More Runners’ Chat Questions Answered

Dr. Amadeus MasonOn Wednesday, I held a live chat on the topic of running to help those preparing for the Peachtree Road Race and to educate runners of all skill levels on injury prevention, nutrition, and technique. It was my first so-called “live chat,” so I really didn’t know what to expect. The questions that I received in yesterday’s chat were fantastic. Not only do I feel like I got to help the 50+ people who joined me in the chatroom, but I myself was able to learn something in the process. Typically when I chat with people who have questions for me, they are my patients, in a one-on-one setting. This really gives me the time to feel them out and learn about them as individuals. Wednesday, I was charged with a new and equally inspiring and fulfilling task– to educate a group, without being able to see them in person or learn about them before we talked. It was an extremely eye opening experience.

I want to thank those who joined me Wednesday for a wonderful chat. It was so successful, in fact, that I didn’t get a chance to answer each and every question. For those who were in the room, I promised to follow up with a blog to answer all questions that were unaddressed, and I have done so below. At the bottom of this blog post, you will also find the documents I mentioned in the chat for your further reference. As an added bonus, to make sure everyone gets a chance to discuss the topic of running and all of its facets with me, we will be holding the next live chat on running on June 15th. PART II CHAT TRANSCRIPT

Larry: I ran a marathon with IT band issues.  What can I do to prevent it in the future?
Dr. Mason: Larry, to prevent IT band problems, you should strive to work on increased flexibility. I’d advise that you watch the rate at which you increase your mileage/distance and start training early enough to allow for a slow and steady progress with sufficient recovery times between training sessions.

Shirley: Dr. Mason, Why does my back hurt periodically when I am tired while running?  Should I bend over to stretch?  I am a beginner.
Dr. Mason: I can’t speak to your specific medical circumstances without seeing you in-person, but generally speaking, oftentimes people experience back pain while running due to hamstring tightness. For these patients, I advise that they avoid the typical stretch that involves bending over, and instead focus on extension type exercises.

M. White: How do I know when it is time for new running shoes?  This will be my first time running longer than a 5k.
Dr. Mason: My recommended guidelines for footwear are if you run more than 20 – 25 miles a week you should change you shoes every 3 – 4months ( ~300 miles); if you run less than 20 miles a week can change shoes twice a year.

Sylvia: Hi. Dr. Mason. Is there any particular type of shoe that you would recommend as best for protecting against injuries; Knees, ankles, shin splints, etc.?
Dr. Mason: Studies have shown that shoe comfort is a more important factor in preventing injury than the actual type of shoe.  I would recommend you get evaluated at your local running store to determine what class of running should would be best for you. After doing that, go ahead and pick the most comfortable one in that class.

Judy: I’m used to walking about 3 miles about 3 times a week.  I am signed for the Peachtree.  Obviously I will be walking it.  I have 6 weeks to step up my training.  How would you suggest I proceed to get to 6 miles in time for the race?  Thanks.
Dr. Mason: Good question, Judy. I’d recommend adding about ½ mile to your distance each week.

Steve: Dr. Mason, I have a chronic hamstring issue.  What can I do to help the issue?  What type of Dr. or therapist should I seek out for help?
Dr. Mason: I would recommend you see a physician with sports medicine training.

M. White: I have been training for a 5k (took 30min) – which I ran a couple of weekends ago.  To train for the Peachtree what should I do?  Increase distance or time?
Dr. Mason: My answer here depends on whether you want to run the Peachtree for time or just for fun.  Since this race is twice the distance of a 5k,  I would start out increasing your distance (1/2 mile a week. Once you get to 5 miles then you can start increasing your pace.

Mac: What are some good lower-fat proteins for vegetarian novice runners?
Dr. Mason: As a vegetarian you should be concerned about getting in GOOD fats as opposed to LOW fat.  To that end eating things like beans, nuts and/or soy would be good choices.

Dawn: When I ran the Peachtree last year, I found it difficult to actually drink water at the hydration stations (did more of a swish-and-spit).  I am concerned about dehydration during the race.  Should I increase my fluids before the race?
Dr. Mason: Yes, in a 10K there is LESS risk/concern for dehydration that in half or full marathons, but you should be starting your hydration process now.  I recommend increasing you fluid intake (electrolyte/water) weeks before you run and incorporating “water stops” in to your training.  You know you are well hydrated when you have to use the bathroom 30 min after fluid intake (when you’re not running).

1st Timer: Are there any weight training exercises you recommend?
Dr. Mason: In order to answer this question in detail, I would need more information from you.  What I can say is that weight /strength training should be a part of any running program. This type of training should primarily (but not solely) focus on lower body strength and be accompanied by a good flexibility program.

Jacqui: How frequently should you increase pace or distance?
Dr. Mason: I normally recommend increasing distance then pace. But, as we mentioned in the chat, it really depends on the goals you’re looking to achieve. If you are looking to run a long distance race, you’ll probably want to focus on increasing distance, more often than pace, and doing so every 2 weeks should work well. Just remember to never increase both distance and pace at the same time.

Shalewa: What about energy enhancers like sports beans or 5 hour energy drink?  Are those bad for you?
Dr. Mason: Most “energy enhancers” are just caffeine or a caffeine derivatives and I would stay away from them as they greatly increase dehydration risk.  Good nutrition that balance carbohydrates, proteins and good fats should give you the energy you need for a 10K.  With marathons, ultra marathons, and triathlons in-competition metabolic supplements (which are very different from the energy enhancers) are often provided and can be helpful.  You’ll want to be careful and make sure that you are using them throughout your training so your body has time to adjust.

Jennifer: Hi, Dr. Mason.  I am an active person who is new to running.  After my training runs I am experiencing some discomfort/tightness in my upper and outer knees.  What can I do to help prevent this?
Dr. Mason: If these symptoms are not preventing you from doing the type/intensity of run that you want, then I would recommend working on the flexibility and strength of you quads and hamstrings.  If you are having to modify your training runs then you should see a Sports Medicine Physician.

Thanks again to those who joined me in Wednesday’s chat. I hope to see you all in Part II on June 15th! Below are the documents I referenced in the chat, please feel free to download them and keep them for reference. If you missed Part I of the chat, you can check out the chat transcript. You can also sign up to attend Part II of the chat, which is taking place on June 15th at 12pm.

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