OK, so before I start to piss everyone off I will say that I can respect the sense of accomplishment and the amazing effort and work it takes to complete an IronMan. But let's get real, what is the purpose of doing aerobic exercise for that long. There is no athletic skill, there is no carry-over to everyday life, and there is a lot of injuries that can and do occur. As I watched last night, a large number of the finishers were limping across the line only to just about collapse into the arms of the workers. It isn't unlikely that many of these people will have foot, shin, knee, or some other type of injury following this event. It just doesn't make sense to me.
”I play a real sport for real men, not trying to be the best at fucking exercising.”
Long distance aerobic exercise doesn't make us stronger, it doesn't build muscle, and it doesn't really even make us look better. If you look at most marathoners they look like skeletons. No muscle mass, no curves, no nothing. Just Bones and skin. Not very attractive. Not to mention they can't lift more than 20lbs. over their head. We as humans were not made for this type of movement and duration of movement. We were made to complete short bursts of quick and powerful movements. Our ancestors ran quick sprints to catch their food, then used strength to carry it home. They weren't off running around for hours at a time. They needed to be powerful and strong. Think about your everyday life...When are you ever going to need to run for multiple hours in row...NEVER. But when are you going to need to lift something? All the time. Whether it be your kid, your furniture on move in day, your girlfriend (or boyfriend), and a multitude of other things. As my buddy Rob has said over and over, "If a rock falls on me, I'm gonna lift it off. If it falls on you, what are you gonna do? You can't run then."
To add on to the use of these two different types of exercise, let's look at injuries. If you lift properly, there is a rare possibility of injury and with good programming you can prevent and even ease pain and previous injuries you may have had. Even with proper running form, doing it for hours upon hours can cause some serious problems. I know which exercise I'm choosing. Hint: it involves lifting heavy things.
Now, I am not going to say to never do prolonged endurance exercise. There is a place and time for it. Thirty minutes a couple times a week for those just beginning exercise, those who are older and can't do things such as sprint, and even for a time of recovery. But I see no real purpose behind multiple hours of running, biking, and swimming all in one day. You may disagree but that's cool...because I'm going to tell you you're wrong.