Syracuse Online


Dr. J. on Running

Running Scorecard

How Good Are You?

Published June 25, 2001 in The Post-Standard.

By Dr Kamal Jabbour, Contributing Writer

The other day, I sipped on a short cup of non-fat cappuccino with amaretto while I ambled through the bargain book section. Although I was unable to find any running books, I came across a beginner's guide to personal relationships. The concept was a cross between a self-help quiz and dating for dummies.

For example, to impress a woman on a first date, you: take flowers (+5); pay for dinner (+10); call your mother to drive you home (-20). As the caffeine took effect, it occurred to me that the same concept could apply to training methods. So, in the style of a scorecard for dating, I offer this scorecard for running.

Your longest run was a three-mile jog, but your friend entered a 10K and invited you to join him. The race is in four weeks. Undaunted, you: enter the race (+5); gradually increase your long run to six miles (+10); neglect to wear sun screen during and get sun burned (-20).

Your wife needs new running shoes. To make a good impression you: take her shopping at the best sports store in town (+5); know which shoes are best for her stride (+10); over-estimate her shoe size (-20).

You are a civic-minded person. As such, you: enter the annual local road race (+5); enter your family in the same race (+10); use one form for the whole gang (-10); forget to sign the entry form (-15); forget to include the check for the entry fee (-20).

Volunteering is a great way to promote the sport. When your local club volunteer coordinator calls, you: volunteer wherever you are needed (+5); volunteer to work in the finish chute (+10) so you can catch fainting runners who collapse in your arms (-20).

Many runners cross train to build endurance and strengthen multiple muscle groups. In terms of cross training, you: swim twice a week (+5); bike with the kids on weekends (+10); lift weights at the gym (+10); lift a few at the local establishment while watching football (-20).

The benefits of stretching have been widely extolled by elite athletes and coaches. You: stretch before running (+5); stretch after running (+10); eat an energy bar while watching college co-eds home for the summer do their stretches (-20).

Everybody has a sense of style. You: wear red socks when you run (+5); wash them in between workouts (+10); wash them in hot water so the colors bleed into the white clothes (-20).

If all else fails, combined running and dating. Do a good deed every day and leave your significant other feeling happy. Tell her she looks great when she runs (+5) and that she reminds you of an elite athlete (+10), Dwight Stones (-20).

Kamal Jabbour runs and writes on the hills of Pompey, New York. His RUNNING Column appears in The Post-Standard on Mondays. Dr.J. created, webcasting live Every Lap of Every Race. He receives email at

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