“All about running!” – with Stephanie Melka and Adeena Platt-Csillag

In this episode of Healthful Woman, Dr. Fox, Dr. Melka, and personal trainer Adeena Platt Csillag discuss running. They talk about their own running journeys, share tips for beginners, and more.

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Dr. Fox: Welcome to today’s episode of “Healthful Woman”, a podcast designed to explore topics in women’s health at all stages of life. I’m your host, Dr. Nathan Fox, an OB-GYN and maternal-fetal medicine specialist practicing in New York City. At “Healthful Woman”, I speak with leaders in the field to help you learn more about women’s health, pregnancy, and wellness. All right. So I’m here with Stephanie Melka, who is, of course, a frequent flyer in the podcast. Hi, Melka. Welcome back. 


Dr. Melka: Hi. 


Dr. Fox: And we have our guest today, Adeena Platt Csillag, who is a friend. She’s a runner. She’s a mentor and instructor at Juma Fit, personal trainer. How you doing? Adeena, welcome to our podcast. 


Adeena: I am good. Thank you for having me. Very happy to be here. 


Dr. Fox: This is wonderful. I was saying this is our first time having three people on a podcast. We’re in different locations. You’re across the country. Melka is across the desk. This is wild technological marvel that we’re pulling off here, especially for me. 


Adeena: Love it. 


Dr. Fox: Excellent. How’s California? 


Adeena: It is gorgeous. It’s sunny. I mean, can’t complain. I might not come back. I’m just putting that out there. I might just stay here. 


Dr. Fox: As you know, but our listeners don’t know, you are already a part of the MFM family because, number one, you are MFM royalty being the daughter of Sir Larry Platt, MFM to the stars in Los Angeles, California, and a wonderful person and a personal friend. And he is your dad, so strong work. 


Adeena: That is my pops. Yes. That is him. 


Dr. Fox: And, of course, you’re a runner, and your brother and sister-in-law delivered with our practice, and your brother’s like one of the fastest Jews alive, which is unbelievable. So what was his marathon time like? It’s like something in the twos, right? 


Adeena: Keep in mind, he doesn’t train for these things. He literally just goes and he…I think his fastest was a 2:47, but that’s untrained. That’s just, let’s wake up and run a marathon and go. Yeah, yeah. He’s not normal. 


Dr. Fox: Thank you for coming on the podcast, and we’re gonna talk about running today. Melka also, you’re a big runner? 


Dr. Melka: Yes. 


Dr. Fox: And marathoner. And we’re gonna go through all of our little stories about our own running journeys and then maybe talk a little bit about, you know, advice for people who are either considering running or are already running and thinking about maybe improving or increasing their distance or whatnot, and obviously looking forward to hearing your tips as well, Adeena. 


Adeena: Oh, perfect. 


Dr. Fox: So let’s start with you because you’re our guest. Tell us, how did you get into running in general? 


Adeena: I actually started in high school. We ran and I ran track in high school and we had cross country meets. And that’s when I started running. I have to say I was majorly influenced by my brother. So we’ve mentioned him. His name is Ari. He’s not normal. I mean, there’s no other way to put it. I always said if he quit his job and literally trained, he could probably make the Olympics. So he definitely inspired me. And then I trained for my first marathon and then I was hooked. And then once you start running and you kind of take it a little bit more seriously and then you start putting times in and training, and it’s fun. To me, it’s not a game, it’s a constant source of trying to better yourself. And I love it. 


Dr. Fox: When did you get into training people with either just overall fitness or running? 


Adeena: I’ve been training people for about, I would say 15 or 16 years. I mean, I’ve always worked out. I’ve worked out every single day since I was in high school. It’s been part of my life. It’s part of who I am. It’s part of me. I did go to school for fashion and art and I went to MIT after I graduated from Stern and fitness was just something that I love. So I just kind of…after I had my first daughter, I just decided to teach, and then teaching, went to getting certified as a trainer, and then one thing led to another, and I did group stuff and high school stuff. So it kind of just evolved. 


Dr. Melka: Where did you grow up? 


Adeena: I grew up in LA. Born and raised in LA, went to school in New York, and then got stuck. I’ve been in Jersey now for about 16 years and East Coast, I would say about 20 years. Yeah. I never thought I would still be here. 


Dr. Fox: Adeena and I technically live in the same town in Englewood, but Adeena is all the way on the southern end and I’m literally all the way in the north end. So we’re probably like two and a half miles from each other even though we’re in the same little town. Go figure. 


Adeena: We’re distant neighbors. 


Dr. Fox: We’re distant neighbors. It’s a wonderful thing. Melka, what’s your tale of running? 


Dr. Melka: Also started running in high school, so that’s why I’m asking Adeena because we may have crossed paths in high school one day, but apparently not. And then kept running in college and I was always the, “Oh, there’s a longer distance. I should try that.” Then in high school, I would tell my coach, “I wanna run the 3K. Let me try it.” And then in college, I was like, “Oh, there’s a 5k indoors, 25 laps or whatever. Sure. Let me try it.” And then it was, “Let me run the 10K.” And then after college in med school, I realized pretty early on that running was like my outlet. And for a while, like I would go to class and leave and study and just sort of like didn’t run for a bit and I was like, “Okay. I need to get back into it.” And ran and then same thing, it was just sort of like, “Oh, there are marathons out there. I should do one of those.” 


Dr. Fox: Yeah. And then you’ve done a bunch. 


Dr. Melka: Eleven. 


Dr. Fox: Eleven. And you did, what was it? Three and five weeks at one point during your total insane stage? 


Dr. Melka: Yes. 


Dr. Fox: Yeah. And you’ve done some pretty weird ones also. 


Dr. Melka: My fourth marathon, I qualified for Boston and then strained my hamstring while training and never really rehabbed it correctly, and that kind of set me back a bit. So I sort of shifted from running for time to sort of running for fun and have stayed connected with like people I run with over the years and we’ll sometimes, like, pick a random place to go to run a marathon. In one year it was all my friends from Brooklyn that were like, “We’re gonna go to Cincinnati and run the Flying Pig Marathon.” And I was like, “Okay.” 


Dr. Fox: Flying pigs? I’m in. 


Dr. Melka: And then the year after that, my friend, Julie, from college said, “Oh, our friend Adam is out in Salt Lake City finishing his pain fellowship. I’m gonna go out and visit him. Oh, and the Salt Lake City Marathon is that weekend. Do you wanna come out and run it?” And I was like, “Sure.” 


Dr. Fox: That sounds cool. Yeah. I guess I’m a late bloomer compared to you guys. When I was in high school, I certainly wasn’t running. If anything, I was waddling at a very slow pace. I never jogged or ran a day in my life probably till medical school. My father was a big runner. He’s been running for…I mean, he‘s 78 and he still runs several hours a day. But I never did it. And then in medical school, I started because we lived in the city, you run in the park. And then I really didn’t pick up until 10 years ago when I trained for my first marathon. And since then I’ve been running pretty consistently, me and my, you know, my idiot friends in Englewood that Adeena knows. 


Adeena: Meanwhile, your wife started running too. 


Dr. Fox: Right. So [inaudible 00:06:34] started running, I guess the same time I did about 10 years ago and she also…we both did the 2011 New York City Marathon. And since then she’s been in and out of running and now she’s back in it, actually going to Adeena’s class, like one of these treadmill… How do you explain the class you’re doing, studio running? It’s sort of like Peloton for runners, I guess is how an idiot like me would understand it. 


Adeena: It’s better because there’s no screens, no numbers. Yes. I’m gonna put it out there. It’s not you against somebody else. It’s you against you. There’s no numbers, there’s no screens. It’s really a race between you and yourself. And if you feel like you can go well out one day, great. If not, we say just go with it. As long as you come and you show up, you know, just do what you can do. It’s a room with a bunch of treadmills in a circular kind of configuration and every single time you come, it’s a different class. Everybody who teaches there is a runner. So it’s not just any fitness class. It’s a running class built by athletes, built by runners. So you’re gonna have hills some days, speed work some days, more endurance training some days. So it kind of keeps you balanced and keeps your muscles guessing. It’s really awesome. 


Dr. Fox: I’m curious, what do you guys love about running? Like why running? You both did it since high school. You’re both…you know, have been doing it for many years. What is it? 


Adeena: For me, it’s my alone time. I shut off. I shut my phone off, which is my favorite part, and just go. It’s just my own time, my thoughts. Sometimes I run with music, sometimes I don’t run with music. You know, once you get going and the endorphins go flow in and it’s just, for me, it’s my time for myself. That’s how I think about it. 


Dr. Fox: What about you, Melka? 


Dr. Melka: For me, it’s the exercise, like the sort of outlet, but over the years, it’s almost been the opposite for me. It’s been the camaraderie and the friendships that I’ve developed, and like the coaching that I’ve been able to do, and like helping people run marathons that thought they never would before. 


Adeena: Wow. You make me seem real selfish here, don’t you? 


Dr. Melka: No. But I’m listening to it. 


Dr. Fox: No. But I think everyone’s had their…especially running really is…I mean, it’s a little hokey, but it really is a community. People who run love hanging out with people who run. They talk about, you know, what they’ve run, where they’ve run, what they like, what speed they do, where they’ve been, what kind of terrain they do. People love running together because usually when people are running, you’re able to talk. Sometimes if you’re really pushing it, like doing speed, you can’t, but on a typical jog, it can be very social. I mean, all my long runs in my life, I’ve done with other people. I’ve never really done them alone. And there is that possibility as well. So you have your solitude like Adeena is mentioning or you can have sort of that camaraderie, which is pretty cool. 


Adeena: Yeah. I seem to be an anti-social runner. I legit think I’m an anti-social runner. I love coaching people and I love helping them, but I feel like when it comes to my running, aside from my brother, I just like running by myself. I don’t know. Maybe I’m a loner when it comes to running. 


Dr. Melka: That’s what’s so good about it. You don’t need anyone else. 


Adeena: No. And my favorite thing to do is when you’re running and you see another runner, I love to wave because it’s kind of like that…you know, you give that nod, you give that wave. We both know we’re in the same boat, we’re doing the same things, we’re both hustling. That’s my favorite. I love like just, you know, either a peace sign or a wave to anybody that’s running. It’s like a secret language amongst runners. 


Dr. Fox: Yeah. I agree. I think it’s very unusual to pass a runner who doesn’t give you a wave, or a nod, or something like that. Absolutely. 


Adeena: Less so in New York City. 


Dr. Fox: You get pepper sprayed. 


Adeena: I used to run in Brooklyn and like, you didn’t get much. And then… 


Dr. Fox: Well, that’s sometimes it’s when it’s inundated, if you’re running in the park and there’s, you know, hundreds and hundreds of people running, you’re not gonna… 


Dr. Melka: You can’t wave to everyone. 


Dr. Fox: [crosstalk 00:09:52] to every single person, but in a neighborhood, we’re gonna pass a handful of people, it’s usually like that. One of the other things that’s just really interesting is when people are trying to figure out what they’re gonna do for fitness, for me, one of the things I always loved is, you know, I’m busy, I’m a med school resident, you know, like busy in life, you’re way or this, you don’t need anything. All you need is literally a pair of shoes and you can go. You can take them where you travel. It doesn’t really make a difference. You don’t need equipment, you don’t need a gym, you don’t need a place to just run. And unless the weather is horrific, you could pretty much run in any conditions. It’s just based on exactly how fast you go or what you wear and whatnot. 


Adeena: Yeah. One of the questions I get asked all the time, “How do I start running?” And it’s, put on sneakers and go outside. Like there’s really nothing to it. Just move, run, walk, move, walk, whatever you gotta do. There’s really no secret. Just move. 


Dr. Fox: When people ask you that question, you say that, do you ever take it to the next step and say, “Okay. Let’s design a plan for you to start running?” 


Adeena: Yes. Yes. So I always start them off either with a walk or a run-walk. I’ll give them something because a lot of people need a plan. They need something to hold onto, something to move forward. So I will give them a run-walk plan. 


Dr. Fox: Melka, what about you? I mean, do you ever have real beginners or just people who wanna like bump it up to a marathon? 


Dr. Melka: When I was with a team in training years ago, we would get people that were beginners, that had never done anything and got into the program and were like, “Well, if I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna do a marathon,” like kind of go big or go home or people that were like, you know, maybe casual runners, like three, four miles tops and then, you know, going from there to marathon. 


Dr. Fox: And how would you start them? So someone basically not a runner, they’ve never done it, or…obviously everyone’s run at some point in their life, but they never really did it regularly for exercise, what would you advise them when they’re starting? 


Dr. Melka: I think it’s the same thing Adeena said. You know, the run-walk I think is so big in starting out, you know. You could have somebody that can run two miles and if they do a run-walk, they could easily do three or four. So it’s a good way to start getting more time on your feet, more time outside, build up endurance. 


Dr. Fox: Okay. Is there anything else, Adeena, you advise them in terms of run-walk, meaning, in terms of distance, in terms of time, in terms of speed, in terms of what kind of shoes to get, is there anything else you go over with them? 


Adeena: When they’re first starting, I do it just based on time, just, you know, you wanna make your walks a little bit longer than your runs, even if I broke it down to see if you can run from the real basic one-minute run and then walk for four minutes. I keep it kind of at a five-minute interval or whatever it is, and then hopefully you can start pushing the run to longer and the walk to slower. I think people just think that running is gonna happen overnight, but like anything, it takes time, it takes practice. You got to build your endurance. So, you know, they got to start easy and just take it slowly. That’s the biggest mistake that people just wanna go and they wanna go hard and they wanna go fast, but it takes time. It definitely takes time to build it up. 


Dr. Fox: Yeah. I found the same thing when people ask me about starting to run. I do it a little bit differently. Again, I’m not a coach or a trainer, but just sort of what worked for me. But conceptually, it’s the same thing. I would say if you’re finding it hard, just continue to slow down, right? At a certain point, you may find that you’re only doing a speed walk, but most people can do a very, very slow jog if they’re disciplined, right? People feel like they have to sprint or they have to really push it and then they’re completely winded after four or five minutes because they have never done it before. But if they go to a really, really slow pace to say, “Wow, I could do that for a half-hour,” and then they can maybe make it 40 minutes, and then once they sort of feel comfortable, they can maybe increase the speed either continuously or periodically. But like you said, it just takes time and you have to get your legs used to it, your feet used to it, obviously, your endurance used to it. People who are like athletes already, the endurance won’t be the issue, but people who aren’t doing a ton of exercise, that’ll be a big issue also. 


Adeena: Right. And they need to build their confidence and as soon as they see a little bit of progression, then it gets them excited to kind of keep on moving. But you know what I would say, patience and progression and you will get there. It’ll happen. 


Dr. Fox: Yeah. I mean, also people who never ran can start and run a marathon. And it really is if you can run 3 miles, you can run 6, and if you can run 6, you can run 13, and if you can run 13, you can run a marathon. It’s just about training. But absolutely someone who can run 6 miles and like get through it can for sure train to run 13 and you can keep moving up. And so it’s just about investing the time. And typically, you know, you’re talking from not running to running a marathon. It could be like six months of training. Like that’s a real investment, but it’s doable. And then what about advice for people when they’re starting to run to not get hurt? Because people usually worry, “Oh, my knees, my ankles, my hips.” How do you help them with that? 


Adeena: So I think personally, the biggest thing people say is, “Oh, I don’t wanna ruin my knees. I don’t wanna ruin my hips. Running is the worst for you.” [inaudible 00:14:30]. That’s all I hear, is bad knees. It’s gonna hurt your knees. And I’m like, it’s such a big misconception. I think just like everything else, it’s balanced. I think somebody who… My personality is go hard or go home. That’s how I’ve always been. But as I get older and the more I train, I realize you need recovery. If you’re not recovering, you’re not gonna get stronger, you’re not gonna get faster. So I think the key to not getting injured, honestly, is making sure that you recover, you don’t push your body, and also you have to strength-train. Even as runners, you know, you think, “Oh, I’m just gonna run.” But you need to strength-train all of the muscles around your knees and your hips, your quads, your glutes, and to make sure your core is activated. So there’s a lot of different components that need to kind of be working in order for you not to get injured, and that’s something that I’ve been learning along the way. I’ve had many injuries. I’ve had IT band on my right, IT band on my left, plantar, fasciitis, you name it, I’ve had it. And I think it’s a process. You really learn that. I really think it’s recovery and it’s, you know, doing your strength work and just being smart. Just being a smart runner and then that should leave you injury-free. 


Dr. Fox: Melka, what kind of strength-training or cross training did you do when you were running? 


Dr. Melka: A lot of just like out in the park like squats, lunges. You know, we had a woman, Jasmine, that started like a fitness company and she’d come out every once in a while and just like coach us through like 45 minutes of calisthenics, all bodyweight, again, nothing fancy. And it was great because you could just be in the park and do it. You know, a lot of people hear strength training and they’re like, “Oh, I have to join a gym. I have to lift weights.” And that’s not the case. 


Dr. Fox: I never enjoyed those types of things, and so I would focus more on swimming or yoga, where it’s the same concept where you’re working other parts of your body, you’re strengthening them, you’re stretching them. You’re sort of, you know, working on your core. And also I found them more enjoyable. And I think that that’s an important aspect and it may be why triathlons are popular for people because it’s not a ton of running or a ton of biking or a ton of swimming, you get to sort of…I mean, unless you do an Ironman, of course, but then it balances them, so you’re never running seven days a week and you’re never biking seven days a week. Adeena, have you done triathlons? I don’t think I know. 


Adeena: So I actually have not. You know, during one of my injuries…I always think that there’s a lesson to learn every time you’re injured. It’s a little blessing in disguise. So I was recently…you know, I trained for…a little side note, I qualified for Boston and I trained for Boston and then because of the pandemic, it got pushed off. So I kind of kept that high volume through the pandemic, was running an insane amount of miles. And then I eventually did the virtual, but I think because I was overrunning, I got a little injured, so I found my way into the pool. So I had been swimming for the past seven months. I swim weekly. I go super early in the morning and I love it. I just think it’s amazing on the body and I love it. And then I’m like, “You know what? That’s on my to-do list.” I have never done one, but I would love to do that. 


Dr. Melka: Nice. Oh, they’re so much fun. 


Dr. Fox: Do you bike at all? 


Adeena: I used to actually ride in high school. Like I used to wake up in the morning and ride. You know, I’ll scale on a Peloton now and then, but I don’t really bike. So I think that might be one component I got to relearn how to do, but I’ll do it. 


Dr. Fox: There are swim-runs you can do that don’t have biking because I’ve been suggested to do one of them because I don’t like biking, but I love swimming or running. 


Adeena: Oh. Maybe I should do that. 


Dr. Fox: There you go. Or you can hop in…yes. 


Dr. Melka: Wait, the three of us will do the Ironman relay. We can figure it out between the three of us who does what. 


Adeena: Well, you don’t want me swimming because… 


Dr. Melka: I’ll get on the bike. 


Dr. Fox: Oh, you’re biking. 


Dr. Melka: I’ll get on the bike. 


Adeena: You don’t want me swimming. I mean, you’re swimming because I… 


Dr. Fox: Fine. I’ll swim. All right. Done. I’m gonna swim, Melka’s gonna bike, you’re gonna run. 


Adeena: I have those old people that pass me. 


Dr. Fox: Oh, that’s perfect. Good. Because yeah, of the three, swimming is probably the best one for me. All right. Done. Again, that’s a really important part that it’s people…even when you’re training for a marathon, all good marathon training programs, and all good coaches are gonna tell you, “Even if you’re increasing your miles, even when you’re running six days a week or five days a week or whatever it is, you have to mix in some form of cross-training to, you know, work other parts of your body and rest your legs that day.” You know, something of that sort. I think that’s a really important part as well. 


Dr. Melka: I make sure people know that the easy days, the off days, the rest days are there for a reason and that there’s no one workout that makes or breaks everything. So you’ll have somebody that like has to go all out when they do their tempo run or their intervals or whatever it is. And it’s not that every single week has to be better, or faster, or longer than the week before. You know, it’s a long process. 


Dr. Fox: Yeah. I mean, most of marathon training I’ve found is just trying to find a way to get your body to do something that your body desperately does not wanna do. And essentially it’s how many miles you’re gonna run. I mean, ultimately, if you’re comfortable running 50 or 60 miles a week, you’re gonna have a much easier time in a marathon than if you’ve never run more than 40 miles a week, even if one of them is 20 miles. It’s just your body’s not used to that type of abuse. In order to run 50 or 60 miles a week, you’ve got to mix it up. Some days are faster, some days are slower, some days are longer, some days are shorter. Adeena, how many marathons have you done? 


Adeena: I actually haven’t done so many fulls. I think I’ve done four or five fulls. And I’ve done a bunch of halves and 5Ks and all that stuff. 


Dr. Fox: Right. For your fulls, did you pick a particular training program? Did you make one yourself? Have you done different ones? 


Adeena: So the first one, I just kind of went out, and I was like, “Can I run 26.2?” And then, you know, as the marathon… And I’m like, “Oh, okay. This, I can do this.” And then I was like, “Oh, wait a second. There’s something called…you know, they need [inaudible 00:19:44].” Like, “Oh, I run another one. Oh, wait, I can qualify for Boston? Oh, let’s go find a race that qualifies me for Boston. Let’s work on my time.” So now I have a coach that I work with. I’m a big believer that everybody needs somebody even if you’re in the field. It’s about accountability, it’s about making sure I’m not injured. So he just kind of spaces my mileage out for me. I mean, I do it as well. So I train year-round, you know, obviously, some are higher mileage and lower mileage, but right now I’m trying to work on, you know, speed and getting a PR and all that stuff. And when I first started, it was just about finishing. You know, the first few marathons it’s like, “Oh, my gosh. I did a marathon.” And then you kind of realize, “Oh, wait, you can get faster. You can get quicker. You can, you know…” To me, it’s a game. It’s a fun game. 


Dr. Fox: Game of life with Adeena who runs a lot but runs alone. 


Adeena: I know, right? 


Dr. Fox: That’s good. And what about people who tell you, you know, they’ve tried running and they keep trying, but it’s too hard? They just say, it’s just too hard for me, the running. Are there people like that or you just, you know, you just sort of beat them down slowly until that’s not [inaudible 00:20:47]? 


Adeena: No, 100%. I think I always tell everybody in my class, my clients, “I think running is 90% mental, 10% physical.” I think if your head’s not in it and you don’t think you can do it, you won’t be able to. You know, if you train your body well, you can train for anything you put your mind to. But if your mind is not there, and you are negative, and you don’t think you can do it, and you just wanna give up, then you’re not… You have to change your mindset. You really have to believe in yourself. And, you know, these are things that I say in my classes a lot, you need to be your biggest cheerleader. If you don’t think you can do it, then you will not do it. So I do have people come in there and then they’ll take a class or two or go for a run and then they’ll be like, “Wait a second. I just did that.” And you kind of have to give them a little bit of self-confidence and then it always changes. It always turns. So for me, it’s mindset, it’s all mindset and just being positive. 


Dr. Fox: How do you get people to change their mindset? What kind of strategies do you use? 


Adeena: You know, you’ve got to start slow. You have to show them that they can do something. So if you give them a small task and, you know, someone will come to class, “I don’t want it. I’m not a runner,” so you don’t force them. “Okay. You don’t have to run.” But then once the music is going and the environment is right and they start to run and then they’re like, “Whoa, I just ran.” And you just need that little bit of, I wouldn’t say hope, but that little spark, and once that spark comes alive and it kind of just ignites everything else, then it really gives them that confidence to keep on going. And then every time they come to class or every time they go outside, they realize, “Wow, I progressed a little bit. I can do five minutes more. I can run a quarter-mile more.” And that just gets everything going. And I would say 9 out of 10 people who come in and we say, “We can’t run,” as long as they change their mindset and start believing in themselves, then they can do whatever they put their mind to. 


Dr. Fox: What about you Melka? How would you motivate people? I mean, you had all these tricks. 


Dr. Melka: We go out for burger and beers after a run. If you don’t finish it, you don’t go. 


Dr. Fox: Burger, beers, cowbells, airhorns, whatever you need, right? 


Dr. Melka: You know, if I’m running with people and they’ll be like, “Oh, my God, it’s so far,” I’ll be like, “Stop thinking about how far it is. Just one foot in front of the other.” And, you know, when we’re in Prospect Park, I’ll be like, “Just run to the next light post and then we’ll walk.” You hit it and then you’ll walk and then you’ll say, “Okay. Now at the next one, we’re gonna run” and like breaking it down. Tell bad stories, distract people. 


Dr. Fox: Yeah. I think also a lot of it is, you know, running when not in pain, like not injured is a really big thing. A lot of people, when it hurts when they’re running and instead of backing off they’re pushing forward sometimes, and that’s really…it’s hard to get motivated when you’re in searing pain, and so that’s not a good idea. And I think also sometimes people, they don’t give themselves enough latitude in their speed. They feel like, “If I can’t push at a certain pace, I’m a failure” and say like, “All right. If you don’t have it today, just slow down.” So instead of running, you know, in this time you run the distance you planned and it’ll take you an extra 5 to 10 minutes. And that’s really valuable also, especially, again, if it keeps you out of pain and you’re able to finish it. You know, people have to have some flexibility because you don’t know what your body’s gonna feel like on a certain day or what the conditions are like or whatever it is. Everyone who’s run knows that some days you feel great and some days you feel less great. And some of that is random. It could be how you slept the night before, it could be anything. 


Dr. Melka: Sometimes it’s the opposite. I’ll have people come out to run and they’ll be like, “Oh, I didn’t sleep last night,” or, “I was on call,” and this and that. It’s gonna be an easy day and then you get into it. And it’s like your muscle memory takes over, you feel good and you end up doing better than you thought you would have. 


Dr. Fox: Right. What about like equipment? Adeena, do you recommend people get certain kinds of shoes, or gear or, you know, certain types of shorts, or shirts, or hats, or whatever? Are you into anything in particular? 


Adeena: I mean, I am a techie, I love all that stuff, but I think less is more. You know, I love the great new Nike shoe with all that stuff, but I’ve come to realize that the fancier the shoe is, literally the dumber your [inaudible 00:24:30] gets. Like if you have a shoe that has… You know, I happen to love the Nike shoes that have the carbon plates in them, but then you’re not really utilizing your feet and your toes and I think that’s really important about running. The only things I love, I mean, like I said, I love a good shoe, but I love my watch. I am one of those people who I love my garment, I love my watch, it helps me pace, it helps me on my mileage, but keep it simple. Just, you know, keep it simple. 


Dr. Melka: There’s so much gear out there now. I’m laughing because you’re saying you don’t need anything. I’ll usually tell people it’s worth going to a running store to get fitted. You know, like there’s good places… 


Dr. Fox: For a shoe. 


Dr. Melka: For a shoe. Yes. Where they’ll put you on a treadmill, or you run outside, and they see what your foot looks like, they can help you figure it out, and then from there it just like explodes. There’s different kinds of shorts. Do you get like the spandex shorts, the fitted shorts? They make the running skirts that go over the shorts. You know, there’s all the food that you eat, the gels, the blocks. And then the recovery stuff, you know, there’s the foam roller, which you know I love. I have one in the office, you know, the trigger point ball. They make like the Theragun massagers now. 


Dr. Fox: Right. As you can imagine, I have none of that. 


Dr. Melka: Do you even know what any of this is? 


Dr. Fox: I am a firm believer that everyone has to find the right shoe for them. I mean, and it’s different. You know, I know my foot and I know what kind of shoes are comfortable for me and what shoes are uncomfortable for me and that’s it. Like because after time you realize, this brand doesn’t work, this brand does work and, you know, if you have a flat foot versus, you know, an arched foot, do your toes bend back? Well, do they not? You know, there’s all these different types of things that go into it. And the running stores can help you. Some of it’s a guess, obviously, but it’s trial and error. If you’re running and like this shoe doesn’t work, you try another one. And I agree, it’s not how expensive the shoe is. 


I mean, my $60 shoes are the most comfortable for me. And I’ve run in more expensive shoes and I’ve not found them better. Some people are, like, the minimalist where they like the very little, you know, padding in the shoe and it makes their foot strong and they believe in it. Some even run barefoot. You know, you got the whole scene, but I think shoes are key. I personally never run with a watch. I won’t do it. I hate it. It’s so interesting. I can’t run with it because I feel constrained. And one of my great skills is I’m…I have a very good internal pacing clock. Like I could be running and say, “This is the pace we’re running” and I’m within five seconds pretty much every time. It’s one of my strengths. 


Adeena: Me too. As people that I’m… 


Dr. Fox: Yeah. I’m not a great runner but I’m a great clock. 


Adeena: So I’m gonna run alone with my watch? 


Dr. Fox: Or you can run with me and I’ll just pace you. I’ll tell you. I’ll say, “You’re running much faster than me.” 


Adeena: But back to the shoes, another thing is if you go to these running stores, a great thing about the running stores is you can try them out. If you don’t like it, they literally will take them back for you. So it’s not like you buy a pair shoes and oh, my God. You know, if you wanna take a Mizuno and you realize the Mizunos don’t work and you wanna switch to Brooks, they will take it back. 


Dr. Fox: Yeah. They’re really good about that because… And they also know that once they’ve got you, they’ve got you. You’ll keep coming back to them. It’s a smart move on their part to have a happy customer who has a shoe that fits them. Because if you’re running a lot, you’re gonna replace your shoes every four to six months. I mean, it sort of depends on what your miles are, but you’re gonna replace them and you’re gonna come back to them. And, you know, they’ve got you as a customer, which is good. I mean, they do a good service by, you know, watching you run and giving you advice and allowing you to trade the shoes back. Whereas if you just sort of order them online, it’s a little bit harder to do that unless you know already the shoe that you like. What’s your belief about stretching before running? I’m curious, both of you, what do you do, if you do it at all? 


Adeena: I do a quick dynamic stretching and it really shouldn’t hold things for too long. I also have gotten very into mobility when I run just, you know, making sure the joints and everything moves. I kind of have a little routine that I do. Nothing long. You don’t wanna hold…personally, I don’t think you wanna hold really, really long stretches. I do a little bit of a warm-up, a little glute activation, just quick little exercises to get things fired up. But I do do a pre…you know, a little…not a workout, like a warm-up before I go out. 


Dr. Fox: What about you, Melka? 


Dr. Melka: I started doing the dynamic stretching to start. I think it’s the common lunge matrix that my friends taught me about. And then as I go out like a mile or so and if I feel something’s tight, I’ll stop and try to stretch it a little bit. 


Dr. Fox: Interesting. I’ve always stretched for like 30 seconds. 


Dr. Melka: A minute. 


Dr. Fox: You know, the fascinating thing is all these years of data and still nobody knows if stretching makes things better, makes things worse, or has no effect whatsoever in terms of like performance and prevention of injury. It’s fascinating. We just don’t really know. Some people believe in it very strongly and some people believe that not doing is the right thing to do. And it’s really interesting. So, you know, I found the three things that I know always sort of hurt me and so I stretch those and make sure that they’re okay before I start. But that’s about it. You can find things that’ll make you stretch for 10, 15 minutes before you go running, but sometimes you just don‘t have time for that. It’s also, you know, you have to be practical. You know, if you have an hour and you wanna run for 50 minutes or whatever it is, that’s it, that’s what you’ve got. You can’t do, you know, 15 minutes of warmup and 15 minutes of cool down. Eventually you’re not running anymore. And so, you know, some of those are luxuries for like a Sunday. If you got like, “All right. I got two and a half hours. I could do whatever I want.” But most of the time it doesn’t work that way for people. You have to be economical with what you’re doing. And the same thing, like if you have a short amount of time, you may say, “All right. Today’s the day I’m gonna do, you know, speed workout. I’m gonna do more sprinting. I’m gonna do more intervals because I only have 45 minutes. Whereas if I have an hour and a half, I’ll do a longer, slower run,” for example. Adeena, how long are your classes when you do them? 


Adeena: They’re all 45 and we do different type of classes. Some are like a 45 on the tread, some are 30 minutes on the tread then we do some stretches. We have interval ones. There’s all different types, but the actual length of class is 45 minutes. 


Dr. Fox: Who do you recommend would go to a class versus just running outside? Or if someone is used to running outside, who might benefit or really enjoy a class and vice versa? How do you advise people with that? 


Adeena: I think everybody. You know, the biggest thing is, “Oh, I have a treadmill in my basement.” And I can guarantee you, 1000%, the workout you’re getting with us in the studio is not the same workout you’re doing at home in your basement. You know, there’s something to be said about camaraderie and being in a room. And we’re a little bit smaller now because of COVID, we do have all these restrictions and, you know, we can’t have some people in the room, but still, you’re with people and you’re with an instructor who’s motivating you with music and you’re gonna wanna push yourself more. And sometimes we do speed work and hills. And, you know, I don’t know about you, when I run at home in the middle of the winter on my treadmill, I’m just watching TV and going. I’m not necessarily pushing myself hard. It’s a different feel. And I think you feel amazing, you know, kind of like you do outside, you feel like you’re part of a group and you just went through something together. I think everybody from the experienced marathoner to the novice can gain from coming to a class. 


Dr. Fox: Melka, have you ever done any indoor running classes? 


Dr. Melka: I love the treadmill and I would be happy to try a class and see what it’s like in a group setting because like I’ve done spin class and I liked that, but you can get me in the best running shape of my life and you put me on a treadmill, not even a mile in I’ll be like falling off of it and be like, “Oh, my God, I did 20 miles. I must be done.” 


Adeena: No, you know, I’m the same way. The group of the ladies there, they train for the New Jersey Marathon indoors. They all train for the marathon on the treadmill. I love the classes, but I expire. After about 45 minutes to an hour, I expire on a treadmill. Whatever it is, I can go outside for hours, but I feel the same way. It’s sort of enough to kind of get everything moving and not long enough to bore you. 


Dr. Fox: Right. I love running outdoors, but I am so used to running on a treadmill just because the way my life was [inaudible 00:31:47] hours, if I’m running late at night or if I’m running in the winter or whatever it is, that I’m very used to…I’ve always been running on treadmills and outdoors, both, so I’m comfortable with both of them. I’ve never done one of the classes. I’m sure I would love it. 


Dr. Melka: Let’s do it one day. 


Dr. Fox: I have to go. That’s where [inaudible 00:32:04] is going now. She would be there right now if you were in California, Adeena. Thanks a lot. 


Adeena: She’s great. She’s really fabulous. 


Dr. Fox: Yeah. Well, she’s like you, she’s like go big or go home. She don’t play. So she’s gonna do it if she’s gonna it. And she also, by the way, is a big run-alone person. Like you, she’s into solitude. 


Adeena: At 4:00 in the morning, let’s just put it out there. 


Dr. Fox: Yeah. Well, we try to run together. She gets so irritated. She’s like, “Stop running with me.” And we get along great, you know? And so we have a wonderful relationship. We spend lots of time together, but running, she wants her solitude. It’s like Superman. She needs her solitude. Wow. Adeena, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. I know you’re headed to the beach or somewhere beautiful and warm in California and enjoying time with your… 


Adeena: And sunny, yes, thank you. 


Dr. Fox: Yeah, your well-behaved children who I’ve not heard screaming in the background once. But, yeah. And listen, through all this, I forgot to mention, you’re like a mom of like 14 kids and you’re just crushing it. That’s awesome. 


Adeena: Running is what gets me every day. If I don‘t run…my kids know, I’ve trained them, if mama doesn’t run, she’s not happy. So they know. If I’m on the treadmill, don’t enter the room, if I’m running, don’t call me. It’s almost like they’re trained, you know? They know what I need to survive. So that’s one thing I’ve done right. 


Dr. Fox: And you’re just training so when they get older you can run the hell away from them. 


Adeena: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. 


Dr. Fox: Do any of them have your genes? And you married an athlete also, so your kids must be like super duper athletic. 


Adeena: So thank God they are. My boys are great at sports. I can’t say they’re not. My daughter loves to run, but she won’t run with me. You know, maybe it’s a teenage thing, you know, she’s like, “I’m not running with you.” But she’ll run. She’ll be on the treadmill and like, let’s work out together. You know, she’s [inaudible 00:33:36]. But it’s okay. She can run, she moves, she’s great, she’s fast. But yeah, thank God my kids are athletic. I mean, it’s part of passing in our house, you know? 


Dr. Fox: How can our listeners find you for classes or for personal training? What’s the best way if they wanna, you know, hunt you down and get you to teach them? 


Adeena: Best way is probably through Instagram. Probably through my handle. I’m Adeena Mara. It’s A-D-E-E-N-A M-A-R-A. I post my classes, I do some Instagram live. I do teach at other places. That’s probably the best way. DM me, happy to respond back and connect. And if anybody who’s listening wants to come for a class, first class on me. So come on into the studio in [inaudible 00:34:12]. 


Dr. Fox: Awesome. And then if they’re looking for me or Melka, they know where we can be found. And we can give them sound medical advice and running tips. 


Adeena: Amazing. And I’m looking forward to our triathlon sprint. I’m really looking forward to that. 


Dr. Fox: Oh, sprints. No, no. We’re doing distance. 


Dr. Melka: No, we’re doing Ironman. 


Dr. Fox: No, we’re going…no. 


Adeena: The relay, the relay. Not sprints? 


Dr. Fox: We’re gonna split in Ironman, for sure. 


Dr. Melka: We, all three, we could easily do an Olympic distance. 


Dr. Fox: But no, I think the Ironman is a great idea because I can do the swim for sure and you could pull out the bike, you’ll train, and Adeena, you could run tomorrow with the marathon. So it’d be good. 


Adeena: I’ll run. Love it. 


Dr. Fox: All right. Listen, enjoy. Thank you for coming on, Adeena. 


Adeena: Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you. 


Dr. Fox: Melka, thanks for co-hosting. All right guys, take care. Thank you for listening to the “Healthful Woman” podcast. To learn more about our podcast, please visit our website at www.healthfulwoman.com. That’s www.healthfulwoman.com. If you have any questions about this podcast or any other topic you would like us to address, please feel free to email us at hw@healthfulwoman.com. Have a great day. The information discussed in “Healthful Woman” is intended for educational uses only and does not replace medical care from your physician. “Healthful Woman” is meant to expand your knowledge of women’s health and does not replace ongoing care from your regular physician or gynecologist. We encourage you to speak with your doctor about specific diagnoses and treatment options for an effective treatment plan.