Posts Tagged ‘Peachtree Road Race’

Emory Sports Medicine Answers Your Running Questions

Road race runnersDr. Amadeus Mason is a physician at Emory Sports Medicine Center and specializes in running injuries and injury prevention. The following is an excerpt from a live chat in 2013.

Running Questions and Answers

Q: I’ve heard that stretching prior to a race can rob you from needed strength during the race… So on race day, what would be your suggestions for a pre-race warm-up that doesn’t rob your performance?

Light stretching should not rob your performance on race day. You can do simple calf, hamstring and quad stretch along with some simple butt kicks to get your legs warmed up a bit.

Q: I have Achilles tendinitis and I just started training. Should I stop training? It only bothers me when I stop running.

While I can’t speak specifically to your condition, I recommend you speak with your physician before doing any additional hard training. Achilles tendinitis typically heals by limiting running, resting it, and doing specific stretching/strengthening exercises. You can do cross training such as swimming, rowing, and weight training to maintain your fitness.

Q: What is your recommendation for preventing stitches in the side while training?

To prevent side cramps, I recommend focusing on your breathing and hydration. Getting into a regular breathing rhythm that matches your running stride, taking periodic deep, “cleansing breaths” as you run, and maintaining a regular hydration regiment before, during, and after your run can be very effective. I also recommend to NOT eating a large meal 1-2 hours before going for a run and avoiding sugary training snacks. Core stretches can also help prevent side stitches.

Q: I have large varicose veins and I’ve never used the compression socks. I picked up a pair yesterday to see if it would help with leg fatigue while running. They made my legs feel twice as tired and I had a bad ache in my tibialis anterior muscle. Is that normal for the first time using them, and should I build up to using them?

I’ve not heard of many runners using compression socks during their runs. Since the goal of compression socks is to decrease fluid accumulation in the legs, wearing them during runs may actually decrease blood flow. You may want to consult with your physician. Some runners will use compression socks after runs for increased recovery and a decrease in muscle soreness.

Q: What are the best ways to work on speed work?

The answer to this question depends on what level of a runner you are. Beginners should avoid increasing pace too quickly or they may injure themselves. For more experienced runners, interval training is a great way to improve your pace. Add some higher intensity bursts into the middle of your runs to get your legs used to running at a faster pace.

Q: If we are following a running training plan, is it okay to add other types of exercise or even fitness classes on top of the running training?

Absolutely! Cross training can help to improve your flexibility, endurance, and leg strength. Activities such as swimming, cycling, and rowing can help you increase your endurance and therefore, help your overall performance.

Q: What is the number one rule to follow if you are a heavy-set person using a running routine to lose weight?

The key to weight loss is to burn more calories than you consume. The more you burn while you exercise, the faster you will be able to take off the pounds. Make sure you are doing a variety of exercises to help with weight loss e.g. running, swimming, weightlifting etc.

Q: What are the best types of socks for walkers and/or runners?

I don’t think a particular type of sock is better than another – they should be comfortable and the correct size. Having said that, Dry-fit or Cool-Max socks typically are good at wicking away moisture so that your feet don’t blister.

Q: What is the best way to train for the July 4th heat, especially during these cool weeks in the morning, prior to the race?

As I mentioned during the chat, my biggest advice to anyone training for a big run in the heat is to stay hydrated. Remember to drink electrolytes and not just water, and make sure to drink lots of fluids after your run. I also recommend wearing appropriate clothing, such as dri-fit clothing and a top that wicks the heat away. Before the race, try to do some training runs early in the morning or evening when it’s cooler to help face the heat the day of. Do not forget to pace yourself; slow and steady is the way to go.

Q: Can you describe what is involved in a pre-warm up, and post-warm up?

To warm up for a run, it is not recommended to stretch extensively. Overstretching cold muscles can lead to injury. Instead maybe do 5 – 10 minutes of light aerobic exercise to loosen muscles, then do some light stretching. You can jog slowly, cycle on a bike, walk briskly, or go up and down on some stairs.

Q: I have heard that running on pavement is not the best for your knees. Is this true? If so, what surfaces are best to train on and how often should we run on pavement?

Runners can get injured on all running surfaces. The harder the surface, the more ground reaction forces get transmitted to your knees, but the softer the surface, the higher the risk for an ankle injury. If you can, mix up the running surface to improve your overall fitness and strengthen the legs. Switch up your route as well. This will help your legs stay balanced.

Q: Any suggestions for increasing time and endurance from the 5k to Peachtree in the seven weeks left?

General principal: increase your distance, and then increase your pace. Add about a half-mile to your runs each week. You do not need to run 6.2 miles before the actual event. Once you’ve gotten to 5 miles you can start trying to decrease your time by 1-2 mins each run. The excitement of the day will get you to the finish line in a great time.

Q: I have read to improve how far we run, to gradually increase mileage… But, how can we train ourselves to run faster, in a safe manner? Any guidelines?

I would start out increasing your distance – about 1/2 mile a week. Once you get to 5 miles you can start increasing your pace – attempting to decrease your run time by 1-2 mins each run. You can also increase your pace whenever running up a hill.

Q: How to run safely to prevent injury, if you’ve never run before this training?

Gradually increase your endurance and pace during training. Most injuries come from starting with too much too soon. Increase your mileage about 1/2 a mile each week over the next 7 weeks. Once you get to 5 miles comfortably and you want to run faster, try adding some short sprints to the middle of your workout.

Q: I have pain in my heel. What could this be?

There are a number of conditions that could be causing your heel pain. Without seeing you in person, I can’t make an accurate diagnosis. Plantar Fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain in runners – but this could also be a stress fracture. You should see a sports medicine physician and get appropriate treatment. We recently wrote a blog about Plantar Fasciitis.

Q: As a runner, what percentage of my daily caloric intake should come from carbs, protein, and fat?

Runners need a good balance of carbs, protein, and fat to fuel their training. Carbs and protein make the bulk of the calories. The typical guideline for a low-intensity runner is 1.4 to 2.3 grams of carbs per pound of body weight and about .64 grams of protein per pound of body weight.

Q: How do I train my mind? I’m having difficulties in that my mind tells me I can’t do what I’ve already done! Tips on remaining positive would be helpful.

It is always an accomplishment and such a feeling of pride when you cross the finish line at a running race. At the Peachtree, there are tons of people around to cheer for you, and it feels amazing. Make running a social thing and meet up with a friend for a run; the miles click by faster and you will enjoy it more!

Q: Should I practice a day before a race?

This depends on the level of runner you are. If you are a beginner, I recommend taking a rest day before a race. If you are a more experienced runner, you can take the day off or go for a short, easy jog the day before a race to loosen the muscles and relieve some of the nervousness.

Q: What are some ways to prevent Achilles tendinitis?

Typically, Achilles tendinitis occurs when runners increase mileage or speed too quickly. If you are a runner who has tight calves or pronates excessively, you can develop Achilles tendinitis. Increase your running pace and mileage on a gradual basis. Once you get up to 5 miles on a run and feel comfortable, you can then begin working on your speed. Stretch and strengthen your calves after every run.

Q: I have problems with my Achilles being very tight. It’s painful to stand up in the morning until I’ve completed stretching. Running aggravates the issue. Any suggestions?

You should really see a Sports Medicine Physician to address this issue because my suggestions would be determined by what the diagnosis is. In general, Achilles injuries need time off from running and specific regiments of stretching and strengthening in order to heal. You can maintain your endurance by cross-training activities, such as swimming, rowing, cycling, and using the elliptical machine. This will help you maintain some of your fitness. (I don’t like the wording of this answer but this is the gist)

Q: While running, what should I be “listening” to in regards to my body to best avoid injury or pushing myself too hard?

Before you start running, get a physical examination by your primary care physician to be sure it is medically safe for you to be running. Some discomfort (usually after your run) is normal when you are starting a running routine, but this should resolve in a few days to a week, and it should never increase in intensity. If you feel dizzy, lightheaded, if your heart starts racing or skipping beats, or if you are not sweating on a hot day – see a physician right away, as these may be signs of something serious. If your knees and/or joints start to severely hurt you, you should see a Sports Medicine Physician.

Q: I am 52 years old and no distance running and nursing hamstring strain since Feb. What can I do to prep for this 10k?

First, make sure that the hamstring has gotten appropriate treatment and is strong enough for training. Next, build yourself up to walk/run the 10K distance. Start out at about 2 miles every other day, but one day a week, it should be a long run, and you should increase this run by 1 mile each week thereafter. After 4 weeks, you should be at a 6-mile long run and be ready for the Peachtree distance – don’t think you will have enough time to do much with your pace.

Q: Can you discuss hip bursitis causes, prevention, and treatment? Thank you.

A bursae is a soft, fluid-filled sac, that serves as a cushion between bone and soft tissue structures, such as tendon and skin. The hip bursae sac helps reduce friction between the IT band and the greater trochanter (bony bump on the upper outer thigh). Bursitis occurs when the bursa becomes inflamed. The bursae can become inflamed with increased training or long periods of exercise that involves repetitive leg motion.
Treatment for bursitis often includes avoiding activities that worsen your pain and using anti-inflammatory medications. You can also use ice on your hip to help with the pain. Sometimes, a corticosteroid injection may be used. Visit your physician to get the most appropriate treatment for your specific condition.

Q: What advice can you give to an advanced runner running in a large race such as the AJC Peachtree road race for the first time when it comes to preventing injury?

As an advanced runner, you should already have a training program. In general, I recommend increasing your mileage and pacing gradually. Follow a plan that has worked for you in the past.

Q: How do you feel about the newer minimal shoes reducing joint impact. Is there science to support that or just good marketing?

Minimalist shoes CAN NOT reduce joint impact – only decreasing your body weight can do that. What the shoes have been shown to do is change a person’s foot strike pattern from a heel strike pattern to more of a mid-foot strike, and this change can sometimes be helpful in alleviating conditions like plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis.

Q: Any suggestions about runners with Asthma? I am taking it slow…and not expecting too much too soon.

You should make sure that you have been evaluated by an allergist to get the cause of asthma addressed. Once your asthma is under control, a normal training regiment can be followed. Here is a resource for information for runners with asthma.

Q: I currently have a stress fracture. What can I do in the meantime that will help slow the loss of fitness?

There are a few cross-training exercises that you can do to maintain fitness while not running. Swimming, core work, cycling, rowing, weightlifting, and using an ALTER – G (an anti-gravity treadmill) are usually good choices.

Q: If you are experiencing patella tendonitis and problems with the knees in general, how often and how many miles should you run a week to be ready for a 10K? I am cross-training some as well through swimming and core exercises.

If you are having “problems” with your knees while or after running, you should seek the advice of a Sports Medicine physician – running should NOT hurt! The total weekly mileage depends on where you are in your training. Generally, my rule of thumb is to run every other day starting at 1-2 miles each run. You can increase the mileage for each run by ½ to ¾ mile a week till you get to 3 miles. After 3 miles, only increase one of your runs by 1 mile a week while the rest of your runs should stay at the same base distance. So in the beginning you will be running 6 – 8 miles a week, but by the end you are running 12 – 15 miles.

Q: Please explain what is runners knee and how is it relieved and treated?

Runner’s knee is a common layperson term used to describe a variety of running-related disorders that can impact the knee such as Patellar Tendonitis, Patellofemoral pain, Chondromalacia. The term is vague so I don’t use the term too often because it doesn’t give a runner a true idea of what they have and how to treat it. Treatment for all the conditions referenced earlier is different, so if you are having severe knee pain, I recommend you schedule an appointment with your Sports Medicine physician.

Q: What is your opinion on calf compression sleeves during long distance training/long distance racing? I recently purchased a pair and have found that I have much less calf soreness post-run. Are there any disadvantages to using them?

I haven’t seen much research on the advantages/disadvantages of using compression socks. The goal of compression socks is to decrease blood pooling in your legs. I recommend runners to use serial compression devices after runs to decrease recovery time and muscle soreness. Using a compression sock during a run may actually decrease blood flow in the legs, which is not a desired effect.

Q: What about the need to maintain a suitable age-related heart-rate? Please give some general guidelines and brackets to work within.

Before starting any exercise routine, make sure that you consult your Primary Care Physician to make sure that it is safe for you to do vigorous exercise. You can estimate your maximum heart rate with a simple formula. For men, it is 220 – age. For women, it is 226 – age. If you are a beginner training for Peachtree, you should not be hitting your maximum heart rate. Instead, you should consider training at 65% to 90% of your maximum heart rate.

Here is a link to calculate how you should be running for easy, moderate, and maximum capacity.

Q: Any injury free running tips for heavy set people?

Before starting any exercise routine, make sure that you consult your Primary Care Physician to make sure it is safe for you to do vigorous exercise.

As with any beginner, you should start slow and be patient with your progress. Start out with a walk-to-run program, breaking your exercise time up into 5-minute intervals. For example, start out walking, and then add a minute of power-walking/jogging/running to each segment every two weeks. As your fitness improves, you will progress from a 5:0 walk run ratio to a 0:5 walk run ratio (4:1 then 3:2 then 2:3 etc.). This will enable you to give yourself a goal to keep going. I would also invest in good shoes – go to a specialty running store and have them analyze your gait to make sure you are wearing the right shoes for your body and running style. Finally, run every other day or 3 – 4 times per week as to not overwork your body.

About Amadeus Mason, MD

Dr. Mason is an assistant professor in the Orthopaedics and Family Medicine departments at Emory University. He is board certified in Sports Medicine and a registered MSK ultrasound specialist with a special interest in track and field, running injuries, soccer and biologic injections. He did his undergraduate at Princeton University, Medical school at Howard University and Sports Medicine Fellowship in Birmingham AL, with Dr. James Andrews. Dr. Mason is the Team Physician for Georgia Tech and Emory University Track & Field and Cross Country; and a Team Physician for USA Track & Field, and the National Scholastic Athletics Foundation. Dr. Mason also serves as a Sports Medicine consultant in his homeland of Jamaica and as the Chief Medical Officer for USA Track and Field at international competitions.


5 Things You Should Be Doing Before Running the Peachtree Road Race

prr-email260x200Whether you’re running the Peachtree Road Race for the 15th time or the first, be sure to join Emory Sports Medicine’s Dr. Amadeus Mason for advice on what you should and shouldn’t be doing right now to ensure peak performance on July 4.

With less than two weeks to go before the race, Dr. Mason will give tips for avoiding injury, how to properly train, the best foods to eat, and what to do the night before the race and afterward. Join Dr. Mason on Tuesday, June 21 at 12p.m EST as he answers your questions online. Register now for our chat.


About Dr. Amadeus Mason

mason-amadeusDr. Mason is an assistant professor in the Orthopedics and Family Medicine Department at Emory University and is board certified in Sports Medicine, with a special interest in track and field and running injuries. He is the team physician for Georgia Tech and Emory University Track & Field and Cross Country. He is also the team physician for USA Track & Field during this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio.

10 Tips for a Healthy Peachtree Road Race Run

Peachtree Road RaceRunning is great exercise for your health and your mind. Follow the tips below to ensure that you are in top form on race day. Have a safe and fun Peachtree Road Race!

  1. Hydrate yourself frequently before, during and after running in order to loosen muscles.
  2. Warm up and/or stretch before the race to loosen tight muscles.
  3. Run slower in hot weather in order to avoid heat stroke, heat cramps or heat exhaustion.
  4. Use hand lotion on feet and areas of chafing to prevent skin damage and blisters.
  5. Don’t forget to use sunscreen to protect against sunburn.
  6. Wear sunglasses to reduce glare and avoid tripping.
  7. When your energy is gone, imagine someone running in front of you and pulling you forward.
  8. Get your rest! Sleep one extra minute each night for every mile you run. For example, if you run 30 miles a week, sleep 30 additional minutes each night.
  9. Change soggy, sweaty socks soon after the run and stuff shoes with newspaper to avoid moisture buildup.
  10. Pay attention to your body! If you experience pain during or after the race and it does not go away, something may be wrong. Schedule an appointment with an Emory Sports Medicine physician.

Related Running Resources:

Still looking for more tips? Check out the transcripts from a few of our recent MD chats on running using the links below:

Runners’ Chat with Dr. Mason Part I

Runners’ Chat with Dr. Mason Part II

More Running Questions Answered

Are You a Runner Looking to Prepare for the Peachtree Road Race?

Peachtree Road RaceDr. Amadeus MasonThe Peachtree Road Race is right around the corner! Whether you’re a beginning runner and wondering how to get started, or a seasoned pro and have been running for years, there always new things to learn about training, nutrition, attire, and even injury prevention. As a runner, training for peak performance is key.

No matter what running category you fall into, you can join me on Wednesday, May 18 from 12 – 1:00 p.m. for an interactive online Q & A web chat TRANSCRIPT on healthy running. Much of what we cover will be dependent upon your questions, but the chat will span a wide array of running related topics and I will be available to answer questions and discuss them, including how to best prepare for Peachtree Road Race success!

If you are interested in learning more about running benefits, prevention, and tips, register for the live chat now. Spread the word about our online runner’s chat to your fellow runners, friends and neighbors. I’ll see you on the 18th!



About Dr. Mason
Dr. R. Amadeus Mason is a board-certified physician at Emory Sports Medicine with a special interest in track and field, running injuries and exercise testing. He is the team physician for USA Track and Field and the Nike/National Scholastic Sports Foundation Track and Field and Cross Country meets, Tucker High School, and Georgia Tech Track and Field. Dr. Mason is an active member of the Atlanta running community.