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I get asked a lot about my morning routine that I wrote about in my book.
I’ve found that having a set morning routine is fundamental to preparing myself for the events and challenges of the day. What you do (and moreover – what you don’t do) in that period immediately after you wake can put you on a path to a stronger and healthier day.
Here’s 6 things that work for me (in the specific order that I follow immediately on waking): Read More
Remember your 40s? I certainly do, and although I’m approaching the middle of my fifth decade, I’m feeling just as good as I did a decade ago. I credit this well-being with recognizing I needed to make some lifestyle adjustments as I became more chronologically established in middle age. So here are 11 things I’m doing for my health in my 50s that I wasn’t doing in my 40s…and why. Read More
Legend has it that around about 490 BC, a Greek messenger ran the twenty-six-and- change-mile route from Marathon to Athens to announce the Greeks’ victory at the Battle of Marathon. Now, a couple of millennia later, about half a million people annually pay hefty entrance fees and spend months preparing to run 26.2 miles in marathons the world over.
I don’t necessarily fault them; I’ve run marathons myself, along with a few other ultra-long-distance running events.
But here’s the part of the marathon-origin story that most long-distance runners forget: after he delivered his message, the messenger died.
If only he’d had Skype.
And this fleet-footed Greek was a professional messenger. He routinely did runs of this distance. On the day he did his Marathon run, he had fought in the Battle of Marathon. Talk about an overachiever.
The same unfortunate fate befell Micah True, the long-distance runner who is one of the heroes of Christopher McDougall’s book Born to Run. After decades of running distances of up to one hundred miles at a stretch, he died at age fifty-eight while on a routine training run.
It’s unlikely you’ll suffer the Greek messenger’s fate if you decide to run a single marathon and you prepare well for it. But, whatever your buddy at the office, or your Facebook friend Pat, or your son tells you, by no means should you consider long- distance running a viable way to improve your health and longevity, nor should you consider it something to do on a regular basis.
If you are a 120-pound, 8 percent body fat, Nike-sponsored slip of a thing who is obviously genetically suited for such madness (and making good money off it), knock yourself out; it’s your livelihood, and you do what you have to do. Failing that, though, running marathons—or even running long distances frequently—is not an effective way to get fit. It may even be bad for your health.
Here’s why: As guys, we’re highly susceptible to the “more is better” myth. If running two miles three times a week is good for you, we assume that ten miles seven times a week must be great for you. It’s not so. For one thing, the nutritional requirements of training for and completing a marathon—bars, gels, sports drinks, and the like, all of which are variations on straight sugar—are antithetical to good eating habits. A few long-distance athletes, such as Ironman Dave Scott and ultramarathoner Scott Jurek, eat plant-based diets, so it can be done without eating all the processed, sugary crap. But junk is so ubiquitous at these events, and so much a part of the culture of training, that it can be hard to avoid.