After anywhere from a 3- to 12-mile training jaunt, scores
of local runners preparing for the Pittsburgh Marathon on May 4 huddled inside UPMC
Montefiore Hospital’s LHAS Auditorium to learn more about eating to run better,
exercising to run better and ways to better avoid limping into a doctor’s
Or, as phrased by Aaron Mares, M.D.
, a UPMC Sports Medicine
primary-care physician who also works the race-day medical tent: “I’m the guy
you don’t want to see, right?”
Saturday morning’s seminar was the first of two sponsored by
, the marathon’s healthcare provider along with UPMC Emergency
Medicine. The seminar began with Leslie Bonci
, M.P.H., R.D., nutrition
of Sports Medicine, counseling the runners to eat a minimum of two meals
per day while training.
“Less than two are not going to be appropriate because how
are you going to fuel your body?” said Bonci, adding that runners training for the marathon should never eat any sooner than 90 minutes before bedtime “The reason for that is sleep is a critical
component allowing you to recover, repair, restore."
Her advice was to find a regimen that will fuel your body consistently,
and stick to it.
Orthopaedic surgeon Vonda Wright,
M.D., a mobility expert who also directs the Performance and Research
Initiative for Masters Athletes (PRIMA), stressed cross-training for the total
body athlete. It makes the difference in being dragged across the finish line,
huffing through it or maximizing your performance.
- Some nutrition mathematics that she offered at
a Marathon training seminar one year ago: Drink 20 ounces of water for
every hour of exertion, ingest 15 grams
of healthy sustenance per hour after a workout’s first hour, and start
incorporating these nutrition recommendations soon to be better prepared
come race day.
- Some caffeine at times, and some carbs and protein after a
workout, are OK for you. But a sugar-free diet? That means no veggies, no
fruits, no dairy. . . . It basically leaves meat and potatoes. “You try running
a marathon on that! Sugar is glucose. Glucose is glycogen. If we want to think,
if we want to run, if we want to do what we want to do, that is important. That
doesn’t mean we need to overdose on gummy bears," she said. "The performance plate - I want you to figure
out what’s best for you.” Her suggestion: 1/3 protein, 1/3-1/4 carbs and 1/3
“Our job is to keep you on the road and out of the doctor’s
office,” Wright said. “Runners who only run get injured. Running builds an
amazing aerobic engine. But, optimally,
we are not just building a huge engine and a small frame.” Hips, quads, core,
balance and more play critical roles, and those won’t get help by merely
hitting the road for miles.
Dr. Wright’s suggestions included such exercises as toe
walking, heel walking, hip swings, activators for ankles, knees, butt, quads and core. Specifically, she offered a total-body circuit that she uses in her
couch-to-race classes and more: pushups (22 for men, 11 for women; elbows bent
and close to the body); planking (two minutes at a time is best), kettlebell
raises; and a monster walk with an elastic band around the shins.
“It really builds frame around that engine,” she said of
cross-training, which she recommended for two days each week - even before a
closed out the seminar by showing runners where on a skeleton model
they should watch for potential training injuries.
“Boney pain is not a good thing,” he said. “If you have
that, you might want to have it looked at.”
Follow the RICE regimen: rest, ice, compression and elevation for aches and pains. He reminded folks that the three steps to
returning from an injury in running or any sport is rehabilitation, decreasing inflammation, and bracing/immobilizing an injury. And he said to remember: Doing
something too much, too hard or too long – when unaccustomed to it – often
leads to injury.
“The biggest thing we see at our clinic, people change up
something that they’re doing,” Dr. Mares said. “Like they change shoes. . . and
the next day they go out and run 12 miles. Make progressive changes. You need
different equipment for different conditions. And know that there are a variety
of weather conditions out there, too.”
Labels: Aaron Mares, emergency medicine, Leslie Bonci, Pittsburgh Marathon, UPMC Center for Sports Medicine, Vonda Wright