Doc’s Talk 11-10-2012

Dr. Scaff talked about Tapering and the Turkey Trot.

Dr. Scaff noted that the people he really wanted to talk to today are out on the course right now running 18 – 22 miles, …but if you think going 18 vs. 21 miles for one day is going to make much difference, it won’t!  It may, however, hurt you.

Tapering is important!  Dr. Scaff quoted from an article, “Lucky 7”, by Ken Martin.  Seven weeks before the 1989 New York Marathon Ken Martin decided to begin his taper early.  How did he do?  He finished 2nd in the 1989 New York Marathon in 2 hours, 09 minutes, 38 seconds.  So if 7 weeks of tapering makes you run that fast we should have started tapering in January, …then we all could finish in 3 hours!   [This is a joke] 

So now is the time to start running less.  You have got the race in the bag, keep it there, don’t let the genie out of the bottle until race day.  Follow the tapering schedule.  It starts 3 weeks before the marathon.  For example, if you were running 80 miles a week, you would now do 64.  If you’re running 40 miles a week, you only do 32.  Basically it is a 25% reduction 3-week plan.  These are very good well-established guidelines, not made up by Dr. Scaff.  The Honolulu Marathon Clinic just observes what other people do and then try to absorb it into the protocol.

You can find the tapering schedule on page 55 of 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:

If you’ve run 1 marathon you know everything.  If you’ve run 2 marathons you know how much there is left to learn.  By the 3rd or the 4th if you think you can do 18 miles the month before the marathon, fine, Dr. Scaff used to do that, but the Honolulu Marathon Clinic is here to get everybody through their first marathon and then deal with some of the more elite runners.  There are other schools in Honolulu, like Brian Clark, that can work on that.  If you are a first time marathon runner you have to remember, no matter what your time is the first year, it is a PR and you can improve on it.  That is great, every year you get older and go faster.

Turkey Trot 
The Turkey Trot is shaping up beautifully.  It’s going to be a good time, so be prepared to be present when the event starts at the Kapiolani Park Band Stand around 6:30 a.m.

Online registration begins this Monday, 11/12/12.  There will be able to register at:

There is no charge for registering online, and it greatly simplifies your race experience.  Once you register, all you have to do the morning of the race is bring your $5.  We will have a separate table for online registrants to check in.  Pay your $5 and the staff will check off your name, making your registration considerably faster.

If for some reason the Turkey Trot fills up with runners, if you are in the Marathon Clinic we are going to fit you in somehow, so don’t worry about that.

We are expanding the Turkey Trot to make it a bigger event, with a Turkey Trot flag, the Turkey Trot Anthem (which is done to the tune of “Roll Out the Barrel”), a barbershop quartet, and we will have “The Star Spangled Banner” sung by a 13-piece boys choir.  We’ve heard that when the boys choir sings “The Star Spangled Banner” everybody cries, we don’t know, but we’ll see.

The race itself will be the standard 10-mile training run, but it is more fun because on Thanksgiving Day it gives you an excuse to go home and pig out!

The Turkey Trot conveys one of the key lessons in marathon training:  The mistakes you make in the first 10 miles of the marathon will haunt you in the last 6.  In the Turkey Trot you develop your sense of pace by predicting your completion time before the race, running without any time keeping devices, and attempting to run your marathon pace through the 10 miles, even when you are surrounded by a big excited crowd.

The Turkey Trot is open to everyone, it is not a closed thing only open to the Honolulu Marathon Clinic.

The Honolulu Marathon Clinic has to pay for everything, including security along the course.  So we don’t want bandit runners that don’t pay their $5 but run with everyone else in the race.

The morning of the Turkey Trot, Thursday, 11/22/12:
Registration is at first light, approximately 6:30 a.m.  It is dark but we’ll have lights.

It is not an exact 7 a.m. start time.  It is a start when the majority of people have signed in and paid their $5.

When you sign in you will be given a tongue depressor.  On the tongue depressor is a space for you to write your predicted time.

Put your name on the backside of the tongue depressor.  We have random drawings and your name may be drawn for a prize.

We want to be as efficient as possible, so if you abide by what we say it will be a lot easier.

For more information on the Turkey Trot see:


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:

November 9, 2012
People with impaired walking due to Parkinson disease improved their walking ability with three months of exercise performed three times a week for 30 to 50 minutes each time. Both treadmill exercise and a combination of resistance and stretching exercise produced significant benefit. It appears that combining these types of exercise may be the best approach for Parkinson disease patients.

Consumer Link
All Kinds of Exercise May Be Good for Parkinson’s

Research Link
Arch Neurol. 2012;():1-8.