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Thread: Chronic Cardio vs Born to Run page

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    hitek79's Avatar
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    Chronic Cardio vs Born to Run

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    According to Sisson, prolonged high heart rate are bad for the body, and he makes the statement that humans didn't evolve to run long distances
    Dear Mark: Chronic Cardio | Mark's Daily Apple
    The fact is, our hunter-gatherer ancestors didnít ramp up their heart rates significantly for over an hour every day, and I donít think we should either. They walked at a very low level of exertion, burning almost entirely stored fats.
    Chris McDougall seems to be asserting the complete opposite point in his book, and the video below. The truth does seem to lean towards Chris. If we weren't meant to run such long distances, why are we so much better at it than any other animal on the planet? I also think that it's pretty undeniable that humans used persistence hunting as their main form of survival for years.

    So, which is right?


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    I read Born To Run last year, and this has played on my mind as well. I think you're okay to run daily if you stay within 70% max. I guess for someone fit like an ex-runner, this would be a medium-paced jog?

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    I think Glamorama has the right idea. Persistence hunters didn't run all-out for miles at a stretch; they went at a moderate trot, with an occasional walk or sprint, and humans are clearly adapted for this.

    The rule of thumb I follow is always to breathe through my nose. If I start getting short of breath and opening my mouth, that tells me I'm getting into the chronic cardio zone.

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    I look in deapth into the scientific literature earlier this year and found the evidence for high intensity endurance running to be very poor. Heres just a few points to think about

    1. Tabata showed that sprinting can increase endurance nearly as well as endurance running. - Maybe the skill of running is a by product of sprinting. While we my not be fast sprinters, we don't have to out run a cheetah, just the guy next to us.

    2. The HG people that show persistance running are not running high intensity marathons, they are running slowly if all all. Some only walk, and persitance hunting in general is very rare.

    3. Many of the muscle changes they apparently are only for running can be attributed to walking, sprinting, sitting or lifting.

    Thats just a few simply things to think about.

    I don't think that 5-10km a few times per week is that bad, the activity is kept to under an hour and not super intence. The problem come with running high intensity marathons or long distance at high intensity. This is a lot of strain to put on the body, and I don't see any good evidence that we evolved to do so.
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    Don't have time to watch the video right now, and the book is on request at the library. But that doesn't stop me from offering my opinion. It is the internet after all....

    I tend to think about it this way. Grok was essentially a highly conditioned athlete, at or near his genetic potential, and in that way similar to the elite marathoners in the world. In their case, running/jogging a marathon is just fine. Racing a marathon is a completely different story. And it all comes down to intensity. However 70% HR for a conditioned athlete is still quite high.

    I still cycle a decent amount and raced for a number of years and can tell from my own experience as I got more fit, both season to season and during the season, it took a greater effort/work load to get to a given heart rate. Not only that but different hear rate markers (aerobic zone, lactate threshold, anaerobic zone, that sort of thing) occur at higher hear rates as one gets more fit. Except for max. As far as I know that can not change other than decrease with age.

    But the point is that the quoted 70% max which is the oft quoted target and typically a low aerobic level may not only be a fairly high workload for a conditioned athlete, they may be able to operate at say 75% max and still be within that zone.

    -----
    To flesh this out, I'd say that the majority of MDA forum users and PB readers are not highly conditioned athletes, thus the Moving Slow/70% still applies. In a recent question/answer post Mark answered a jogging question with asking if it was enjoyable, low stress, body feeling and reacting good, etc. In the end, I think 'Moving Slow' has a whole range of definitions depending on the individual, and likewise a range of definitions as that individual progresses in their fitness.
    Last edited by VeloCity.X; 09-12-2011 at 09:05 PM. Reason: Watched video and completing my thought
    Trying a journal. We'll see how long that lasts....

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    I'll weigh in a little, we have fairly specific adaptation as McDougall touches on in born to run, such as how our lower legs are developed. I think the big problem is the ambiguity of chronic cardio as a term. It really doesn't mean anything as it isn't directly measurable. It sounds great though, doesn't it?

    I'm trying to get myself into shape for some persistence hunting in Idaho or CA in the next couple years, and the reality is that you might be heading out to a 5km light jog/walk, or a 50km jog/walk with a few km of quick movement interspersed in there. As a hunter we're designed to cover long distances that other animals out there basically just cannot - you can run a deer to death within a matter of mere miles if you can keep from losing it. There is also research that suggests that persistent state racing over significant distances is bad for our physiology, which I would agree with - however in our excessively sedentary world, I don't think we (90% of us) are really going to ever reach a point where our running could be legitimately called chronic. Then again, if you're training for the Western States, then well... yeah, you're probably all up in the chronic. (Literally and figuratively my good son.)

    Could the run walk be the modern method to keep things copacetic while also building a solid fitness capability/ base?
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    Quote Originally Posted by hitek79 View Post
    According to Sisson, prolonged high heart rate are bad for the body, and he makes the statement that humans didn't evolve to run long distances
    Dear Mark: Chronic Cardio | Mark's Daily Apple

    Chris McDougall seems to be asserting the complete opposite point in his book, and the video below. The truth does seem to lean towards Chris. If we weren't meant to run such long distances, why are we so much better at it than any other animal on the planet? I also think that it's pretty undeniable that humans used persistence hunting as their main form of survival for years.

    So, which is right?
    Somewhere in between.

    Just head out into the wilds and see how long you can sustain a steady run. Even in the case of the Tarahumara as cited by McDougall, the running surfaces they travel on are uneven and never level, traversing steep hills, ravines and varying paths, therefore, steady state aerobics is nearly impossible.

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    Hi
    I am experimenting with pace and ultra distance running. At a 75% HR i run at an 8 min/ml pace but for hilly ultrarunning that goes down to 11-12 min miles as I walk the up hills and run the downhill/flats. This stratagy has worked well so far and does not leave me aching like running a 10k at race pace.

    Here is a link to an interesting podcast - Eric Orton Interview.

    Eric states that you need to work on strength and speed first to become efficient for your longer runs. Most joggers are not efficient enough to run slowly over those long distances comfortably.

    Mark

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    BTW, something interesting? The Tarahumara Nation suffers little or no heart disease, cancer or Type 2 diabetes. Now, isn't that contradictory to what low carb pundits are stating? However, some of the leading advocates of diet to reverse heart disease (and halt cancer, Type 2 diabetes) continue to recommend diets similar to the Tarahumara:

    "A similar example in North America are the Tarahumara Indians thriving in the mountains and canyons of northern Mexico. They consume a spartan food plan of squash, beans and corn. Cardiovascular disease is absent and their strength and stamina are legendary. When carefully studied by Dr. William Connor, they are free of any vitamin, mineral, or nutritional deficiencies. Cardiovascular disease is also missing in Central Africa except in the Masai who as herdsmen live on milk, blood and meat. "

    ABOUT DR. ESSELSTYN

    Dr. Esselstyn was recently on CNN's "The Last Heart Attack" citing clinical evidence re the reversal of heart disease.

    (Quick note: I've mentioned this in other discussions and people say 'they run it off.' Run what off? Marathoners drop dead at "races" here in the US regularly. Of course, US marathoners lives on Power Bars and pasta--not what the Tarahumra subside on.)

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    The problem may be using the term 'Born to Run' perhaps a more accurate title would be 'Born to Trot with an occasional sprint' but I dont think it captures the imagination so well.

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