Appalachian State

Research shows daily distance running to be harmful

October 09, 2013
 

10/09/2013 06:27 PM

 TWC News: Research shows daily distance running to be harmful

By: Jenna Barnes
CHARLOTTE–For Cathy Michael, running is more than just exercise.”It’s empowering, it’s exciting,” Michael said.

She runs several miles every week and she’s completed three marathons.

“It’s pretty amazing. You spend months and months training for it,” Michael said.

But researchers say runners have to be careful with that training.

A new study by scientists at the North Carolina Research Campus shows running long distances day after day can take a toll on the body that’s unlike other distance sports, such as cycling.

“It was surprising to us,” David Nieman, a professor at Appalachian State University and the director of the study, said.

Nieman recruited marathon runners and experienced cyclists for the study.

He had the running group jog on the treadmill for two and a half hours each day for three days. The cyclist group biked for the same amount of time.

“It was definitely pushing their limits a bit, but that’s what you often do if you want to get very fit,” Nieman said.

He found the cyclists had very little soreness and inflammation in their muscles after that three-day period. But the runners were another story.

“The runners had high muscle soreness, high inflammation and muscle damage,” Nieman said.

Michael was one of the runners in the study.

“I remember being much more sore than any of my marathons,” Michael said.

Researchers say that’s because running causes muscles to tear, much like weight lifting. They say it’s important to give the muscles time to repair before working them again.

“Runners need to cross-train more than cyclists,” Nieman said.

Michael said she swims and cycles to mix up her workouts and help ward off the soreness.

“It’s just too tough on your body to run every day,” Michael said.

 

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