The late great golf instructor Harvey Penick once said “When I ask you to take an aspirin, please don’t take the whole bottle.”  While I may not have taken a whole bottle of aspirin, when it comes to my running lately I have taken the equivalent of: aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naxopren.  Now I don’t know which one or ones worked.

 Starting 2 months ago I started taking Pulmicort 180 mcg for my asthma.  I also started taking 1200 mg of fish oil with vitamin D 1000IU and 65 mg of iron (ferrous fumarate) every other day.  I’ve always had low hemoglobin (about 11 gm/dl) so I started taking iron every other day too see if that does anything for me, and fish oil is suppose to help with inflammation and possibly asthma so I figured it couldn’t hurt.  We don’t get any sun in Rochester, so I got the fish oil with vitamin D for good measure.

 To complicate matters my training has changed in the last few months.  Most weeks I only get in 5 days a week of running instead of the 6 or 7 days a week I had been doing the past year.  I’ve cut out all the longer tempo work and am doing all my speed work at 800m-5k race pace.

 The result so far of all those changes has been I’m running better than I ever have before.  The problem is I don’t know which changes are causing the improvements or if it is all of them working together.  Another possibility is that some of them are helping a lot and some are hurting a little for a net gain, but I could be doing better if I changed or discontinued one of them.

 I think the biggest improvements have come from my asthma meds, and doing more speed work.  I think if I could keep doing the same type of speed work but build up more miles I would be doing even better.  I’ll have to wait until my spring checkup to see if the iron is making any difference in my hemoglobin count.  If it isn’t I’ll drop that because it is the one change that has side effects that are a bit troublesome.  In the meantime I’ll keep plugging away and hopefully rack up some more PR’s.

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  1. A classic dilemma, what has helped and what has hurt? One thing I try to keep in mind is this: almost anything you do to your body gives diminishing returns. The particularly applies to speed, mileage, and stretching or other exercises. Variety is your friend.

    What are the negative consequences of taking iron? I take iron and vitamin C together on a semi-regular basis even though my iron is fine. (My vitamin D was a bit low in Rochester though. I hope that the Albuquerque sunshine helps in this regard, though it has to counter the gloom of the computer lab.)

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