Newsletter Archives: February 1999
Our ancient ancestors designed us to be runners and walkers. When
we do so, we go back to our roots and feel a great sense of fulfillment.
Running is one of life's best opportunities to develop patience.
We know that our attitude toward running is balanced when we are
able to hold our ego in check and appreciate the little things about
our run and enjoy them: the way our legs feel as we lightly push
up a neighborhood hill, the unique glow of the sun at its rising
or setting, or the subtle but powerful joy that lingers after most
of our runs.
But the good feelings could continue after every run. Too often,
we rush from work to run to something else without spending the
few seconds that could cast a good feeling over the rest of our
When patience is not applied to time goals, speed sessions, marathon
programs, etc., injuries often follow. Even one extra day of slow
running between races or speed sessions can reduce aches and pains,
often avoiding a 2-8 week vacation from running for healing purposes.
Patience is most difficult to muster at the beginning of races,
especially long ones. The energy of fellow runners and the perceived
excitement can pull you out too fast, while feeling slow. Even 10
seconds too fast at the beginning of a race can often mean a slowdown
of a minute a mile at the end.
After a long layoff, say, after an injury or a bad winter, an extra
dose of patience can mean the difference between a good season and
a frustrating one. The early exuberance of fitness returning to
a couch potato body can be intoxicating enough to push you beyond
your current limits. The mind (and the ego) remembers what you were
doing at your peak conditioning‹and your body does not.
So take a little extra time to appreciate slowness. After all,
what is an extra 5-10 minutesŠin the cosmos?
Stress Relief for the 21st
For thousands of years, our ancestors ensured their survival,
gathered food, communicated, traveled and visited one another by
walking and running. Today, when we use walking or running as an
exercise option, it can produce a never-ending series of reward
mechanisms for us. Walking or running won't stop you from turning
30, 50 or 70, but it can help you look and feel better than you
would if you didn't exercise.
For years studies have told us about the many health benefits such
as lowering blood pressure, reducing body fat, increasing oxygen
intake and cardiovascular endurance, toning leg and buttock muscles
and improving sleep quality.
Other benefits include:
Walking can remind us of times of peace and free time, a precious
gift in our present fast-paced lives.
Walking and running wake up your senses. It can put you in an outside
environment that you may have lost sight of: the world around you,
the cityscape, changes in your neighborhood, fresh air, sun and
Taking the time out to make walking or running part of your regular
schedule can also relieve stress by turning your mind to thoughts
besides society and any problems that may cause you anxiety or tension.
Walking and running can lift you mentally because you have accomplished
something for yourself. Regular walk/runs of 30 minutes or more
can improve your mental attitude, provide a sense of well-being,
self-pride and a sense of control over your life.
It has been said that too often we look at exercise as a chore
that has to be done because we feel we are too busy to make the
time. But isn't time also good health? If you regularly set aside
time to improve the health of your life, chances are that you'll
have more time to live your life!
Injury of the Month: IT Band
The iliotibial band is a thick, strong tendon on the outside of
the knee, which combines with the collateral ligament and a muscle
called the biceps femoris to support the knee on the outside. It
rarely, if ever, gives way but can become inflamed and irritated
when the foot rolls too far to the outside. Rigid-footed runners
tend to move their feet forward and back, with a strong pushoff,
and often have problems on the outside of the knee, including the
IT Band. Causes of IT Band pain are usually associated with
- Worn-out shoes (especially mid-sole breakdown on the outside)
- Too much mileage
- Sudden increase in mileage Inadequate shoe cushion
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