Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .


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Don’t stop moving!

In actuality the idea that the pace of my life has slowed is an illusion.   I am now facing an extremely long list of things to do which I call the post-gala list and that does not include all the post-event follow-up, financials and on and on.

Mixed in with high season for gardening, I’m feeling swamped again.  One item that needs to get moved to top three status for the spring and summer is house repair and painting.  At the moment the top three for the month are training for the NYC marathon, garden work and home maintenance including cleaning.

Bleeding Hearts . . . exquisite!

I’m planning to run 3-5 miles but number one task is to plant the Mountain Bluets that were given to me by a neighbour.  They are not that readily available in Toronto garden stores but are long-blooming and tolerate shade nicely.  Our neighbour has the most lovely garden and I learned a lot about gardening from seeing it.  He offered to pick up some dahlia bulbs for us at St. Lawrence Market.

A beautiful gift from a neighbour.

Better get planting . . . have a wonderful day.

Forget-me-not running rampant, but still loved.

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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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“The Strenuous Life Tastes Better”

I’ve added a link to my blog to a website honouring the late George Sheehan, the voice of the first running boom that began in the late-seventies. He wrote regularly for Runner’s World and captured the imagination of the many, who took up running during this first wave of enthusiasm for long distance running. His writing was a blend of pithy running one-liners like, “Don’t be concerned if running or exercise will add years to your life, be concerned with adding life to your years.” woven with an unrelenting stream of philosophical quotes to illustrate the best of the running experience. A William James quote “The strenuous life tastes better.” was one of his favourites.

A favourite quote of mine came out of his constant reminder to listen to your body because, “We are an experiment of one.” Some have said that the first running boom was driven by type “A” overachievers, a mischaracterization, when one considers George Sheehan’s place as the most influential voice of that first boom.  His premiere work, Running and Being was a New York Times bestseller.

Find out more about George Sheehan by visiting www.georgesheehan.com a website created by his children to preserve the legacy of his contribution to the sport.

From the moment you become a spectator, everything is downhill.

George Sheehan

Books by George Sheehan

* Dr. Sheehan on Running (1975)
* Dr. George Sheehan’s Medical Advice for Runners (1978)
* Running & Being: The Total Experience (1978)
*This Running Life (1980)
* How to Feel Great Twenty Four Hours a Day (1983)
* Dr. Sheehan on Fitness (1983)
* Personal Best: The Foremost Philosopher of Fitness Shares Techniques and Tactics for Success and Self-Liberation (1989)
* George Sheehan on Running to Win : How to Achieve the Physical, Mental & Spiritual Victories of Running (1992)
* Going the Distance: One Man’s Journey to the End of His Life (1996)