running and health

Running Extra-Long Distances Is Extra-Healthy

Study: Runners who log longer training runs were healthier than those who ran shorter distances.

By Megan Othersen Gorman

Running Extra-Long Distances Is Extra-Healthy

Healthier in the long run: More mileage seems to equal better health.

RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—The long-distance runner is sometimes said to be lonely—but, it turns out, he or she may also be especially healthy. A new study of more than 100,000 runners out of the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in Berkeley, CA, found that the longer the usual training run, the less likely the runner is to need medications for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes—regardless of how many total miles the runner ran that year.

THE DETAILS: Researchers relied on the National Runners Study—a survey of 62,284 men and 45,040 women runners who filled out a questionnaire given to them at races or as subscribers to Runner’s World magazine. The scientists categorized the runners based on their total annual mileage, their longest usual run, whether they ran marathons, and whether they took medications for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. “Compared to runners whose longest run was less than 5 kilometers [3.1 miles], those whose longest run was greater than 15K [9.3 miles] had a 34 percent lower risk of needing cholesterol-lowering drugs, a 39 percent lower risk of needing hypertensive medications, and a 65 percent lower risk for requiring diabetes medication,” says Paul Williams, PhD, lead author of the study.

WHAT IT MEANS: Bottom line: It’s important for overall health, not just running performance, to include longer runs in your running schedule. “Based on our study, I would say that the inclusion of a 10- or 15-mile run provides benefits beyond just the total cumulative mileage,” says Williams. “Not all runs necessarily need to be that long, but some should.”

Whether you’re a beginning fitness runner or training for a marathon, here are some ways to extend your runs:


Published on: March 19, 2009

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long distance running

interesting article. i noticed that i feel better ever since i started running longer distances, not only with my endurance, but with my overall health as well. i recently started using a water bottle that is great for longer runs. it is made by FLEXR sports and it uses a biodegradable liner inside that collapses with whatever you are drinking to dramatically reduce sloshing. plus the bottle itself is eco-friendly and bpa-fee. check out this link if you are interested:
people really should try running longer distances though. it might be hard at first, but once you get used to the distance it is well worth it. happy running!

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