Run Forrest, Run!

More and more people are taking up running these days. The simple act of lacing up your shoes and heading out the door is catching fire. Local races from 5K to 100 miles are filling up. I love it. The body is designed to move not sit on your rear end in a cubicle starring at a computer screen or sitting on the couch sprouting roots. The postural stress and chronic respective injuries from these activities are well documented.

 Active is good yes, but do not jump the gun. You need to rebuild some of the important “core muscles” and build strength in you feet and ankle before heading out that door.

That said, you should be careful about how you stretch. If not done properly, stretching can actually cause injury rather than prevent it. Rule number one in stretching: do not bounce. It’s a common mistake, but bouncing risks pulling or tearing the muscle you’re trying to stretch and relax. Muscles must be stretched gradually. If a stretch is applied too quickly, the muscle responds with a strong contraction, increasing tension. If the stretch is applied slowly, however, this contraction reflex is avoided, muscle tension falls, and you may stretch the muscle further. The lesson here: stretch slowly and hold the stretch for 30 to 40 seconds.

Good foundation of flexibility first.

 Every day life tension, old injuries and postural stress create imbalances in our bodies.  Common imbalances are tight hip flexors and hamstrings in combination with weak abdominal and gluteal muscles.   Rounded shoulder and tight chest muscles lead to injury as well. It is advised to consult with an experienced Chiropractor or Physical Therapist for specific stretches and exercises for these areas.  Traditional weight lifting maneuvers usually emphasize shortening muscles.  This can lead to injury for many runners. I can’t tell you how often I tell people “you need long and strong” muscles. Yoga and Pilates studios are good places to get educated on a foundation of good flexibility. The areas a runner should consider stretching are the hip flexors, thighs, lower back, calves, chest and neck.

Best shoes to wear?

 There are a variety of makes and model when it comes to running shoes. There are gimmicks and gadgets being added everyday. From rigid motion control shoes with thick heel and dual density foam, rigid chassis systems to the new wave of minimalist Nike Frees and Vibrams 5 fingers which is essentially a rubber glove worn on your feet.  After you have been working on strength and flexibility for a couple weeks and are ready to get your shoes I recommend buying a light weight neutral shoe. These shoes will allow for more normal foot motion and encourage you to be light on your feet. As I always advise, seek the help of professionals to pick the best shoes for your foot. I recommend Fleet Feet and the Auburn Running Company to get the best advice and access to the best gear. I love gear!! You will pay a tiny bit more than the big box stores but it’s (you) are worth it.

 Foods: (adapted from


Bright red tomatoes get their color from an antioxidant called lycopene. Research has linked diets abundant in tomatoes to lower cancer rates. Refrigeration diminishes their flavor, so store fresh tomatoes at room temperature.


Arugula, Kale, mustard greens, and other leafy greens are great sources of fiber and antioxidant vitamins, such as beta-carotene and vitamin C.

3. Whole Grains

Whole-wheat or rice pasta has a lower glycemic index (or GI) than “white” pasta. This is key for anyone at risk of diabetes, since low GI foods keep blood-sugar levels from spiking. With either pasta, including vegetables and unsaturated fats (like olive oil) also lowers a meal’s GI. Look for Gluten free alternatives to keep the inflammation in your body down.


Always buy locally grown (as best you can), in season and organic. Bananas, grapes, olives, grapefruit are great choices for runners.  Broccoli has abundant fiber and antioxidant vitamins, broccoli and its cruciferous cousins—including cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts—contain cancer-fighting substances called isothiocyanates.  Sweet peppers – Red, yellow, green, and even chocolate-colored peppers add a painter’s palette of colors to meals—along with a healthy dose of vitamins A and C. Roasting or grilling intensifies their flavor and gives them a creamy texture.


A source of lean protein, fish is also plentiful in omega-3s. These fats protect against abnormal heart rhythms and reduce inflammation, which may help runners recover faster. Fish that are rich in omega-3s include salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna, sardines, and lake trout. Avoid farmed fish.



Garlic helps keep total cholesterol and blood pressure down. It has antibiotic properties and has been known to keep vampires away as well.

How Far and How Often?

As a general rule to gain fitness and improve cardiovascular health run approximately 20-30 minutes three times per week. It is tempting to push yourself into counting miles and your pace but I feel running by time is easier on your joints and your ego.  The last thing you want to do is start out too hard, get too sore and get too discouraged and quit. 10 minutes of walking and light running to warm up, 10 minutes at a pace where you are “huffing and puffing” and then 10 minutes to cool down is a healthy place to start.  Take another 10 minutes to stretch after you run. A warm muscle is more pliable and stretches easier. And always consult with your family physician to find out if running is right for you.

Run on the Sly 20 mile