Sunday, September 12, 2010

Do I REALLY Need a Base Tan?

After my run with Daisy Tuesday, we had a good conversation about my plan to run the Rocket City marathon in December.  I asked her for her opinion, mainly on the walk/don't walk debate I've had going on in my head for quite some time.

She made what I think is a good analogy comparing running to tanning.  When you are planning a trip to the beach, if you're like me and many others I know, you'll work on getting a good "base tan" before you go.  You'll either visit a tanning bed in short sessions for a few weeks, or do it the (slower) old-fashioned way in the real sun.  The point is to tan your skin slowly, without burning, so you're able to spend hours on glorious sandy beaches and not fry your skin to a crisp.  Trust me, it works.

The repercussions of not getting a base tan, and still believing you will be able to spend hours in the sand and water intensified rays of the sun, are not only an uncomfortable burn, but according to Dr Oz, and a review of data by the European Commission (mentioned in this editorial), sun burns are much more likely to cause skin cancer than responsible time taking in natural vitamin D!

Daisy has been running a LONG time.  I trust her opinion.  She believes I have no business training for a  marathon this December...because I haven't allowed my body adequate time to adjust to the strain put on it by running long miles.  I haven't gotten a good "base tan" so to speak, and am therefore much more likely to sustain an injury.

However, I think (and feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, Daisy) her injury came on the heels (pun intended) of years of training for the marathon she ran.  After years of fairly long distance running, and a full year of training for the marathon, if my Swiss-cheese memory serves me correctly...Daisy found herself "burned" after her goal race even with a solid "base tan".

I think it's like anything else we do in life....if you look, you will find examples that run the gamut.   There are plenty of success stories of people who train for a short period of time and run a marathon, injury free.  There are also people who have trained their whole lives who end up falling over dead running.  (By the way, if you don't like scary stories, don't go Googling scary subjects....just saying.) 

In keeping with the tanning analogy, there are people who get a solid base tan who still burn on their beach vacation....and others who are able to slather on enough sun screen to keep their fair skin properly protected. 

Translation:  I'm not saying I'm still doing it, and I'm not saying I'm not.  I am saying I'm still training for it...and I am saying I'm willing to back off if it looks like my body won't allow it.   I think the key is to continue learning what it means to listen to my body....and to keep in mind that a sunburn usually isn't felt until after it's WAY too late.

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!

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