Sunday, August 17, 2008

Maggot FAQs (& a Few InFAQs)

Department of Motivation/Inspiration

Q: Will I get better/faster? WHEN? I know you know the answer, don’t pretend you don’t!!! How not to get discouraged?
(Slowpoke) and How do you push past the three mile slump? (mrsssg)

A: One run out of the week (only one!), push yourself, either faster or farther—but NOT both, never both. You might try one run a week with someone else who’s a little bit faster than you are. You’ll feel like you’re dying, and it’ll be embarrassing, but the next run you do on your own will seem easier. You might “bonk” or “hit the wall,” and you must not feel defeated by this. A bad run is better than no run, and some days just don’t work out.

As for WHEN … if you are running slowly enough, you will be vastly better within six months. If you keep running too fast and doing each run like a wind sprint, you might never get better.

As for not getting discouraged, just keep reading the success stories here! (This just in: a picture of Victoria in the maggot shirt she won for most inspiring story. Doesn’t she look fantastic?)

Q: Any tips for treadmill running to make it, well, not suck? (Julie)

A: Aside from varying the speed/incline and watching TV, the one interesting tip I’ve heard is to try running some intervals BACKWARDS. I’ve never tried the latter, so do it at your own risk (and maybe take some video footage, please?). (Julie’s a little busy at the moment and probably not reading this, but perhaps in a couple months she’ll be back.)

Department of Pain

Q: Any thoughts on plantar fasciitis/heel spurs? (erika)

A: First, know that the heel spur is not the problem, but rather a symptom of the plantar fasciitis—it’s a little bit of extra bone that grows due to chronic inflammation. Special stretches and exercises help a lot, as does running later in the day rather than in the morning.

Q: I have an annoying little pain in the muscles next to my right shin bone. Any good stretches for this muscle? Can it do a lot of damage if I run through it? (mrsssg)

A: These are shin splints, and can be a lot more than an annoying little pain. The advice I got somewhere long ago when I started was that I should expect to get them at some point and to run through them. I did, and I did, and it worked out—BUT everything I read about them suggests not just running through them. Running on a softer surface, maybe better shoes, avoiding hills, and not increasing the amount you’re running all seem like good advice. (Since the standard advice for all pains in runners is “stop running,” and it’s patently ridiculous most of the time—and starting to be disproven—I’m automatically suspicious whenever I hear it.) (Thanks for the link, anonymous!)

Department of Gear

Q: Do you have any favorite online stores for running basics? (Slowpoke)

A: Some places I’ve ordered from more than once and liked every time are the REI Outlet, Campmor, and Running Warehouse; I’ve heard good things about Title Nine but haven’t tried them myself.

Q: What’s your opinion on spendy inserts? good, not necessary, imperative, couldn’t hurt? (blue)

A: Depends. I never used them until this year, when my shoes felt a little too uncushioned. First I tried cheap ones—not good. Then I tried spendy ones, and they do feel good. But good running shoes shouldn’t require extra inserts if your feet are pretty average-shaped (mine aren’t). I’ve heard warnings not to use inserts as a way to try to extend the life of your shoes, and that makes sense to me.

Department of Scatology

Q: I can make it 1 mile before I have to desperately find a bathroom to defile. I’m unsure how to add much distance through potentially bathroom-free territory and there have been times that I’ve had to cut off a run to walk, clenched and desperate, to somewhere that I’ll have trouble showing my face again. (Muddy)

A: I think long ago Denise had this question, and I was flummoxed. I still am, but I think this is what I’d do: run my first mile in a little loop back to my house, then continue my run from there. Also, try stripping all milk products from your diet, as lactose intolerance can present this way. Finally, relax about the showing your face thing. Everybody shits, and everybody’s shit stinks. Look at it this way: you’re making people feel less embarrassed about themselves!

Q: I find that I can’t poop unless I run, and I find that it takes longer and longer for running to work its magic. This is how I become literally addicted to running. And like a drug, it takes more and more to get the job done. I ran 4 miles last night and my intestines just laughed. (also Muddy)

A: Muddy, you do have some issues, don’t you? It sounds like you’re an IBS sufferer, and that’s a pretty tricky problem overall. The general advice I give my patients is to quit eating any simple carbohydrates (they plug you up), quit dairy as above, and find a daily dose of good old-fashioned Milk of Magnesia that works for you.

Q: When I run I get really itchy in areas it isn’t polite to scratch publicly. I’m assuming this is because of sweat, but whatever the reason I end up with a red butt from my attempts to ease the itchiness. Any ideas? (mdt)

A: Well, I just go ahead and scratch, but I know I’m less than couth sometimes, and I could see how this might get annoying if the itch kept up. Are you wearing underwear when you run? If so, take them off (but put your shorts back on, please). Next, try some toe-vagina-butt cream—maybe you’re a little yeasty. Third, try some powder—I love Lush’s Silky Underwear.

Q: My mother-in-law insists that running is bad for the PC muscle. Is there any validity to this claim? Please put this nagging fear to rest! (Allison)

A: No. No validity. You must already know that your mother-in-law is nuts anyway, right?

Q: Is it true that women who have had children have to pee more often, or does it just seem that way? I ran a half marathon and I swear I must have stopped at 6-8 port-a-potties. Also, I just got back from a week of camping and it seemed like no matter how many times I tried to empty the bladder before getting in the tent, I always had a 2 a.m. nature call. It was worse right after I had my daughter, when I finished a 5K by truly wetting my pants. What can be done, if anything?

A: Like this question, the answer is a three-parter.
  1. As women get older, they can have more trouble holding in their urine. This is only slightly more common with women who have borne children than those who have not (except for the unfortunate few with really nasty tears). But this is a basic muscle-strength issue, and no matter how old you are, you can get your muscles really strong if you work at it. Here’s a tip: Kegel while you run. Not the whole time (now that would be a challenge!) but every now and then.
  2. Having to get up to pee in the middle of the night is not a muscle problem, it’s a drinking too much problem. Just as with little kids who wet their beds, restricting liquid past a certain time can magically fix the problem. (A lot of people just naturally wake up in the night and then assume they have to pee, too.)
  3. Having to pee a lot while you’re running can be due to #1 or #2. Are you peeing a huge amount when you go? If so, you’re overhydrating—try drinking fluids until an hour before you run, then stop completely, then pee just before you go. Are you peeing a tiny amount? Then you may need more Kegeling.
Department of Postpartum Affairs

Q: Any post c-section running advice? (Jacq)

A: Just don’t be afraid. You won’t split open like an overripe watermelon, I promise. Follow the Slow Down rule, and you’ll be fine.

Q: Advice on a good running bra for a nursing mom? My chest is currently enormous so good support is a must but little one is still nursing enough that easy access is essential. (amy)

A: Anything with a front closure (zip or hook)—I’ll put another plug in for the Last Resort bra, because women with racks seem to adore it, and I adore the name.

Q: I’m afraid I have some kind of prolapse—I feel like something’s coming out “down there” when I run. (Rebecca)

A: This is a peculiar thing that happens postpartum, and it’s most likely due to the vaginal dryness when you’re in the non-ovulatory state. You can actually feel the rubbing together of the walls when you run, and it’s freaky. But it’s not prolapse, and it’s not dangerous.

Department of Weather

Q: Any advice on running in the heat? (Other than, “Wait until 7:30 when it’s only 85 degrees, dumbass.”) (anon)

A: Shaded paths (with company if it’s a sketchy area). Also, slow acclimation. Some of the best distance runners in the world come from the hottest parts of Africa, you know.


wendryn said...

OK, one more question about running. I have a Great Dane who likes going jogging, so I'm thinking about starting to jog with her. The problem is that when I was (much) younger I had patellar tendonitis whenever I ran. Go running, ice my knees. Always happened. Is there any way to keep from getting it again?

Mud said...

Yay! Thanks for your answers. It's true, I DO have issues. I'll check out the IBS stuff, and see if anything helps there. In the mean time, when I asked my doctor about my vicious poop-running cycle addiction, she said, "Well...I suppose there are worse things to be addicted to." So I guess I'll just keep plugging along as usual.

Oh, and as a resource? I love - they will even show you where bathrooms are on my your route :)

Thanks again!

DrSpouse said...

Well, technically they come from some of the coolest parts of Africa as they come from the high altitude places...

I have a long-standing knee problem that the sports physio suggested may be related to an opposite side shoulder injury, causing me to run/walk crooked and my opposite leg to be a bit longer. He suggested a heel insert on one side only. This mostly works. But sometimes not. How much really should I "run through" (slowly, yes) if it hurts?

I'm liking the NYT doc's advice to cross-train, though, as that's what I already do - cutting down to just yoga and swimming if it's too bad.

(I'm afraid the Last Resort bra doesn't go big enough for these F cups... I like the Shock Absorber range and the Triumph Tri-action)

Julie said...

I am reading, and was excited to see a new post. I am itching to get started again — for your next edition, I wonder if you can recommend a good jogging stroller. (Call me crazy, but I don't think the sling will cut it.)

Anonymous said...

I hate heat and I live in a place that is having record heat this summer. I have been running when it's a little cooler-but more like 9am than 7, because I'm not about to wake up the baby early (last year when it was cooler, he woke up at 6:30, not now). Running so slow has helped, and also running in a residential neighborhood with plenty of shade.

Blue said...

Doctor Momma! I ran five miles yesterday! I memorialized you in This Blog Post.
Thanks again for all your support and encouragement. You're one of my fitness heroes.

DrSpouse said...

P.S. I don't know what characters you use in your title/header but on Google Reader it comes up as
Doctor M&#97m&#97


Anonymous said...

I love, love, love this post. This is my favorite kind of Dr. Mama post -- full of clear, definitive, problem-solving advice.

Also, thank you for posting my picture! If anyone looks at my picture and thinks, "That looks like the 'before' picture, not a fitness success 'after' picture," yes, I do still have more to lose before I get to a healthy weight. But! I really was quite rotund before. I was looking at some pictures of myself from a year ago and I really was large. So yes, stick with it! Listen to Dr. Mama and don't get discouraged! ;-) victoria

MDT said...

Thanks for the response! One more question... how often do you run? I'm doing it every other day right now but am wondering if every day would be better.

Anonymous said...

Oh -- and for the well-endowed ladies, I don't think there's a better running bra out there than the Enell. Oprah loves it, for good reason. When you first put it on, it's TIGHT. But give it a chance and you'll find it functions like a temporary double mastectomy -- they're just gone, completely gone. It's not a comfortable bra to wear all day, but it's great for the period of the run itself. Also, once you've experienced the joy of a front-closing running bra, you'll never want to wrestle yourself into a back-closing bra again. -victoria

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a great post! I have a follow-up question, as I suffer from Muddy's "run a mile and have to find a bathroom fast" issue. Can you give a simple physiology lesson and explain how lactose intolerance "presents" this way? I'm curious now....

K said...

For the people that are interested in treadmill running: I find interval training (little circuits of slow, medium, and quick pace with varying inclines) helps keep me on my toes, and also keeps me from getting as stiff after a run (but be sure to take a nice little cool-down). Thanks for all the running posts, DoctorMama!

Anonymous said...

Another hint for the well-endowed: After years of trial and error, I always always always wear two sports bras. The first is a super compression front close bra (I love my Enell and I have a good Champion for DD+ sizes) and the second is usually one of those cheap "maximum support" bras from Target that goes on over your head (the kind that is stretchy with a t-shaped back that would be laughable if you tried to use it alone) in a tight fitting size. I think my boobs are fitted on a little higher on the chest than other womens', so I get bouncing even with the Enell. The second bra acts like an Ace bandage and always seems to adjust things and there is absolutely no bouncing at all. And it is no where near as uncomfortable as it sounds.

Anonymous said...

Okay... I've ordered my maggot shirt and I've got an iPod shuffle. I'm hoping to get some good shoes today. I've looked at several pairs of both my casual and work shoes and they all seem to have even wear (not overworn on either the inside or outside edges). I suppose that points towards "normal pronation", still, I'm going to look for a place that can help me find a good fit. GULP... I suppose this makes me a maggot-in-training?!

Anonymous said...

Just started reading your blog...I started walking recently to combat antidepressant withdrawal (it's working wonders) and I really want to run. But I don't have the first clue about it, and I hate it. I love walking, though. I have a question: What do I do with my arms when I run? I know that I'm supposed to relax them, but I don't know what that LOOKS like. Do I pump them with elbows bent? Do I let them swoosh on either side, akin to Cro-magnon Woman? I'm at a loss. I want to be a maggot, but I need some more help. Help!

Keri said...

I love the Last Resort. I ordered it, and I've barely used any other sports bra since.

Also, does anyone else get muscular pains on the outside of the bottom of their feet? I know it isn't my shoes, because I also get it when I'm doing yoga barefoot in certain poses.

DrSpouse said...

Oh dear, another "ultimate" sports bra that doesn't go up to my size! The Enell also looks great but doesn't seem to come in anything that would fit my 34F (or possibly, since I've lost weight, 32FF) girls... I looked at the measurement chart, too, and as I'm about 32 underbust and 41 overbust, it's not just their size range that is a problem.

Are they afraid of a challenge or am I supposed to be "abnormal?"

DoctorMama said...

wendryn—knee pain discussed here.

Muddy—good tip on Map My Run; another place is Walk Jog Run.

DrSpouse—well, yes, but I’m trying to motivate people here! As for your pain question: my advice is usually, if it hurts a lot WORSE when you run, you probably should back off, but for most pain you don’t have to. (And so sorry about your two … problem girls.)

Julie—the official line on jogging strollers is to wait until 6 months, but unless you’re planning on bouncing over giant boulders, that seems pretty silly. Will try to get to that subject soon. Congratulations, by the way!

luolin—good tips.

blue—way to go!!! (I keep forgetting to tell you, though—my name isn’t Maria.)

Victoria—if you’re running, you’re healthy. And you do look GREAT. (And “temporary double mastectomy”??!! Awesome!)

MDT—read the first post here.

Anonymous 1—lactose intolerance just makes you kind of … runny, so it was more of a “can’t hurt” suggestion.

k—good treadmill suggestions.

rural mama—elbows bent at about a 100 degree angle, hands open & relaxed.

Anonymous said...

Oh one question. I have bad runs when I have my period. is that normal

Anonymous said...

I have just found your blog. I have been running for just over a year (just survived my first winter). I do 5km 2 or 3 times a week and love it. It took me about 6 months to get to 5km and now I'm going a bit faster (30 mins). My son is 4 1/2 and would love to come with me. What age do you think kids can start to run? I'm thinking I might need to get him on a bike at first.

Anonymous said...

Not sure about your advice to Rebecca. I do have a mild bladder prolapse and I also get that "falling-out" feeling when I run. What do you recommend for someone who actually has a prolapse and not just the dryness you're describing?

Anonymous said...

Thanks DrMama.

xo slowpoke

Anonymous said...

thanks for getting to my question (about running bras for nursing moms). And I'm so glad Rebecca asked her q too. Still no cycle and I have been having the same feeling whenever I'm on my feet for a long time. Glad to know that it could be related to the nursing and that I am not actually falling apart!

Gotta say, I've been shocked and unprepared for how much the birth/nursing thing has impacted my body. The flabby stomach and huge boobs I expected but all the other lingering things have been an unpleasant surprise. Not one of my friends with kids ever talked about this stuff.

Christie said...

I know I'm a bit late to comment, but I wanted to add some advice on the poop problems associated with running. For me, I'm typcically a morning pooper. So, I make sure that I've gone before I run. Or - I run at night.

BTW - I lurk all the time and barely comment, but I LOVE your blog!

DrSpouse said...

Thanks for your reply - and can I just repeat:


My girls laughed in the face of the Royce Impact Free but Shock Absorber Level 4 is my friend.

I have another question though: it's about shorts.

Most of the short available in the stores now seem to be this kind:

You know, 1970s style, v. short, slightly baggy.

I am more used to the bike short style as previously I had a huge problem with ride-up. Are these ones really OK if you have a slight thigh-rubbing issue? Or am I going to end up with a wedgie? What about the slightly longer, baggy style? Or has anyone seen any of the lycra kind recently?

(Just got a cheap Ipod so am raring to go with new bra and new music!)

sqpeggy said...

Hi Doctor Mama,
Do you recommend a particular running form-- I run on the balls of my feet towards the front of my foot and so does my husband. When he threw his back out, he went to physical therapy and is now pain free and doing great with the stretches, etc she recommended between runs. She also suggested he should be running on his HEELs.

I tried that and it felt bizarre. He says it feels awkward to him too but isn't sure if he should disregard her advice since her stretching advice was so great. I think you should do what's comfortable and if running on your heels is awkward then don't do it. What do you think?

Also, do you have any opinion about all this shoes vs. no shoes business? These funky shoes have been getting a lot of press lately...

Here's the link to the NYT article: