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How much does it hurt?

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney February 25, 2010 09:07 AM

Going the distanceGlobe correspondent Elizabeth Cooney is writing about the Boston Marathon in the series "Going the Distance," which appears in the Globe's G Health section. She's also training for it, and hopes you'll check in with her along the way.

Michelle Colman does not want to see you in the medical tent at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. But if you do find yourself there, she'll be in section 13.

That was the tone the Peabody physical therapist set at this month's Boston Athletic Association clinic. As much as runners dream of pain-free training, she knows there will be bumps in the road now and on race day.  She gave the crowd of runners at Marathon Sports specific advice on how to avoid problems at this stage, geared to the familiar pain scale of 0 to 10.  And she was reassuring. "You can run with pain. That is allowed." FULL ENTRY

What are you thinking?

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney February 22, 2010 07:10 AM


Going the distanceGlobe correspondent Elizabeth Cooney is writing about the Boston Marathon in the series "Going the Distance," which appears in the Globe's G Health section. She's also training for it, and hopes you'll check in with her along the way.

The brain is one part of the body runners shouldn't neglect as they train for Boston, I learned in reporting today's installment of "Going the Distance." It's a lesson I repeat just about every day of training.

McLean Hospital psychologist Jeff Brown warns against setting goals unrealistically high. His example was deciding to "run like a Kenyan," one of those elite runners who have dominated recent marathons. Check.

But that doesn't mean you can't marshal mental power to get through the miles with less lofty goals.

We all know that just knowing it's the last mile of a long run can be a boost. But what about nine miles earlier, when it doesn't feel like your day?

"A very basic strategy for runners is to chunk that up and make goals within a run even more reachable," said Brown, who with Mark Fenske is the author of the "The Winner's Brain," due out in April. "So you focus now on the next mile rather than the next eight miles and knock each mile off. [You] have met eight goals rather than one goals after eight miles."

Sounds reasonable enough, in keeping with cognitive behavioral therapy that reframes our thinking in a more positive way. But what kind of mantra works out there?

"When you found that extra energy, I guarantee it wasn't, 'This stinks,' or 'I'm bored.' We can take control of what it is we are trying to accomplish," Brown said.

Of course, there are people who make up grocery lists or solve work problems while they're accumulating the miles. That makes sense too, Brown says. With a little mental multitasking, people balance the time commitment training for Boston demands.

What's on your mind?

BAA training clinics

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney February 21, 2010 03:22 PM


The Boston Athletic Association is holding a free clinic for official marathon entrants Monday night (Feb. 22) on "Injury prevention and proper footwear for marathon training" at Marathon Sports, 671 Boylston St., Boston (the one near the finish line). BAA coaches will speak and then take questions.

Registration is at 5:30 p.m.; program begins at 7:30 and concludes at 8:15. Send an e-mail to train@baa.org (for planning purposes) or call 617-778-1631 with questions. Next month's clinic, on March 22, will be "Diet, Nutrition, and Course Preview." For more information, go here.

Long runs and life stories

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney February 19, 2010 11:25 AM

Going the distanceGlobe correspondent Elizabeth Cooney is writing about the Boston Marathon in the series "Going the Distance," which appears in the Globe's G Health section. She's also training for it, and hopes you'll check in with her along the way.


This deep into marathon training, the long runs are getting longer. If you train with a running club or go out regularly with a friend, you know the pull of those weekly sessions. You don't want to let your running buddies down, so you better show up ready to roll. You know they'd do the same for you.

There's something else about that bond, I'm discovering. As seasoned runners will tell you, when you're out there for a couple of hours and a dozen or more miles, you tell each other stories. Running side by side with someone you may not have known well before, you'll hear about which brothers and sisters they're closest to or what they hope is the right school for their kids.

Sure, you'll talk about not starting out too fast in Hopkinton come April 19 and how to get over the next icy hill, but the other stories stay with me.  Pace determines who I'm matched with, but so far no one's been the silent type. 

Works for me. How about you? What is it about long runs?

A word from the doctors

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney February 17, 2010 04:18 PM


Going the distanceGlobe correspondent Elizabeth Cooney is writing about the Boston Marathon in the series "Going the Distance," which appears in the Globe's G Health section. She's also training for it, and hopes you'll check in with her along the way.

Time to get serious, folks.

The Boston Athletic Association has sent out an important message to runners from its medical team on health problems that could come up during the Boston Marathon.

"Individuals with underlying health issues are at increased risk for medical complications during the running of a marathon," according to the e-mailed message, signed by Dr. Pierre d'Hemecourt and Dr. Sophia Dyer (co-medical directors) and Dr. Aaron Baggish. "While medical problems occurring during marathon running are relatively rare, they can be serious enough to result in death or long-term impairment."

Cardiovascular conditions are the ones to worry about, and these warrant attention: diseases of the heart muscle, heart valves, and coronary arteries. They're the ones that may trigger trouble during strenuous exercise, particularly if heat or cold aggravate them.

The doctors advise runners to talk with their doctors, listen to their bodies, and train intelligently. That means paying attention to chest pain, pressure, squeezing, or tightness. Other danger signs are shortness of breath out of proportion to activity, palpitations, light-headedness, dizziness, or fainting during or after exercise. And training should be gradual, building up slowly to the demands a marathon will place on the body come April 19.

Dr. Arthur Siegel, director of internal medicine at McLean Hospital, said he worries about novice runners entering the race. There are fewer first-timers at Boston because runners must qualify in another marathon according to age and sex, but charity runners are exempt. His advice: "Don't run a marathon unless you have some idea about where your health is."

The other marathon: fund-raising

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney February 11, 2010 09:09 AM

Going the distanceGlobe correspondent Elizabeth Cooney is writing about the Boston Marathon in the series "Going the Distance," which appears in the Globe's G Health section. She's also training for it, and hopes you'll check in with her along the way.


For charity runners, raising money is almost like another marathon.

It can be hard to make the "ask," even in the best of times, but novice and veteran fund-raisers alike say they are finding it difficult to seek donations from friends, family, and co-workers when the need in Haiti is so huge.

"I do have to say fund-raising is a little more reserved now that the Haiti relief has started," said Angela Morello, who has pledged to raise $3,500 for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. "It's hard when there are so many great causes and the economy is so tight right now. I don't blame people for not giving too much."

Other runners who were closer to their goals when the earthquake struck Haiti on Jan. 12 have decided to make up the balance themselves. I heard that from one of my running club buddies, who hadn't asked for a donation to the charity he's been running for over the years. But hearing he was going to eat the difference made me reach for my checkbook.

Charity runners, how is it going?

Merga and Kosgei set to defend titles

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff February 10, 2010 12:47 PM

2009 Boston Marathon champions Deriba Merga of Ethiopia and Salina Kosgei of Kenya will return to defend their titles for the 114th running of the race on April 19.

Past champions Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot and Catherine Ndereba of Kenya, Dire Tune of Ethiopia, and Lidiya Grigoryeva of Russia are also signed on for the race according to the release sent by John Hancock Financial.

In the 2009 men’s race, Deriba Merga of Ethiopia clipped Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot’s three-in-a-row streak and ran away from the lead pack in the Newton hills, unchallenged to the finish. Merga is just one of three Ethiopians to interrupt Kenyan dominance of the event over the past two decades.

Cheruiyot, a four-time Boston winner and the 2:07:14 course record holder, is back again, fresh from a runner-up spot in New York City. The formidable Kenyan shares the honor of at least four Boston wins with Gerard Cote and Bill Rodgers (4 wins each) and Clarence DeMar (7 wins).

In the 2009 women’s race, Salina Kosgei was challenged every step of the way by a determined Dire Tune who sought to defend her 2008 title. In the closest finish ever recorded, Kosgei edged an exhausted Tune at the tape to win by one second. The year before, Tune was on the winning end of the finish sprint as she dueled to the wire with Russian Alevtina Biktimirova, prevailing by two seconds.

Challenging Kosgei and Tune are former winners Lidiya Grigoryeva and Catherine Ndereba. A year after winning the 2007 “Nor’easter” Boston Marathon, Grigoryeva brilliantly won over a highly competitive field in Chicago. And “Catherine the Great” needs no reintroduction to Boston as she has written the history books here as the only woman to ever win four times. Ndereba is the second fastest woman marathoner of all time (2:18:47) and has earned two Olympic silver medals and two World Marathon Championship titles.

Information from John Hancock Financial was used in this update.

Can anybody run a marathon?

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney February 2, 2010 09:47 AM

Going the distanceGlobe correspondent Elizabeth Cooney is writing about the Boston Marathon in the series "Going the Distance," which appears in the Globe's G Health section. She's also training for it, and hopes you'll check in with her along the way.

Can anybody run a marathon? Should they?

I've been asking specialists those questions as I write about the health implications of training for the marathon. I confess I also wanted to silence some nagging doubts about my own uphill climb from short- to long-distance running. My long run on Sunday was less than inspiring, but I'm pretty sure it was just one of those days. Here's what I heard from two health professionals.

Not everybody is built to run a marathon, they say, but proper training and dedication can make a difference.

"There are some body types that excel at running marathon and long-distance events. And other body types aren't necessarily quote-unquote made to go the distance," physical therapist Jennifer Green of Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital said. "Most can, some can't."

People who devote the time to preparing their bodies and focus on training will succeed, as will some whose effort is fueled by a fund-raising goal or some other special inspiration.

FULL ENTRY
Look for updates, news, analysis and commentary from the following.
  • Steve Silva, Boston.com senior producer, two-time Boston Marathon sub-four hour runner.
  • Ty Velde is a 16-time Boston qualifier who's completed 12 consecutive Boston Marathons and 25 marathons overall. Ty is now training for his 13th Boston run and will provide training tips for those who train solo and outside, no matter what temperature it is.
  • Rich 'Shifter' Horgan is a 19-time Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team member who runs in honor of his father, who died of colon cancer. He will provide updates on local running events with a focus on the charitable organizations that provide Boston Marathon entries for their organization's fund raising purposes

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