Newsletter Archives: Volume20, August 2000
The most exhilarating runs
are often on the stressed-out days when we don't want to run.
The fall marathon season is right around the corner. As you push
a mile or three farther on each long one, you push back your endurance
limit. It's 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. When it's really hot and humid, for example, you'll need
to run two and a half or three minutes per mile slower.
The most direct way to prepare for the marathon: As you extend
the long one to 26 miles, you build the exact endurance necessary
to complete the marathon (14 to 15 for the half marathon, eight
to 10 for the 10K). Those who have marathon time goals can extend
their capacity by running as far as 30 miles three to four weeks
before the marathon. You're actually pushing back your "endurance
wall" with each long run.
Walk breaks speed recovery: Walk breaks, taken from the beginning,
will also speed your recovery and make the extra distance on each
run nothing more than a gentle challenge. By walking one to two
minutes, after two to eight minutes of running, you shift the use
of the muscle and reduce the intensity. Because you're not using
the muscle the same way continuously, you significantly increase
the distance you can cover before fatigue sets in.
As the long runs get longer
Slow down the pace, from the beginning, by running at least two
minutes per mile slower than you could run that distance on that
Increase the frequency of walk breaks - Example: If you started
running five minutes and walking one minute, at 18 miles, run four
minutes and walk one minute; at 20 to 23 miles, run three minutes
and walk one minute for the first 15 miles, then go to four and
one if you're feeling good; and on the 26-miler, run three minutes
and walk one for the whole run.
Pacing of long runs: the two-minute rule: Run all of the long ones
at least two minutes per mile slower than you could run that distance
on that day. The walk breaks will help you to slow the pace, but
you must run slower as well. You get the same endurance from the
long one if you run slowly as you would if you ran fast. However,
you'll recover much faster from a slow long run.
Adjust for heat, humidity, hills, etc.: The warmer and more humid
it is, the slower you must go (two and a half to three minutes/mile
slower than you could run that distance on that day). Be sure to
stay hydrated and avoid too much salt intake during the 36 hours
before the long run, during the long one and through the run. The
slower you go, from the beginning of the run, the less damage you'll
incur from the heat, humidity and distance covered. More frequent
(or longer) walk breaks will also lower the damage without detracting
from the endurance of that long run.
Almost everyone has at least one "bad" long run: You may never
be able to discover why, but if you know, learn! The tough ones
teach you that you have hidden inner strengths, which you can draw
upon on future challenges, both in running and in life itself. This
will particularly help your confidence and your ability to withstand
adversity in the marathon itself.
The Athlete's Kitchen
Copyright: Nancy Clark 07/00
Recovery from Hard Exercise, Part II: How to rapidly rehydrate
"As a triathlete, I sweat a lot but I also try to drink
a lot. I carry a gallon of water around with me. How can I tell
when I've had enough to drink?"
"What's best to drink between soccer games in a tournament:
water or sports drink?"
"How bad is beer after the rugby game?"
When you are exercising in the summer heat, dehydration is an obvious
concern. But even in winter, when you're dripping buckets of sweat
while training at the health club, dehydration remains a concern.
Regardless of the season, adequate fluid intake deserves full attention
from athletes who perform hard exercise-particularly if you are
doing double workouts and need to rapidly recover from one exercise
bout to prepare for the next one.
Your best bet is obviously to minimize water losses by drinking
adequate fluids during exercise. But many athletes, to the detriment
of their performance, fail to complete that task either because
their sweat losses during exercise are too high or their fluid intake
is too low. Whatever the story, rapid recovery from one bout of
exercise to prepare for the second bout depends upon replacing fluids
and electrolytes (the minerals lost in sweat along with the water).
Be you a soccer player in a weekend tournament, a swimmer competing
in two events at a meet, a cyclist doing back-to-back century rides,
or a triathlete doing two-a-day workouts, you'll be able to perform
better during the second session if you have planned your recovery
diet. This article addresses fluids for rapid recovery after intense
exercise; carbohydrates for rapid recovery were discussed previously
in Part I of this two part series.
Minimizing sweat losses
Preventing dehydration during exercise is preferable to treating
dehydration post-exercise. To determine how much fluid your body
needs, the best plan is to learn your sweat rate. Simply weigh yourself
naked before and after an hour of hard exercise during which you
drank no fluids. The weight loss reflects sweat loss. By learning
your sweat rate under various conditions, you can then develop a
schedule for drinking adequate fluids during exercise to minimize
sweat losses and hasten recovery. A 2 lb. loss equals 32 ounces
(1 quart). In the future, you should target drinking 8 ozs./15 minutes
of exercise at that pace and under those climatic conditions.
Because most athletes voluntarily consume only half of what they
need, they inevitably need to pay attention to post-exercise recovery
fluids. For each pound lost, you should now target drinking 150%
more than that during recovery. That is, if you lost 2 pounds during
a workout, you should replace that loss with at least 3 pounds of
fluids (48 ozs.) within 2 hours post-exercise. An alternative to
counting ounces is to simply monitor your urine. You should be urinating
every 2 to 4 hours post-exercise, and the urine should be pale yellow
color (like lemonade), not dark (like beer).
What's best to drink for rapid recovery to prepare for the next
tennis match or soccer game? Your best bet is fluids and/or foods
that contain sodium. That is, if you are going to be consuming only
fluids, a sports drink (with sodium) will do a better job of replacing
sweat losses than will plain water, juice or soda pop. The sodium
enhances fluid absorption and retention. Or, if you prefer sodium-free
beverages, simply eat salty foods alongside, such as pretzels, crackers,
pizza, or pasta with tomato sauce.
What about sports drinks...?
Sports drinks are designed to be taken during hard exercise, a time
when digestion can be compromised due to reduced blood flow to the
stomach. Hence, sports drinks are dilute and are actually a weak
source of sodium and carbohydrates. If you need to rapidly recover
for a second bout of exercise within an hour or two and are worried
about gastric distress during the second event, consuming sports
drink is a safe bet. But if you have a tolerant stomach, or more
than 4 hours to recover, you can refuel and rehydrate yourself with
higher carb fluids (juices, soft drinks) along with bagels, pretzels,
and whatever carbohydrate-rich foods taste good and digest comfortably.
You simply have to learn through trial and error which recovery
foods and fluids you tolerate best--particularly in competitive
tournament situations where stress and anxiety can take a toll on
your digestive system.
What about beer...?
Hands down, a highly popular recovery fluid is beer--but is beer
an OK choice for a top notch sports diet? Well, juices and soft
drinks are preferable, but alcohol-free beer is fine, and so is
near-beer or diluted beer with the alcohol content cut from 4.5%
to less than 2.5%. Eating pretzels or other foods along with the
beer improves the recovery process by providing carbs and sodium.
CAUTION: Do not follow the common practice of
drinking too much beer and eating too little food! Obviously, this
hinders both glycogen and fluid replacement. And be careful to not
drink alcohol on an empty stomach. This rugby player explains why:
"After a game, when I'm dehydrated and haven't eaten any food that
day, a beer hits me like a ton of bricks. I've learned to enjoy
the natural high of exercise--it's better than walking around in
a drunken stupor. I save the beer for later, when the tournament
is all over!"
Can alcohol ever fit into the recovery diet? According to Australian
sports nutritionist Louise Burke, Ph.D., the answer varies. Burke
researched the effect of alcohol (vodka) on glycogen replacement.
She compared three recovery diets: carbohydrates only, vodka only,
or carbs plus vodka. The bottom line: alcohol itself does not convert
into glycogen, so it is a poor choice for a recovery fluid. But
alcohol itself does not impair glycogen storage, as long as adequate
carbohydrates are available. Burke stressed the importance of eating
while drinking. Athletes who fail to consume enough carbs while
drinking alcohol, plus fail to get up for breakfast the next morning
have two strikes against them. Add alcohol's diuretic effect and
you've done yourself in for the day!
Nancy Clark, MS, RD specializes in nutrition for exercise. She
counsels clients at Boston-area's SportsMedicine Brookline. Her
popular book, Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook, 2nd Edition
is available by sending $20 to Sports Nutrition Services, 830 Boylston
St. #205, Brookline MA 02467 or via www.nancyclarkrd.com
From the September 2000 Runner's
World's Health & Fitness Fast Facts by Alisa Bauman (www.runnersworld.com):
Food is medicine: 3.5 ounces of blueberries pack
the same antioxidant punch as 1.773 International Units of vitamin
# or 1,22270 milligrams of vitamin C. And the berries have a lot
more fiber too. (p. 24)
Build an ageless body: If you exercise regularly,
you're much more likely to enjoy life once you reach age 90 and
beyond, according to new research. In a study of thousands of men
aged 62 to 94, people who exercised regularly had better strength,
balance, endurance, and flexibility than those who didn't exercise
at all. (p. 24)
Muscle Memory - Mental and physical exercise can prevent
Alzheimer's disease: Combining running with chess and other
intellectual games during midlife may fend off Alzheimer's disease
later in life, according to a study presented at the American Academy
of Neurology's annual meeting. Researchers questioned 551 people
about their past and current mental and physical habits, and then
followed up 5 years later. Those who regularly exercised, played
musical instruments, and performed other intellectual activities
were less likely to develop the degenerative brain disease. "People
who were less active were more than three times as likely to have
Alzheimer's disease compared with those who were more active," says
Robert Friedland, M.D., a neurologist at Case Western Reserve University
School of Medicine in Cleveland and the study's lead author. (p.
Injury of the Month: SUNSCREEN
IS A PLUS
We all like to be outdoors, I admit it, but we all need to be aware
of the perils of sun damage and be as safe as possible in the sun.
It is paradoxical that the well-tanned person is an icon for youth
and health while continued sun damage produces the opposite effect
of accelerated aging and health risks. Everyone knows that sun exposure
is directly responsible for the skin cancer epidemic that results
in one million cases of non-melanoma skin cancers and melanoma (the
aggressively fatal skin cancer) rates that are rising at an enormous
rate. As if that were not bad enough, sun damage also causes wrinkles,
not just the pesky little ones, but the Texas-sized Willie Nelson
style canyons that could hide Jimmy Hoffa. Not only does this old
saggy skin look bad, it feels bad , it functions poorly and it is
the fastest track to plastic surgery. So we try to produce a state
of health and well-being with the tan but instead produce the exact
opposite result of nasty sagging skin with skin cancers. The fountain
of youth is a cesspool of aging.
Marathons are for the most part outside so what are we to do? In
the Galloway tradition, there are ways to obtain our goals while
paying attention to health and safety. There are many sides to sun
protection that include sun avoidance as well as physical and chemical
sun protection. Sunscreens do work and there are ways to enhance
there effectiveness, but sunscreens do not eliminate risk and are
only one means of protection. The use of sunscreens certainly does
not give you license to get all the sun you can without sun damage.
That logic is the same as thinking that filtered cigarettes or even
cigars are not injurious to your lungs. Sunscreens are best at protecting
you from skin cancers and accelerated aging when combined with sun
avoidance and physical protections such as hats or clothing.
Which sunscreens are the best? If you have been in a drugstore
lately, you know that we are not hurting for choices in sunscreens.
Your personal choice will depend on personal preference and some
of the physical attributes of the product that make it desirable
to you. The basic sun protective chemicals are the same, and their
SPF (Sun Protective Factor) is rated by the FDA. Therefore, you
can choose a gel, a stick or a lotion or one that is cheap or one
with a photo of the Gilliganís Island crew if you so desire. Most
runners like the waterproof lotions or gels that do not wash off,
but the actual choice of sunscreen is not as important as is its
correct usage and combining it with sun smarts. The correct usage
includes using about one ounce of sunscreen one half hour before
going out side and reapplying the sunscreen after sweating. Sunscreen
use should be combined with clothing, especially hats (especially
in those who have more head to protect). It is best to avoid the
sun of midday. The children in Australia are taught that they should
not play outside when their shadow is shorter than they are.
On top of this, it is a good idea to get a good exam of the skin
at least once a year. If you do not care to go to a doctor (and
who does), there are plenty of free skin cancer screenings every
spring where you can be examined for free and pick up written material
about sun damage and skin cancers. These screenings are often part
of health fairs where other health issues can be addressed. Donít
forget that the sun is harmful to your eyes as well and it is good
to wear sunglasses that have UV protection.
I am not going to quit going in the sun, and I wonít try to convince
you that you need to stop either. Life is short and we need to enjoy
it, but we can do it safely. I like to drink alcohol on occasion
and the health risks are plenty. I do it anyway, but I do not drink
and drive. The same is true with the sun. Enjoy but beware.
David Olansky, M.D., Atlanta
Team up for big benefits. Find a pal who wants to walk with you
for long-term good health. Doctors at the University of Minnesota
did a follow-up study on middle-aged women who walked alone or in
groups. After 10 years, only two percent of group walkers had heart
disease, as opposed to 12 percent who walked alone. Those who walked
together continued to walk after the initial program ended. ("Paths
to a Healthier Walk," Total Wellness (Rutherford Publishing, Inc.,
Vol. VII, Number 10), p. 3, 800/815-2323, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Keep Racing, Girls: New research has found that exercising, even
as a young girl, helps prevent breast cancer. The study found that
12-year-olds who walked or cycled to school or trained competitively
have a lower chance of contracting breast cancer later in life,
than those girls who weren't as active. (Runner's World presents
High School Runner Cross Country, Rodale, Inc., Fall 2000, p. 16,
Apples and Vitamin E came up as "significant influencers for improving
lung function" in research from St. George's Hospital published
in a recent issue of the journal Thorax. (http://www.Nutrition.About.com
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