Archive | Health and Wellness

Low Back Pain Prevention for Runners

StandingBackExtensionsLow back pain (LBP) is one of the most prevalent medical conditions treated in the United States and throughout the western world.

It is also the most common source of pain for runners. Runners often suffer from low back pain due to prolonged sitting and weak core muscles.

LBP can be safely self-treated if you handle your pain and symptoms quickly. In this post you will learn how to implement prevention strategies during exercise in order to avoid episodes of LBP. Continue Reading →

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10 Questions About Pregnancy and Marathon Training

photo credit: Michael Hollander; Flickr Creative Commons

photo credit: Michael Hollander; Flickr Creative Commons

Many women have asked me if it’s possible to safely run and train for a marathon while pregnant.

This is a very important question and I’ve thought about dedicating a whole podcast episode to this topic.

Well, lo and behold I was recently invited to speak about this on the Run Run Live podcast. A big thanks to Chris Russell for having me on the show! You can hear me on episode 4-308.

Chris sent over 10 really great questions about pregnancy and running that he wanted me to tackle during the interview.

Here are the answers I gave based on my own experience of running through two pregnancies and the science I’ve read on this topic. Continue Reading →

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Athlete Overcomes Back Surgery to Run Half Marathon

Alex_Johnson_blogrunA cold race day in Indianapolis gave way to a series of heart-warming moments for Louisville man and his girlfriend.

By Henry Howard

When Alex Johnson arrived in Indianapolis for the Monumental Marathon on Nov. 1 of last year, he was greeted by an unusually cool fall evening. Race-time wind chills were around 20 degrees for Johnson, who was running his first half marathon, and his girlfriend, Taryn Scampoli, who was running the full.

“I’m not a cold weather runner, or cold weather anything, so I was not in a great mood the morning of the race,” admits Johnson, who lives in Louisville, Ky. “However, I also kept in mind that the previous three months had all led to this morning, and that there was one goal to the day, and that being to cross the finish line. As the race started, I turned my music up loud, latched on to each next fastest runner I could find in the pack, and leaned forward.”

While Johnson trained three months for his first 13.1-mile race, his quest was actually years in the making. Continue Reading →

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Run More and Recover Better

IMG_2443Here’s a question from our Academy Facebook group:

“Ran my first marathon yesterday at the Dallas Marathon. One thought I had often “how the heck does Angie do back to back marathons without falling apart?!” –Ashley

First of all a big congratulations goes out to Ashley for running her first marathon! I certainly wasn’t thinking about running multiple marathons before or during my first marathon in 2008. It was just one of those big challenges that I had to do.

At the time I didn’t have any friends who were runners and didn’t know anyone personally who’d ever run a marathon. Despite making lots of mistakes in training I crossed the finish line in 4:10 and knew that I’d run another marathon.

However, ITBS (iliotibial band syndrome) forced me to lay off running for the next several months. But I knew that I’d learn from my mistakes and come back stronger. I recovered properly, trained smarter and ran a marathon in 2009 breaking four hours. From there it was a process of learning more, setting bigger goals and running more marathons.

Now I’ve run 29 marathons and know that there are many, many more in my future. Here are my tips for running more and recovering more quickly whether your goal is to run more 5ks or marathons: Continue Reading →

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Still Running after Parkinson’s and Brain Surgery – Interview with Rhonda Foulds

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Rhonda Lee Foulds

Rhonda Lee Foulds

I met Rhonda Foulds at the starting line of the A2A Marathon in Ardmore, Oklahoma, earlier this this year. We later became Facebook friends and she has become one of my biggest sources of inspiration.

In this podcast episode you will hear how Rhonda, a mother of three boys, witnessed her health and fitness deteriorate due to early onset Parkinson’s Disease and was forced to stop running and doing other things she loved.

In the years that followed she became very tired and depressed, gained weight, and needed wheelchair assistance.

In 2003 Rhonda underwent a procedure called “DBS” (Deep Brain Stimulation) which places electrodes in certain areas of the brain to block the signals of Parkinson’s.

The surgery was a success and she began to reclaim her health and fitness one mile at a time. She has lost close to 100 pounds, gone from thirty-three medications to zero and has now completed over eighty half marathons, eighteen full marathons and two ultras.

Rhonda is proof that you really do have what it takes to run a marathon and change your life!

Continue Reading →

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Running to Beat Cancer (Again)

IMG_9390Darrell Henry lost his colon to cancer. Now, he’s lacing up his running sneakers once again to fight cancer the only way he knows how.

By Henry Howard

Darrell Henry has no colon. But he has a heart, the heart of a champion.

Henry’s colon was removed in June 2013 “because of hundreds of polyps and a large cancerous tumor brought on because of familial adenomatous polyposis, a genetic disorder which causes polyps in basically any part of the body. With hundreds of colon polyps it’s inevitable some will become cancerous.”

The biggest drawback to being colon-less: Hydration. “Most of the body’s hydration occurs in the colon. I drink 150-200 ounces per day to stay properly hydrated,” he says.


Doctors used a section of small intestine to build a replacement (called a j-pouch) for the colon and followed up by 12 rounds of chemo. Henry endured one round of chemo every other week for six months.


Henry decided to enjoy the experience as much as possible and dedicate himself to running.

“My intention was to fight as hard as I could, take any treatment necessary and beat cancer but also to gain as much positive from the experience as I could,”

says Henry, who tries to run 50 to 70 miles a week, even during chemo. Continue Reading →

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The Aging Marathoner – How Getting Older Affects Your Running

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7150318855_2ceb01aac0_zI envision myself running my whole life but I’d never really thought about how the “mechanics” of aging would affect my running.

Hopefully by digging into this topic now those of us who are younger can be mentally prepared and able to gracefully adjust to the natural slow-down that comes with age.

This should also be a help and encouragement to those runners who are noticing an age related slow-down in their running.
Continue Reading →

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From Former Smoker to Boston Qualifier

767953-1011-0010sPittsburgh resident dropped the cigarette habit for greater rewards, including a BQ and dozens of finishes in half and full marathons.

By Henry Howard

Kristy Brown’s running journey has come a long way.

The Pittsburgh resident has reformed herself from a pack-a-day smoker to a Boston qualifier. She has run 16 full marathons and 27 halfs. And she’s not stopping there.

But to know Brown’s full story one must go back to the first days when she laced up the running shoes, back in late 2007. She had been a gymnast while growing up, but running was something she took up in adulthood. And not just running but setting and achieving goal after goal. Up first: Brown knew she wanted to finish a marathon by the time she was 30 so she started training.

She accomplished that feat on May 18, 2008, as a smoker. In fact, she did another half-dozen marathons as a smoker. But she wasn’t satisfied with her performances. Eventually she quit smoking on June 8, 2010, “because I wanted to be able to run faster, so I could qualify for Boston.” She took Chantix for two weeks. “It made me feel weird, so I quit taking it, but never smoked again.” Continue Reading →

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14-Time Marathon Finisher Won’t Let Cancer Win

the_alexLos Angeles runner serves as inspiration to others as he undergoes chemo, trains and completes marathons.

By Henry Howard

Alex Magdaleno learned he had cancer on Dec. 22, 2008. As the diagnosis of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia continued to sink in on New Year’s Day 2009, Magdaleno set a goal for himself.

His goal? Run and finish the Los Angeles Marathon that May “to prove to myself that I could finish a marathon despite undergoing chemotherapy.”

Not only did he finish the Los Angeles Marathon six months after the initial diagnosis, Magdaleno has completed 14 overall marathons including the Ventura County Marathon on Sept. 7, the day before this interview. For him, it’s the marathon or bust. No 5Ks, half-marathons or theme races. Continue Reading →

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Tips For Improving Your Sleep

In a previous post I talked about the importance of getting quality sleep during your marathon training.

If you have not read this post or heard the accompanying podcast episode, the main take-a-way is this: Sleep has a huge impact on your athletic performance!

Now I want to give you nine tips on how to improve the quantity and quality of your sleep so you can be a stronger, happier runner. Continue Reading →

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