Syracuse Online

Labor Day

Fitness Despite Change

Published September 1, 2003 in The Post-Standard.

By Dr Kamal Jabbour, Contributing Writer

Labor Day signals the end of summer and the return to school. To many runners, Labor Day brings life-defining decisions and the stresses of change. Change invites unsolicited advice on consistency in the midst of chaos, and fitness in the face of temptation.

So, to Princess who competed in 10 cross-country seasons: Good luck in graduate school. Join a local running club, and check out the local racing scene. Run four or five days each week, about an hour per run, and race every other weekend. Post-collegiate runners are pretty rare, and you might surprise yourself with a few age-group awards.

To Jay, who lost his running shoes during the college move: Take advantage of the sales tax amnesty and buy a new pair. If you choose to forego varsity drinking in favor of library studying, make room for some weightlifting and distance running. Do not lose your freshman fitness, lest your old man sprints past you when you come home.

To P.J., who survived illness and injury: Enjoy your senior year and look no further. Run like it is your last season and race like there is no tomorrow. Savor every moment and enjoy every memory, for they will last you a lifetime.

To Nicole, who is training for her first marathon: Keep the faith, for an uphill fight awaits you. Drink water and eat yogurt, for both will help on the long run. Sleep well and stay rested, your body will thank you. Prepare for every long run like a marathon, and visualize crossing the finish line happy and strong.

To Andy, whose belt grew in leaps since his last run: Now that the waist is gone, the wait is over. Fall is the best time to resume running, to reacquaint your body with forgotten pains and pleasures, and to reverse the deadly trend of a growing girth and slowing step. Work will await you, but life will not. Run to build energy, and work will follow.

To Peter, who smoked for most of a century: Quit smoking today so that you may see tomorrow. Get a pair of good shoes and run for your life. Go for a one-minute jog every time you get the urge to smoke a cigarette. Your lung capacity will increase in just two weeks, and your stamina will carry you farther each day.

To Ed, who took up golfing and walking: Give running another try. When the leaves turn golden and a chill fills the air, put on your waffles and brown socks and rediscover the trails of Highland Forest.

To him who dispenses advice freely: Heed thyself, wise one.

© 2003 The Post-Standard.

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