I think the format of last month’s recap was pretty nice. I’d like to continue it, especially as the best (or most important) links I have this month are not science.
Go for incremental gains
I’ve always been a fan of incremental gains. Ask the runners I coach and I hope most, if not all, of them will tell you one of the biggest principles I preach is incremental gains. Take small steps every day and, after months, they add up to big gains.
On the flip side, try to take huge steps with monumentally challenging workouts and you can end up pushing yourself in the wrong direction. That’s essentially the point in this article by Brad Stulberg.
Skip the monumental workouts. Go for consistency by keeping things manageable. Take a lot of small steps to reach your big goals.
Collegiate runner Allie Ostrander shared her thoughts on fighting burnout. As anyone who has experience with collegiate running knows, burnout is a real problem. Physically and mentally, the collegiate schedule is daunting.
Of course, all of us can face these challenges. Allie has some great thoughts on keeping things fresh.
Take care of yourself
Running is a healthy pursuit, unless you take it too far. Bobby Clay shares her heartbreaking story as an example of what it looks like when you take it too far.
If you see signs that someone you know is going too far, please don’t ignore them. If you see signs of this in yourself, please seek help.
You can be competitive and healthy. In fact, in the long run, you need your health to be your best competitively. Please don’t sacrifice your health for short term gains.
Running and your heart
Speaking of running being a healthy pursuit, how healthy is it for you?
I’ve often stated that I know the competitive style of running I do is probably not ideal for my health but I believe it is better than a sedentary lifestyle. Is there evidence for that, though?
This study looked at men who have completed 25 consecutive Twin Cities Marathons. The runners filled out surveys about their training, lifestyles, and health histories. Then they had heart scans to look for plaque in their arteries.
The result? Well, it’s complicated. Some runners looked extremely healthy, others have concerning amounts of plaques. It appeared that there was no connection between the amount they ran and those plaques. There was a connection between other lifestyle choices, even well in the past, and the amount of plaques found.
The takeaway appears to be that, while running does appear to be good for your health, it doesn’t erase other bad health choices. You still have to take care of yourself.