Drug Use and the Distance Runner

This may or may not be my first blog posting as I tried it last week and the post has not appeared anywhere, although I thought I had done all the appropriate steps to do so. So here we go again.
The most memorable item from the last week was an interview I did with the BBC on drug use among distance runners. The topic is relevant, said the interviewer, due to new interest in the subject. He didn’t say more. I mentioned that distance runners have the same needs cyclists have. These needs are stamina and lean body strength. So EPO, HGH, testosterone, some steroids and high altitude testing or use of high altitude tents would be the order of the day. I also mentioned that Jose Canseco said “that drugs are popular because they work.” 
Without getting into the many drug penalties assessed by USADA etc. over the decades, the most interesting aspect of this is that drug use has a very positive psychological benefit as well. The runner in a marathon goes through the “wall” better if he/she knows they are befitting from drugs. This also has an effect on the oppositon who feels unable to compete against a doper. This was the reason given for pitchers to use steroids when facing hitters who used the drugs. The pitchers needed to be enhanced as well.
This asks the question if drug use has a psychological benefit, wouldn’t placebo do the same? A trainer could give a player a tablet of milk sugar, tell them to use only one, never before sleeping, only four hours before competing, etc. and the runner/player would have all the benefits of placebo without the danger of being tested positive.
This is an interesting thought, and it is appropriate for a first blog because this is a subject that I enjoy writing about.

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