This week we learned that US marathon record holder Ryan Hall has been suffering from plantar fasciitis for the past four months. He’s dealing with it by taking lots of Aleve (Naproxen), an NSAID effective in reducing inflammation and pain, and in large doses associated with a range of serious side effects, including kidney and liver damage. The danger of kidney damage is magnified during dehydration – such as might occur during high intensity running.
I’m often asked how fast I run (8K PR: 33:49, Marathon PR 3:40), the question accompanied by an implication that I’m not really fast enough to give advice to others. What the running “elite” either cannot or do not want to understand about their eliteness, exemplified by but not limited to Ryan Hall’s “I run on Aleve” example, is that running fast has little to do with running healthy. In fact, elite-level running, just like elite biking, football and baseball, is often the opposite of healthy.
I wish Ryan, who buys his spinach at my neighborhood Trader Joe’s, a speedy recovery before the London Olympics. And I wish he’d stop running while on NSAIDs. It’s not good for him, and it’s not a good example for the next generation of young running Americans who look up to him.
(Obligatory barefoot running plug: I had PF when I ran in shoes, but not since turning bare.)