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How to Train for a Marathon

Many runners have the mistaken impression that they have to run a lot of miles every week to be able to run fast in a marathon. Most will find that running too many miles slows them down.

To run fast in races, you have to run very fast in practice. However, on the day after you run very fast, your muscles will feel sore and if you run fast when your muscles feel sore, you will injure yourself and not be able to run at all. Take easy workouts until your muscles feel fresh again. Most competitive runners set up their programs so that they run fast on Tuesdays and Thursdays and longer on Sundays. The rest of the time they run slowly or not at all.

Before you increase the intensity of your running program or any other exercise, check with your doctor. Once you are in good shape, your goal on your fast days should be to run repeat intervals with short rests between each. For example, on Tuesdays try to run four half-mile repeats at a very fast pace with a quarter mile jog between each. If you can run a mile flat out in six minutes, you probably will try to run each half mile repeat in about three minutes and 15 seconds. On Thursdays, try to run eight to 12 repeat quarter miles at close to the same pace of about 90 seconds each. On Sunday, try to run briskly for 90 minutes. The rest of the time, jog slowly, being careful not to run so much that it interferes with your two fast days and one long day each week.

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: I’m trying to lose weight. Should I avoid foods that contain monoglycerides and diglycerides?

No. Monoglycerides and diglycerides together make up less than one percent of all the fats you eat. They are added to foods to make them taste smooth and to prevent the oil from separating out in foods such as peanut butter.

Most of the fat that you eat is in the form of triglycerides. Triglycerides have a chemical structure shaped like an E. The "tri" of triglycerides means that there are three vertical lines off the horizontal line of the fat molecule. Monoglycerides have only one vertical line, and diglycerides have only two. All of these fats are broken down the same way in your intestines, and all contain nine calories per gram. But check the list of ingredients of the foods you buy, and you will see that monoglycerides and diglycerides are close to the bottom of the list. This means that they are added in such small amounts that they contribute an insignificant amount of calories to your diet.

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: Is there any way to get rid of dark blotches on my skin?

With aging, many people develop dark spots on their skin, particularly in the sun-exposed areas of the face and back of the hands. Others develop dark spots after pregnancy or any trauma such as an abrasion, insect bite or cut. Check with a dermatologist to make sure that they are harmless and can be left in place. If you hate the way they look, your doctor can remove most elevated dark spots by burning them with an electrocautery, freezing them with liquid nitrogen, destroying them with various acids or removing them by scraping them off. Your dermatologist can peel skin with weak acids which usually remove most of the pigment, but sometimes can make the skin darker.

If the dark spots are not elevated, they can be treated with a combination cream made by mixing one ounce each of 4 percent hydroquinone cream, any sunscreen and 0.05 percent tretinoin cream. You can buy the first two without a prescription, but the third component, tretinoin cream, requires a prescription. The brown spots usually fade after you apply all three creams twice a day for several months. You may have success with various non-prescription products that contain just glycolic acid, hydroquinone and a sunscreen.

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Consumer Reports magazine lists 12 dietary supplement ingredients that are:
**Definitely hazardous: aristolochic acid
**Very likely hazardous: androstenedione, chaparral, comfrey, germander, and kava
**Likely hazardous: bitter orange, organ/glandular extracts, lobelia, pennyroyal oil, skullcap, and yohimbe

The article notes that, unlike drugs, dietary supplements can be marketed without any testing for safety or effectiveness. (Consumer Reports, Volume 69, Issue 5, 2004.)

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Three super-easy, super good seafood salad recipes:

California Tuna Salad
Fruity Seafood Salad
Shrimp Curry Salad

More salads and other springtime! recipes

June 27th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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