Gary's new website

Monday, May 07, 2007

Walking a marathon, rheumatoid arthritis and glucosamine

I would like to walk the Rotorua Marathon in 2008, and am trying to find some training advice. I notice that you have free on-line training for a marathon which just seems to be for runners, and I wonder if there is anything more specific for walkers.

I'm almost 62 and started walking when I gave up smoking some 6 years ago. At first I just did it to get fit, but then I started entering events - have done the Wellington Round the Bays a couple of times, and the Waitarere Great Forest walk most every year since 2002, initially just the 10 km event, but did my first half marathon in 2005. I've also done the Harbour Capital half marathon, and generally I've completed in under 3 hours, fastest one was around 2hr 53 min.

I had a bit of a set back towards the end of 2006 when I developed rheumatoid arthritis, and for a while I thought I would never be able to walk any distances again. However, it is now under control and I'm back out there again - did 10k Forest Walk last week in 1 hr 33 min so think I'm getting better again. I hope to do the Harbour Capital half marathon distance in June, and then would like to start thinking about doing a full marathon, and especially the Rotorua Marathon in April.

I don't belong to a club, and have used the training schedule on the Harbour Capital web site to prepare myself for doing the half marathons. However, I think I probably need a bit more help with training for a marathon, not just the schedule, but also some ideas about nutrition, and any tips that might help, both in building up fitness and during the event.

If you don't have specific training advice for walkers I wonder if you can point me in the direction of where I might find some.

....................... At the moment I'm taking methotrexate - 7 x 2.5mg tablets once a week, plus 1 folic acid 5mg tablet two day prior.

When my symptoms first started to appear, my doctor gave me synflex and referred me to the Rheumatology clinic at XXXXX. After quite a wait to get an appointment the doctor I saw there gave me diclofenac and referred me for more test (xrays, bloodtests) before he would make a diagnosis. In January when my symptoms had worsened to the extent that I could hardly walk due to pain in my feet and knees, and was also having difficulty with my hands, I finally went private and saw ......... He diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis and put me on a course of prednizone plus the methotrexate (5 x 2.5mg). The prednizone was like a miracle and within a fairly short time, the pain was gone and I was almost functioning normally again. I finished the prednizone around the 6th March and am now just on the methotrexate. When I saw Dr XXXX again early in April he felt that my arthritis was not as well controlled as he would like and so increased the methotrexate.

As far as any other medication is concerned, I took glucosamine tablets, and Omega 3 Fish Oil for a while, stopped the Glucosamine when Dr XXXXX didn't support it as being of any value, but continued with the fish oil which he said research supports as being beneficial for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers. I sometimes take Codalgin if I've been doing a bit much and find my feet or hands are a bit sore.

Once the pain was more under control I started back walking again, just taking it fairly easy, and also doing a bit of bike riding, as I found this was less stressful on my feet and legs. However, I have gradually increased my walking and have done two 10 km walks now - the Waitarere Forest walk on 31 March (where I managed the 10 kms in 1 hr 33 mins), and the Moonshine Walk on 15 April (did this 10 km in 1 hr 26 mins). I try and walk two or three times a week, using some of the training programes that I've found on the Harbour Capital Marathon web site, and am thinking of building up my training again to do their 1/2 marathon in June.

Dr XXXX has said increasing my walking again is fine as long as I don't overdo it, and ease up if I get more pain at any time. And so, I'm still keen to try and do a full marathon, and this was what led me to contacting you after I found your training for runners, when I was looking for some infromation about walking training for walking on the Rotorua Marathon web site.

I still intend to go and see my GP Dr XXXXX to see about getting my vitamin D levels checked as you recommended, and will let you know the results of this.


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