Thursday, January 31, 2008

Dave's Training Log Jan 28-Feb 2

Sun Jan 27
am: 10 miles

Mon Jan 28
am: 2.5 miles with Sumo, then 7.5 miles
total=10 miles

Tues, Jan 29
am: 2 miles with Sumo, then 13
total=15 miles

Wed, Jan 30
no run- terrible wind and cold

Thurs, Jan 31
am: 2 miles with Sumo, then 4
total= 6 miles

Fri, Feb 1

am: 2 miles with Sumo, then 9 miles
total=11 miles

Sat, Feb 2
am: 2.5 miles with Sumo, then 9.5 miles hard
total miles= 12

Total for the week= 64 miles

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Moderate Exercise and Moderate Alcohol Good for the Heart

People who don't drink at all and don't exercise had the highest risk of heart disease. People who drink moderately and exercise had a 50% lower risk. Teetotaling exercisers had a 30% decreased risk, as did moderately drinking couch potatoes. "There's an additional protective effect to doing both," says Gronbaek. "That's the new finding."

Researchers are very cautious about dispensing information pertaining to the health benefits of alcohol. Here they recommend not considering adding alcohol until you are at least age 45 to 50 years.

Sodium A BIG Problem for Many

As many as half of the 70 million people in the United States with hypertension turn out to be sensitive to salt, versus 10 percent of Americans in general. Even so, only 22 percent of patients stick with a hypertension-taming, low-salt DASH diet rich in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy. That’s down from 30 percent in 1994. “We’re going in the wrong direction,” said Dr. Phillip Mellen of the Hattiesburg Health Clinic in Mississippi, who has studied nutritional aspects of high blood pressure. -New York Times article

Most Americans find it extremely tough eating a low-sodium diet. The only answer to this problem is regulating the sodium content in foods, thus forcing companies to find better ways to maintain flavor.

A cup of canned soup contains at least 1,000 mg of sodium. So does a frozen dinner or serving of pizza.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Dietary Advice to Reduce Inflammation

Consider these startling statistics;

70 million Americans are afflicted with arthritis. That number has doubled in just 20 years ago.

64 million Americans have some form of cardiovascular disease.

50 million Americans suffer from allergies. That number has also doubled in 20 years.

10% of American children have allergic dermatitis.

20 million Americans have asthma.

18.2 million Americans had diabetes in 2002, almost a 50% increase in just 10 years.

According to Dr. Floyd H. Chilton, author of a book titled Win The War Within, the principle cause of these debilitating diseases is diet-related inflammation. Dr. Chiton, a professor in the Dept of Physiology and Pharmacology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, also raises suspicions that Alzheimer’s disease and even cancer might be related to inflammation within the body.

In his book, Chilton describes in detail how overproduction of an omega-6 fatty acid called arachidonic acid (AA) is the root of the problem and offers his own Chilton Program as a solution. He cites clinical trials as evidence supporting claims that his diet dramatically reduces “inflammatory messengers” in the body.

Using data from US Dept of Agriculture, Chilton created the Inflammatory Index that ranks commonly eaten foods. He also divides fish, a key component of his program, into categories including best choices, good choices, neutral, and choices you should stay away from.

A summary of his Prevention Prescription for people with moderate risk of overactive inflammation is as follows:

- Eat foods containing no more than a total of 150 on the Inflammatory Index.
- Eat an average of 200 mg of EPA a day. That is 3 servings of Category I or II fish per week, or 4 servings of Category 3 fish per week.
- Take an average of 450-550 mg of gammalinolenic acid (GLA) a day in supplement form.
- DO NOT take GLA without having Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) either in fish or a supplement.
- Choose carbohydrates with a low-to-moderate Glycemic Index value.

So which foods should we avoid? High on the list of foods that increase AA levels are organ meats, some farmed fish, especially farmed salmon, egg yolks, and some poultry products, especially turkey.

High insulin levels promote inflammation, so Chilton recommends limiting intake of carbohydrates that rank high on the glycemic index such as white bread, cereals, instant oatmeal, cookies, cakes, instant rice, corn chips, popcorn, ice cream, jams and jellies, potatoes, turnits, honey, sugar, maple syrup, and some fruits like dates, raisins, canned in syrup, and tropical fresh fruits like kiwi, mango, papaya, watermelon, and pineapple.

What should we eat? The best types of fish include herring, mackerel, and wild sockeye or chino salmon. Pink or coho wild salmon, halibut, shrimp, oysters, and white canned tuna are classified as good. Lentils and kidney beans, most fruits, non-starchy vegetables, nuts, whole wheat pasta, and milk all rank low on the glycemic index and should be eaten often. Surprisingly, lean beef ranks low on the Inflammatory Index and can be used as an alternative to fish as an occasional source of protein.

(c) Dave Elger, 2007 All rights reserved

Dave's Training Log Jan 20-26

Sun Jan 20
am: 3 miles with Sumo
pm: 6 milese with Bob Baade
total miles = 9

Mon Jan 21
am: 2.5 miles with Sumo, then 7.5 miles
total miles = 10

Tues Jan 22
am: 2.5 miles with Sumo, then 8 miles
total miles= 10

Wed Jan 23
am: 2.5 miles with Sumo, then 10.5 miles
total miles= 13

Thurs Jan 24
am: 10 miles

Fri Jan 25
no run

Sat, Jan 26
no run

Total for week= 52 miles

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

ACSM/AHA Guidelines for Physical Activity

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) American Heart Association joint Physical Activity Guidelines for healthy adults under age 65 reads as follows:

"All healthy adults ages 18 to 65 years need moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity for at least 30 minutes on five days each week or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity for at least 20 minutes on three days each week."

"Further, adults will benefit from performing activities that maintain or increase muscular strength and endurance for at least two days each week. It is recommended that 8-10 exercises using the major muscle groups be performed on two non-consecutive days. To maximize strength development, a resistance (weight) should be used for 8-12 repetitions of each exercise resulting in willful fatigue."

To read the full report go to

link to commonly asked questions.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Hindu Squats for Leg Strength

I think Hindu Squats as seen here offer a great complementary exercise for runners or any athlete for that matter who are interested in improving leg strength. This version features a full squat, which may not be recommended for everybody- a half squat version is better for individuals with a history of knee problems.

I can do 50 but they get really taxing near the end. I read about people doing 200-300 and all I can say is that I have lots of work to do before getting to that level.

The best way to build up your number on these is to do them in sets with 1-2 minutes of recovery, at least 3 days per week before running. Once a week I would try for as many as I could do, just as a test. Eventually you should be able to reach 100 in one session (maybe 5 sets of 20 or 4 sets of 25). Make your goal the same as mine: 100 straight Hindu Squats! Combat conditioning guru Matt Furey, who once did 2,000 straight Hindu Squats, says "when you can do 500 straight Hindu Squats, you’re on your way to greatness."

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Leg Extension

The conventional leg extension exercise has taken a bad rap in recent years. The criticism centers around the fact that they don't really stimulate the muscles in the same manner as with running or walking.

The truth is that the leg extension is very good for isolating and strengthening the vastus medialis-the muscle located slightly to the inside that is responsible for extending the leg. A weak vastus medialis can contribute to knee pain so it makes perfectly good sense to use leg extensions. Just be careful not to use too much weight, don't let the knee flex more than 90 degrees, and don't throw the weight to the top and then lock it out at the top. Use a slower controlled motion and don't hold it at the lock-out postion for more than a brief second. You can also experiment with pointing your toes at different angles to find the most comfortable position.

As with any exercise, if it hurts stop! Here is a good video from that demonstrates proper technique.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Abdominal Strengthen Training

Dr. Peter Francis at the San Diego State University Biomechanics Lab conducted a study designed to rank 13 of the most common abdominal strengthening exercises from best to worst.

In the study, 30 volunteers were asked to perform 13 different abdominal exercises in random order while hooked to electromyography equiment (EMG). Muscle recruitment was measured in the upper and lower rectus abdominus and the external oblique.

The study revealed that the most effective abdominal exercises were those that required abdominal stabalization and body rotation.

The top 5 abdominal exercises according to results of this study:

1. Bicycle Maneuver: To do this exercise, you lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground. Put your hands beside your head. Bring your knees up to about a 45-degree angle and slowly go through a bicycle pedal motion. Touch your left elbow to your right knee, then your right elbow to your left knee. Breathe evenly throughout the exercise.

2. Captain's chair: This was one of the few on the "most effective" list that involves gym equipment. To do the exercise, stabilize your upper body by gripping the handholds and lightly pressing your lower back against the back pad of the chair-like equipment. The starting position begins with you holding your body up and legs dangling below. Now slowly lift your knees in toward your chest. The motion should be controlled and deliberate as you bring your knees up and return them back to the starting position.

If you do not have access to a captain's chair, Francis says you can improvise by hanging from a bar, although that may be difficult for many people who aren't in shape.

3. Crunch on exercise ball: A high-quality exercise ball, which costs about $30 depending on the size, is needed to do this exercise. Sit on the ball with your feet flat on the floor. Let the ball roll back slowly. Now lie back on the ball until your thighs and torso are parallel with the floor. Cross your arms over your chest and slightly tuck your chin in toward your chest. Contract your abdominals raising your torso to no more than 45 degrees. For better balance, spread your feet wider apart. To work the oblique muscles, make the exercise less stable by moving your feet closer together. Exhale as you contract; inhale as you return to the starting position.

4. Vertical crunch: Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground. Put your hands behind your head for support. Extend your legs straight up in the air, crossed at the ankles with a slight bend in the knee. Contract your abdominal muscles by lifting your torso toward your knees. Make sure to keep your chin off your chest with each contraction. Exhale as you contract upward; inhale as you return to the starting position.

5. Reverse crunch: Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground. Put your hands beside your head or extend them out flat to your sides - whatever feels most comfortable. Crossing your feet at the ankles, lift your feet off the ground to the point where your knees create a 90-degree angle. Once in this position, press your lower back on the floor as you contract your abdominal muscles. Your hips will slightly rotate and your legs will reach toward the ceiling with each contraction. Exhale as you contract; inhale as you return to the starting position.

-Unlike strength training, Francis says abdominal exercises should be done frequently rather than for intense periods. "Abdominal strength isn't the same as working on big muscles with large resistance," he says. Instead, what's needed is "endurance training for the abdominals."

Five minutes a day of abdominal exercises can make a difference if you do it regularly.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Dave's Training Log Jan 13- 18

Sun Jan 13
am: 4 miles with Sumo, then 14 miles- snowing so very slow
total miles = 18

Mon Jan 14

am: 5 miles with Sumo

Tues Jan 15
no run- drive to Wisconsin

Wed Jan 16
no run- drive to Wisconsin

Thur Jan 17
am: 2 miles with Sumo,then 10 miles
total miles = 12

Fri Jan 18
am: 10 miles

Sat Jan 19

am: 6 miles with Sumo, then 4 miles- below zero degrees!
total miles = 10

Total for the week: 55 miles with 2 no run days

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

My Faithful Training Partner- Sumo

Sumo is my 10 year old loyal training partner that came off the streets of Okinawa, Japan. Over there with my long lost other dog Bucky, we pretty much dominated the canine races and doggy dashes.

Every morning we get in 3-5 miles together, after which I usually get out for some additional miles. I couldn't ask for a better running buddy.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Are Antioxidants Important?

I have the biophotonic scanner at our center, a device that can measure the carotenoid level in your skin. When I was tested in early November, my score was 36,000. The average American typically scores in the low 20,000s.

Since I began taking the Lifepak nano, my score has now jumped to 77,000! What does this mean? Obviously my level of antioxidant protection has increased (antioxidants offer the body protection against premature aging and a host of other problems by neutralizing free radicals).

While nobody knows for sure, I am confident that a high skin carotenoid score does significantly reduce my risk for cancer, heart disease, and other chronic diseases, not to mention slowing down the entire aging process.

No studies have ever documented that antioxidant supplementation will enhance performance, however I believe that supporting metabolic functions with optimal nutrition in the form of a good antioxidant supplement certainly gives me an advantage.

Check out this youtube clip on the biophotonic scanner.

There is no doubt that antioxidants are important. The question remains, does diet offer optimal protection or are supplements needed? The biophotonic scanner may provide the answer.

Feel free to contact me if you would like additional information on this exciting technology.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Vitamin C By Itself Lowers Endurance Capacity

This is news to me- I wonder how many endurance athletes out there are taking 1,000 mg of Vitamin C on a daily basis.

Oral administration of vitamin C decreases muscle mitochondrial biogenesis and hampers training-induced adaptations in endurance performance

Results: The administration of vitamin C significantly (P = 0.014) hampered endurance capacity. The adverse effects of vitamin C may result from its capacity to reduce the exercise-induced expression of key transcription factors involved in mitochondrial biogenesis. These factors are peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor co-activator 1, nuclear respiratory factor 1, and mitochondrial transcription factor A.

Vitamin C also prevented the exercise-induced expression of cytochrome C (a marker of mitochondrial content) and of the antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase.

Conclusion: Vitamin C supplementation decreases training efficiency because it prevents some cellular adaptations to exercise. -Am J of Clin Nut, Jan 08

Vitamin C and Stroke Prevention

FRIDAY, Jan. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Having higher levels of vitamin C in your blood may reduce your risk of stroke, new research suggests (Am J Clinical Nut, Jan 08).

"persons in the top quartiles of baseline plasma vitamin C concentrations had a 42% lower risk (relative risk: 0.58; 95% CI: 0.43, 0.78) than did those in the bottom quartile"

"It's just an association. It could be vitamin C, it could be vitamin C plus other nutrients, and it could be other things independent of vitamin C. People who eat lots of fruits and vegetables may be eating less fast food," said Levine, who also co-authored an editorial in the same issue of the journal.

The real message, said Levine, is that people should be eating more fruits and vegetables to prevent stroke and other health problems. "Get five or more fruits and vegetables daily in a rainbow of colors," he advised.
- health/

Is This an Advantage?

(photo by Andrew Medichini/Associated Press)

The International Association of Athletics Association has ruled YES! Having both legs amputated gives Oscar Pistorius an advantage over those of us blessed with 2 regular legs. (story at

Personal Bests
100 m: 10.91
200 m: 21.58
400 m: 46.56
Oscar Pistorius (born November 22, 1986) is a South African Paralympic runner. Known as the "Blade Runner" and "the fastest man on no legs", Pistorius is the double amputee world record holder in the 100, 200 and 400 metres events and runs with the aid of carbon fibre transtibial artificial limbs. His artificial lower legs, while enabling him to compete, have also generated claims that he has an unfair advantage over other runners. In 2007, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) amended its competition rules to ban the use of "any technical device that incorporates springs, wheels or any other element that provides a user with an advantage over another athlete not using such a device". It claimed that the amendment was not specifically aimed at Pistorius, and is monitoring his track performances using high-definition cameras to determine whether he actually has an advantage.

On July 13, 2007, Pistorius ran in the 400 m B-race at the Golden Gala in Rome and was placed second with a time of 46.90 s. Two days later, on July 15, 2007, he ran in the 400 m race at the Norwich Union British Grand Prix at the Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield. Pistorius finished last in wet conditions and was later disqualified for running out of his lane

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Olympic Marathoner Brian Sell- High Mileage Runner

Brian Sell earned a birth on the 2008 Olympic Marathon team by placing 3rd at the Trials on November 3rd in 2 hr 11 min 40 sec. Sell, who runs for the Hansen-Brooks Distance Project, made his breakthough in the 2004 Olympic trials race, holding the lead until mile 21. He eventually faded to 12th but that race served notice that he was for real. He has run 2 hr 10 min 47 seconds for the marathon and placed 4th at Boston and 6th at Chicago.

The following was taken from message board- Kevin Hanson (Sell's coach)

"Those mileage amounts (5,625, an average of 110 miles per week for 52 straight weeks) are what Brian recorded for 2007. Brian has a tendency to cheat on his mileage on a daily basis. The group will run a 12 mile run and Brian will record it as 11 or an afternoon run of 45 minutes as 6 miles which is probably 7 and half. Brian cheats by a minimum of 10 miles a week. It is just a weird motivating thing for Brian. I would roughly estimate Brian to have run an additional 10-15 miles a week or about 500-700 miles for the year. His total for 2007 was definitly over 6000. He also had scheduled downtime of 30 days during the year (an additional month) and a huge cut back in mileage in February due to sickness. Brian ran more mileage than this in 2006 as he recorded 6000 of his cheat miles that year (probably closer to 6500). He also had 26 scheduled days off that year.However, mileage is not the answer. It is simply one variable. Brian works very hard but assumes that others are either working harder or are more talented. It is true that Brian feels like others are gaining strength on him if he runs less than 140 miles a week. He uses this drive as motivation to make him the athlete that he is. All of these little quirks help to prepare Brian mentally as well as physically."

Dave's Training Log Jan 6-12

Sun Jan 6
am: 1 mile with dogs, then 17 mile loop in 2 hr 40 min- snowing
total miles - 18

Mon Jan 7
am: 4 miles with dogs

Tues Jan 8
am: 6 miles with dogs, then 4 x 800 on treadmill at 9.5 mph. 1 mile cool down
total miles = 9

Wed Jan 9
am: 4 miles with Sumo, then 5 miles
pm: 15 min spin workout
total miles = 9

Thurs Jan 10
am: 5 miles with Sumo, then 5 miles
total miles = 10

Fri Jan 11
am: 6 miles with Sumo

Sat, Jan 12
am: 4.5 miles with Sumo, then 10 x 400 on road
total miles = 7

Total miles for the week = 63

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Profile of Ed Whitlock

Ed Whitlock, born on March 6, 1931, is the only man to ever break the 3 hour marathon after turning 70 years of age. In 2000, at age 69, Ed ran a time of 2 hr 52 min 50 sec at the Columbus Marathon, certainly indicating that a sub 3 after 70 was possible.

In September, 2002, at 72 Ed finally achieved his goal, running 2 hr 59 min 10 sec in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Later, in 2004 at Rotterdam, he lowered the record to 2 hr 54 min 49 sec.

On July 14th, 2006, Ed was at it again, smashing the 75-79 age group record for 5K by running 18:45, a pace of 6:02 per mile! The previous mark was 20:42 held by Canadian Maurice Tarrant. Below is a list of records held by Whitlock (from

World Records.Indoor track:
M70 5:12.22

M65 10:11.60 M70 10:52.40 M75 11:28.28

Outdoor track:
M70 38:04.13

M70 37:33

M65 55:04 M70 58:19

1/2 Mar
M70 1:22:23

M70 2:54:49

How does Ed continue running so well at 75? His training program is simple. He just laces up one of his 10 pairs of running shoes and does laps around a nearby cemetery. He doesn’t count the laps or even know his pace, although he guesses it must be in the 8:30-9:00 min per mile range.

Ed also confesses to not knowing how far he runs, but he does admit this: on most days he runs steadily for at least 2 and often up to 3 hours. No speed work, although he does keep up a frequent racing schedule of 25-30 races per year.

He never stretches and doesn’t follow a particular diet. No massages and no weights. He admits to eating ice cream.

One possible explanation for Ed’s longevity is the 20 year break he took from running to work and raise his family. Perhaps by doing so he saved his joints from significant wear and tear, thus enabling him to achieve these phenomenal performances.

Another factor might be his lack of intense training. Ed is uniquely gifted with enough natural speed that he is able to avoid interval training and still set records.

I’ve always believed it’s not the fastest runner who runs a good marathon. It’s the runner who slows down the least. Ed is a perfect example.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Dave's Training Log Dec 30- Jan 5

Sun Dec 30
am: 4 miles with dogs

Mon Dec 31
am: 1 mile with dogs
pm: 1 mile with dogs
2 mile warm up
5K race downtown- felt pretty strong never very comfortable after the uphill start. It was cold!
results say I ran 17:26 but I think it was 17:30s.

total miles with warm-up: 7 miles

Tues Jan 1
am: 6 miles with dogs, then 4 miles- very cold out- 0 degrees!
total miles= 10

Wed Jan 2
am: 1 mile with dogs, then 9 miles
pm: 20 min spin workout
total miles=10

Thurs Jan 3:
am: 5 miles with dogs, then 5 miles
pm: 15 min spin workot
Total miles = 10

Fri Jan 4:
am: 7 miles
pm: 15 min spin workout
total miles = 7

Sat Jan 5
am: 4 miles with dogs, then 6 miles on treadmill- sloppy weather
total miles= 10

Total miles for week= 58 miles

Friday, January 4, 2008

Volume or Intensity?

Great article here by Joe Friel looking at the importance of inteval type training for competitive endurance athletes.

"In a German study, 17 experienced runners steadily increased their volumes from their normal 50 miles per week to 105 miles per week over a four-week period (1). All of these runs were done at about marathon pace or slower (2mmol/L lactate). One year later they allowed the researchers to tinker with their training again. This time they nearly doubled the amount of time they trained at high intensity, over a four-week period again. With increased intensity they improved on four measures of performance from 5 percent to 17 percent. Increased volume produced no significant improvements in the same metrics."

Here is another viewpoint on the subject from peakperformanceonline written by Bruce Tulloh, European 5K champion in 1962. Bruce obviously is a huge fan of the low-mileage high intensity approach to training.

typical low mileage week of marathon training as described by Bruce Tulloh

Tues: warm-up, 8 x 800m on track (90 secs recovery jog) at 5k pace

Thurs: 10 mins warm-up, 2 x 20 mins at threshold pace;

Sat: 10 mins warm-up, 6 x 1 mile off road, (3 mins recovery) at 10k pace;

Sun: long run, 18 miles; 6 miles easy, 6 miles at marathon pace, 6 miles a bit faster.

Total mileage 41 approx.

Despite the evidence, if you like long, slow training, do not dispair! A study published in Medicine & Science in Sport and Exercise concluded the following:

"Our findings suggest that total training time spent at low intensities might be associated with improved performance during highly intense endurance events, especially if the event duration is ~35 min. Interventional studies (i.e., improving or reducing training time in zone 1) are needed to corroborate our findings and to elucidate the physiological mechanisms behind them."

Something tells me the true answer to the optimal training program lies somewhere in the middle.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Need Exercise? Start Simple!

Ok, so you admit to having a motivation problem when it comes to exercise. One approach is to start with one simple exercise that you can do at home- the standard push-up. Keeping back straight, assume a push-up position- head down. Women should start with their knees on the floor rather than hands.

For starters, just do what you can in the convenience of your own home. The way to increase is to do them in sets of small numbers with frequent breaks. One example of that approach would be to do 5 push-ups, rest 2 minutes, then do another 5. Repeat until you can no longer do 5.

For women age 20-29, more than 43 push-ups performed in 2 minutes is excellent. Fewer than 21 is poor. For men in that age group, 80 is excellent, and less than 47 is poor.
Get to work!

A Must Read Before You Join a Gym

This informative article at msn health and fitness by Paul Scott discusses some of the problems associated with commerical gyms.

"The modern gym is a techno holiday with gadgets and lights. They're trying to entertain people." -Jack Berryman, PhD, professor of medical history at the U of Washington.

"We don't want you disengaged while you are working out," he says. "We tell ourselves that exercise is so painful that the only thing you can do to get through it is to watch TV. Watching television and working out is a form of multitasking. To me, however, real value lies in paying attention. It is an engagement practice, it gets your mind off work, and it aligns what you're doing with what you're thinking." -Jim Loehr, performance psychologist

Perhaps the best evidence against traditional health clubs is that these days most elite athletes rarely step foot in one. They work out in environments designed for functional training.