Newsletter Archives: Volume 26, April 2001
Setting Up Your Marathon
Almost anyone can complete a marathon in six months! Even
if you only have 60 minutes to exercise during the work week, you
can train for the marathon. The minimum is actually better for reducing
injuries. During the week, you only need to accumulate an hour of
running/walking. The long run starts at three miles and gradually
increases by one mile each week until it reaches 10 miles. Then,
you'll do the long one every other week, with a run/walk of half
the distance on the "off" weekend. After you've completed the 18-miler,
you'll receive two weekends off for good behavior, shifting to a
long one every third week.
Long run endurance + 60 minutes of maintenance + rest: Your
body is designed to continuously improve its endurance if you gently
stress it in a pattern of increases, rest enough for rebuilding,
and do regular maintenance so that it won't forget the process.
Think of your training program as a sound system. Each exercise
session serves as a component designed to produce a specific effect.The
long run provides the gentle challenge through mileage extension,
which will develop the exact endurance necessary for getting to
the finish line of the marathon. The slow and minimal 60 minutes
of maintenance run-walks during the week simply maintain the conditioning
gained on the weekend. Resting the running muscles on other days
is crucial for letting the muscles rebuild, during which they make
marvelous adaptations for easier and longer running.
The long run builds endurance. As you extend a mile or three
farther on each long one, you push back your endurance limit. It
is important to go slowly on each of these (at least two minutes
per mile slower than you could run that distance on that day) to
make it easy for your muscles to extend their current endurance
limit and recover afterward. As you lengthen the long one to 26
miles, you build the exact endurance necessary to complete the marathon.
Walk breaks, taken from the beginning, will also speed your recovery
and make the extra distance on each run a gentle challenge. On the
non-long-run weekends, there are several options. Most runners will
do a slow run of about half the distance of the current long run
(up to 10 miles). On two to four of these "easy" weekends, it is
wise to do a 5K road race to predict what you might be able to do
in the marathon. Veterans will do speed sessions on some of the
non-long weekends. If you're feeling good during these shorter runs,
you can run them continuously, but there's no advantage in doing
this. In other words, walk breaks are at your discretion on the
shorter runs, including the ones during the week.
In other words . . .
- The long run gradually increases to 26 miles and gives you the
specific endurance needed to complete the marathon.
- To maintain this endurance, the weekly minimum is 60 minutes
of running or walk-running, divided between two to five days.
- Slower is better on the long ones: the slower you go, the faster
you will recover, while receiving all of the endurance.
- Frequent walk breaks, from the beginning of each long one, add
fun and reduce fatigue dramatically.
- There are almost no injuries among those who adhere to this
- Those who have run a marathon can train for a faster one by
doing speed sessions on non-long-run weekends.
Monday: walk 30-60 minutes
Tuesday: run-walk 30 minutes
Wednesday: walk 30-60 minutes
Thursday: run-walk 30 minutes
Friday: walk 30-60 minutes
Sunday: long run-walk
Research has shown that caffeine improves endurance, gets the fat-burning
process started earlier, and allows runners to burn more fat during
exercise. The fact that caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant
explains why runners report that a cup of coffee before a run improves
focus, and gets all of the physiological systems up to speed for
a run that just feels better. As an aside, I feel more psychological
rewards from runs when I've had my cafe an hour or so before. I
admit that this could be explained away as being......psychological.
- Jeff Galloway
The Athlete's Kitchen
Copyright: Nancy Clark 3/01
Alcohol and Athletes: When drinking becomes a problem
"I used to have a drinking problem. Now I'm addicted to running.
I think I've traded one addiction for another..."
"I often wonder if my husband plays rugby for an excuse to drink
"I don't see myself as an alcoholic, but I sometimes notice my drinking
is interfering with my life..."
In our society, athletics and alcohol goes hand in hand. Observe
rugby players, tailgaters at football games, champions getting showered
with champagne. Athletics and alcohol also mesh together in another
way--many recovering alcoholics turn to exercise to relieve stress,
invest in their health, and (sometimes) even trade drinking for
an exercise addiction. The purpose of this article is to look at
some of the problems associated with alcohol and athletes, and offer
The first question is: How much alcohol is too much? The answer
varies. What's too much alcohol for one person may be OK for another.
In general, large, muscular athletes can handle more alcohol without
untoward consequences than can smaller people. Women are more susceptible
than men to the effects of alcohol. People who drink regularly can
handle more alcohol than can non-drinkers.
Experts say it's not only how much you drink, but the extent to
which it interferes with your life that determines whether you have
a problem with alcohol. So in addition to counting drinks, try answering
these questions honestly:
- Are you ever mad at yourself, knowing that alcohol keeps you
from being who you really are?
- Are you tired of regretting your actions?
- If alcohol is not available, do you make it available?
- Do you change your plans so that you can have a drink?
There's unlikely one cause for all alcohol problems. But we do
know drinking problems tend to run in families. In a survey of 222
people who overcame alcohol problems, 80% reported heavy drinking
in their immediate and extended families. Does this mean alcoholism
is genetic? Or do kids learn to cope with life the way their parents
An estimated 14 million Americans (more than 7% of adults) have
serious problems with alcohol, but only about 10% of these seek
help for their drinking problems. If you are a heavy drinker--or
know one, you may not even have a clue where to go for advice.
Thanks to Anne Fletcher's new book Sober for Good: New Solutions
for Drinking Problems-Advice from Those Who Have Succeeded (Houghton
Mifflin, 2001), problem drinkers and their families now have a resource
with words of wisdom from 222 people who have resolved their drinking
problems. The people are from all walks of lives, ages, and levels
of alcohol intakes. Sober for Good examines their recovery stories
and offers possible solutions for people (including athletes) who
1) wonder if they have a drinking problem
2) if so, are ready to take action, or
3) want to help their friends and family members who have a drinking
Sober for Good highlights many approaches to recovery and notes
that AA is not the only way for an alcoholic to achieve sobriety.
Although a survey found that more than 90% of 450 representative
treatment programs are based on AA's 12-step approach, only 44%
of the "masters" in Sober for Good stopped drinking with AA's support.
The other 56% resolved their drinking problems non-conventionally.
To turn the tide, they weighed the pleasures of alcohol against
the pain and problems it caused and concluded drinking just wasn't
worth the price--often a loving relationship and a successful career.
One third of the masters tried at least three times to give up alcohol
before they were finally successful. Their words of wisdom: "Don't
Keys to success included building a life with no room for alcohol.
For many, this involved exercise. Not only does exercise help manage
stress and elevate endorphins for a "natural high," but it is also
healthful and can be a new source of gratification. Along with exercise
comes eating healthfully. And as you can imagine, when you feel
good about yourself and life, alcohol has less power.
Nancy Clark, MS, RD, personal nutrition counselor at SportsMedicine
Associates in Brookline MA, teaches casual and competitive athletes
how to eat to win. Her best-seller Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition
Guidebook, Second Edition is reputed to be among the best books
on this topic. It is available by sending $22 to Sports Nutrition
Services, 830 Boylston St. #205, Brookline MA 02467 or via http://www.nancyclarkrd.com.
Training Talk from Runner's
World Extra enewsletter, March 23, 2001
"Food fat means body fat. Studies have shown that incoming food
fat is handled preferentially by your body, ending up as body fat
more readily than carbs and protein. In essence, one fat calorie
is worth more than a carbohydrate or protein calorie." -From Liz
Applegate, Power Foods, page 145. You can buy this book at:
Tips from Jeff
- Motivation: On a difficult run, success is as simple as taking
one more step, then, just one more step . . .
- Training: Sometimes the difference between success and disappointment
in running is starting your run 10 seconds per mile too fast.
- For a simple, healthy treat, peel and slice a ripe banana into
bite-sized pieces on a plate. Drizzle with chocolate syrup and
freeze for 45 minutes. Serve with toothpicks.
- Portion Control: Size Does Matter. Joan Salge Blake, MS, RD,
gives some pointers on how to check food/serving sizes on http://thriveonline.oxygen.com/weight/portion_control/index.html,
including these: a 4-ounce bagel = about the size of a compact
disc and a slice of pizza (1/12 of a large pie) = should fit inside
a standard business envelope.
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