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So much contradiction for endurance runners...

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  • So much contradiction for endurance runners...

    After reading Mark Sisson's book and listening to several Podcasts, I notice that there is just too much contradiction for endurance running. Mark stresses that what he calls "chronic cardio" is bad for you, but then also states that he can help people run endurance races correctly. He then states that when he was a marathoner, he ran hard EVERY day. This is ridiculous - no running coach in the world would tell a runner to run hard everyday - the whole basis of most running programs are rests and easy days spaced in with hard days of either intervals on LSD long runs. He also seems to miss the point that many casual runners hardly ever run hard unless they are training for a specific event. For instance, I run most of the year running around 40 mpw at a relatively easy pace (8-10 mpm). Is this "Chronic Cardio? Also, Sisson bases most of his Primal Blueprint guidelines on using ancient ancestors as a prototype for nutrition and fitness - surely, it's obvious that our ancient ancestors ran and probably ran or walked fast quite a lot. There are many studies that prove that hunter gathers run many miles during hunts - why would this be a good model for them, but "Chronic Cardio" for us? I can't help thinking that Sisson is basing his rejection of endurance activity on his own abandoned poor training techniques.

  • #2
    If someone is treating running in a regimented way for EXERCISE and they are not training for the subjectively enjoyable experience of participating in a race and concerning themselves with performance, the question is...

    ...what exactly are you expecting the body to do in response to the running stimulus?

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    • #3
      >>There are many studies that prove that hunter gathers run many miles during hunts - why would this be a good model for them, but "Chronic Cardio" for us?

      They ran til animal was exhausted. Not til they were exhausted. Starts, stops, looking for tracks, listening, looking around.

      We aren't wolves. We can't stay glued to a buffalo's heels for 5 miles.

      Little different than pounding pavement from defined point to another and trying to achieve a time.
      Last edited by brittney_bodine; 02-25-2014, 09:02 AM.

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      • #4
        Sisson also discusses that endurance running will create a cycle of having to feed yourself with massive carbohydrates to fuel your runs and then running and needing more carbs to re-fuel, but then also references successful endurance runners that train and race on moderate carb diets and have adapted - this is also backed up by Tim Noakes and Stephen Phinney who support Low Carb High Fat diets specifically to enhance endurance running ability.

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        • #5
          the expectation and, in fact, the actual results, will be being very fit (depending on the effort you put into it) - whether you are running for fitness, fun, or competitively.

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          • #6
            regardless of stopping, starting, tracking, etc. the activity would no doubt be very cardio intensive, probably ranging from moderate to very intense during the course of it. In addition, beyond persistent hunting techniques, I would think ancient man used running as a primary means of just getting around at a quicker pace than simply walking. Most runners do NOT run everyday at some crazy pace as if they are in a race or even competing with someone.
            Last edited by aramchek; 02-25-2014, 09:14 AM.

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            • #7
              I always thought it was pretty clear...if you aren't "fat adapted", yes, it's typical for runners to be in the cycle of pre- and post exercise eating of carbs.

              Once that cycle is shrugged off with a better diet, you don't have to concern yourself with directly fueling activity. Fat and stored glycogen trickle out to perform that job.

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              • #8
                "Fit" can be distilled to some measurable traits.

                Muscle strength, muscle endurance (irrespective of activity), flexibility, body composition and flexible cardiovascular responses.

                To be perfectly blunt, running doesn't do much for most of those.

                Running is best for increasing running performance. Which is perfectly fine. It's not suicidal to be a runner. It's just not very good at increasing fitness....other than the "fitness" of being a runner.

                But I'm telling you, many generally fit people who NEVER run could take their generalized ability and go finish a 5k just as well as the meat of the bell curve of those who specifically trained for it with running itself.

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                • #9
                  I agree - that's why I thought Mark's comments were odd in the podcast.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by aramchek View Post
                    the expectation and, in fact, the actual results, will be being very fit (depending on the effort you put into it) - whether you are running for fitness, fun, or competitively.
                    The "actual results" would also require including people whose bodies gave out and had to give up running, wouldn't they? Or does ignoring those whose injuries limit their future activities still count as unbiased?

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                    • #11
                      Oh, this was a podcast? I only read the books. Cant explain what you apparently heard.

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                      • #12
                        Mark's stance on this has changed a lot over the years. He used to think that you cannot be involved in endurance running/cycling/triathloning without having a diet/training regiment like the one he used in his day. If you read The Primal Blueprint and early blog posts he pretty much says this. In some of his later stuff, including a podcast from a couple of months ago, he says that it is possible to go (relatively) low-carb and not train excessively like he did, and still be competitive. He also now states that you can do it, but it's not ideal for you. You will be making some health compromises and will not be as healthy as you could be if you followed his Primal Blueprint Fitness plan of moving slowly, sprinting, and lifting heavy things.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Drock View Post
                          Mark's stance on this has changed a lot over the years. He used to think that you cannot be involved in endurance running/cycling/triathloning without having a diet/training regiment like the one he used in his day. If you read The Primal Blueprint and early blog posts he pretty much says this. In some of his later stuff, including a podcast from a couple of months ago, he says that it is possible to go (relatively) low-carb and not train excessively like he did, and still be competitive. He also now states that you can do it, but it's not ideal for you. You will be making some health compromises and will not be as healthy as you could be if you followed his Primal Blueprint Fitness plan of moving slowly, sprinting, and lifting heavy things.
                          This makes sense. I do think that for the mass majority of recreational runners (not elite), running at a moderate or easy pace most days of the week (which is what a high percentage of runners do most of the time) with an occasional challenging race is not decremental to your health and will definitely keep you fit (along with a proper diet, of course). This routine will certainly not cause devasting injury for most runners.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by aramchek View Post
                            This makes sense. I do think that for the mass majority of recreational runners (not elite), running at a moderate or easy pace most days of the week (which is what a high percentage of runners do most of the time) with an occasional challenging race is not decremental to your health and will definitely keep you fit (along with a proper diet, of course). This routine will certainly not cause devasting injury for most runners.
                            I may agree with the idea that it's not going to ruin your health to practice running in this manner, but I don't know any people who call themselves "runners" that I would consider to be particularly fit. They are fit only for running purposes. Most of them are slender and skinny-fat. The only people who I know that run as a primary fitness end and are really fit are sprinters, but they spend most of their time with weights, not running.
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                            • #15
                              I've always held the belief that true running should always be comfortable and aerobic. I believe that's how humans are meant to cover large distances, as it's faster than walking and more efficient than running above 70% MHR.
                              What mark describes is something very few runners actually put in to practise, and it's said that 80% of weekly mileage should be easy. It's an outdated method of training, which might explain why he was such a self proclaimed wreck when he retired.
                              Last edited by Jenry Hennings; 03-04-2014, 11:26 AM.

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