Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Central Vermont
Likes Earned: 0
Likes Given: 0
This is pretty long. Feel free to skip!
Some of you know my Brother was diagnosed a year ago as having Stage IV Colon Cancer with Liver Metastases. He was in very bad shape. He had a gigantic tumor removed from his colon and had 60-65% of his liver removed. He also had a few other procedures and had lots and lots of chemo. Currently, he is off chemo and feeling better. We have our fingers crossed, but the threat of recurrence is extremely high (something like 85% chance of recurrence).
Anyway, he has tried to exercise through the chemo and treatments. He had his last chemo round in July. Here is an email he sent me today....
Hope you're having a happy Hallowe'en. Sorry to bug you with a question, but since you're my one and only source of good info about running, you get it.
I'm trying to get into a running routine for general fitness and health (not to mention life & work schedules.) Every time I look online (not often) I find sites preparing people for a race or encouraging them to take up running because it will make them thin and healthy.
I would like some idea (if anybody knows) of what a good, basic running routine is (for me or in general) when the point is not to race or get thin but to stay in decent shape -- immune system, cardio, and all the rest.
October is ending and I ran 131 miles. I usually took 2 rest days a week and did one long (for me) run on the weekend (say 9-13).
I would say that this is comfortable & feasible for me (now that I have real blood in my veins) but I could go up or down or shift the miles around, build in more or fewer rest days, etc.
There is no good research on stage 4 colon cancer & running / exercising so the doctors say: do what you like.
Any thoughts? I know this is probably as much art as science but I also know that you've done a lot of reading on this & you know a lot of runners.
Thanks for any help you may be able to give,
And I replied to him...
That’s great mileage! As far as getting fit goes, it seems to me you are there. Because your goal is to stay in shape, not get in shape, I think you’re probably doing pretty well with what you’ve been doing lately.
Maybe we could formulate a program for you by making sure you adhere to a few rules:
1.If you think it would probably be a good idea for you to take a day off, then take a day off.
2.If you miss a day of running because of work or travel or weather or kids, etc., don’t try and make up the day.
3.Make sure you only run a max of 4 days in a row.
4.Make sure you run your longest run of the week at a nice and easy pace (so that you could talk with someone the whole way, a conversational pace).
5.If you run a hard and fast run, make sure to walk a mile or so at the end of it to cool down. If you don’t have time, make sure to go for an easy walk of a mile or so sometime later that day.
6.The best day to take off from running is probably the day after a hard day (which could either be a long run or a run with some speed or a lot of hills).
7.Running slower is the default. When in doubt, slow down.
8.Cross training on days off is fine, and walking counts as cross training.
So, a week could look something like the following:
Sun. – rest/cross
Mon – 5 at 9mpm
Tue. – 6 at 9mpm
Wed. – 5, with first mile a 9:00, 2-4 at 8:00 and 5 at 9:00
Thu. – rest/cross
Fri. – 5 at 9mpm
Sat. – 8-10 at 9:30 mpm
The paces are guesses on my part. Wednesday would be the hard day on a schedule like this. The pace for each of the runs really depends upon topography and heat/humidity, etc. As it is hot and humid and hilly where you are, you should probably go slower.
So, applying the rules to the schedule…. If you miss a Friday because of a schedule issue, you basically just pick up Saturday where you left off. You don’t add mileage to Saturday and/or decide to run on Sunday, etc. If you decide you really want to throw an easy run in on a rest day, it would be 3 miles or so at 9:30, not a quick hard run.
Cross training on days off could include sit-ups/push-ups and/or other kinds of weights or swimming, etc. Generally, it is a good idea to make sure the cross training isn’t too much like running (i.e. don’t cross train on an elliptical, etc.)
Do you have any thoughts on whether my advice is on/off the mark?
Any additional input?
Thanks for reading!