Newsletter Archives: July 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.
The Long Run Builds Endurance
Whatever your goal, the long run will help you more than any component
of your running program. By going slowly, you can burn more fat,
push back your endurance barriers, and run faster at shorter distance
races. Even when it's really hot and humid, you should avoid the
temptation to cut the long one short.
While there are significant and continuing physical benefits from
running long runs regularly, the mental ones are greater. Each week,
I hear from beginning marathoners after they have just run the longest
run of their lives. By slowing the pace and taking walk breaks,
you can also experience a series of victories over fatigue with
almost no risk of injury.
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. As you extend the long one to 26
miles, you build the exact endurance necessary to complete the marathon
for example (14-15 for the half marathon, 8-10 for the 10K). Walk
breaks, taken from the beginning, will also speed your recovery
and make the extra distance on each run nothing more than a gentle
On the non-long-run weekends, you have several options. Most runners
will do a slow run of about half the distance of the current long
run. On two to four of these "easy" weekends, it's 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 on 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
Long run facts:
- Twenty miles with walking breaks equals 20 miles run continuouslyŠat
any speed (but you recover faster with walk breaks)
- Forget about speed on long runs. Focus only on the component
- You can't run too slowly on the long runs. Run at least two
minutes per mile slower than you could run that distance on that
day, accounting for heat, humidity, etc.
- You won't usually feel bad when you're running too fast at the
beginning of the run. You must force yourself to slow down.
- The day before the long run should be a no-exercise day.
Signs that you went too fast on a long one:
- Huffing and puffing so much during the last two to three miles,
you can't carry on a conversation
- Afterwards you must hit the couch or bed and rest for an hour
- Muscle soreness or leg fatigue which lasts for more than two
days, making it uncomfortable to run
- Aches and/or pains that last for more than four days after a
You get more of your money's worth on a long run - you get to experience
Starting slowly can make
almost any run an enjoyable experience
This past year (1995-1996) has been my best year of running -
and my slowest. More than three years ago, I shifted from an every-other-day
running program to running two days out of three. To minimize overtraining
injury, I slowed down all of my runs. During this period, I've had
almost no need to take time off for repair of aches, pains or worse.
Prior to this slowdown, I had been starting my runs on slow days
at 7-7:30 minutes per mile. When I shifted into "slow" gear, the
pace became about 9-10 minutes per mile. Yes, even though I still
run some 10K races at 5:30 pace, I start virtually all of my daily
runs at about 10 minutes per mile and feel great because of it.
The unexpected benefit of this extra slow start has been an early
shift into the right brain. Much sooner than usual, I found my mind
wandering into creative journeys of all types. When the body is
not under the usual stress of starting exercise at "normal" pace,
it will relax, and your left brain doesn't have to respond to stress
with its usual stream of negative messages.
Most folks go too fast in the beginning of a run because their
pacing instincts take over. It's easy to go too fast before the
body is warmed up because the biomechanics of running form allow
us to move along very efficiently at a pace that is too fast for
the muscles, the energy resources, and the cardiovascular system.
A gentle warmup will gradually introduce the muscles and all of
your systems to exercise at the same time.
When in doubt, run slower at the beginning. You'll increase your
enjoyment without significantly lowering the training effect or
Reprinted by permission from Jeff Galloway's Marathon! (Phidippides
Publication, 1996), p.
The Athlete's Kitchen
Copyright: Nancy Clark, MS, RD 10/99
Latest sports nutrition news from the annual meeting of the
American College of Sports Medicine
PERFORMANCE: Exercise scientists continue to search for ways to
improve performance. Here are some tips:
- Because depletion of carbohydrates is associated with fatigue,
the question arises: If you adapt your body to preferentially
burning fat by eating a high fat diet, will you be able to exercise
longer? Australian sports nutritionist Louise Burke reports no
clear benefits to this "fat loading" theory. She had athletes
eat a high fat diet for 5 days, then carbo-load and rest the day
before the exercise test. Only 2 of the 8 cyclists performed significantly
better during the two hours of hard cycling followed by a time
trial (during which they took in only water, but no carb). Burke
recommends consuming carbs during exercise as a better way to
enhance performance than "fat loading."
- Don't over-eat pre-exercise fat. Subjects given 760 calories
of a high fat meal three hours pre-exercise were 14% slower than
when they ate pre-exercise carbohydrates.
- Eat lightly to avert "stitches" (abdominal pain): 25% of 850
walkers and runners at a community walk/run event reported getting
a stitch. Those who ate a relatively large amount of pre-exercise
food were more likely to suffer from one.
- Consuming adequate water and carbohydrates during endurance
exercise delays fatigue. But even if you maintain normal hydration
and blood sugar levels, you'll still experience fatigue.
- Taking 200 calories of carbs in gel-form or as a beverage makes
little difference; both have similar effects upon blood glucose.
- To help delay fatigue during hot weather exercise, try pre-cooling
your body with a cold bath or shower. Fatigue occurs when the
body temperature reaches 103.5 F.
- Your body needs/uses carbs consumed during exercise. A sports
drink provided about 25% of the calories burned during 2 hours
of moderate cycling.
- Sports drinks taken before and during intermittent high intensity
exercise (such as basketball and soccer) can not only delay fatigue
but also enhance mental function. Drink well!
- Sports drinks taken even 5 minutes prior to intense sprinting
get absorbed from the stomach. 80% of Gatorade got absorbed during
40 minutes of intense sprinting, as compared to 90% at rest.
- Carbo-loading is not essential for endurance athletes such as
cyclists racing for 100 kilometers (62 miles) if they consume
carbs during the exercise. Seven cyclists consumed either a moderate
carbohydrate intake prior to the race (and started off with lower
glycogen stores) or a high carbohydrate intake. Two hours before
the exercise test, each cyclist ate about 600 calories of carbohydrates,
and during the test, each consumed about 300 calories of carbs.
Both groups performed equally well; the pre-and during-exercise
fueling compensated for the lack of carbo-loading.
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: Runner's
Don't eat anything in the morning before the race or run.
Drink water only no other beverages.
Cut down on eating from 4 p.m. on the night before the race or
run. Normal portions may be too much. It's okay to snack on toast
or a PowerBar. No fat or roughage (PowerBar okay HarvestBar probably
Heat can also affect you.
If these things don't work, try an anti-diarrheal one hour before
the run. Jeff has a lot of people tell him that if the above doesn't
work, the anti-diarrheal usually does.
- In the July/August 1999 issue of the Center for Science in the
Public Interest's Nutrition Action Health letter, the authors
offer "Ten Tips for Staying Lean." Each of the ten offers practical
advice, but a couple seemed particularly relevant for beginning
exercisers: "Break It Up" and "Find a Friend." "Break It Up" suggests
that instead of suggesting to a beginner that he/she should do
40 minutes of exercise a day, encourage your non-exercising friend
to do 10 minutes at a time four times a day. Ten minutes is so
much more manageable than 40, making exercise easier to fit into
a regular day. "Find a Friend" cites a study that showed people
who joined "a weight-loss program with three friends or family
members lost more weight than those who joined alone." (pp.6-7)
- Who saw the information on calcium on page 24 of the August,
1999 Runner's World? From the study mentioned, it seems that by
consuming 1000 milligrams of calcium daily (what the government
recommends for strong bones), a person would lose seven pounds
over two years (from Dorothy Teegarden, Ph.D., an assistant professor
of nutrition at Purdue University). (http://www.runnersworld.com)
- Exercise Lowers Anxiety: Scientists at the University of Georgia
put 14 women who tested high for the trait of anxiety through
a battery of tests involving either rest, exercise (cycling),
and/or study periods. The women scored lower on anxiety tests
after exercise than after rest or study periods. When exercise
was followed by a study period, however, declines in anxiety produced
by exercise appear to be erased. The researchers think exercise
may reduce anxiety because it affords time out from daily worries.
(reported in the March/April 1999 Rodale Report, page 2, from
the Body bulletin, December 1998)
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