Thursday, March 4, 2010

6 mile hill workout

"I've always liked hills. I see a challenge, a goal, and I feel instantly galvanized to achieve the goal." --Amby Burfoot, Runners World

There are lots of hills on the LD50 course. Actually there is very little level ground. We ARE running on a trail for 50 miles aren't we?. I have mentioned before that I wanted to incorporate some good hills on any run that I do leading up to this race. Today I ran from my house to 55th St. (1/2 mile). 55th St. has a decent grade to run up as it gets closer and closer to the aqueduct. The section I ran probably averages about 4-5% grade. I just kept repeating a quarter mile stretch up and down, up and down, then crossed Ave. N and ran another quarter miles stretch up and down, up and down. I got progressively faster each quarter mile until the last one was at about 7:00 pace. I finished with a 1.5 mile cool down back home. Total mileage was 6 miles, time was 49 minutes.

Over the past 10 years of half marathon and marathon training I have grown to enjoy hills and fell that they are one of my strengths as a runner. Before then, in high school and college, I was not confident on hills. I would use them as an excuse to slow down. Now I push them and used them to my advantage on races. I am looking forward to find out how I feel after 40 miles of hills with 10 to go!

I have to rant a little bit here on one of by biggest pet peeves. I have been discussing the LD50 with many people over the last month and one of the most common responses is, "With all this running aren't you worried about your knees?" My response is, "not one bit." It upsets me that people have this perception that running is BAD for your knees, and that it may even cause permanent damage too them. Human beings were built to run long distances. Can you have knee pain with running if you progress too quickly and do not have the base strength and conditioning?, certainly. But it is not BAD for your knees. In fact I would argue that running is actually GOOD for your knees. The weight bearing bones of the femur and tibia like the rhythmical compression/decompression effect of walking and running. So why do runners get stress fractures? Vitamin D deficiencies, poor bone structure to begin with, or again increasing mileage too quickly not allowing your body to make those slow adaptations and the bone can be the last thing to give out. The knee does not like the sheering or twisting forces present in other sports like football, basketball, soccer etc. If you plant and twist with just the right amount of force you can tear your meniscus and/or your ACL. I have had knee pain from running but I believe it was due to some of the reasons I listed above. I don't believe that it has caused me any permanent damage. Some of the worst knee pain I have had has been after helping people move or prolonged deep squatting with yard work. There has been many recent research studies that show that running does NOT cause arthritis and is actually healthful for the knees and other joints. A torn meniscus or history of a knee scope or surgery can predispose you to early onset arthritis, but arthritis alone is hereditary. Does that mean if you have arthritis you cannot run? No way! It can be managed, and a combination of strength training and running may actually alleviate moderate arthritic pain. Appropriate exercise for management of arthritis pain has been shown to be just as effective as anti-inflammatories for the treatment of arthritis. There are constantly more 70, 80, and 90 year-olds running marathons. If it was BAD for you then how do you explain Ed Whitlock running a 2:54 marathon at the age of 73? I rest my case.

Keep on runnin'!

Here is the Runners World's running doc's take on the subject, and I have many other articles that show the same thing.


Chuck said...

I totally agree with your comments about running being bad for your knees. I also get the same response from people when I mention that by goal is to run a marathon in all 50 states. Back in 1995, when I tore the meniscus in my right knee it was after a long hard day of yard work. My knee pain last year was due to twisting it at the Disneyland half marathon. When I was younger I played a lot of softball, volleyball, and basketball. When I turned 40 I gave them up because of the risk of twisting my knee.

Ed Whitlock has been an inspiration for me. His accomplishments are amazing!

Ron said...

well said my man. I am going to direct all my readers to this post. I think its an interesting fact that after treating 500 total knees not one of them was a marathoner!!! Well done.

DCHS XC said...

Thanks Karl,

I am looking forward to banging up my knees and body over 50 miles in one day.
I also need to write a newsletter on hip dysfunction and how it affects/causes knee pain and back pain.


Karl Stutelberg said...

I have read stories about marathoners that have had total knee replacement but most either had a previous traumatic injury to the knee or a strong family history of arthritis.
One in particular was former US elite marathoner Dick Beardsley. He had a total knee replacement last year after a history of knee problems. After he retired from competitive runnning, he was in a traumatic farming accident. Then after several arthroscopic surgeries he twisted his knee at the beach and underwent another scope. After the surgery he got an infection that further deteriorated his knee joint and he was forced to under go total knee replacement. He was running 50 miles per week on his "new knee" 6 months after surgery. None of these surgeries were caused by the tens of thousands of miles he ran previously.

Karl Stutelberg said...

PS. If anyone else asks me this same questions I will just refer them to this blog post too. I am getting tired of explaining this over and over. Plus I want more people to check out my blog.

Anonymous said...

Granted, I have only been running about 9 months, but I am amazed that I no longer have the hip pain that I had constantly before I started running. Mom