Running roundup

June 7th, 2010  |  Published in Stumpblog  |  3 Comments

A couple of interesting things about running in the news recently…

The metabolic secrets of good runners

A healthy heart and svelte physique are not the only physical changes wrought by exercise: researchers have also identified a host of metabolic changes that occur during exercise in physically fit athletes.

These changes suggest that exercise revs up the pathways that break down stored sugars, lipids and amino acids, as well as improving blood-sugar control.

Jogging into the unknown

A Calgary distance runner is set to run his 100th marathon of the year on Sunday. Five days a week, when most adults are at work, Martin Parnell runs 42.2 kilometres. Each session lasts about 51/2 hours, not counting a couple of eight-hour marathons he walked in minus-30 degrees with a leg injury this winter, a water pack frozen on his back.

He is raising money for Right To Play, a charity that uses sport to improve the lives of children in developing countries. The organization’s core values match the beliefs instilled in Parnell when he rode a bicycle through 10 African countries, stopping to kick rag-tied soccer balls with youth who owned little else.


  1. Simma says:

    June 7th, 2010at 11:58 am(#)

    I respect runners and all, but I wish science and medicine would stop conflating exercise and running. Running is, indeed, exercise, but exercise does not always equal running.

    I feel like a lot of misconceptions about exercise (including the ridiculous meme going around the mainstream media that exercise makes you fat) happen when people assume that exercise = cardio, especially 30-60 minutes of steady state cardio.

  2. felipe says:

    June 14th, 2010at 6:30 am(#)

    I love the recent spate of peer reviewed articles that point to what a lot of us have suspected for decades: that humans are actually really, really good at running long distances at a moderate pace, better than just about anything else. Whether this is what we’re “evolved: for, or just a happy byproduct, seems almost immaterial. But I’m tickled that many of the crew of people who are making claims about what humans “evolved” to eat seem to ignore a lot of the recent running literature that suggest we’re built for endurance.

  3. Simma says:

    June 14th, 2010at 3:02 pm(#)

    What is not certain, however, is whether we are supposed to run long distances over flat terrain keeping a more or less constant pace, such as in marathon running.

    There have been recent studies showing that long-distance runners have a much higher risk of cardiac arrest and have more arterial plaque than sedentary people who have the same health markers.

    Sure, long-distance runners are more likely to have good cardiovascular health markers, and long distance running will help you achieve good health markers if yours are less than good. But long distance running as we do it in the West may not be that good for you when you compare it to other forms of exercises which can also produce good cardio health markers.

    I don’t think the evidence is so definitive that it’s a reason to stop long-distance running if you love it. But I do think it’s a reason for medicine to start looking at other forms of exercise (weightlifting, HIIT, etc.) as heart healthy (possibly healthIER) and valuable.

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