if you're running off-road. Off road you need to be more stable and steady when you hit rocks or unstable/off camber trail that you almost never hit on the roads.
I'm going to start running again in the next 2-3 weeks, and this time I'll be engaging a running coach to help me get my form and stride right for my goals.
Slightly related: anybody have recommendations for shint splints? I've got soreness issues with that small muscle to the left of my left shinbone.
It depends on the cause. If you are exercising regularly and have been for years and suddenly develop shin splints you need to examine what if anything you are doing different and possibly look to your shoes. Are they new? Are they old and broken down? You may need better support.
If you are new to exercise or have changed your routine then more than likely the cause is this new exercise and you may get past it after a few months or so. One example of this is runners often after 6 months or so begin to really experience more energy and more stamina and consequently begin to push themselves and that can cause shin splints. Usually when you are new or relatively new to exercise or sports you will get shin splints and you will eventually get past them.
It's a tough call. Your shin splints can be transitory and you will get past them or they could be a sign you need better support or even to stop a particularly vigorous routine. Try different things. If you are running make sure you're running on good surfaces.
In all sports and exercise related injuries be careful about using any pain killers. If you are going to continue exercising then do not take a pain killer even over the counter pain killer. If on the other hand you are experiencing so much pain that you stop the exercise then you can safely use a pain killer. The risk is that the pain killer will so numb the pain that you will continue to exercise even though your body is trying to warn you to stop. This is a good general rule; don't use pain killers and then continue to do what causes you pain.
Biking is great. Easy on the joints, and tough hills can be overcome with gearing suited to your strength. (Mind you, a typical high level race distance is between 120-180 km - the efficiency of bicycle gearing means it can take a long time to get tired.)
Biking is great. I love biking. Biking up long, steep hills is incredibly hard, regardless of your training. As Greg Lemond, America's greatest ever cyclist, supposedly said, "It never gets easier, you just get faster". I used to do a lot of both road and mountain biking in New Jersey and California (hilly!) before I had kids and ran out of time. And now I'm in Arizona and it's just too hot to ride for several months out of the year and the roads around me are too crowded. I really do plan on doing a bunch of mountain biking this fall, though, as soon as things cool down a bit.
The problem, or let's say limitation, of biking is that it is completely non-load bearing on your skeleton (and running is only marginally more so). You need to get some weight on your back and in your hands to build strong bones, especially important as we age.