The Running Doctor: Spring training
From Sunday tennis to marathon running, Americans have been discovering physical fitness with a passion.
Each athlete must think ahead and make a game plan that he or she wants to achieve from a sport. The beginner must remember that athletic performance is the result of many years of training, therefore the important factor in beginner programs is patience.
Running, which is part of most sports, can help develop the energy system that is needed for competition. Since many events are either won or lost during the finishing moments, this is when the intensity of all the training sessions pay off. However, training sessions must be altered if performance fails or pain or tightness becomes evident. We have to watch for the signs of over-training and exhaustion.
Athletes build strong bodies, but the body needs time to rest and rebuild tissue. Some of the warning signals of overstress include fatigue and poorer-performance. In addition, there can be loss of appetite, headaches and irritability.
What is the best way to know when the body needs rest and recovery or when you are at risk for injury? A sluggish feeling during normal daily work-outs signals over-training. Such a loss of energy becomes a form of staleness, which demonstrates a need for rest.
An over-trained athlete may have a difficult time getting to sleep. He or she may also awaken during the night and find it harder to get up in the mornings. It is important to take your pulse while you are in bed, which can be a good indicator of over-training. If your morning rate is 10 beats higher than average, use it as a guide to signal over-training and fatigue. It is a good day to take it easy or rest completely.
As the body tires, injuries are almost sure to follow. For example, pain or swelling which leads to a bump or lump in the Achilles tendon and also pain in the knee and legs that continues through the training sessions. Learn to know your body’s early warning signals. Keep a well-trained body as your mind feels the anxiety and experiences the emotions of competition.
Dr. Robert F. Weiss, a sports podiatrist, was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Marathon Trials. Weiss is a veteran of 35 Marathon & has a practice in Darien; affiliated with Stamford Hospital and member of Stamford Health Medical Group-Foot & Ankle. For info visit his Web site at www.stamford
healthmedicalgroup.org, and find a Physician-Dr. Robert F. Weiss.