Thursday, February 5, 2015


During the winter around these parts, the local weatherman wields incredible power.

An evening forecast of a pending snow or ice storm sends folks scurrying to the grocery stores to stock up on milk, bread, and eggs. Schools shut down or delay classes before the first flake touches the ground. Small business owners suffer as people hunker down for what often turns out to be a false alarm.

Monday's study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, using data from the Copenhagen City Heart Study, which suggests that "more vigorous" runners died at a greater rate than those who ran less miles, reminds me a little bit of the doomsday weather prognosticators.

"Fast running may be as deadly as sitting on the sofa" one media outlet reported.

Running is not, nor ever has been, a "One size fits all" endeavor. Runners come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. Some folks have been running since their youth; while others have discovered running later in life. Plenty of runners are content with running 5K races; while others tackle ultramarathons. mud runs, spartan races, triathlons, and other challenging events that test  one's endurance, and are wildly popular these days.

In December I received a personal training request from a woman who weighs over 300-pounds, but who is determined to whip herself into shape and run a 5K in the spring. I designed a program for her, and she is following it religiously. I predict she will achieve her goal and will become an addict to this sport like many of us. I admire her courage and determination, and I think all of us, as runners, applaud her effort.

The effects of a sedentary lifestyle have caused a global epidemic. Diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, are just some of the diseases that result from a society that simply eats too much and exercises too little. What's more disturbing, and downright criminal, is that there are more fat kids than ever. In some cases, the most exercise some children receive is the movement of their thumbs on their electronic devices.

At marathon race expos and at seminars around North America, I deliver a speech entitled, "Personal Best," in which I outline ten rules for achieving your personal best.

I always end the speech by stating that, in our sport, there really are no rules. If your training methods are working for you, then don't mess with success.There are many paths on the way up the fitness mountain.

Walk, cycle, rollerblade, cross country ski, or run at a slow, fast or an in-between pace. Run short distances, or run all day.Choose the fitness plan that works for you and makes you feel good.

Studies be damned. The hour you spend exercising, fast or slow, long or short distance, will ALWAYS be superior to an hour spent on the sofa, chomping on the Doritos and gulping down a sugary soda.

Beware of doomsday weathermen and "studies."

Lots of things out there may kill you.

Running isn't one of them.

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