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Re: Americans Runners Slowing Down

PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 10:55 am
by Wildhorse
Hi Z, whatever the explanation of American slowing may be, your own transformation through the exertion of long distance running resonates and makes us all think about what we are doing in our lives and why. And that is very important.

The search engine shows that this study has received wide news coverage and some pushback. The pushback mainly involves offering morally flattering explanations, such as more less-fit people are running and that is morally good. Here is one from npr: ... ing-slower

As for me, I run only for fun and mostly intervals, not for any moral reason. I admire the fast marathon runners including the nonprofessional runners like you Z, for the sake of beauty not goodness. I love the gracefulness of the fast runners, and wish I could be so graceful in my movements. I know hikers that are also beautiful to see in this way.

I wish Americans could increase our pace. It would be beautiful to behold.

Re: Americans Runners Slowing Down

PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:34 am
by Sean
The study fails to account for a top-end talent migration to distances like 50 and 100-mile ultramarathons. Many elite runners who can't compete for prize money at lesser distances will focus on greater endurance races. Also, the ultras simply attract stronger runners looking for the greater challenge. This leaves a vacuum of talent at the marathon and lower levels of the sport.

Re: Americans Runners Slowing Down

PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 12:17 pm
by zippetydude
Thanks for your kind words WIldhorse, but I'm not fast. I finish about an hour and a half after the winners complete the race.

Sean, that's probably a factor. For myself, as I mentioned earlier, I found the whole crowd in the ultras to be accomplished runners. It's possible to sign up for a marathon and walk the whole thing, maybe taking 9 or 10 hours, so really anyone who is so motivated can potentially do a marathon. 50 miles would be impractical so it eliminates most beginners, and 100 miles wouldn't even be in consideration for most people starting out. Another factor is that ultras are so varied - no two are alike, whereas all paved roads in marathons are pretty much the same, so ultras offer greater scenic variety. Finally, I have found that if I run 26 miles on trails instead of 26 miles on asphalt, my feet don't get sore, my joints don't ache, and I still feel good enough to go about my day when I'm done. Not so with a marathon. I used to be creaky for a week or so afterward. Those may be contributing factors drawing other runners to ultras. It may also be the fact that some extremely fast distance runners are still a few minutes slower than what it would take to win a big city marathon, so they get to enjoy winning at smaller venues while still competing at extremely hard events.


Re: Americans Runners Slowing Down

PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:34 pm
by Wildhorse
I recall news stories in the past year or two about the decline in male strength that has followed a shift away from manual work in our careers and at home. I also recall reading that a lack of upper body strength reduces the efficiency of runners. Gym bulking does not help, but strong muscles do. I wonder if this may be a contributing factor to the slower running. And even if not, it adds to the sense that Americans are in physical decline.