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Running notebook: Enjoy dynamic warm-up before heading out to run

| Friday, March 29, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

If you're strapping on the shoes and running out the door without doing a dynamic warm-up, you're wasting your first mile, Dr. Vonda Wright said.

On Saturday, the noted UPMC orthopedic surgeon and fitness specialist will lead an expected crowd of 200 to 300 runners in a session that will focus on not only how to warm up dynamically but why it's important. The Warm-Up on Walnut will be held near the corner of South Aiken Street and Walnut Street in Shadyside, with check-in at 8 a.m. followed by the warm-up at 8:30 a.m. The event is free and will be followed by training runs of varying distances with Steel City Road Runners.

“What it means is warming up every body part from your arms to your back to your legs and stretching with motion, not static stretching,” she said. “So you aren't stiff, your metabolism has already shifted into activity mode and you're not wasting the first mile or two of training and can maximize your performance.”

For details on dynamic warm-ups, visit and click on the tab for runners.

Tip of the week

How do you tell the difference between the normal aches and pains of training versus something more serious? When should you consult a doctor?

“When an athlete is training for an endurance event, that individual needs to listen to their body. ‘Normal' aches and pains will occur,” said UPMC sports medicine expert and orthopedist Dr. Aaron Mares. “The difficult part is distinguishing when those pains mean that something more serious is taking place. I like to think of pain on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 the most excruciating pain a particular individual can imagine. Typically, when it comes to musculoskeletal pain, an athlete can continue training if that level lies between 0 and 2. Once it gets above 2, they should seek medical consultation.

“Also, pain can occur during and after a training session. Pain should not linger for more than 24 to 48 hours after a run. Pain that lasts longer than 48 hours should be evaluated by a medical professional before the continuation of training.”

Did you know?

The “explore the route” feature on the marathon's official website allows runners to see not only the routes but also fluid stations, aid stations, relay exchanges, relay shuttles and mile markers.

Face of the race

Name: Melissa Halerz

Age: 23

Residence: Mt. Pleasant

Race: Half marathon

Why she's running: “As a child, I was always terrible at running. I was slow, I couldn't breathe at all, and I wanted to be able to run like everyone else. I couldn't keep up with my friends, and it was so frustrating because I tried so hard. Once I figured out that I had asthma, I thought trying to fix it would answer my problems. I always thought it would be cool to try a race or something that you never thought would be possible, so I've been training for the past year and entered myself in my very first half marathon in May.

Her advice: “Anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Take yourself out of your comfort zone and don't hold back. You'll be a lot more disappointed with the chances that you didn't take than the ones you did.”

Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at or via Twitter @KarenPrice_Trib.

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