Newsletter Archives: October 1999
Running for 45 minutes or more helps to "format" your brain. Afterward
you're better prepared to deal with stress, manage conflict, and
accept your challenges with creativity and energy.
Yes, it's possible to be injury
Because I enjoy the experience of running, which improves my attitude
every time, my primary running goal is to avoid injuries. I'm proud
to say that my strategies are working: I haven't had a single overuse
running injury in the past 10 years. Yes, after suffering hundreds
of medical vacations from running, including six years of having
one every 20 days or so, I've turned things around and want to tell
Too much weekly mileage is the number one cause of running injuries.
Key periods to watch are 1) trying to come back too soon after a
period of low mileage or injury or increasing to keep up with the
mileage of a running group you just joined. As you increase mileage,
it's wise to take an extra day off from running each week. By running
more on your running days, you receive a better training effect,
and the extra rest day allows for quicker healing. The short "junk
mile" days of two to three slow miles can promote injury by reducing
the recovery effect. If you have to get in those miles, add them
to a longer running day and let the legs recover.
Speed Kills! All speed programs increase the chance of injury,
but if you run just one fast workout per month you're certain to
shock the system into aches, pains or injury. It is the gentle regularity
of the faster running that allows the body to adapt. Gradually increase
your speed training, warm up thoroughly before each speed workout,
never run al -out, and slow down or stop the session at the first
sign of a potential injury.
An easy warm-up will cut down on injury risk. After a five-minute
walk, walk and jog for 10 minutes, then jog slowly for 5-10 minutes.
During the first mile or two of all of my runs, I pace myself about
three to four minutes per mile slower than I could race the distance
I expect to cover on that day. If you're planning some faster running,
transition into the faster pace with four to eight short accelerations,
walking or jogging one to two minutes between.
If you haven't been doing much speedwork, don't suddenly run 10
hard laps around the high school track. Before your first day of
track running, do a hill session once a week for three weeks. Run
up three to four hills (about 100-200 meters) one day a week, for
3-4 weeks. Walk down to recover between hills. Even when you're
running slow every day, it will help your efficiency to do four
to eight one block accelerations (about 100 yards) in which you
run lightly on your feet with a quick cadence and not a long stride.
When you start track work, begin with three to five laps only on
the first session. And never, never run all out‹even if you are
feeling great. Walk half the distance of your speed segment to recover.
You want to finish each speed session knowing that you could have
run two or three more laps at your speedy pace. Finally, run no
more than five to seven seconds per 400 meters faster than your
goal pace. Running faster than this will increase your injury risk
and won't help your time in races.
Stretching is actually the third leading cause of injury. Unless
you have an injury like Ilio-tibial band, it's best to avoid stretching
immediately before, during and immediately after running. Many runners
make the mistake of trying to stretch out the tightness brought
on by exertion and fatigue. Overstretching a tired muscle will tear
muscle fibers and increase recovery time. The best time for stretching
is just before bed.
Avoid the temptation to increase stride length at the end of long
runs, races or speed sessions. Quicker turnover of feet and legs
is the key to faster running. Extending the stride of tired legs
can produce injuries.
Everyone has weak links. You know, the places where you tend to
get injured. Be super sensitive to any unusual irritation or overuse
of these. If I even think that there might be the beginnings of
an injury, I take a day or two off and ice it or whatever is appropriate.
Here's hoping that you, in your 40th year of running, will be injury
On the Other Hand, Never
by Carol Newman
If you've been running for years without incident, it is easy
to become complacent, especially if your community is relatively
safe. But the worst assumption you can make is that bad things only
happen to other runners. Terrible things, including rape, assault,
and even murder, do happen, and runners can be vulnerable. Although
there are no statistics for attacks on runners, more than once a
minute a woman is raped - some of them are runners.
Although you should not run scared, or feel the need to use a treadmill
all the time, be informed and prepared. A good exercise to run through
regularly is "what would I do if . . .?" Take steps to make yourself
a less likely victim. Prevention is mostly attitude and common sense.
Attackers are looking for a target that won't give them trouble.
Your job is to project the message that you would be a formidable
The best way to project toughness is to actually feel tough. The
following list includes prevention tips that you can practice when
you're running the roads or trails.
- Carry mace. Check with your local police department to make
sure there aren't restrictions on mace in your area. Mace or pepper
spray is not only an effective self-defense strategy, it helps
you feel more secure
- Make eye contact. When a man approaches a woman, the normal
response is to look away or look down. This shows weakness and
can mark you as a good victim. But don't let eye contact linger
- that can be provocative.
- Don't wear headphones. An attacker knows you can't hear him
coming. Tune in and be aware of everything around you.
- Don't run alone in the dark.
- Trust your instincts. This can be your most important self-defense
tool. If something feels creepy and dangerous, respond to your
inner voice and change direction.
- Run with a buddy, or even better, in a pack.
- Don't wear jewelry.
- Take a martial arts course. The cross training can be great
and the self-defense skills you learn are a lifetime advantage.
You can avoid risky situations by just making wise choices. With
the right planning, the joy of running should be unspoiled for a
(From American Running Association's Running & FitNews, October
1999, p. 1, http://www.americanrunning.org)
Give Me Ten Good Reasons (to
eat more vegetables and fruits)
1. prevent cancer
2. keep trim
3. prevent heart disease
4. bring blood pressure down
5. prevent stroke
6. love your eyes (lowers risk of both cataracts and macular degeneration)
7. avoid diverticulitis
8. help for diabetes 9. satisfy your sweet tooth
10. experience pure pleasure
Another Vote for Calcium
Calcium carbonate significantly reduced the rate of recurrence
of colon cancer in a recent study of close to 1,000 subjects with
a prior history of colon cancer.
It is interesting to understand why these researchers were studying
calcium carbonate in the first place: a diet high in fruits and
vegetables has long been known to be associated with a lower rate
of colon cancer, partly because of the beneficial effects these
health foods have on bile acid production. The theory is that calcium
carbonate fortifies the bile acids and enhances their effect.
Don't stop at five servings a day - the more the better. And it
wouldn't hurt to add calcium carbonate to your daily ritual. Check
the antacid shelf in the grocery store for chewable calcium carbonate.
(from the American Running Association's Running & Fit News, October
1999, p.3, http://www.americanrunning.org
from a report in New England Journal of Medicine, 1999, Vol. 340,
No. 2, pp. 101-107)
The Athlete's Kitchen
Copyright: Nancy Clark, MS, RD 10/99
WEIGHT MANAGEMENT: Is your diet Y2K compliant?
³I want to start Y2K in good shape, so I've stopped eating fattening
carbohydrates like pasta and bagels...² ³Dr. Atkin's high protein
diet has helped me lose five pounds in one week. But is it healthful...?²
³I must be eating the wrong balance of carbs, protein and fat.
I'm not losing weight ... maybe I should try the 40-30-30 plan???²
Weight-conscious athletes and exercisers alike are eager to try
any and all fad diets that catch their attention. They fail to understand
that any and all reducing diets have one factor in common: they
create a calorie deficit. Plain and simple, in order to lose body
fat, you have to burn more calories than you eat. That's the bottom
In the 20 years I've been practicing sports nutrition, I've seen
diets go around in a circle. Twenty years ago, Dr. Atkins convinced
Americans that carbohydrates are fattening. Even athletes chose
to avoid (supposedly) fattening carbs in favor of a high protein
diet. Sports nutritionists worked hard to re-educate these folks,
especially athletes, that:
- carbohydrates are not fattening (unless eaten in excess).
- adequate carbs are important for top sports performance.
- only carbohydrates (not protein, not fat) can replace depleted
glycogen stores and fuel muscles for hard exercise. €
- carbs from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains provide important
Then athletes heard fats are fattening, and started eating no fat/low
protein with hopes a fat-free diet would "work." It didn't; people
simply ate excess calories of carbs; no calorie deficit, no weight
loss. So now we're back to no carbs....
To lose weight and keep it off, you need to learn how to EAT! The
trick is to eat more during the day, and less at night. Enjoy a
full breakfast, a substantial lunch, an afternoon snack. Then, at
dinner, eat a lighter meal. As you start to reach for more, remind
yourself "I'd rather wake up hungry for a nice breakfast." Morning
hunger suggests you lost weight overnight. That is the best time
to lose weight. You need your energy during the day to enjoy being
Most of the popular fad diets are too strict for athletes. That
is, they consist of too few calories to support your training schedule
and athletic goals. You'll end up chronically fatigued, and may
feel light-headed, dizzy or faint, to say nothing of lack energy
to train at your best. Plus, the denial associated with dieting
commonly leads to binge eating and weight gain, not weight loss.
Dieting, along with lack of exercise and reduced daily activity,
has greatly contributed to the fattening of America.
You should never embark upon an eating plan you do not want to
maintain for the rest of your life. Otherwise, you'll go "on a diet"
and lose weight, but then return to your fattening eating habits
and regain the weight without ever having learned how to eat healthfully
If weight is an issue for you, I highly recommend you get guidance
from a sports nutritionist who is a registered dietitian (RD). This
professional will assess appropriate calorie targets and help you
develop a healthful food plan for life-long weight management. To
find an RD, visit www.eatright.org. Or call the National Center
for Nutrition and Dietetics (1-800-366-1655) and ask to be referred
to a local member of SCAN (The Sports and Cardiovascular Nutrition
practice group of the American Dietetic Association). This professional
will help you lose weight and keep it off successfully, Y2K and
Do any fad diets work?
Yes, you can lose weight on any diet, but only to regain it quickly.
Not one of the following fad diets ³works" for the long run. But
eating works: eating healthfully, in moderation.
The Zone Diet: This 40-30-30 plan prescribes 40% of calories
from carbohydrates, 30% from protein and 30% from fat. This diet
teaches us that protein and fat can enhance weight reduction because
these types of foods are very satisfying. When you feel less hungry,
you can easily eat fewer calories and thereby lose weight. The bad
news is, athletes need more than 40% carbs to refuel their muscles
for top performance.
Dr. Atkins' Diet Revolution: Based on high protein, high fat foods,
this diet eliminates most carbohydrates. Like the Zone, this plan
has too few carbs to support athletic performance. And although
this high protein plan promotes the concept you can eat all you
want, just how many chicken breasts and cans of tuna can you eat
for days in a row? The lack of variety contributes to food boredom
and reduced calorie intake.
The Ultra Slim-Fast Plan: By drinking this canned beverage at breakfast
and lunch, and then eating a normal dinner, the pounds supposedly
drop off. Clearly, a 150 calorie Slim-Fast offers fewer calories
than does a standard meal, but the reality is YOU work, not Ultra-Slim
Fast! And you will have to work really hard to eat less dinner when
your body is starving.
The Fat-free Diet: Supposedly, eating less fat means you'll lose
body fat...but only if you create a calorie deficit. If you simply
trade 100 calories of butter for 100 calories of jam, you'll fail
to lose weight. Calories count; don't fool yourself!
The Double-Duty Exercise Program: Doubling your workouts to burn
more calories and melt away body fat may sound like a good idea.
But what often happens is, the more you exercise, the more you'll
want to eat. You may burn an extra 400 calories--but then succumb
to eating 500. Plus, you can easily end up injured, exhausted, and
sick with a cold or the flu. Exercise should be for enjoyment,not
Nancy Clark, MS, RD is nutrition counselor at Boston-area's SportsMedicine
Brookline and author of Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook,
2nd Edition. To order this best-selling book, send $20 to Sports
Nutrition Materials, 830 Boylston, St #205, Brookline MA 02467 or
Injury of the Month: Back
Pain, Part 2
Spine Tuning: Preventing common back pain
You don't have to rearrange furniture to hurt your back. The following
are common desk-related activities that can put stress on your back's
muscles and disks if you're not careful. Sitting at Your Desk for
Hours at a Time:
Sitting for too long tightens and shortens your hamstrings and
the muscles in the front of your hips. How does this hurt your back?
When you stand, these muscles tug on the ligaments around your pelvis,
which can alter the natural curve of your lower back.
How to Protect Yourself: Keep your hamstrings and hip flexors (muscles)
loose by standing and moving around every hour. Stretch your legs
under your desk at least that often.
Wedging the Phone Between Your Head and Shoulder: Scrunching up
one side of your neck while stretching the other can cause spasms
in the ropelike muscles attached to your skull and the large, flat
muscles of your upper back.
How to protect yourself: Hold the phone in your hand or use a headset
if possible. Crossing Your Legs While You Sit:
Crossing your legs - even just resting your ankle on your thigh
- causes stress in your sacroiliac joints (where hipbones join spine).
How to protect yourself: If you can't break this habit completely,
at least limit it to 5-minute stretches.
- In her article, "Attitude Adjustment in the Aging Process,"
JoAnn Dahlkoetter, Ph.D., says "Individuals are coming out of
the woodwork from all parts of the world, acting as positive role
models while redefining the aging process. They are making a strong
statement that we can continue to perform well into our 80s and
beyond. We can carry our vitality and fitness for many more years
than we ever thought possible. It appears that use or disuse of
the body is what determines the rate of physical deterioration.
so growing older does not necessarily mean a loss of energy. It
does mean that it may be time for an attitude adjustment." (Northwest
Runner, August 1999, p. 17)
- Walk Out the Door: A brisk walk can calm you during tense times
or even keep you from getting stressed out in the first place.
In one study, women who took up walking or jogging for 30 minutes
at least three times a week became less prone to anxiety than
others who didn't go out. Simply being outdoors can make a world
of difference. "Animals, plants and seasonal changes move at their
own rhythms," says Geoffrey Godbey, a leisure studies expert at
Pennsylvania State University. "The rhythms of the outdoors force
us to slow down." (Truly Yours from United Healthcare, TimeIncHealth,
Fall 1999, p. 24) http://www.myuhc.com)
- Lower your blood pressure by running for just 10 minutes: That
age-old excuse, "I don't have enough time to run today," just
won't cut it when it comes to lowering your blood pressure. New
findings show you need only a measly 10 minutes to do so. Researchers
at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, asked people to cycle
for 10, 15, 30 and 45 minutes, then monitored their blood pressure
for an hour after exercising. All of the exercise sessions lowered
blood pressure, even the 10-minute one. Exercise was especially
beneficial for people with borderline hypertension, says study
co-author Duncan MacDougall. So next time you try to talk yourself
out of a run because you don't have a spare 30 minutes, remember
that even 10 minutes of exercise is better than none. ("Fitness
Flash: Ten sports medicine advances that will improve your running,
your health and even your mood" by Alisa Bauman, Runner's World,
November 1999, p. 64) http://www.runnersworld.com
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