Gary's new website

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Oxfam Trailwalker, jetlag and DVT

"I am a 45 year old Brit who is undertaking the UK Trailwalker challenge this July. My team mates and I have begun training, doing 15km to 20km hikes every other weekend as a team, plus individual training; I run about 8km twice a week. We are not great athletes and we’re not setting out to break records. But we aim to finish the course in about 24 hours. Your site provides excellent nutritional and training advice – thank you.

But I have a specific query to put to you. As Fate would have it I have just got a job that means I may have to be working in Los Angeles up until a couple of days before the event. I would therefore fly on the Thursday, arriving in the UK on the Friday, do the hike Saturday morning to Sunday morning, and fly back to LA on the Monday.

Now, obviously fitness levels and proper sleep in the period leading up to the whirlwind of travel would be crucial. There’s also the risk of DVT from long haul flights. Those issues aside, are there other medical risks associated with taking such strenuous and sustained exercise after and before long haul flights? And how serious a factor is jet lag?

One reads of athletes doing 5 marathons on 5 continents in 5 days, so I guess it’s not impossible. Just mad."

Hugh, it sure can be done.  My sister, Lorraine, spent the best part of 28 years living out of a suitcase traveling the world.  I recall one long trip with her to Osaka, Japan  We arrived to be greeted by a crush of reporters, cameras and snow. One of the first things she insisted on was going for a short run which we did following a taxi with an undersized TV cameraman sqashed into the boot.  Two days later, Lorraine won the Osaka Marathon for the second or third time in a row, beating Olympic Champion, Lisa Ondieke.

First Rule of Long Haul Travel: No matter the time of day or night - Go for a short brisk run or walk asap after the journey to get the blood flowing and the tissues oxygenated.

Sleep deprivation: Not much you can do about that.  As Lorraine quipped in her autobiography, "On the Wings of Mercury", nobody ever fell asleep while running a race.  Keep that thought running round and round in your head and you will be okay.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): Please read my notes for athletes and team managers about preventing deep vein thrombosis during long haul flights.  And these articles here for an update to my advice (Follow the key word tags at the base of each article please). I have seen several cases of DVT over the last year and the consequences sure can be serious and lasting.  Stress, fatigue, poor diet and excess exercise followed by long periods of standing and sitting are common factors in causation of DVT.  One case had a genetic factor at work as well; but the lifestyle factors are most important.  A combination of vitamin C, fish oil, vitamin E and even garlic oil will drasctically lower your odds, as will regular exercising of the legs.  Have a good read of my articles above, follow the advice and you will be right.  You can get everything you need by following the product links in the articles that take you to my website store.  If you need help, just drop me an email.

Completing the Oxfam 100km: Hugh, between now and then its all about time spent on your feet walking and running.  If it is walking you are doing then you should make 80% of your training walking and the rest running.  Get a heavy pack and do some short hikes up and down hills for about 15-20 minutes every morning before breakfast for a bit of strength training then do plenty of walking during the day.  Do at least one decent hike per week of 2 hours or longer if you can fit them into your busy schedule.

Nutrition: There is a ton of nutrition information on this site so I will not repeat myself.  But I will say that the general rule is to avoid fast and processed foods.  Go for natural and not the high carb rubbish that is touted to athletes.  The supplements I have suggested for preventing DVT are generally great for athlete training all the time.  Among other things they help the blood flow!

If there was one other supplement that I would recommend to a healthy "older" athlete that is the Balance Ultimate Recovery Stack.  It is a brand new product that is without the artificial colouring and flavourings one usually sees in athlete drinks and it covers just about every base for what an athlete may need in training additional to a great diet.  I have had several athletes trial it during training and events and it does the job.  It is handy for athletes on the road because you need only one container to cover all needs and it even doubles as a sports drink.  

Rule: Whatever you plan to eat and drink on the day of the Oxfam 100 must have been thouroughly tested and practiced in training.

Five marathons in five days: Yes, nuts.  Of course it can and has been done.  What the running magasines do not want to tell you is the really bad news about the aftermath of ruined bodies.  Like the plastic knees and hips before 50 years of age, the muscles that have been scarred to the consistency of leather straps, or the stuffed kidneys and adrenals.  Who wants to know about the Iron Man who spent a week in a coma after flushing his body clean of electrolytes by drinking a gallon or two of a popular sports drink during a race and still struggles years later to even do a decent days work?  Is the slience because advertisers would be upset if a magasine was to run these reality check stories.  Instead, we continue to champion the myth of super human performances without consequences.  For every superman there are many casualties that we never get to hear of.  Some of them come to me for help.

Walking 100km is fine, btw - so long as you do the preparation.  Running it is a different cup of tea.

Hugh, I hope this helps.  Please let my readers know how you get on with your training and on the day.
Your email address:

Powered by FeedBlitz

Do you have a question?
Email Gary: gary at (Replace the "at" with @ and remove spaces). Please include any relevant background information to your question.


Anonymous said...

Gary, your earlier post on Vitamin E as a natural blood thinner now has more scientific support. I started taking it while on warfarin (after a DVT and pulmonary embolism in winter 2007) and it shot my INR (measurement of blood viscosity) through the roof. I should have consulted my doctor before I started, but I foolishly thought a "natural" substance wouldn't have such a strong effect.

Good news--my doctor took me off warfarin as of January 12 2009 and now I just take vitamin E. I have the Factor V Leiden deficiency so I tend to get blood clots, and because of this my doctor is willing to prescribe Lovenox (a short-term blood thinning injection) for long flights. Cabins are pressurized to the same degree as 8,000 feet above sea level, but unlike climbing a mountain, acclimatization is about ten minutes, and you're not using your legs and heart to ascend!

I feel so much better without warfarin--my nails have stopped breaking, and my hair is shiny and has stopped falling out. DVT is no joke--you're right to tell your readers to be careful. If there's any family history, patients should demand a genetic test, although insurance of course fights paying for it.

Gary Moller said...

Thanks so much for your post above! Natural vitamin E is so effective.

Did you know that Warfarin may be implicated in osteonecrosis?

Vitamin E is the natural choice for preventing blood clotting - along with other nutrients like fish and flax oil, Natural vtiamin C and garlic oil.

Cheap and effective. Only documented side effects are looking and feeling great!

But take with caution if on prescription blood thinners.