Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .


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George Sheehan’s Important Running Tips

Here are 10 of 20 tips from the guru of the first-wave boomer, running boom. CLICK HERE to see all George Sheehan’s Tips

1) Keep a record of your morning pulse. Lie in bed for a few minutes after you awaken and then take your pulse. As your training progresses, it will gradually become slower and after three months or so plateau out. From then on, if you awaken and find a rate of 10 or more beats higher, you have not recovered from your previous day’s runs, races or stresses. Take the day or more off until the pulse returns to normal.

2) Do your exercises daily. The more you run, the more muscle imbalance occurs. The calf, hamstrings (back thigh) and low back muscles become short, tight and inflexible. They have to be stretched. On the other hand the shins, the quads (front thigh) and the belly muscles become relatively weak. They must be strengthened. Learn the Magic Six: Three strengthening exercises, three stretching exercises.

3) Eat to run. Eat a good high-protein breakfast, then have a light lunch. Run on an empty stomach at least two, preferably three hours after your last meal. Save the carbohydrates for the meal after the run to replenish the muscle sugar.

4) Drink plenty of fluids. Take sugar-free drinks up to 15 minutes before running. Then take 12 to 16 ounces of easily tolerated juices, tea with honey or sugar, defizzed Coke, etc. before setting out. In winter that should be all you need.

5) Find your shoes and stick to them. High-arch feet do better with narrow heels. Morton’s Foot (short big toe, long second toe) may need an arch support in the shoe. If a shoe works, train in it, and wear it to work

6) The fitness equation is 30 minutes at a comfortable pace four times a week. Your body should be able to tell you that “comfortable” pace. If in doubt use the “talk test”. Run at a speed at which you can carry on a conversation with a companion.

7) Wait for your second wind. It takes six to 10 minutes and one degree in body temperature to shunt the blood to the working muscles. When that happens you will experience a light warm sweat and know what the “second wind” means. You must run quite slowly until this occurs. Then you can dial yourself to “comfortable,” put yourself on automatic pilot, and enjoy.

8) Do not cheat on your sleep. Add an extra hour when in heavy training. Also arrange for at least one or two naps a week and take a long one after your weekend run.

9) Most injuries result from a change in your training. A change in shoes, an increase in mileage (25 miles per week is the dividing line; at 50 miles per week the injury rate is doubled), hill or speed work, or a change in surface. Almost always there is some associated weakness of the foot, muscle strength/flexibility imbalance, or one leg shorter than the other. Use of heel lifts, arch supports, modification of shoes and corrective exercises may be necessary before you are able to return to pain-free running.

10) Training is a practical application of Hans Selye’s General Adaptation Syndrome. Stress is applied, the organism reacts, a suitable time is given to reestablish equilibrium. Then stress is applied again. Each of us can stand different loads and need different amounts of time to adapt. You are an experiment of one. Establish your own schedule, do not follow anyone else’s.


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A Bit of Cortisone for the Road

Today was a big day for my husband.  Finally, he had his appointment with a orthopeadic surgeon to get the scoop on his torn meniscus.  The doc seemed to favour continued physiotherapy for his 3 year-long battle with knee pain.  I think my husband was hoping he would suggest that a quick fix of arthoscopic surgery would do the trick and after a bit of healing up he’d be back at it.  Not so as ambiguity lingers on.

The doctor gave him a shot of cortisone to reduce inflammation to provide some temporary relief but what lies ahead?  More physiotherapy it seems but now the therapist will have the benefit of the MRI of his knee.  Can it be that my husband will never run another marathon?   Sad, very sad . . .

Too Much Information - Portrait of My Husband's Torn Meniscus

As for me, I ran three miles on the treadmill to take it easy in case I decide to go to the track tomorrow.  I met a former workmate for dinner at Carole’s Cheesecake in Yorkville and then we walked about 2.5 miles before she hopped on the subway and I walked a couple of blocks home.  That felt quite good as I indulged in half a piece of pistachio cheesecake, in addition to a large pecan square at a work meeting.   I have officially given up, giving up sweets for Lent and am ashamed of my feeble intent.  I have however done better with my resolve to limit alcohol consumption.

I had not seen this friend for almost seven months!  We discussed the possibility of taking a course together at OCAD.  I see a pattern emerging – to increase the odds of regular liaisons, work together, run together, take a course together or sit on the People4Kids gala committee.