Doc’s Talk 05-06-2012

Dr. Scaff called today’s talk a “potpourri” of topics, sort of a buffet to go with the Honolulu Marathon Clinic’s potluck picnic.

Base Training
Over the last couple of weeks Dr. Scaff talked about collapse point, post-race collapse, and other topics that probably scared the [censored] out of you, …and yet you are among the elite runners in the United States.  We’re older, and we’re slower, but when you go out on the day of the marathon you will see there are 20,000 runners, and if you are doing a 7-hour marathon there will be 8,000 – 9,000 runners behind you, …younger, better looking, healthier looking, …and Dying!  And you are going to feel so good because we are the Base! 

You may not believe this, but running started here in Hawaii.  Not racing, like in the Olympics, but running.  When the Honolulu Marathon Clinic started in 1974, only 167 runners had participated in The Honolulu Marathon the year before.  Nobody knew anything!  Today, of course, there are, in addition to the Honolulu Marathon Clinic, two other main schools of running (Hal Higdon’s and Jeff Galloway’s), which evolved from base training as initially done by the Honolulu Marathon Clinic.

Problems, …Maybe Not
When Dr. Scaff talks about collapse point, or about hitting The Wall, The Wall may or may not be there.  You could walk the marathon in two days and never know there is a wall.  “Hitting The Wall” is a time/intensity relationship.

You can overheat, …but if you drink enough beverages and your urine is colorless (colorless once each day) and you urinate within 4 hours of completing your run, you will not overheat.

Post-race collapse is when a runner loses weight while running, the body preserved the blood volume by drawing fluids from the tissues, the runner stops running, and the body starts putting the blood volume back into the tissues, then you get into a bit of trouble, …but you can take care of all of that.

All You Need To Do
Right now we are in the base training and people ask, “Well, aren’t I going to do intervals like Hal Higdon?  Aren’t I going to do the Jeff Galloway method of walking and running?”

The bottom line is base precedes speed, and that is all you need to do.

In the weeks to come, Dr. Scaff will get into a little bit about pacing (the 5-Second Rule).  A study of people in the Boston Marathon found that people whose pace varied by more than 5 seconds per mile hit The Wall or did not finish.

But this does not have to happen to you.  All you have to do is if you are running at a 10-minute mile now, and you stay at a 10-minute mile and you are comfortable, you will do fine, and you will certainly do better than the other people who are going to be suffering.

The Honolulu Marathon Clinic’s basic approach to training for the marathon is:

In the first 3 months (March, April, May) run 1 hour 3 times per week.  That is easy.

In the fourth month (June) increase to 1 hour 4 times per week.

Starting in the fifth month (July) increase to 30 miles per week, which will take you 4 to 6 hours depending on your pace.  The reason for this is because if you can get up to 30 miles per week, and stay there for 2 months without getting injured, and you slow down on the day of the marathon you will finish.  And then of course if you want to complete the marathon with a little bit better finish time, you can add miles in the remaining months of training.

(This is so Simple!  People ask Dr. Scaff, “What are you doing out in the middle of the Pacific giving this stupid lecture?”  He shares this because it works!)

That’s basically all you have to do, is be mindful of your pace and stick to the program and you are going to all do very well.

Read the Rules
If you are going on a trip this summer, and even if you are not, Dr. Scaff encourages you to take his book, Your First Marathon – The Last Word In Long Distance Running, and at least read the sections on rules.  In fact, Dr. Scaff recommends that everyone should read the entire book as it is a very good source of information on all things running, and other interesting topics as well.

If you are interested in acquiring a copy of the book, Your First Marathon – The Last Word In Long Distance Running, by Jack H. Scaff Jr., M.D., F.A.C.S.M., available for purchase at the Honolulu Marathon Clinic on Sundays and online at:

Coming Attractions
Next Sunday Dr. Scaff will talk about “The Beginners Guide to Injuries”.  After all, why spend a lot of money in a doctor’s office if you can take care of some things at home for free?  Remember:  Feeling good is the first sign of an injury.  Nobody gets injured with a hangover or a cold.  So if you’re feeling good be careful.  And if you’re feeling bad, don’t worry, you’ll never get hurt.

For some good reading on nutrition, Dr. Scaff recommends everyone check out the daily postings on Dr. Alan Titchenal’s “Got Nutrients?” web site:

Here is a recent posting:

May 6, 2012
For some time, research has indicated that consistent physical activity provides long term health benefits. A new report emphasizes that the benefits may be somewhat like alcohol consumption. Mortality is higher in non-joggers and in those undertaking extreme levels of exercise than it is in moderate joggers.

Consumer Link
Regular Jogging Shows Dramatic Increase in Life Expectancy

Research Link
Eur J Epidemiol. 2012 Feb;27(2):91-9.