Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Ask the Coach

Boston Marathon's famous Kelleys (no relation) John the younger and John the elder

Ask the Coach- the Boston Marathon and other topics

I have a couple of questions about Boston Marathon traditions: First, do they still give out beef stew after the race? And second, do doctors still get a bye in qualifying for the race?
Signed “Old Timer”.
Coach: Great questions. Unfortunately, there is no more beef stew. The BAA isn't sure when the beef stew stopped but they think it was around the time that the finish was moved from the Prudential to Copley Square in 1986. It may also have coincided with a year when a number of people got sick from ingesting a bad batch of the stew. It might also have to do with the logistics of feeding a field that large.* There are still automatic entries -- roughly 200 -- for doctors who belong to a medical/athletic association that provides services to the race, but it's not a blanket exemption for physicians.

* (John Powers of the Boston Globe suggested to me with a smile that they start a new tradition Famous Legal Seafood chowderand provide vats of Legal Seafood’s Clam Chowder after the race).

Hey Coach:
I’ve declared a “fatwa” on fat and a “jihad” on jiggle as part of my New Years resolution, but I still weigh the same as I did last year, and may actually be gaining weight despite running 2 miles a day. Any advice for losing weight?
Signed “Out of Belt Notches”.
Coach: You may have to start tracking your calories and up your mileage a bit or start doing some speed work to burn off more than you consume. Nancy Clark author of ''Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook’’ says ''Many runners diet at breakfast and lunch, drag themselves through a midday workout, are famished at dinner and eat everything in sight''. ''They end up gaining weight.'' ''They say, 'I ran umpteen miles, I deserve to eat umpteen calories.' But you can't always do that.'' NancyClark recommends taking a look at the little things in your diet. Simply by cutting out creamy salad dressings, having mustard instead of mayonnaise on sandwiches and not piling a mound of butter on a baked potato can eliminate several hundred calories a day, Clark points out. These measures will not only enable you to lose weight but also reduce blood cholesterol levels and guard against heart disease. and eliminating one high fat desert negates the effect of a 30 minute run. Running burns roughly 100 calories per mile. If you are running approximately 14 miles per week, you can try running a bit more, adding some speed work or cutting back on some of the dietary extras you won’t miss and see if that helps.

Coach: I am going to try my second marathon and I’d like this one to be easier than the first. Tell me a secret about training for a marathon that I don’t already know! Signed "Willing to Learn"
Coach: Think time not distance for your long runs. I’ve found I can run comfortably through a marathon up to the time of my longest run. In other words, if your longest run takes 3 hours to cover an 18 miler-- you can probably expect to feel pretty good through the 3 hour mark of the marathon. You have trained yourself to run for that amount of time. Because you are running faster in the race due to the adrenalin etc. this may be at the 20 mile mark of the race. The longer you train to be on your feet, the better prepared you will be. Two time Olympic Oldest known picture (1904) of the Boston Marathonmarathoner Kenny Moore put in 30 mile training runs for this reason. Most runners worry too much about the mile markers of the race and not enough about the time they have put in training. One interesting fact: some marathons in Scotland and Great Britain show descending mile markers. It may give you a psychological boost to see the mile markers decreasing instead of increasing during the race.

Coach: I read your article about finding money a few years back in Runners Gazette.I found $126.47 while running last year and wanted to know if I should report it to the IRS? I think it might put me in a new tax bracket. Signed “Penny Pincher”
Penny, I called the IRS to ask them your question. They told me I was the first person to ask the question since their founding in 1862. Then they asked me for your name and address and for the last four digits of your social security number. When I declined to provide this information they then mentioned that a lot of callers ask questions about untaxed money on behalf of “friends” and wanted to know my information.Your secret is safe with me.

Note- These are based on real questions submitted to the coach. Article originally appeared in Runners Gazette magazine

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