Your Running Questions Answered by Dr. Amadeus Mason

Thank you for submitting your questions for our Facebook Q&A: Preparing for a Race. A big thank you to Dr. Amadeus Mason from Emory Sports Medicine for answering the submitted questions. We hope you find these answers helpful as much as we did!

What is the best way to approach chronic patellar tendinitis, possibly tendinosis? 
The best way to approach it is to get a correct diagnosis.  There are a lot of things that can act like tendonitis but aren’t.  Once you have gotten the diagnosis you should get started with some physical therapy where they will give you specific exercises to strengthen the muscles around the knee to take the additional, abnormal stress off the tendon.  In some instances, you do not have to shut down completely depending on how symptomatic you are you may be able to continue running during the rehab process – this should be done only with the blessing of your physician and therapist.

Do you have any tips for preparing for a race after having chemo? I am currently trying build up my stamina again now. Unfortunately, I am not coming back as quickly as I hoped. 
The biggest thing is probably to be patient.  Chemo takes a toll on the body, (running does as well) you want to give your body adequate time to adjust. Have a plan – what time/distance do you want to get up to running.  Start off with a fraction of that (eg 1/5, 1/8, 1/10) then running every other day you increase your distance or speed (NOT both) every 2-3 weeks.

If you have a skin allergy, what are some good tips to prepare for outdoor activities?
I can comment on how to prepare for running specifically but would defer to your allergist or dermatologist for general outdoor activity recommendations.  My recommendations would be – know your route, understand what potential allergens you might encounter, wear appropriate clothing and take your medications as directed.

I am not a runner but would like to start running. How many miles are suggested for a beginner?  
It depends on what type of running you ultimately would like to do, 5K, 10K, ½ marathon, marathon, ultra-marathon all require a different amount of training mileage.  What’s also going to be important is how you go about doing that mileage – you need to have a plan to you progress appropriately and hopefully avoid injury.

I recently did a 5K race. I am 52 and finished in 38 minutes. How can I up my speed and handle the hills?
Train for them. Build speed work into your preparation, cross train with some free weights (not for bulk but for endurance – low weight high repetition), cross train on hills (do your work out on hills e.g. if you’re supposed to run 1.5 miles find a ¼ mile hill and run up it 6 times).

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