Doc’s Talk 12-16-2012

Dr. Scaff talked about the post-marathon recovery and preparing for your next marathon.

The marathon is over, you can stop carbo-loading now.  You are now in the recovery phase, and so at this point in the year, the Honolulu Marathon Clinic goes on hiatus and will not meet again until March 2013.

The Great Aloha Run people are training and we would encourage you to enter the Great Aloha Run, so why does the Honolulu Marathon Clinic not continue?   Back when the Marathon Clinic started, after our first 2 or 3 marathons, we were so happy that we would show up and start running again.  By the second week on 8 mile runs people were coming back with the worst injuries we ever saw; torn Achilles tendons, things that we just never saw, and we began to realize that while training for a marathon is healthy, running it is damaging, and you need time off.  So we stopped the Clinic so that everybody could go back into their caves and lick their wounds.  They don’t, they still come out and run, but they do it on their own …and perhaps they will take a little more time off, watch a football game, go to the swap meet, etc.  We encourage you to take some time off to recover and do whatever it is that you like to do.

When do you start again?  Well, the Honolulu Marathon Clinic did a run today, but the purpose of running now is rehabilitation. It is just like after you have had surgery on your knee, you start exercising the next day, but that is not to make you a marathon runner, that is to help you get over the aches and pains, the swelling, etc.

So a good starting recovery run would be 20 minutesIf after 20 minutes the pain is getting worse stop.  If the pain is the same or a little bit better and you want to go for a mile or an hour (3 or 4 miles) do it, but you are not required to finish.

Rehabilitation takes about 6 weeks.  If you go out today for an hour, you are going to run slower, you are not racing, you are just running for training, and you may say, “Gee, I’m really slow, I used to be 12 minutes a mile and now I’m 14.”  As you go out and you do an hour 3 times per week, all of a sudden after about 6 weeks you will say, “I came back 5 minutes earlier.  I thought I was running the same speed.”  What happened is you have healed, and now your body is back.  It will tell you when you are ready to go.  Twelve weeks is a nice time to think about recovering.  That is about the time of the Women’s 12K too, so it is something to lead up to, as is the Great Aloha Run in February.

If you get it back to running 1 hour 3 times a week and you do it for a month, you are ready to go back to your training.  Training base is 30 miles a week.  Many people say to Dr. Scaff, “I gotta start training for next year’s marathon!”  No, you started training for next year’s marathon last March.  This is your second year of training.  All you have to do is maintain base.  We know that if we can get you up to 30 miles per week and maintain it, at the next marathon you will run the same pace as the previous one, in other words you have not lost any of what you gained this year.  So when you start picking up the mileage it is because you want to run faster.  And you do not have to start really picking up the mileage until June or July, then you go up to 40 – 50 miles per week, whatever it is that you like to do.

The bottom line is maintenance.  Now why does Dr. Scaff like maintenance (1 hour 3 times a week)?  Thirty seven percent (37%) reduction in all causes of mortality.  People who run 1 hour, 3 time per week, live 9 years longer than sedentary people.  So you’ve met Dr. Scaff’s health goal as a cardiologist while you are meeting your goal as a marathon maniac.

So, for now it is light training.  Remember the 10% rule:  Only 10% of mileage is spent in racing.  You raced last Sunday, 26.2 miles.  You have to run 262 miles before you enter the Women’s 10K or even a 1-mile event, then you are back, then you can do 10%.

“But I want to get better!” you say.  You realize it takes 13 years to reach your peak?  If you look at Olympic swimmers and gymnasts, they are done by 20.  How about the marathon runners?  They are all in their 30s and 40s because it took that long to get ready.  Now isn’t it hard to think that no matter what you did in the marathon when you were 50, if that was your beginning marathon, you will be running faster at 63 than you did on this day?  (Unless you get hurt, which a lot of us do because we want to get faster.)  Time will add to it.  The other thing is that is the way you become a legend.  “Who is that person?  I ran with her/him when s/he was 50, now I’m 60 and I can’t keep up her/him?”  The bottom line is it is a natural progression.  Then we eventually get to an age where we do slow down a little bit, but we still have the benefits of health and the fun and the camaraderie of having run a marathon and being an elite group of people.

Most marathons, believe it or not, except Boston or the big ones, which are racing marathons, have very few have people that break 3 hours; …the Los Angeles Marathon had less than 100, and there were only 77 at the front of the pack in the 2012 Honolulu Marathon.

We are the ones that are going to modify the course of marathon running.  So when you go out there, you just think about it, this whole thing was designed just for you, and it is your race and nobody else’s, every one of you is a winner.

For more information on what to do after a marathon and much more fun and interesting information about running and its life benefits, 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:

A Call for Volunteers to Staff the Honolulu Marathon Clinic
You have finished a marathon.  You are an expert.  We need staff for 2013 and we hope that you will sign up to serve as a staff member of the Honolulu Marathon Clinic and help us next year.  We would like to have as many people as we did this year or maybe even more.  As an accomplished marathon finisher you are now here to tell other people and to help other people, and we hope you will consider sharing your time and expertise with the new runners in 2013, …and beyond.

A personal message from Dr. Jack Scaff:
“It’s been my pleasure to work with you throughout the year, this is our graduation, we’ll meet the second Sunday in March, we’ll see you all again, but you’re all going to be leaders, trainers, and helping other people.  Thanks very much and have a good New Year.”

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:

December 15, 2012
Research indicates that Olympic athletes live longer than the average person. However, few people in the general population meet the basic recommendation to obtain 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity per week. If you are one of the few getting the 150 minutes of activity, your longevity is likely to match that of Olympians. Give yourself a gold medal!

Consumer Link
Olympians Live Longer Than General Population … But Cyclists No Survival Advantage Over Golfers

Research Link
BMJ 2012;345:e8338