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Do I have a mild form of asthma?

Expert Panel Question???

“When I run my chest burns like crazy. After a while I start to get light headed and dizzy. Do I have a mild form of asthma?”

(ask your questions to the UtahRunning.com Experts here)


In addressing chest symptoms whether related to activity or not it is helpful to think of the 4 body areas in the chest that these symptoms may be coming from: the heart, the lungs, the esophagus or the chest wall. Of these four, a problem with the heart raises the most concern and should be addressed first (for obvious reasons). This is followed by the lungs, the esophagus and then the chest wall.

Any chest symptom associated with activity and especially those that include light headedness and dizziness as the run continues necessitates at least a basic cardiac evaluation i.e. a thorough history including family history, a listen to the heart with a stethoscope and an office EKG (electrocardiogram). If there is any concern based on these tests, additional tests may be needed. Once you are reassured that your heart is ok we move on to evaluating the lungs.

Exercise induced asthma (formally known as exercise induced bronchospam or EIB) is not uncommon in runners – up to 30% in some studies – and could explain your symptoms. EIB is defined as a reduction of 15% in your normal lung function at rest compared to after you exercise. People with exercise induced asthma may or may not have underlying asthma but people with asthma almost always have exercise induced symptoms.

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How does extra weight effect race performance?

Expert Panel Question???

“I have gained 30 pounds since my last 10k or 5k, how does extra weight effect race performance?”


If the gained weight is only fat, then the most obvious effect that weight gain will have on performance is the impending slow down in pace due to the effort it takes to move the extra weight down the road. In general, for extra fat weight, then one can expect to slow down about a second per mile per pound. So for every 10 pounds in fat someone is carrying, they will run 10 seconds or so a mile slower than before given the same effort. The extra body fat also throws the body’s hydration and cooling mechanisms out of wack, so one must take that into consideration as well.

However, if a runner has added some functional muscle tissue, then that won’t be the case. For some individuals, adding 5 lbs of muscle helps their running. They run faster, have healthier immune systems and recover faster. It is recommended, for those not racing at very elite levels, to push for maintaining functional muscle tissue as part of their year round fitness routine. Not that elites don’t need muscle tissue, but they do have to whittle down to the bare minimum. Everyone else can and should carry more.

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13.1 Tips to Consider When Running a Half Marathon

The UtahRUNNING.com Expert Panel received a request to provide a list of “7 things to do before running a half marathon,” so that is what I originally set out to answer in this article. However, while running with the high school girls I coach and discussing this topic with them, they helped me realize seven tips were just not enough. In fact, they insisted that I list 13.1 tips for preparing to run a half marathon (makes sense, right?) Thanks, girls, for the inspiration and for making me laugh everyday!

13.1 Tips to Consider When Running a Half Marathon:

1) Train Smart. Be consistent and gradually build your mileage. Work in some interval workouts, tempo runs, and long runs into your training regime.

2) Keep It the Same. The week of the half marathon is not the time to try something new. Don’t change what has been working for you. Obviously, your workouts should be lighter, but you should still run the days that you normally run, stretch, eat relatively the same, etc.

3) Hydrate/Sleep. Besides keeping your routine the same, it is also a good idea to put extra focus on being well hydrated (urine should always be clear) and to get plenty of sleep in the weeks prior to your big race.

4) Plan for Your Race. Before race day arrives, work out the details of your race in your mind. Visualize it–your pace, when to make a move, and how you will handle tough spots in the race (hills, mile 9/10, etc.). Consider different scenarios and how you will react to each one. Come up with some things you could tell yourself or remind yourself of when the pain starts to set in and you need some inspiration. Decide when you are going to refuel and know where the aid stations are in your race (For example: “There is an aid station at mile 7. I’m going to plan on taking an energy gel just before I get there). The night before race day eat a solid meal (pasta, rice, potatoes…whatever works for you). Make sure you don’t eat too late. I like to eat around 5:30 or 6:00 the night before to give my food plenty of time to digest before I go to sleep. The best way to know what and when to eat is to try different strategies with your training runs so you know what will work for you on race day. Have all of your race gear (shoes, clothes, number, energy gels, etc.) ready to go the night before, so you aren’t rushed in the morning.

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Runner’s Knee

Expert Panel Question???

“After a run my knee begins to hurt fairly badly. It hurts a little during the run but mainly after. Is there a certain type of shoe that would help with my knees or is the only solution not to run?”


Knee pain is probably the most common injury complaint in runners and has a variety of causes. The most common, Patellofemoral Syndrome, actually also goes by the lay name “Runner’s Knee”. It is more common in women but can occur in men too. It is characterized by pain in the front of the knee, is worse going up and down stairs, during squats or lunges and often results in a deep ache in the knee after a prolonged knee-bent position (such as sitting in a class, movie, car or on a plane). The fact that your knee pain is not so bad during your runs but afterward makes this the most likely problem although it can get bad enough to become an issue during runs too. It is thought to be an injury that occurs to the under surface of the knee cap (the patella) when the knee cap and the bone below it (the femur) are not in alignment.

The under side of the patella has a small ridge running vertically through the middle of it and the femur below has a corresponding groove. These two should remain lined up as the knee bends and straightens. A misalignment between the patella and the femur can be due to genetic factors, biomechanical problems or the result of muscle imbalances. Since we can’t do much to change our genetics, the focus is on the muscle imbalances and biomechanics. As a one directional sport i.e. straight ahead, even elite runners are notorious for developing muscle imbalances.

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Here is a list of running clubs in Utah.  Many of these clubs have organized group runs on a regular basis.  Another option is to check with your local running stores.  They would be able to provide you with additional information regarding training group options in your area.

Sage to SuMMit

Nibley, UT



Sun and Snow Runners

Logan, UT


Golden Spike Track Club

Brigham City, UT



Ogden Running Club (ORCS)

Ogden, UT



South Weber Wind Runners

South Weber, UT


Summit Busters

Kaysville, UT


South Davis Road Runners

Davis County



Northern Utah Triathletes

Davis County



Salt Lake City Track Club




Salt Lake City Jeff Galloway

Salt Lake City, UT



USA Track and Field-Utah




Wasatch Athletics

Murray, UT

(801) 288-9555

Sojourners Running Club

Orem, UT


St. George Running Club

St. George, UT







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by on May.10, 2010, under Running Clubs, Training, Utah Running

Achilles Problem Question

Expert Panel Question???

Question: “Can a person run anyway if they have an achilles problem or do I need to take time off. I am in training for a marathon.”


I would not recommend running with an achilles tendon problem. The gatrocnemius and soleus muscles blend together to form the achilles tendon and are a vital part of the biomechanics of running. If they are not functioning properly, one risks possible rupture of the tendon or injuries of the foot, hip, knee, or lower back from the altering of running mechanics to compensate for the sore achilles.

I would recommend seeing a good sports medicine physician and/or a physical therapist for an evaluation.

by Julie Thieszen – Physical Therapist, CMPT | Certified Specialist in Orthopedics

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