My Brother (running and Cancer and loooooog) - KickRunners.com
 
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#1 of 13 Old 10-31-2009, 08:30 AM - Thead Starter
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Hey all,

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!


HJ

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#2 of 13 Old 10-31-2009, 08:39 AM
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Sounds reasonable to me.

Kudos to your brother for keeping such a positive attitude through all of this.

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#3 of 13 Old 10-31-2009, 08:56 AM
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Your plan/recommendation looks good to me!
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#4 of 13 Old 10-31-2009, 09:27 AM
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What Todd said.

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#5 of 13 Old 10-31-2009, 09:35 AM
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sounds like good advice. he is running a lot!!

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#6 of 13 Old 10-31-2009, 09:49 AM
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Awww Benj,

I am so happy to hear that he is doing so well. Fantastic that he has maintained his running. I think what you propose is perfect. I dont know where he is running but I would be tempted to encourage him to hit the trails as this will both protect his structure a bit more which may have been compromised by the chemo...I know that my moms bone density dropped when she was going through chemo...but of course her treatements were ages ago and things have chnaged since then. Also from a psychological point of vue there is something so incredible about being out there in the woods. For myself I feel more revitalized after a trail run...like at one with nature...more centered...I am able to lose myself more in the run. I rthink that all of those thigns would be of great benefit for him.

Again...I am so happy he is doing well and continue to send him great healing vibes.


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Or think you can, begin it.
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#7 of 13 Old 10-31-2009, 10:00 AM - Thead Starter
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Thanks all!

Chantal, he is in Taipei right now. Very hot and humid. He does get out on trails some, but it is mixed with city running and indoor track...

Thanks again!

HJ
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#8 of 13 Old 10-31-2009, 10:35 AM
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My immediate thoughts are that your advice is really good. The liver is a major source of glucose so I would think really long bouts of exercise coult cause unusual fatigue and be counter productive. Your brother is one tough guy to be doing so well And that bodes well for his complete recovery.
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#9 of 13 Old 10-31-2009, 11:06 AM
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I think your advice sounds good. However, it might be nice to add in more crosstraining and perhaps less running in case injury occurs. Crosstraining (including weight training) not only will help prevent injury, but will also be a good backup if he were to get injured. Since he's out for general fitness, I think losing some of the milage wouldn't hurt if he replaced it with something more diverse.

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Originally Posted by tigger View Post
My immediate thoughts are that your advice is really good. The liver is a major source of glucose so I would think really long bouts of exercise coult cause unusual fatigue and be counter productive. Your brother is one tough guy to be doing so well And that bodes well for his complete recovery.
He brings up a good point (not that I know anything about the liver) - but, maybe it would be a good idea to investigate or talk to a medical professional about effects like this that healthy people don't have to worry about.
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#10 of 13 Old 10-31-2009, 11:42 AM
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HJ,

It's wonderful to hear your brother is feeling good, seemingly in remission, and enjoying an active life. I think the running program you sent him looks smart and reasonable. I've read that high intensity workouts without recovery built in and very long runs can both depress immunity temporarily, but it doesn't appear either are present in this plan.

tigger makes a good point that your brother's glycogen (carbs stored in the liver) may run out sooner as his liver is smaller in size now and most likely expending energy to regenerate (has he had this measured? Is there a way to?). Muscles are also a storage place for glucose so maintaining/building muscle mass through strength training (weights, calisthenics) can help with ability to store energy, as well as keep strength up.

Besides running, I'm sure he's taking care to keep his immune system strong with nutrition, rest, stress management, right?

I'm no MD - maybe one of our resident doc's can add to this. (I'm sure he's received good information from his physicians, too.) If he could find someone suitable, a consultation with a sports medicine physician who has a good base in endurance exercise (not just treating ortho injuries) would probably be a helpful resource.

I also just did a quick Google of "exercise prescription cancer" and looks like there are some good links that come up.

Continued good wishes for your brother!

Have faith in you and the things you do.

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#11 of 13 Old 10-31-2009, 05:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hanging Jury View Post
Thanks all!

Chantal, he is in Taipei right now. Very hot and humid. He does get out on trails some, but it is mixed with city running and indoor track...

Thanks again!

HJ
First off, I'm glad your brother is doing a lot better, and your advice sounds good - I wish him the best. SGH looks like she brought up some good points, so you might want to look into those.

And as for Taipei being hot & humid, I can attest to that - I transited through there on my way to and back from Malaysia this summer. I only got a brief taste of the weather on the train between terminals, but based on the weather reports I saw in Kuala Lumpur (which was hot & humid in its own right) they always had Taipei as being hotter & more humid.

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#12 of 13 Old 10-31-2009, 06:01 PM
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I agree with CrazyEye. If his goal is general fitness, I think he'd do well to diversify his methods. That said, if he just likes to run and\or thats what he wants to focus on, your advice looks great.
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#13 of 13 Old 10-31-2009, 06:42 PM
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best wishes to your brother ... good to hear he is doing well and staying active/positive ...


lots of great input here and I have nothing to add ...

the PRT is not somewhere to drop my morals and ethics and roll in the mud and muck and pretend those I am talking to aren't really people at all and it's alright to treat them like dirt.
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