Why shouldn't you go jogging so often?
Aktualisiert: 4. Aug 2019
Provocative question, isn't it? But I will describe in this article why I come to this question!
This article is not intended for competitive endurance athletes who do not face the question of having to go running and have low-intensity long endurance sessions in their training program to succeed in their sport.
But for all other hobby athletes who want to maintain their health or improve their figure, but also competitive athletes in fast power sports or team sports, this article is written.
This article is also aimed at all those who receive recommendations from doctors, physiotherapists, sports physiologists and conscientious popular media, who very often give the wrong information, in my opinion, to do slow, low-intensity running sessions in order to maintain their health in the best possible way.
Endurance training is the most recommended form of training for health and wellness. The standard in the fitness and health industry is the recommendation to do long loose endurance sessions, no matter if running, cycling, rowing, etc., the development of strength is of secondary importance.
However, this training approach ignores some basic facts:
Strength is the ability of your muscles to generate strength against external resistance, strength is what we need in everyday life to climb stairs, pick things up from the ground, jump down from somewhere, do recreational sports and all that without provoking an overload damage of the passive and active musculoskeletal system. In other words, injury prophylaxis is achieved by developing appropriate strength skills. Endurance training counteracts strength antagonistically, i.e. it is the antagonist to strength.
To "maximize" the cardiovascular system is completely over the point of the thing, i.e. to maintain health and to be prepared for the strains of everyday life. The body is able to adapt to the stress it is exposed to, and it becomes more powerful, provided that the stress is not subliminal or destructive.
Endurance training, especially in the low-intensity range, does not represent intensive stress for the body in terms of strength, as the stress on the muscles is very low. It adapts to the recurring, lower loads by optimizing the metabolism necessary for it, i.e. the carbohydrate-fat metabolism, depending on the intensity. However, the strength abilities will suffer from it naturally, since these are not required to a great extent.
To put it in a nutshell, the more you run, the better you will run and the less strong your strength skills will be, especially if you do no strength training or undifferentiated strength training, such as low weight, many repetitions (also a classic recommendation from many doctors and physiotherapists). What can happen during such a training regime has been shown in practice to provoke a large number of overload damages, which are often not even associated with running, because that is "healthy". Here are some examples, back pain, patellar tendon inflammation, Achilles tendon inflammation, "runner's knee", to name just a few, the result is a visit to the doctor (recommendation for a break, anti-inflammatory medication and/or muscle relaxants), then physiotherapy and then it starts all over again. I'm sure a lot of them know this cycle, I'm right. Why is this so, because the muscles of most hobby athletes are already poorly developed and therefore the corresponding joints, which are supposed to stabilize these muscles, are not able to cope with the recurring small but nevertheless taking place loads in the long run and it comes to an overload.
You will rarely hear "your leg muscles are too weak, I would walk a little less and do more heavy knee bends so that the mechanics remain more stable during running and thus these overload damages can be avoided"!
Endurance training has a direct antagonistic effect on maintaining or building muscle mass.
I'm not saying they shouldn't do endurance training at all anymore, but they should be aware that endurance training should be the smallest part of their training if they want to improve their figure and stay healthy for long! And if you already do endurance training then please not only slowly and low-intensively!
Especially the seniors are unfortunately often told by doctors and physiotherapists that they should rather go "Nordic Walking" and should avoid heavy weight training in any case, if already strength training, then rather with light weights and many repetitions. Unfortunately, this information often comes from doctors who are not allowed to call themselves professionals in the field of strength and athletic training, no, not even a sports physician, unless he has appropriate experience in the field of strength and athletic training.
If you look at the 80-year-old seniors today, most of them have thin arms and thin legs. Ok, often the men have a thick stomach, but nevertheless thin extremities. Why is that so? The older you get, the less the body will be able to build up or maintain muscles, because the hormone balance changes and the amount of strength that would be required of the muscles is also reduced in everyday life.
Therefore it becomes more and more important from the age of 30 to strengthen your muscles or at least to take care to maintain as much muscle as possible.
Unfortunately exactly the opposite is propagated, in every village there is almost already a "health run", a marathon, a triathlon, ski touring races etc., all endurance competitions in which of course everyone can participate and will also "finish" and from the cardiovascular system this is also mostly no problem, but ask your passive and active musculoskeletal system! Sooner or later he will suffer from it. But to each his own!
This is not a problem for younger athletes, up to 30 years, but from then on it becomes a problem for most people. I know what I'm talking about, it was exactly the same for me. I took part in 24-hour races, ran half marathons and marathons, rode the Transalp on my bike etc. etc. Everything was no problem until I was 30 years old, from then on the "little problems" became more and more frequent and I wasn't really satisfied with my figure anymore. I lost a lot of muscle mass and although I did strength training 3 times a week, I didn't even press 100kg on the bench anymore, which should be no problem at all as an experienced man with a body weight of 83kg.
Why did this "endurance hype" develop at all?
Endurance training at a low heart rate was believed to be optimal for keeping the heart healthy. Despite the fact that a lot of data has shown for a long time that properly designed strength training will give the heart enough stimulation and that nutrition plays a much more important role than endurance performance when it comes to protecting against cardiovascular disease, it is still important to keep the heart healthy. And more endurance is always better than less, so a 15km run is always better than a 4km run, right? WRONG, look at the winners of the marathons, they look like the 80-year-olds described above and at 100km running a week a lot of oxygen is processed in the metabolism resulting in a lot of by-products, which have to be removed from the organism, but the "antioxidants" play an important role, such as vitamin C for example.
For these people it becomes very difficult to obtain these amounts of vitamin C and vitamin C is involved in almost all metabolic processes in the body, very important for the immune system (leukocytes, monocytes, ...) and plays an important role. A study of the "American Journal of Sports and Medicine" from 2012, which showed a death rate of 0.75 / 100000 marathon runners from 2000-2009, i.e. 1 out of 133,333 marathon runners dies. The death rate among strength athletes is not even measurable.
Long endurance units have a catabolic effect and intensive long endurance units are actively catabolic for the musculature, which can also be seen in the high-performance athletes who take it to the top, such as the cyclists of the Tour de France or the marathon runners, colloquially consist only of skin and bones.
And I want to mention it again, at the age of 25 it's no problem to recover from long endurance units, at 40 it gets very difficult and at 60 it's just not a good idea anymore.
If I should express it in numbers how much endurance training I would do to be healthy and efficient, always adapted to my goals, then I would say 25% endurance training and 75% strength training.
And the strength training should please be planned intensively and differentiated, i.e. a good training plan should definitely include cruciate lifts, knee bends, bench presses, pull-ups and shoulder presses and around these basic exercises specific assistance exercises depending on the individual requirements.