It’s been four months and we still don’t miss you

Vitamins or diet? She’s on the case!

Today’s run (street): 5.9 miles

Back in December, I wrote about a study that was reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine about the efficacy of multivitamins. According to their findings, taking multivitamins provided no preventative benefits related to cancer, heart disease or any other chronic illnesses. Unlike medicines such as ibuprofen that show benefits within the hour, we’ve all taken it on faith that multivitamins work. According to the Pfizer Consumer Healthcare (Centrum vitamins) marketing department, “Multivitamins are intended to be used as part of an overall healthy lifestyle and can help fill the gaps in one’s diet to help ensure people get the recommended amount of key vitamins and minerals needed each day.”

So do they actually help? Well the Emerging Runner family decided in December that those findings were a good enough reason to stop taking them. Almost four months have passed since we last took our daily doses. Besides a few days of sneezes and sniffles in February, we haven’t missed them at all.

Our family eats well, with plenty of whole grains, vegetables, salads, lean meats and plant-based proteins. I’m betting that our diet provides sufficient protection. Therefore, I’m going to conclude that multivitamins are unnecessary, at least for healthy eaters. I did have a rough patch with my running this winter, but I attribute that to poor training rather than to either diet or the lack of a multivitamin.  

And those horse pills are no joy to swallow, either.

Men’s Journal had an article in the March issue that restated these findings and offered other evidence that vitamin supplements don’t work. I’d be curious to know how these conclusions have affected vitamin sales, or if most people continue to take them just to be safe.

This morning I had a very nice run around my surrounding neighborhoods. Now that I’m regularly exceeding five miles when I go out, I can feel a real difference in my endurance. Curiously, I started to feel a drop in energy around 30 minutes in, but within ten minutes, I felt as strong as I did at the start. This structured training seems to be working. Why did it take me six years to start following a plan?

How many miles will you get from your running shoes?

Kinvara 3’s: 1000 Km and still looking good

Today’s run (treadmill): 4.1 miles

Besides race entry fees, shoes are usually a runner’s biggest expense. If you look on the web, you’ll find different recommendations for when to replace a pair. Running shoe companies like Brooks recommend replacement between 400 and 500 miles and even less for minimal models. However, a study conducted by a German University biomechanics lab concluded that “the lifetime for a high quality running shoe is expected to be much higher than 1000 km” (621 miles).

In an interesting coincidence, I saw on my Daily Mile gear tracker that my Saucony Kinvara 3’s have just hit 621 miles. I had covered 470 miles running on roads and put on the last 151 running on the treadmill. Now that I’ve reached this point, I wonder how many more miles these shoes might have before they need to be replaced. Does “much higher than 1000 km” mean 200? 500? Even more? The shoes don’t feel any different than they did when I got them, and I don’t experience any knee pain after I use them.

The venerable GTS-10’s

I retired my Brooks GTS 9’s at 711 miles but stopped running in the 10’s before I hit 400. That was because I moved to more minimal shoes (the original Kinvara and Hattori). Although the GTS 10’s were retired for running, they have been my daily casual shoes for over three years. Further, they still feel good enough to return to my running shoe rotation.  

I’ve put more than 200 miles on my main road shoes (Saucony Virratas) and I’m expecting to get at least 500 more before I’m done with them. Since I rotate in my Brooks Puredrifts, Spira XLT’s and Helly Hansen Trail Lizards, I probably won’t be buying new shoes in 2014. But if one of these running shoe companies wants to send some new shoes to test on Running Gear Adviser, I would certainly give them a try.

Would you read Slow Runner magazine?

Going to the Well

Running magazines provide great utility and can occasionally inspire. When I was a new runner, I found these magazines to be a useful source for information about terminology, practices and setting expectations. But just as there are no magazines to help you become a run-of-the-mill decorator or a mediocre cook, the focus of every running magazine seems to be about improving performance. Up until recently, I appreciated that focus. Now I’m a little conflicted.

The reason for this comes from recent studies published by the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health and the Lancet. Both of these studies concluded that mortality rates for those who exercised moderately were lower than the rates for sedentary people or high performing athletes. If running greater than 20 miles per week or pacing in the seven minute pace range causes a health concern, I’m certainly not going to do that. Not that I could run a sustained 7:00 pace anyway.

I’m curious to see whether running magazines will ignore these studies or dismiss them as inaccurate. If not, will they acknowledge the facts and modify their editorial focus? After all, the topic of minimalism started getting regular coverage after Christopher McDougall published “Born to Run”. Covering running without a focus on performance may be a hard sell for Running Times, but many titles already devote pages to nutrition, human interest and lifestyle.

Given the choice, I’d always choose an article about running experience over a new approach to running intervals. Maybe that’s a new market segment for Rodale to cover.