One day last week I was listening to an old Jillian Michaels podcast from November 2, 2008 while running at lunch. I like listening to Jillian's podcasts sometimes when I'm running...sometimes all my music bores me and I want to hear something different. Plus I typically find listening to her no-nonsense approach to be inspiring and motivating. This time was different.
She started bashing marathon running. I literally stopped in my tracks. I continued to listen because I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt but she did not redeem herself, in my opinion. She quoted several studies that showed that after running a marathon, there are increased levels of toxins in the body and that running a distance of 26.2 miles puts a significant strain on the heart. And then she ended with this, "Don't run a marathon. Don't train for one. It's bad for your body." (some paraphrasing here because I don't remember the exact words). I was pissed to say the least.
I've read the studies she quoted. Yes, it's true that there are increased levels of toxins in the body and (no shit Sherlock) running 26.2 miles puts a strain on the heart. However, there was a great article published by Runner's World last year that delves further into those studies and shows that individuals who die after running a marathon (like last year's Chicago or during the Olympic trials) have some prior heart defect. The RW's article also talks about training correctly and understanding your own physical limitations (which Jillian did not mention).
Instead Jillian's suggestions were to train to climb a mountain or train for some long bike event. She does say that you can run races but to make sure they're short distances. I understand that Jillian is entitled to her own opinions and quite honestly I wouldn't listen to someone about running who doesn't enjoy it (as she's stated numerous times).
What irked me was this sense of nonacceptance about running. She may think it's crazy and she would never do it but she shouldn't discourage other people from doing something they love. Yes, there's a risk involved but there's risk involved in everything we do. Training to climb a mountain...I could fall to my death. Biking a long distance...I could tumble head over handlebars. Getting on the Metro...I could fall off the platform and be hit by a train. Running a marathon...I may have a heart attack.
Personally, I'm not interested in climbing a mountain but I'm not going to go out and tell someone who's doing that that they shouldn't...everybody has the things that work for them. Mine is running, Jillian's is obviously not running.
Jillian is usually "Kicking ass and taking names" and I felt that her advice against marathon running went so against who she is. She's not the type to feed into a fear of doing something because you may be hurt but yet, that's what she was advising.
Anyways, as you can tell, I was really ticked off after listening to that podcast. Feel free to ignore me if you disagree or argue back! I'm trying to articulate my points but I don't know that my points are getting across.
Stay tuned the rest of the week...I've got some exciting stuff coming up including posts with pictures (!!!) and an interview with the gorgeous Heather!