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The Clinic.

I am an overpronator and have been running with shoes designed to help stabilize the problem. Despite that, I am now using orthotics due to a recent injury caused by excessive pronating. Now that I am using orthotics to correct for pronation, should I change to a neutral shoe, or should I continue with motion control designs?

Bernie Dessoye

Smithville, NJ

Orthotics and shoes are made to work together. Many "neutral" shoes have more cushioning than stability or motion control in their design and the midsoles tend to be softer as a result. If you stabilize the foot with an orthotic and then place it on an unstable base (soft midsole), the unstable base will neutralize the stability of the foot and the orthotic. In other words, you are likely to pronate despite the orthotics. I recommend that you continue to use motion control or stability shoes in order to get the maximum control with your orthotics.

Patrick J. Nunan, D.P.M.

Cincinnati, OH


I started running about two and a half years ago and have logged in over 3,000 miles since then. I've run a 5-mile race, six 10Ks, one 10-mile, and two half-marathons. I am 71 years old and just completed my second marathon (first marathon at 70). I finished in a little over five hours. A week after the marathon I started training again with four to six miles a day, seven days a week and will increase about two miles every two weeks. My fastest pace is about 11 minutes per mile for about four and a half miles. I really want to improve my speed without hurting myself. Any suggestions?

Ralph Villar

Salinas, CA

Congratulations on your incredible accomplishments as a senior runner. You have a lot to be proud of despite wanting to finish with faster times. Many younger runners would love to have the ability to run even a fraction of the mileage you're logging.

That said, the first advice you should incorporate into your training is the necessity for adequate rest and recovery. Recovery should be recognized as a training tool by runners of all ages, but as we age it becomes even more important because the body's systems require more time to heal from microtrauma, as well as to adapt to training stress. The last thing you need is to end your running career with overtraining or injury.

Training seven days a week with no variation in your activity is a sure ticket for trouble. Take days off and alternate between long days and hard days and easy recovery runs. Add strength training and cross training activities like bicycling or swimming to take a load off your joints.


Probably the best way to improve your racing speed is to use interval training. For your goal pace, use your current 5K pace. Divide two to three miles into work intervals with an equal amount of rest. For example, you could begin with 4 X 800 meters. Your workout would look like this:

Warm-up two miles, easy

Then do 4X800 meters at 5:15 to 5:20. For rest intervals, jog 400 meters. Finally, cool down two to three miles at an easy pace.

From here you have three variables to manipulate. You can increase the number of 800's to 5, then 6. Or you can decrease the rest interval to a 200 jog. Or you can decrease your time goal to 5:10.

Another way to improve speed is with Anaerobic Threshold training, or Tempo runs. For this workout, run two to three miles at a steady 5K pace plus 25 to 30 seconds per mile. For you, the pace may be a little over 11 minutes per mile. You may need two days off after interval or threshold training since it is very demanding work.

Lee Fidler, Eds.

Stone Mountain, GA


I am 47 years aid and have been running for about 25 years. My usual schedule is five to six miles per day, five days a week. I have been participating in 5K races about once a month. I wear orthotics, alternate two pairs of good running shoes, and always stretch thoroughly before and after running.

Recently I have had several nagging muscle injuries, one after another. First I pulled my left hamstring about five miles into a run of normal speed and terrain. After resting, heating, icing and stretching I was able to run and race in about two weeks. Within days of recovery I felt a pull in my right calf. I am presently resting (one week) and stretching. Prior to these injuries, I had not made any changes in my training schedule. Please advise. These constant one- or two-week breaks for injuries have been frustrating.

Eddie Arbeiter

Plainview, NY

You need to completely heal your injuries before you resume running and especially racing. Two weeks is an awfully quick recovery period for a significant hamstring strain. Incomplete healing can lead to two problems. First, you are increasing your risk of repeating the same injury over again. Second, seemingly unrelated injuries can arise that are in fact related since your body mechanics can change to accommodate an injury. For example, a left hamstring injury may lead to shortened stride length and duration on the injured side. Increased stresses can be transferred to the uninjured right leg, and so it becomes more susceptible to an injury.

Your initial treatment of your injuries has been wise--rest, ice, compression, elevation, or RICE. And you haven't neglected stretching during your usual training. However, you should not push the stretching through a severe, acute injury. Stretching can aggravate a significant tear. Use RICE and gradually introduce gentle stretching. Rehab should emphasize stretching and strengthening. Consider the advice of a professional trainer for form, mechanics, and posture. Consider massage therapy with a physical therapist to break adhesions across muscle fibers.

I recommend that you gradually return to full running distances after a significant injury. Do not even begin to run until you are free of discomfort with routine activities. For hamstring strains you may have a long wait, certainly more than two weeks. When running is resumed, it should be a very gradual reintroduction until you are back to your usual training distances and speed. Start at very short distances--one quarter or one half mile. Try this every other day for a week. If, and only if, you have no discomfort with the activity, then double the distance on a weekly basis within the same pain-free window. You will reach your target distance in six weeks or more. I know that this is a long time, but it beats a continuous or recurrent injury state. During this period I suggest cross training with biking, walking, swimming, or whatever activity you find that does not aggravate your injury. Cross training when possible, will help keep you sane and in shape during your recovery.

Finally, although I hate to say it, the tendency toward recurrent or continuous injuries will increase with age. With the right precautions, you should be able to continue running forever, but to do so you must give your injuries the respect they deserve and modify your total running load. Sometimes more rest days are needed. Don't get stuck with one rigid schedule. Your recurrent injuries signal a need to cut back for six months or more before coming back to your full current schedule

Rob Scott, M.D.

San Diego, CA


At age 69 I've been running for the last 40 years until pain in my back and hips was diagnosed as arthritis. My doctor told me that I could walk, bike, or swim--but no running. The pain has stopped since I followed the doctor's orders, but I'd love to run again. Any chance?

T.J. Compbell

Mt. Pleasant, SC

Generally, weight-bearing activities (such as running or jogging) can aggravate arthritis of the lumbar spine. However, the diagnosis of arthritis does not automatically preclude returning to running. With proper hip girdle and lower back stretching and strengthening exercises, wearing well-fitted, well-cushioned shoes, running on soft surfaces, and possibly altering your running schedule to avoid consecutive days, it is possible that a return to running would be reasonable and successful. What you need is a more formal assessment through a sports medicine physical therapist to address the appropriate rehabilitation measures. Make sure that your doctor is a sports medicine physician who has a real interest in the running athlete.

Stuart M Weinstein, MD.

Seattle, WA


Ask The Clinic, in care of The American Running Association. 4405 East West Highway. Suite 405. Bethesda. MD 20814. FAX (301) 913-9520. or e-mail at Write a letter Including as much relevant information as possible about you (age, weight. etc.) and your injury (type and location of pain), training schedule (typical weekly workouts, pace, surface). athletic and medical history, sole wear, recent changes in training. etc. Type or print your letters. Hand-written FAXed letters cannot be accepted. All letters, even e-mail, must include your name, address and phone number. Responses usually take three to four weeks, but can take as long as five.
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Title Annotation:questions about running shoes, speed, injuries
Publication:Running & FitNews
Article Type:Column
Date:Feb 1, 2001
Previous Article:These old bones--can run like the wind.
Next Article:American Running Association.

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