Many of my fellow marathoners, triathletes and cyclists were surprised with yesterday’s headline “Marathons may be bad for your health“. After last weeks story on exercise can be bad for some people, I thought to myself “Am I in a parallel universe?”. I read a couple articles in leading papers on the study. Scary words like heart scarring, artery calcium deposits and heart attacks ran wild. It mentioned iniquitous deeds like running fast, long and often like they were comparable to chain smoking, eating fast food and being a couch potato.
After a got past the media sensationalism and looked deeper, there were some striking findings with the studies. Enough to make you reevaluate your endurance lifestyle. If not just because of the physical risks/benefits, but also the emotional, social and intellectual too.
Instead of giving you my options or other writer’s options, read the review article yourself…
Notice to all 2012 Boston Marathon participants
We are looking closely at the current weather situation which is projected to be quite warm. The B.A.A. is closely monitoring this situation for for race day decisions. If the temperatures reach certain levels, running will put even the most fit athletes at risk for heat injury.
We are now making the recommendation that if you are not highly fit or if you have any underlying medical conditions (for example-cardiac disease, pulmonary disease or any of a number of medical problems), you should NOT run this race.
- Inexperienced marathoners should not run.
- Those who have only trained in a cooler climate and who may not be acclimated (for at least the last 10 days) to warm weather running conditions should also consider not running.
For those very fit athletes who decide to run, you should take significant precautions:
- Run at a slower pace and maintain hydration.
- You should frequently take breaks by walking instead of running.
This will not be a day to run a personal best. If you choose to run, run safely above all else. Speed can kill.
- Heat stroke is a serious issue and is related to intensity of running as well as the heat and humidity.
Good hydration is important but over hydration can also be a problem. Thirst is an indication that you are under-hydrated. You should maintain hydration levels slightly greater than your hydration program in your training, but not excessively so.
Even the fittest athletes, that take precautions can still suffer serious heat illness. Recognizing symptoms of heat illness in yourself and others is critical , this may include headaches, dizziness, confusion, fatigue, nausea and vomiting. If you experience any of these, stop running immediately and if symptoms persist seek medical attention.
Boston Marathon Co-Medical Directors, Dr. Pierre d’Hemecourt and Dr. Sophia Dyer
I have tried my best not to talk about the weather in our blog. Last year I seemed to be commenting on the cold, snowy, icy, foggy weather conditions in every other entry. This year, Mother Nature made it easy on me, giving us beautiful training weather all season long. I guess she is getting the last laugh. Monday’s weather forecast is in the mid 80’s according to the weather channel. Some of the local weathermen are calling for even higher temperatures. I know there is plenty of time for that to change for the better and we all know they get it wrong for time to time, but I’m starting to feed into the hysteria that started early this week with other marathon runners.
I don’t mind running in the heat but never this distance . In 2010, I participated in a ½ ironman with the temperatures approaching 90, and I don’t remember liking the run too much. However, part of the reason was because I rode the bike leg too fast for me and didn’t have much left for the run. Needless to say my energy level was shot and I was a wee bit thirsty.
I have planned for this marathon like no other before. I knew what pace I would be running at what point in the marathon (at least in theory). I knew when I would be hydrating and when I would be fueling. Now it’s back to the drawing board. One good thing for us DFMC runners is we have Jack Fultz as our coach. He is the winner of the hottest Boston Marathon on record (I wrote about it in last year’s blog http://dfmc2011.wordpress.com/2011/03/29/jack-fultz/). I’m sure he will be giving us some last minute tips during Sunday’s pasta dinner. I’m also hoping maybe Kelly’s cheering team will be on Heartbreak Hill with a big scoop of some Blue Bell ice cream 🙂 (check out Kelly’s fun and insightful blog and story behind Blue Bell http://rightonhereford.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/carb-loading-and-fun-loading/)
So bring your beach balls and sunglasses, and don’t forget the sunscreen. It’s summertime!
(queue music…Will Smith’s Summertime….)
For years, my marathon training plan seemed to have no real purpose except to make sure I ran a certain amount of miles each week. So this year I bought a plan from Runner’s World with a little bit of skepticism. I could not understand how it could be dramatically different than what I have been doing, which was running, but to my surprise, it was different.
Every day over the 16 weeks had a purpose. The plan had easy runs, tempo runs, long slow runs, Yasso’s, strides, fast finishes, hills and more. It also had set paces during these runs. Many of the runs were slower than I would have expected, especially when the goal was to get faster, but I decided to trust the training plan. I found out later that I would have plenty of speed workouts to make up the difference.
One of my new techniques that the plan taught me was the negative split. This method of running is where you run the first half of the race slower than the second half. I have been using it in many of my training runs. I also have tested this technique during the Martha’s Vineyard 20 Miler and Hyannis ½ marathon with good results.
I plan to run Boston using a negative split. It seems a little overwhelming based on previous marathons. The second half of the marathon has been where I traditionally get tired, and a couple of times have hit the wall. I will have to trust my training and listen to what my body is telling me throughout the run.
It looks like many of you who have been supporting me in my efforts to raise money for Dana-Farber and the Claudia Adams Barr Cancer Research program has also embraced the negative split. This year’s fundraising started slow. I was getting a little concerned around the half-way point that I might not even reach my minimum required amount. Well, we have had a monstrous negative split and during the past 7 days, you have donated almost $2,000. This has pushed me over my goal of $6,000 and looks like I may have over $7,000 if the Company Matching Gifts come in by the marathon.