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Earl Fee Speech

Thank you I am happy for this opportunity to speak to you tonight. As I have said before at age 77 I am happy to be anywhere.

I will describe in my talk some of my experiences and discuss some of the important facts and principles for athletes to be successful and for seniors to live longer. Finally, at the end I will tell how to earn a $M just by adapting a healthy lifestyle.

My book
The Complete Guide to Running was published last year by Meyer and Meyer Sports in Germany. It is in English, colour coded, a big book of 400 pages, 24 chapters with over 50 coloured photos and illustrations. This is not an auto biography although I use some of my running experience as examples. Half the chapters are on running training and half are on general fitness, such as stretching, nutrition, mental training, weight training, injury prevention, principles of training, training shoes, younger and older competitors, and inspiration, etc. This book has over 300 references. If you ever write a book I would suggest minimizing the number of references or not using references at all. Getting permissions can be a real headache.

The Complete Guide to Running book is an update of my first book which was published in 2001. The original book titled the How To Be A Champion from 9 to 90 took me about 2600 hour over six years and $20,000 to publish 2500 copies and market. Although I sold about 1500 copies from home a self published book is not a walk in the park as some may believe.

Both books have had very good reviews. I have some copies of my new book for sale which I will be pleased to show you at the break or after lunch. And the price is cheaper than Chapters by the way. It would be useful for athletes, coaches, trainers and fitness buffs, and applicable for all ages.

Personal History
Some people have indicated an interest in my running experiences and training secrets. After University I didn’t run for 33 years. When I got my two young boys interested in running I started running and training with them at the North Your Track Club in 1986 at age 57. After a year of training I tied an indoor world record indoors in the 400m. In the past 19 years I have been to 12 world masters’ track and field championships all over the world. These world championships occur every two years and normally attract over 5000 competitors in 5 years age groups from 35 to 95. The biggest of all time was in Miyazaki Japan in 1993 involving above 12,000 competitors and it was reported to cost $23M to stage this event. In my first World Masters Championship in Melbourne Australia in 1987 I had a bad case of the nerves. After retirement in 1992 I trained twice a day for 10 years. And now after over 450 races I have had some success. But have been disqualified twice for stepping on a line or cutting in too soon. In one semi final world 800m race in Australian in 2001 I ran with an attack of atrial fibrillation (rapid heart beat) but survived to win the gold two days later. In 2005 the world Masters Athletics I was honoured to be presented with the male master athlete of the year award. However this has not induced me to retire. I plan to keep going until 95. The main incentive is just feeling 20 or 30 years younger- feeling like kid again...

Physiological aspects
When you train consistently and intensely for a few years you will find some changes in your body.

1-You will probably lose some weight in the right places. One interesting fact is that you can increase your 5K and 10K speed by one percent by lowering your weight by one percent.

2- Your body fat will decrease. Most males are about 27% for women and 20 % for men. Mine is about 5%...

3-The other change is to your heart. With intense exercise your heart will enlarge. This results in more stroke volume or blood pushed on every stroke. So your resting hart rate will decrease from about 72 down to about 40

4-Also every decade the sedentary person’s maximum heart rate decreases by about 10 beats per minute. With intense training your MHR can stay nearly constant for decades.

5-Also it takes about 7 years to reach a peak performance so don’t expect miracles overnight

Running principles. In my book I describe 26 important training principles applicable to all athletes.

  • Build a sound base. The experienced runners or other competitors build a base of mainly aerobic conditioning for about 3 months before the sharpening phase. This should involve lots of weight training and hill training. The following sharpening phase lasts about 12 to 16 weeks and includes the anaerobic interval training. The sharpening phase gets you ready for your big race or competition.

  • Another principle is principle of taper. You have to reduce your training significantly the week or two before a race to recharge your self.

  • Principle of gradual adaptation. The best performance is achieved with a long buildup over a couple of months. It takes about 6 weeks for a training effect to set into the body. Rule of 10. Don’t increase mileage more than 10 % per week.

  • P of hard and easy. Allow time for the training effect to set in and for the body to recover. Hard days should be followed by easy days. To avoid injury I do cross training in between running days. Normally this is rowing, or cycling or running in the pool which I will discuss later.

  • Principle of reversibility. Once speed, strength or aerobic capacity is developed, these can be lost to large extent if neglected even in for a week or more.

  • Principle of balanced training. Also don’t mix aerobic training and anaerobic training in the same workout. Also the aerobic/ anaerobic mix in training during the week should be roughly in proportion to the energy used in a race. For example if you are a marathoner, most of your training is aerobic since you use only about 1 % anaerobic in a race. Whereas an 800m runner uses about 50% aerobic and 50% anaerobic in a race. By training at race pace with frequent time trials and races will help to satisfy these requirements.

Energy systems
My book describes the five energy systems and the five related training systems. This important subject requires too much explanation to discuss here. Coaches and athletes will benefit from reading my book.

Hill Training
Hill Training should be a part of all runners training. It is a speed training workout and a weight training workout all in one. I have a fairly steep hill (about 15 degree slope and 250 metres long) in front of my house. Every week the local Running Room group trains on this hill. Hill training is beneficial all year round but particularly during base building phase and during cross country training. It has the following major benefits:

  • Running uphill increases leg strength, and hip flexors and is more specifically than doing weights. Each weight exercise stresses one particular leg muscle at a time. But hill training works all leg muscles.
  • It improves running form and speed due to increased arm action, increased toe-off and knee lift.
  • Research shown running down hill on a soft surface increases stride length and helps to prevent injuries.

  • Training shoes
    Most runners particularly beginners do not know what type of running shoe to buy. If you run in the wrong type of shoe you are asking for injuries. There are 3 choices, motion control shoes, stability shoes, and cushioned shoes.

    A wet test can determine your foot type. Dunk your bare foot in water and make an imprint.

  • Flat feet indicates the heavier motion control shoe with straight last on inside.
  • Normal foot indicates stability shoe with semi curved last on inside.
  • High arch indicates a lighter cushioned shoe with fully carved last on inside.

  • Stretching
    My book describes several different static techniques for stretching the muscles mainly for improving flexibility and preventing injuries. Pilates and yoga are also recommended to improve flexibility and joint mobility. This is usually part of the warm-up and cooldown of a workout.

    The usual warm-up consists of jogging or 5 to 10 minutes and then stretching. But during stretching the muscles cool down again and warm muscles are required for optimum performance. Hence the present thinking is to eliminate the stretching and substitute some dynamic movements that closely resemble running. like drills used by the sprinters called ABC’s, fast feet and arms drills, leg swinging, hopping, skipping, bounding and running strides This called the dynamic warm-up which is more effective and more specific to running.

    However stretching after the workout is recommended. If the workout is particularly strenuous or after a heavy weight training session then it is recommended to leave the stretching until about 2 hours after.

    As age we lose flexibility every year particularly after 40. As we age the stride frequency decreases only by about 5% but the stride length reduces significantly due to reduced flexibility in joints ligaments and muscles. Daily stretching is not just for athletes but for everyone. Stretching, Pilates and Yoga and massage will help to reduce this loss.

    Injury Prevention
    If you train hard most runners will get some form of injury during the year. A muscle tear will take about 6 weeks to heal putting you out of action. Pilate’s exercises every morning and cross training in between running days has helped me reduce injuries. The following are some tips to prevent injury:

    Don’t over train. Remember the rule of too’s. Too long, too hard, too soon. All these lead to injury.
    Be sure to warm up before running and to cooldown after including stretching.
    After a hard workout take an easy day the next day with easy running or some cross training like swimming, cycling, power walking or my favourite running in the water. After a race you need to take it easy for 1 day for every 3K of race.

    Weight training
    Weight lifting is recommended for to prevent injury, improve speed and running economy. Even 5 minutes per day is beneficial. In your home rubber tubing exercise, squats and lunges, step ups, with and without dumbbells can be done conveniently. But a session at your local gym 2 or 3 times per week is recommended particularly in the base building phase.

    For all seniors and master athletes in particular weight training is recommended to counteract the loss of muscle which occurs with aging.
    The muscle loss per year is:
    0.5% from age 25 to 60
    1% from 60 to 70

    2% from 70 to80
    4% from 80 to 90

    Therefore weight training is essential for everyone. The following are also recommended to reduce the decline of the fast twitch muscles: fast resistive movements like sprinting, plyometrics, fast feet and fast arm drills. Plyometrics is more for athletes and involves hopping, skipping and jumping.

    My book has a large chapter, 53 pages, on nutrition based on 47 expert references. Athletes should have a diet of 60% carbs, 25 % fats and 15 % protein measured in calories. For intense exercise a high carbohydrate diet is recommended as there is little energy in protein. A high carbohydrate diet is also best for the immune system and fighting disease like cancer in view of the greater consumption of fruits and vegetables
    A diet high in protein and fat as recommended to lose weight has disadvantages. There is not enough carbs for intense exercise. With the low carbs the body lacks the abundant vitamins and minerals in the fruits and vegetables, and the high fat contributes to high cholesterol.
    A healthy diet consists of about 80% alkaline foods and 20% acid foods. Once again a high carbohydrate diet satisfies these requirements as alkaline foods are mainly the fruits and vegetables. Acid foods are most dairy products, white rice, flesh foods and sugar for example. Excess sugar in the diet acts like a poison in the body. Sugar causes 76 major health problems robs nutrients and lowers the immunes system Unfortunately the average North American is eating about 145 pounds of sugar every year or 25 % of all calories in the usual diet is sugar. An alkaline diet helps prevent sickness, including cancer and heart disease and assists in rapid recovery after intense exercise. Conversely an acid condition in the blood leads to many diseases.
    It is essential also to have enough fibre in the diet to prevent heart disease, colon cancer, lowering bad cholesterol and to assist in getting rid of waste products in the body.
    One of my training secrets is don’t combine flesh foods with starch as this is a hard to digest combination, robbing the body of energy and the nutrients Consequently combining potatoes and rice with flesh foods is not recommended. Instead when you eat fish, chicken or red meats combine only with vegetables.
    Daily supplements are highly recommended as insurance to fight the free radicals that damage body cells. Therefore supplements are a good for anti- aging. I .take 12 different supplements, all for various purposes. For example: multi vitamin/mineral, grapes seed, Q10 co-enzyme, glutamine, whey powder, and glucosamine for joints to mention a few.
    You mention it __I take it. I’m afraid to estimate the cost per month. But it works for me.
    Athletes should be knowledgeable about the glycemic index. The GI is a ranking of foods from 0 to 100 which indicates how rapidly or slowly it will raise or lower sugar after it is consumed. For instance pure glucose releases most rapidly and has an index of 100 A low glycemic diet is recommended to provide more energy, longer life and less disease. Once again this more fruits and vegetables.
    Also drink lots of water, particularly distilled water, every day to flush the toxins from your body and after your workout to speed recovery. Athletes need to drink more than 8 glasses of water and juice every day. Juice is not recommended in view of high sugar content.
    Eat fish twice a week for the Omega 3 fatty acid to minimize stroke and heart disease.

    Mental training
    Another big chapter in my book is mental training with40 pages, 31 references from psychologists, etc. Many runners are spending about 6 to 12 hours per week on running training but hardly anyone is spending even 1 minute per week on mental training. If you are knowledgeable about the mental techniques and practise them frequently you can greatly improve your performance. You need to learn about the many relaxation, breathing, visualization, focusing techniques and assertive statements. .
    Vividly imagining is like the real experience The nervous system does not know the difference. This visualization technique is further reinforced by assertive statements which you can use at any time during the day, Repeat to yourself positive statements like” I can run relaxed and light.” “I am strong and prepared.” etc.

    One powerful technique is to act as if. By acting relaxed, confident and energized you can actually achieve these characteristics.

    What should you do if you have the jitters before a race? We all do. Actually the excess adrenaline is your friend. Think positive thoughts about your past good preformances and past good workouts. Think mainly about your race plan and not about what you think your competitors can do. Go for a personal best. You are competing against yourself. This will take a load off your mind. Remember the mind is the weak link I call it the chicken mind.

    Mental training can give you that winning edge.

    How to Live Longer with a Higher Quality Life
    For combating aging or aging slower than your rivals the following is recommended:

    Mental exercise is just as important as the physical exercise. This involves keeping the mind active for example with chess, bridge, and reading, studying, and relaxing with music or painting. A healthy, contented mind contributes to a healthy body.
    Have a positive optimistic outlook to live 7.5 years longer. This is based on research studies.
    Stretch daily. Do weight training at least twice per week and exercise 3 times per week.
    Slowing down is more due to rusting (atrophy) than aging. Get rid of that “I’m slow because I’m old” thinking. Use it or lose it

    Oh yes..... how to earn the million dollars with a healthy lifestyle... With a healthy diet and lifestyle including the above you live about 20 years longer and collect your pension 20 years longer = about a $M.

    Here is my final recommendation or suggestion. It’s all about good habits. Make your habits and then your habits make you.

    by Earl W. Fee © 2007 Author of “The Complete Guide to Running”

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