Thoughts While Resting

December 8, Thursday

“Self-inflicted injury is the enemy of progress.”

Taking the day off today to allow my body to absorb and  recover from the first  one hour run in many months.   That is why I reposted the quote above to remind myself.   With this in mind I thought the article below made a lot of sense for someone who is starting to run for fitness . It seems like a positive way to get a lot of work done slowly and avoid those lower leg and foot injuries that seem to bother the +70Runner, ie: plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis and soreness in calf muscles.   After an appropriate period of strengthening the lower legs, speed will come instinctively and, hopefully, injury-free.

I also thought I would post here an article from Dr. Mirkin which I read this morning about muscle maintainance and production while aging.   All of this points to the of an intelligent  balance of strenuous physical activity with appropriate rest and recovery.   I am reminded of the first time I read the quote, “Rest is an essential component of training.”   I cannot now remember the source, but I was a veteran coach at the time and had never heard it expressed in that manner.   I always viewed rest as a break from training, not a ‘necessary element’ of training.  That concept truly altered my coaching philosophy.   My experience as a runner in the last 5 years has emphasized to me that this concept is exponentially more applicable to the + 70 Runner.


Dr. Gabe Mirkin’s Fitness and Health e-Zine
December 11, 2016
Retaining Strength with Aging

If you don’t exercise regularly and vigorously, expect to lose a significant amount of muscle strength as you age, and expect that loss of strength to reduce the quality of your life. A 15-year follow-up study showed that older people who lift weights at least twice a week had a 46 percent lower death rate within the study period, a 41 percent lower death rate from heart attacks, and a 19 percent lower death rate from cancer, compared to the control group that did not lift weights (Preventive Medicine, June 2016;87:121-127).

* In one study, older people with the highest loss of muscle strength were four times more likely to be disabled, have difficulty walking and need walkers or other mechanical devices to help them walk (Am J Epidemiol, 1998; 147(8):755–763). The authors of this study said, “Exercise decreases body fat and obesity, increases muscle strength, improves balance, gait, and mobility, decreases likelihood of falling, improves psychological health and reduces arthritis pain, heart attacks, osteoporosis, cancer and diabetes.”

* Strength training can significantly reduce heart attack risk factors in older people (Clin Geriatr Med, Nov 2009;25(4):703-14).

* Just eight weeks of lifting weights increased muscle strength in a group of men 80 to 88 years old (Aging Clin Exp Res, April 2010;22(2):134-40).

Exercise Reduces Loss of Muscle
Muscles are made up of thousands of individual muscle fibers. Each muscle fiber is innervated by a single nerve. With aging, humans lose the nerves that innervate muscle fibers and with each nerve loss, they lose the associated muscle fiber. For example, the vastus medialis muscle in the front of your thigh contains approximately 800,000 muscle fibers when you are 20 years old, but by age 60, it will have only about 250,000 fibers. The average person loses about eight percent of muscle size in the decade between 40 and 50 years of age, and the rate of loss increases to 15 percent per decade after age 75 (J Am Geriatr Soc, March 2003;51(3):323-30). You can slow the loss of muscle fibers as you age and can enlarge the remaining muscle fibers by exercising against resistance, but you cannot increase the number of fibers once they are lost (The Journals of Gerontology, August 2012).

Resistance exercise increases muscle size and strength in older people (Med. Sci. Sports Exerc, 2011; 43 (2): 249–58), but with aging you need to work much harder to gain the amount of strength that a younger person would get with the same program. In older people, resistance training can enlarge the remaining muscle fibers, but it does not increase the number of fibers in a muscle (Med Sci Sports Exerc, July 2011;43(7):1177-87).

How to Grow Larger Muscles As You Age
The stimulus to enlarge a muscle is to exercise against resistance vigorously enough to damage your muscles. Muscles grow when they heal from muscle damage. You can tell that you are causing muscle damage because of the burning you will feel in muscles when you are exercising and the delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) that you feel 8 to 24 hours after you finish exercising. Then you take easier workouts until the soreness goes away, usually in 24 to 48 hours. If you take hard workouts when muscles are sore, you are likely to tear them and not be able to exercise again until your injuries heal.

Taking in extra protein without doing resistance exercise will not increase muscle size or strength; see my report below, “Extra Protein Does Not Enlarge Muscles.” However, eating foods that contain both protein and carbohydrates after a workout can help muscles to heal faster and grow stronger.

Lifting Lighter Weights with More Repetitions
In one study, older men gained more muscle strength by spending more time lifting lighter weights, whereas younger men gained more muscle strength by lifting heavier weights. In younger men, doubling exercise volume by spending more time lifting weights produced limited added muscle enlargement. In older men, it resulted in much larger muscles and far more strength (The Journals of Gerontology, August 2012).

Exercising as You Age Keeps More Fast-Twitch Fibers
Muscles are made up primarily of two types of fibers: fast twitch fibers that govern strength and speed, and slow twitch fibers that govern endurance. Inactivity causes a far greater loss of the fast twitch muscle fibers that govern strength and speed (J Cell Mol Med, Sep 2009;13(9B):3032-50), so exercise makes you stronger by causing your muscles to retain more fast twitch fibers.

Benefits of Life-long Exercise
Inactivity at any age causes tremendous loss of muscle size and strength. If you inactivate a leg by putting it in a cast, you lose a large amount of muscle size in just four days. However, if you make the inactivated leg muscles contract by stimulating them with an electric current, some of the loss of muscle size is prevented (Nutrition, Acta Physiol (Oxf), March 2014; 210(3):628-41).

Life-long competitive athletes over 50 who train four to five times per week do not lose as many of the nerves that innervate muscles, so they retain more muscle size and strength with aging (The Physician and Sportsmedicine, Sept 2011;39(3):172-8). Other studies show that life-long competitive runners over 60 had almost the same number of muscle fibers as 25-year-olds. If you are not a life-long exerciser, there is still plenty of benefit from exercise no matter when you start.

Join a Gym
First check with your doctor to make sure you do not have any condition that will be harmed by vigorous exercise. Then join a gym and ask for instructions on how to use the weight-training machines. As a general rule, on each machine, you will try to move a weight 10 times in a row, rest a minute, and then do two more sets of 10. In the beginning, you should lift very light weights and go home without sore muscles. After a few weeks of lifting weights three times a week, not on consecutive days, you can gradually try to add more weight on your machines. Older people are at increased risk for injuries, so always stop a lifting workout when you feel pain in one spot that worsens as you continue to lift a weight.

So exercise hard and rest harder!


An Hour On The Boards Tonight

December 7th , Wednesday @ 7:00p.m

A lovely, still night on the boardwalk in Atlantic City

I ran at a very comfortable pace for one hour.   The city has added  very bright lights along the entire length of the boardwalk. So there are no longer those scary dark spots that used to be.   I felt more comfortable as I ran. But since I didn’t have my Garmen, I don’t know how far I actually covered. I plan to take a break here and check Google Maps to see if I can determine the distance.     I’m back.   Google MAPS  says I ran exactly five miles which is pretty remarkable.  That was to be my next goal, to run 5 miles in 60 minutes. All this seems to be happening pretty quickly and I hope I’m not pushing too fast.   Anyway I look at it, a pleasant and satisfying night.

Stable stats……

Back to working

December 6th ,  Tuesday

Pushing through the pain,  kind of…….


After taking two days of rest, I headed to the clubhouse tonight for some serious work.  A couple of things may be at work here on my body. First, I received a flu shot about five  days ago and may still be feeling some of the effects of that. Second, the four mile run that I completed three  days ago was the most strenuous effort I have made in the running world for about two months.  So I have been tired and feeling muscle soreness for the last two days. Today was not much better, but I decided I have had enough rest and needed a workout.

The entire session consisted of 75 minutes in motion. In the gym I worked on leg exercises, arms and core for 40 minutes with a 10-minute run on the treadmill in the middle.   I left the weight room pretty winded and tired on the way to the pool. There I swam for 20 minutes and ran in the deep water for 15 minutes.  Sat in the hot whirlpool for 15 minutes ,  showered and headed home pleasantly exhausted .   Tomorrow is for running.

Stats = Stable



Comfortable 4 road miles

December 2nd  &  3rd

Having fun again on the roads this week………….

Friday – Today was resting and recovering from Thursday’s  four mile run.   Legs are tired and a little bit tight but things feel pretty good.


Saturday-   Still in the experimental stage of this revovery effort, I decided to try another 4 mile run today at a comfortable pace. Running with a full day’s rest has so far allowed me to increase mileage without any recurring Achilles tendon pain.   I am happy to report that I completed 4 miles 2.5 minutes faster than on Thursday with very minimal effort and no leg or foot discomfort. Total time for 4 miles was 47:17.  (12:46, 12:08, 11:02, 11:20)   Finished again with ice and golf ball roll for feet.

Stats –

I-Mad = .5

SLEEP = 10 hours

a.m. HR =  #54

Workout = 4 miles



Road Trial

December 1st, Thursday

Real progress……..

On a beautiful, brisk, breezy,  early December afternoon I decided to test my foot on a favorite local road course. This run consists of two miles of gently rolling hills out and back on Pittinger Pond Road.   I had not run on roads or hills or more than three miles in over two months.  I approached the effort with trepidation, vowing to abort on the first sign of pain or soreness.  Happy to report that I  completed the four miles in under 50 minutes (49:55) with all systems A-OK!   Miles got progressively quicker; 14:17, 12:02, 11:59, & 11:46.

I’m very pleased with this run.   Iced and golf ball rolled for proactive foot care.

Stats –

I-Mad = 1

a.m. HR = 54BPM

Weight = #154

Sleep = 9.5 hrs

Workout  =  4 miles as above


Late “November Rain”

November 29th and 30th


 Feeling a bit wimpy for backing off outdoor workouts on these rainy, mild, late-November days.  But I did an hour of hard work inside to compensate on Tuesday evening.  That consisted of 20 minutes of treadmill at 12:00 pace,  20 minutes swimming my three strokes nonstop, and 20 minutes of solid upper body work.

 Left out core work today because of soreness/tightness in the lower back.  I have been doing all my leg drills without holding on for balance for a week now with the goal to tighten up the core.  I read an article recently that included the quote, “All running is done on one leg.”  The point was to stress that it is important to do leg drills on one leg to develop the strength, stamina and balance needed to run distance with proper form and efficency.   I have always believed in the importance of proper form and efficiency. I am reminded of Bob McGivney’s poster from 35 years ago. “Grace of motion is a function of power.”  But I have to admit that the concept of running as a one-legged activity is new to me. But I think it serves to stress an important point in a clear manner.  Anyway that is why I think my core is sore right now.


Pretty sore and tight today. These extended indoor workouts  sessions seem to take more out of me than I anticipate. I’m always feeling the effects 24 hours later to a greater degree than I thought I would. So I took a day to recover.

Also, I had a complete medical check-up today in preparation for an eye operation I am having on December 15th. From all that I can learn this cataract procedure  is relatively simple and quite common.  Only takes 15 minutes in office.


Steady progress

November  26th & 27th


Saturday – Rested from running and did core work at home.

Sunday – Today I  warmed up at home with leg drills and lunges before driving to the cinder track.  On arrival I was able to begin my run immediately.   I ran three consecutive miles in 36:00.  As I ran, each mile was quicker and more comfortable .   That is surely the strongest run in about two months.  Could have gone faster but resisted.  Refueled with chocolate milk and peanut butter. The body is feeling a bit fatigued tonight, and I think will  be achy on the morrow .  Trying to slowly push the envelope.



I-MAD = .5


a.m.HR = 54BPM

WEIGHT  = #154


Week in review

November 25th , Friday @ 5:00 p.m.

Tuesday – A good day of work at the clubhouse. Ran for 20 minutes on the treadmill. Did upper body and core and leg drills for 30 minutes in the gym. Then swam for 15 minutes and took a relaxing hot whirlpool for 15 minutes.

Wednesday and Thursday were to rest and be thankful. There is a really good possibility that my Achilles tendon injury has finally resolved itself!

Friday – Ran 3 steady miles today on the cinders  with some occasional stops for extra work (ala -Jim Ryan)  at the exercise station. The last two miles were continuous. Total time in motion was 50 minutes. Longest run so far with no Achilles tendon issues.Very thankful!   I am still proceeding with an abundance of caution. Will remain at three miles for at least a week, maybe two.


I-Mad = .5   Tight but not sore in the a.m.

Weight =  #154.5  Today, not bad after Thanksgiving dinner

Sleep =  Average of 9 hours




November 20th and 21st

Proceeding with an abundance of caution…

SUNDAY – Resting after longest run so far yesterday.

Giants win.  Go to 7- 3

Monday – The long-running summer has finally come to an end it seems. Today was the coldest and most bitter day so far this year. So I went indoors to the clubhouse and did a Non-Stop 30 minute pretty intensive workout at the gym that included upper body, core and leg drills. Once again I was pleasantly exhausted at the end. Got to 12 push-ups today.

 Stats –

I-Mad = 1.5

Weight = 154

Sleep = 10 hours

Workout = Solid gym set, 30 minutes  Continue reading Proceeding/Recovering

2.5+ on the Cinders

November 18th & 19th

Friday –   Just a one mile jog on the cinders to  keep the consistency going.  A.T.  OK

Saturday –   was  unseasonably warm and  sunny. It was a beautiful day for a Meet of Champions in the morning and a workout on the cinders in the late afternoon.

   64*at 3:45 p.m.                                                                                                 My workout consisted of two and a half miles of running at 12 minute pace stopping on each half mile lap for 3 minutes  to do leg drills,core and arms.   Since I am only running at 12 minute pace, it is not aerobically taxing. So the additional work keeps my heart rate elevated a little higher. The entire workout consumed 45 minutes in motion. And happy to add no uncomfortable or painful sensations in my Achilles tendon. That has been for 4 consecutive days of pain-free running on cinders in a row. I am a happy me!

  Let me add that after four consecutive days of happy running,  I heard myself saying to myself on the track this afternoon, “Swimming and biking are recreational activities, but running is serious shit.”


I-Mad – 1…!

Sleep- 7 hours

AMHR- 55 Better

Weight- #151.8 after workout!  Lowest in weeks .

Workout – As above