I’ve never been motivated to do any long distance running – although I do admit that I previously thought that it is a good way to lose weight and maintain that weight loss. Look at marathon runners – real skinny people – almost gaunt. If one was to compare the human race to characters in a Halloween show then marathon runners would be the skeletons and ghouls. Due to the way their body looks I have never been motivated to do long distance running to stay in shape.
For long distance running the body wants to be as lean (i.e. light) as possible with just the minimum amount of muscle in the legs to make them move and keep them moving. So anyone with a lot of muscle mass will find that the body will strip it away if they get into long distance running. Lean muscle also needs to keep oxygenated, so people with a lot of muscle will tire more quickly as the body struggles to get enough oxygen to all those muscles if they are all moving. Another reason why the body will strip the muscle off if it is consistently doing long distance running. For the more technical of you out there, there is also a major difference in the type of muscle between these athletes, i.e. fast twitch fibers vs. slow twitch fibers. The muscle that looks good is of the fast twitch variety..
Anyway, I did not expect that long distance running would actually be dangerous for your body until I read this article today. Apparently the scientists doing the study were equally surprised, as the common assumption is that exercise is good for your health, and running marathons = exercise, therefore it should be good. However apparently long distance running puts your body under incredible stress such that the body produces a ton of inflammatory chemicals, which in turn causes calcium plaques to form on the arteries. These plaques block arteries and a blocked artery causes a heart attack or a stroke.
The bottom line? Long distance running is NOT healthy. Apparently there are many deaths every year at marathon events! If you want to exercise healthy do interval training (for cardio) and weight resistance.