Doc’s Talk 10-28-2012

Dr. Scaff talked about your longest training run, the Great Aloha Run, Scaffter Thoughts, a wrap-up on nutrition, and energy drinks.

Your Longest Training Run
This weekend, with 6 weeks to go before the Honolulu Marathon, some people do an 18-mile run.  Whatever you do, THIS should be the longest run.  Dr. Scaff has been saying that for 3 weeks, but this really is it.  At this point you have got to start backing off and recovering.  Dr. Scaff will talk about tapering in a couple of weeks, but for now just cannot stress enough, particularly to the first time marathoners, the importance of backing off.  Some people can do an 18-mile run, some cannot, and if this is your first marathon, Dr. Scaff does not strongly recommend it.  That said, you have to decide for yourself if you feel up to it.

This advice is based on hard-core experience.  If you read the books on running, everybody says you cannot train for a marathon in less than a year, and the Honolulu Marathon Clinic does it in 8 months and we have a 99% completion rate.  We have a pretty good program. 

The Great Aloha Run
The Great Aloha Run is coming up, which the Honolulu Marathon Clinic supports. It is a good thing that we are doing for the community and more than that, Dr. Scaff hopes you all enter.  He will have a book signing down there this year, and may even be talking to their beginning training group.

Also this year, at the Great Aloha Run, you and 7 people can sign up to enter the Reno Challenge.  Seven people will win a round trip to Reno, Nevada and a stay at the El Dorado Hotel.  Everyone who enters the Reno Challenge must make a donation, and you must have 7 people enter at the same time. The Honolulu Marathon Clinic will be supporting a team this year.  You can read about the Great Aloha Run at

Scaffter Thoughts
We are starting to put a lot of things on the Honolulu Marathon Clinic web site called “Scaffter Thoughts” on different topics, and if you have not read it yet, they just came out and said again that fat is bad and carbohydrates are good, and Dr. Scaff has got 2 articles that will be on Scaffter Thoughts that say that the heavier a Type 2 diabetic is at the onset of diabetes, the longer s/he lives.  Therefore, what you want to do is get real fat before diabetes, …but not starting until the 4th, 5th, or 6th, decade.  You can read about that, it just puts everything into perspective and it justifies what the Honolulu Marathon Clinic has been saying over the years.

Nutrution Wrap-Up
There are three things in nutrition Dr. Scaff did not cover this year, and they are really important:

1)  Somebody told him he should have mentioned the amino acid Lysine because it prevents cold sores.  It may or may not, Dr. Scaff does not know.  If you have had success with it, go ahead and try it.

2)  Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate:  People spend a lot of money on these products.  It is nothing but ground up animal protein and there are no studies that have shown any real benefits to taking them.  Up to 15 or 20 percent of the people who take glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate may get better, and 15 – 20 percent of the people get better if you give them a pill or something and just *tell* them that it is glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate.  If you like glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, the best place to get it is gristle, like the kind you find at the end of the wishbone on the chicken, or the end of the sweet and sour spareribs.  So, it is not harmful if you buy the tablets, it is just expensive as all get out.

3)  The more important thing to talk about is the power supplements, not the gels, but the energy drinks like Red Bull.  Caffeine is a good drug, everybody likes a little bit of it, …but you can over dose on it.  There have been deaths reported in running in people using energy drinks.  Dr. Scaff thinks that the use of any of these caffeine supplemented sports drinks with 0 calories is dangerous, and thinks they do not have Any place in running at all.  If you want to take them while you are at work to help you wake up, Dr. Scaff thinks that is not a good idea, but it is less harmful than taking such drinks while running.  So forget energy drinks, they are just an absolute no-no as far as Dr. Scaff is concerned.  And when Dr. Scaff says “Red Bull” he is not picking on Red Bull per se, he is picking on All such drinks and substances as a group.  If you have specific questions about this topic you can ask Dr. Scaff.

Marathon Countdown
Next Sunday we are going to start talking about preparing for the marathon
, the countdown, not the tapering, but we will start going step, by step, by step.  You know you should have your shoes already, your running shirt, your socks, and your underwear all picked out, and you should have run in these clothes to make sure you are comfortable in them.  And be sure to look at your shoes, you don’t want them falling apart the week before the race.  If you need a new pair it is really too late, but it is better to buy them now than it is to stop somewhere along the way on the day of the race and try to find a pair of shoes.  Dr. Scaff says “Do whatever you need, put it all together, you guys and gals are going to do just great.”

Try A Wet Run Day
One thing you may never have tried is wet shoes.  It could be raining on marathon day or someone could spray a hose on you.  Dr. Scaff always says we should have a wet run day, but nobody seems to like it.  His idea is to bring down a big Tupperware container, fill it with water and have everyone step in it and then carry a quart of water which instead of drinking you would keep pouring over your shoes during a 10 mile run and see how you do.  It’s not a bad idea.

For more information on your longest training run, nutrition, and other topics, read 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:


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:

June 30, 2012
Vitamin C is important for many critical functions in the body, including functioning as an antioxidant. Many individuals may not be consuming enough of this essential nutrient. Those that may require additional vitamin C include women taking oral contraceptives, woman who are pregnant or breastfeeding, smokers, people recovering from surgery, and burn victims.

Consumer Link
Oral Contraceptives and Antioxidant Vitamins C and E 27 Jun 2012

Research Link
Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin C