Newsletter Archives: March 1999
Don't underestimate the relaxing power of 45 minutes worth of endorphins
What will be your mission
Over 2 million runners in North America will train for a marathon,
this year. Most of these who've I've interviewed, started running
within the past 3 years, don't care about their time and have done
little or no exercise in their lives before they purchased their
first pair of running shoes. The overwhelming reason for choosing
this significant challenge is that the marathon date on the calendar
commits them to running regularly‹even on those days when they otherwise
would roll over in bed.
Whether your mission is a 2.6 miler or a marathon, pick an event
that energizes you, but is within your capabilities. Group training
will help you become mentally and physically prepared as you meet
new friends and accomplish goals. Your mission doesn't even have
to be a race, but a trip to a scenic trail area two months from
now, a social run with a group of faster friends, or a challenging
speed session each week. If the mission is interesting enough, you'll
have more motivation to do your daily runs.
A Distance Mission
Some runners challenge themselves by increasing the length of their
long run every other week by 1-2 miles. Others will total their
distances each month, with a total increase as their goal. You may
choose to reach a certain distance by a certain date, or merely
commit to a steady increase every 14 days. The pace of these long
ones must be slow, so that you can enjoy the quick recovery, as
you break through your previous endurance boundaries.
A Speed Mission
To run faster, you must run faster. Write a goal time for a specific
race or two, 3-4 months from now. Be sure to do a speed session
once a wee - every week.
A Social Mission
Never underestimate the energizing power of a run with others. Here
you'll find gutteral humor, support, inspiration, and friendship.
The respect of one runner to another is a special experience, every
A Fun Mission
Above all, promise that fun will be your primary focus this year.
Even if you have another goal, the regular inclusion of fun courses
to run, good people to run with, interesting rewards afterward‹all
lead to a pleasant experience that brings you back again and again.
Whatever your mission, write in on your calendar and get out the
door. I hope to see you on the roads soon!
Restarting Your Training
Everyone has periods when their running is "interrupted." Whether
by injury, vacation, work or family, periodic layoffs can be only
temporary setbacks. Unfortunately, more injuries result from an
aggressive comeback, due to the tendency to get back in shape too
soon. Here are some pointers than can help you ease back into fitness
while avoiding the aches and pains of too much enthusiasm.
Start back slowly.
Don't increase your frequency of running more than one additional
day per week. Total weekly mileage shouldn't increase more than
10 percent more than each previous week, and you should take an
easy week at least one in four. Start all runs about three-four
minutes per mile slower than you could run that distance on that
day, and you'll recover fast from them.
Write down your goals and a realistic plan for achieving them.
Spend a few minutes each week writing down your progress for the
past week and make adjustments. Remember that it's better to be
more conservative at first. Once you've built the conditioning back
you'll be able to continue the momentum.
Visit your neighborhood running store or run with the local
Just stick your head in a good running store and you'll catch the
energy. Not only will you find the new outfit that will invigorate
your exercise, but the energy of the people, the information, the
wall of event flyers all will give you motivation on the days when
you would otherwise be too infected with Spring fever or held back
by Winter gloom.
The long runs help most.
The long run will build back your endurance faster than any other
element, but you must go slowly. The pace of the long one should
be at least two minutes per mile slower than you could run that
same distance on that day (and not the pace you were running fast
runs before you were set back). If you run three minutes per mile
slower, you'll recover even faster. You receive the same stamina
boost from a slow and easy one as you will from a fast one: endurance
comes exclusively from the distance of the long one. A slow 26-miler
with walking breaks gives you the same conditioning effect as a
Set up a year-round program now.
By writing down your goals for the next 14 months or so on a calendar,
you'll have a reduced tendency to drop off during the winter, if
that's a problem. There are a number of good reference books, training
journals, and log books that will help you track your progress.
By projecting ahead now, you'll have a greater tendency to maintain
momentum beyond your current goals.
Injury of the Month: Plantar
The plantar fascia (a connective tissue structure) stretches from
the toes and ball of the foot, through the arch, and connects to
the heel bone in three places: outside, center and inside. Normally
it helps the foot spring as it rolls forward. It also provides support
for the arch of the foot. The plantar fascia helps keep the foot
on track, cutting down on oscillation.
When the foot over-pronates (rolls to the inside) the plantar fascia
tries to stabilize it and prevent excessive roll. In time, the inside
and sometimes center connections are overstressed and pull away
from their attachments.
The first sign is usually heel pain as you rise in the morning.
When you walk around, the pain may subside, only to return the next
morning. Inflammation and increased soreness are the results of
long-term neglect and continued abuse.
A heel bone spur may develop after a long period of injury when
there is no support for the heel. The plantar fascia attaches to
the heel bone with small fibers. When these become irritated they
become inflamed with blood containing white blood cells. Within
the white blood cells are osteoblasts which calcify to form bone
spurs and calcium deposits. The body is trying to reduce stress
on that area by building a bone in the direction of stress. Unfortunately,
these foreign substances cause pain and further irritation in the
surrounding soft tissue.
Symptoms: Heel pain, usually on inside of forward part of heel.
It's worst in the morning and eases as it gets warmed up.
- After pain starts, but before inflammation, rest 4-5 days.
- Ice massage 10 minutes, getting area quite cold. Let it "warm
up" 20 minutes then ice again.
- Build up an arch support system in your shoes. Try to equalize
the pressure of your body weight throughout your arch and away
from the plantar area. Use a "cobra pad" or other device that
supports the arch but releases pressure on the painful area. If
homemade supports do not work, see a podiatrist about custom orthotics.
From Galloway's Book on Running by Jeff Galloway (Shelter Publications,
1984), pp. 219-220.
- In "SOUP: Is It Good Food?" (p. 15, February 1999 issue of Northwest
Runner), Nancy Clark tells us that eating soup is a good way to
curb our appetites, reminding us of how many times we have eaten
soup as an appetizer and found that we were too full to eat our
main course. She especially recommends bean and homemade vegetable
soups for active people.
- Jeff's favorite icing method: freeze water in a paper cup and
then massage the sore spot with it for about 20 minutes.
- Running up hills, at race pace, will strengthen your legs better
than any weight training you could do. Walk down each hill for
complete recovery, and do this session only once a week.
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