This morning when I checked my email, Active.com sent me their latest article on how running will kill me. My friend sent me a similar article a couple of months ago from the Wall Street Journal. Both quote recent studies that found endurance activities (ex., marathoning) are bad for your heart, contrary to what we once thought. This is a downer, to put it mildly. Running 20 miles a week is great for your heart. Running 50 miles a week could kill you (I'm running close to 30 per week. When marathon training I peak at around 45). Many miles and speed can cause inflammation on your muscles, including the heart muscle. I guess the Pfitzinger training regimen I was considering, peaking at 70 mpw, can go out the pfreaking window.
The reaction from the running world (on the Runner's World forums) was a mix of denial and defiance. Many people stated that they really didn't care. Running makes them feel good and feel healthy. All these years of believing running will extend your life, and the more you run, the longer you will live, it's hard to suddenly hear, "Oh, you remember when we (the doctors) told you to run longer and harder? Well, we were wrong. Stop. Call me if you're having chest pains. Bye." One of the articles stated that if you were an endurance athlete for ten years or more, you are at risk.
So until I hear otherwise, I will tentatively plan on running a marathon a year until I qualify for and run NYC. Hopefully, this will happen in the next couple of years. Then I will dial it down. By then, they'll decide running too many miles is good. Walking, in general, will be bad. Walking slowly, the worst. (These last statements are purely fictitious. Please walk on, if you can.) Am I defiantly in denial?