Blog changes

Thanks to everyone who followed Training Because I Can! over the last nine years. This blog started with Addison's Disease, hypothyroidism and a crazy idea of doing an Ironman distance triathlon. My life has changed and so has this blog. I am using this blog strictly for Addison's Support topics from here on out. I hope to continue providing people with hints for living life well with adrenal insufficiency.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Training: Setting goals and getting started

Finishing up 50 miles
Grand Teton Races, Alta, WY
September 2007

A couple of people have asked me for pointers about running/exercise. I’m no expert but I have finished every race I’ve started. I will summarize the things I’ve learned in the last three and a half years. This is a long post. Take what works for you, leave the rest behind.

I don't think I'm any good as a runner but I sure like doing it, I hope I can inspire you to feel the same way.

Everything in red is Addison's specific.

Be consistent and persistent with your training. Enjoy it! Training is the hardest part of reaching your goal. If you’re setting a goal that’s harder than what you’ve previously done, make your goal to finish the race/event. If you want a bigger, harder goal, make your goal to finish the race and feel good. No need to try to be the fastest or best (OK maybe the best costumed!) or whatever. If you have Addison’s, doing the training and completing the event is fantastic!

  1. Set a goal or 3 Write them down. Answer the questions: what is my goal? When will I accomplish it? Where will I do it? How will I get there (if it’s far from your home)? Can I afford it? If so, how. Lastly, is it realistic to think I can train to do the event I’d like to do in the timeline I’ve got.
  2. Sign up for the event so that you’re committed.
  3. Tell people that you’re going to do the event!
  4. Find a partner to train with online or that you actually train with.
  5. Read and or listen to inspiring literature about your goal-magazines, websites, biographies,etc...
  6. Stay in contact with other runners who have Addison's.

  1. Find a plan with a philosophy that you like. For running, I like Hal Higdon’s running plans. They are doable and he believes that walking is okay (I like to walk). If you can afford to get a coach or personal trainer - do it!!
  2. Don’t increase your running miles by more than 10 – 15% per week to avoid injury. Substitute walking and cross training if you’re trying to increase mileage faster than 10 – 15% per week.
  3. Very important for those of us with Addison’s disease: Drink before you’re thirsty and eat before you’re hungry.
  4. Train specifically. If your race has hills, make sure you’re running on hills. If your race is flat, train on flat. If your race is at altitude, try to get to altitude and run once in a while.
  5. If something hurts, ice it.
  6. ALWAYS CARRY A PACK WITH YOUR INJECTION KIT, EMERGENCY INSTRUCTIONS AND EXTRA MEDS. I also carry money, water, lighter, toilet paper, chapstick and food.
  8. Tell the people you run with about an Addison’s emergency, where they can find your injection kit and how to treat you if you go down (ie get hit by a person driving a car and talking on a cell phone and yelling at kids in back seat, fall on a trail and break something, get eaten by a bear).

  1. Walking is okay, especially if you’re too tired to run! During races and training I run for 9 minutes and walk for one. During the one minute of walking, I ALWAYS drink water to ensure adequate hydration (VERY IMPORTANT FOR PEOPLE WITH ADDISON’S). Walking periodically during a marathon has been shown to cut marathon times significantly. Don't let anyone make you feel bad about walking during a race or training. Walking is good! I walk up all significant hills, it takes less energy and makes my overall time faster and overall effort less.
  2. Practice your med needs, hydration and eating during EVERY long run. You’ll be surprised at how often you’ll change things and fast your race will come up on you.
  3. If the temperatures during your race are going to be hot, practice adjusting your florinef, salt intake (research your salt supplements, some have high potassium) and Gatorade [the NADF does not support drinking Gatorade because of the potassium content which is very low, however, you have to drink a GALLON of Gatorade to equal the potassium content in ONE POTATO. My philosophy is that we will lose potassium during long, hot events and it needs to be replaced in a reasonable manner – I am not a doctor, take this advice at your own risk.
  4. Use good quality, well researched gear. Good shoes are so important to avoid injury.
  5. Cross train. It’s alright to substitute cross training for up to 25% of your run training.
  6. IF YOU’RE TIRED, FEELING LIKE CRAP, TERRIBLY NAUSEOUS, THINK YOU MIGH POOP YOUR PANTS, SKIP YOUR RUN. With Addison’s, it’s not necessary to overwork yourself. It’s dumb to overwork yourself with Addison’s.

  1. Always use the lowest possible amount of cortisol and florinef possible.
  2. If you make changes to your med plan, do it ONLY with your doctor’s consent. If your doctor does not think you need to increase your meds for long runs or high mileage (if you feel you need it), get rid of him/her. He/she is an idiot.
  3. First 2 weeks of training, you may want to up your hydrocortisone 2.5 to 5 mg/ exercise session. If you’re consistent and persistent, you’ll soon adjust and not need extra for an hour of activity per day.
  4. Figure out how much extra HC you need for prolonged activity. It’s a trial and error thing and we’re all different. For me, I up by 2.5 – 5 mg of HC for every hour over 2 hours of activity. You’ll need to figure out your optimum amounts of HC.
  5. I double my Florinef for long runs on hot days.\When my mileage and/or activity increases to a point where you’re consistently having one of the following problems: diarrhea on a daily basis, frequent colds, dehydration to the point of an ER admit for fluids or terrible fatigue that’s too much for your activity level, you might want to increase your HC by 2.5 mg daily.
  1. Have a race plan written out that’s specific to your race. Try it or portions of it out ahead of time and see if it works. When you’ll take your food, meds and how often you’ll hydrate. Will you walk up hills? Will you stay with your running partner if he/she is slower than you? (IF YOU'RE INTERESTED IN A COPY OF ONE OF THESE, EMAIL ME AT CONTACT@ADDISONSSUPPORT.COM AND I'LL EMAIL IT TO YOU)
  2. Prior to the race, contact the race director and the medical director and give them your emergency instructions (IF YOU'RE INTERESTED IN A COPY OF ONE OF THESE, EMAIL ME AT CONTACT@ADDISONSSUPPORT.COM AND I'LL EMAIL IT TO YOU) and bib number.
  3. I also go and find medics the day of the race, introduce myself and quiz them on Addison’s disease protocol. I also show them where I keep my injection kit and instructions. Better safe than sorry. Some might think this is silly but I don’t need to die on a race course because someone can’t figure out what’s wrong with me. See, I went and found the Medical Staff at the NYC Marathon, the Medical Captain to be exact!


Lisa Smith-Batchen said...

love this post:)

Unknown said...

What a complement coming from you!!!! Thanks Lisa!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the information you are providing on your blog. I've been living with Addison's for the past 18 years.

I don't always take it as seriously as I should. I've gotten away with some bad habits. Now in my 40s, I'm learning not to take the chances i once did.



Peter said...

Thanks a lot for tips on HC when training. Got to and probably can train more now :)


Unknown said...


If you're interested, I've got an Addison's forum with a lot of athletes (male and female). You're welcome to share what works for you and ask questions.

:) Dusty