Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Not saying this is healthy

I came across this guy in a break between exam questions. Chuck Engle has won 148 marathons. He has also won a marathon in each of the 50 states. And he has run nearly 300. And he's barely older than I am.


  1. It's hard to say what might be healthy for other folks with unlimited time, and better running form, but I'm still working out the kinks from a marathon I ran a month ago.

    I wonder how his regimen compares to a professional cyclist doing a grand tour. They do 100+ miles every day for three weeks. The time in the saddle is actually longer than a 3 hour marathon. On the other hand, they're not going "full tilt" the whole time.

  2. Yeah, that century ride versus marathon thing has always confounded me a little. It is much, much easier to ride 100 miles than to run 26.2, although even if done really quickly it takes much longer. Why?

    One reason is the coasting, but that doesn't answer everything. I don't stop pedaling when I'm riding an IM bike leg, for example. But I am able to set a fairly light pressure and stay there. Without question the pressure per pedal stroke is a small fraction of the pressure per footfall while running.

    I think they are fundamentally different forms of exercise. The best comparison you might get in cycling would be mountain biking, when you are up out of the saddle, absorbing impacts, climbing hills, avoiding obstacles . . . Mountain biking hard for 3 hours is a brutal endeavor (or so I hear. I personally abide by the 11th Commandment: "Thou shalt not ride knobby tires.") Another possible comparison is riding steadily uphill for 3 hours, requiring that you keep the pressure on constantly, even if not really pushing hard.

    But no form of biking causes any impact on your body. Absorbing the impact at the end of the stride 30,000-40,000 times over 3-4 hours is something unique.

  3. Yes. I've only done Olympics and 1/2 IM distance tris, but the recovery from a 1/2 is much faster than from a marathon, even though you are aerobic for half again longer. Similarly, as I have written previously, I am growing to love club century rides (especially when there's pie or lobster). I ride them pretty hard, but am still in the saddle for over 5 hours. I'm pretty sure, though, that with proper training I could do two in a weekend. I wouldn't dream of doing that with a marathon.