Friday, March 14, 2008

Anecdotal Medicine

Perfect topic for the blogoshpere.

I felt like crap earlier this week. I took Monday off, ran 8 Tuesday, 10 Wed, 10 Thurs. Each time I ran, I felt better. I did not want to run, as I felt like crap.

I have read a lot and spoken with many doctors over the years on weather it is okay or not to run while sick. (more specifically, does it make you more sick). The consensus seemed to be "as long as you don't have a fever, or something serious, it won't hurt. But take it easy".

Could it be that running actually can cure a cold? I am still on low hr, and did "easy" runs this week.

I always joke with my wife that she has a doctorate from the school of anecdotal medicine. She is very quick to make links from cause to effect without any proof, evidence, date to support it. (other than "I did this, and this happened afterwards, so the must be related".

I am a skeptic at heart, so I tend to need more science and data to come to conclusions (unbiased science, if possible).

But, being the internet, it is unavoidable. I think people will believe what they want to believe, regardless of the undisputed factual evidence facing them. (I have run into smokers who still are not convinced it is bad for you). I also run into people who think running is bad for you (they always source Jim Fixx dying while running).

It is for this reason why I get very upset when politicians use anecdotes to push national policy, and reason to vote for them. One can find anecdotal evidence to support almost any theory. (some people believe wearing a seatbelt can be more dangerous than not because it can trap you in an accident. These people usually know of someone where this happened). But, they ignore the overwhelming evidence contradicting their theory. But, since they knew the individual in the anecdote, they are not conviced.

Some politicians base the health of the economy by watching a senior citizen in the grocery store debating weather to buy a brand name or generic brand.

So, why did I bring this up?

I feel like running healed me this week. I know it is a dumb assumption, but good for a topic.

(The same can be applied to almost any training regiment, diet, etc.)

By the way, Afton tomorrow. Hoping for 50k.

Start between 5 and 6 am. 1st lap clockwise, second reverse.

Join me if you like


keith said...

It's been proven that running >70 minutes actually boosts your immune system. On the same ticket...any run lasting longer than 90 minutes actually makes your immune system dip a little bit.

Anecdotally, I often feel like I "run" my way out of colds.

I'm debating afton tomorrow...i wonder if it will be a skating rink.

SteveQ said...

50K tomorrow at Afton? What are you, a dirt munching ultrarunner?
Yeah, me too.

5 AM's way too early for me. Have fun!

aharmer said...

I know absolutely zero about this particular topic. How about that statement coming out of a politician's mouth?? What I do know is that a majority of my runs are 90+ minutes and I am very rarely sick. Even when my entire family is sick for a week I never get the slightest cold. I attribute this to my diet but have zero proof. The rare occasion that I have a stuffy nose it seems to be gone by the time my run is over.

Now watch, my Sunday blog post will be about how sick I got this weekend.