Category Archives: Doc’s Talk

Doc’s Talk 04-21-2013

A teleological question:  Why do we have fingerprints?  For the police?  Probably for another function, …which Dr. Scaff may discuss next week.

If you cannot attend the Doc’s Talks on Sundays, all of the information Dr. Scaff covers is in his 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:  If you are traveling, Dr. Scaff would encourage you to get a copy, not because it helps the Honolulu Marathon Clinic, but because Dr. Scaff wrote it due to the fact that he cannot say everything that needs to be said in 10 minutes.  There is just a lot of good material in the book (and it is a fun read).

Post-Race Collapse
Last Sunday, Dr. Scaff talked about heat exchange, and how when a person’s core temperature starts reaching 104°F – 105°F heat stroke occurs, and untreated it can be 80 percent fatal.

There is also something else that occurs.  It was first reported by the Honolulu Marathon Clinic, but now the phenomenon is well understood throughout the running world, and it is called Post-Race Collapse.

What happens in Post-Race Collapse is when someone running a race crosses the finish line, looks great, arms triumphantly raised in the air, walks around for a period of time, and the next thing you know s/he’s unconscious in the First Aid tent, when a few minutes before s/he was a healthy relatively young runner.    Continue reading

Doc’s Talk 04-14-2013

Teleology:  The science that states everything you have is there for a reason, via evolution, or other factors.  E.g.  Feet are for running.

A teleological question:  Why do our eyes point straight ahead?  (This relates to running).

Do you believe that humans are primarily vegans?  Carnivores?  Or do you believe we are primarily a combination of both?

It turns out man is an omnivore.  Omnivores eat both meat and vegetables. Continue reading

Doc’s Talk 04-07-2013

Teleology is the science that states everything you have is there for a reason, via evolution, or other factors.  E.g.  Feet are for running and not for much else.  Eyes are meant to see, ears are meant to hear.  If someone hits you in the ear you don’t see sharp lights, you hear noise and have pain.  If someone pokes you in the eye, you see lights, you don’t hear sounds, and you feel pain.

A teleological question:
Why do our eyes point straight ahead?  Think about it, next week Dr. Scaff will give you the answer. Believe it or not, this all relates to running in the long run.

Dr. Scaff talked about heat, how it benefits us, how it hurts us.

Last Sunday Dr. Scaff discussed how to calculate maximum heart rate (200 minus half your age), that when you are at 75% of your maximum heart rate you begin to go anaerobic and burn up oxygen faster than you are taking it in, and that nobody can run a marathon sprinting.

He talked about the Talk Test:  The rule is never run so fast you can’t talk, and you never run so slow that you can sing.  This validates itself and will work at altitude and everywhere else.  As long as you can talk you’re aerobic, when you can’t you’re anaerobic. Continue reading

Doc’s Talk 03-31-2013

Because everybody wonders about sprinting, Dr. Scaff talked about how to judge if you are running at the right pace without going through the expense and time of calculating maximum pulse rates, percentage, etc., i.e. the Talk Test.

If you read books on running you will see a lot of complicated formulas to determine your optimal heart rate when you are running, known as “when you are in the zone.”

Basically, heart rate is related to age.  As you get older your heart gets slower and then one day it stops.  When you are training at 75% of your maximum heart rate, you are going from the aerobic, oxygen burning threshold, to anaerobic or the sprint.  Nobody can sprint a marathon, so you have all these pulse rate monitors, etc. to determine your optimal heart rate.    Continue reading

Doc’s Talk 03-24-2013

Dr. Scaff talked about the magic of running 1 hour.

Last Sunday Dr. Scaff noted that you can think of yourself as being similar to a car, with a motor, a carburetor, a circulation system, and we burn exactly the same kinds of natural fuels that the dinosaurs did, vegetables and etc., until it became coal.

We’re built to work on both carbohydrates and fat.  Carbohydrates allow us to sprint, but we don’t have enough carbohydrates in our body to go 26 miles, maybe 3 or 4.  Fat, we have enough to go almost anywhere.  You burn up 125 calories per mile of running, and at 2 or 3 miles you’ve burned up most of your carbohydrate fuel.  Fat has nearly 4,000 calories per pound, so none of us are suffering from a fuel shortage.  With a little bit of water we should be able to run across the U.S. non-stop, and indeed, people did that, they were called the Bunion Derbies.

Dr. Scaff also mentioned we are in pure carbohydrate metabolism because carbohydrates allow us to sprint and run away from trouble, and when we take in 1 molecule of oxygen we expel 1 molecule of carbon dioxide and water, in a respiratory quotient of 1.

As we start getting into fat metabolism our respiratory quotient becomes less efficient and the ratio drops down to about 0.8 which is protein, then 0.6 which is fat.  People used to say you can’t go below 0.5 …and it turns out that you can.  Marathon runners get down to 0.4 – they are extremely efficient fat burners.  So when all these books tell you that you should be on a low fat diet that is like not putting fuel in your tank.  Your body was built to burn fuel and when you are burning it you are not raising your cholesterol or your blood sugar and all the other things you have heard are bad. Continue reading