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- ZDoggMD

Entries in Uncommon Student MD (3)


Endurance Training During Medical Training

9 tips for any medical student thinking about doing a marathon, triathlon, or even Tough Mudder?

A guest post by Brad Harris, a Medical Student and Ultramarathoner currently attending Loma Linda University School of Medicine.

People always ask me how I find time to train for 50 mile races while juggling a full schedule as a medical student? It's not a difficult as it sounds but it does take some work and planning.

Here is what I've learned....

Make it fun.

The most important thing is to incorporate activities you enjoy doing into your workouts. Find something that you just can't wait to get home to do then use that for motivation.  Remember, training doesn't have to be boring. Maybe you have a frozen yogurt craving. Instead of driving, run down to the local FroYo establishment, indulge, and run back home. Just make sure to make it something you look forward to. Enjoying your workouts is a mindset.

Find your pain cave, and crawl inside.

The pain cave is an uncomfortable place to be. It's a mental state that makes you feel fatigued and want to quit. Sometimes medical school pushes you into the pain cave. Find your personal pain cave and get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. It is through stressing our bodies that we become stronger.


Grab a map, be prepared for the conditions, and go see what's around the next corner. Never stop exploring. Where does that trail go that's behind your house? How do you get to the top of that mountain? What's it like to run through the middle of skyscrapers in the big city? During my time in SoCal I've really enjoyed finding new trails in the local mountains, its actually become a hobby of mine. Don't be afraid to wander and explore new places from time to time.

Give each workout a purpose.

I, like most people, get bored simply going out and pounding the pavement for 3 miles every morning in order to check off the exercise box on the to-do list. Build variation into your workouts. Warm up and just run hills one day. Find a running track and do repeats of 2-8 minutes of sprinting with a 2 min recovery after each. Find an elliptical trainer or treadmill at the gym and set it to a random setting while you review notes or flash cards. Seek out new workouts to push yourself and keep it exciting.

Add minutes or even hours to your day.

Wasting time on the internet is something that we all do. By limiting time on the internet with a program like StayFocused, you'll be surprised how much more free time you have for exercising. Plan out your internet usage before getting on your computer and set a time for each task. You will be surprised what you can accomplish with an extra 30 minutes in a day?

Listen to review sessions while exercising.

A few of my classmates would audio record every lecture during the first two years of med school. I know some med schools do it for each class, either way, this is a great way to maximise study time.  Goljan audio review was my running companion for most of 2nd year. This is a great way to avoid feeling guilty about exercising when the pressure is building before exams.


Lay low every once in a while. Take mental breaks, both from studying and training periodically. I have found that taking one day off a week from studying (I know they may sound like nonsense to some, especially those with gunnorrhea) did wonders for my focus and provided opportunities to maintain sanity and balance during times of stress. The body also needs rest. Don't be afraid of taking time off from exercise to let your body recuperate.

Plan long workouts on the weekends.

If you are looking to run a 10k, half marathon, or marathon - plan your long runs for the weekends or off days when you'll have more time. If you don't plan them, they won't happen! Also, try to make them an adventure, not just a slog. Proper planning and mindset will both make a huge difference.

Exercise after tests.

Maybe you missed some of the gimme questions that everybody else in the class said were easy on your most recent exam. Getting out and exercising after a stressful test is a great way to clear the mind as well as isolate yourself from frantically looking up every question you think you missed. Exercising will allow you to burn off some frustration and rejuvenate your mind to allow for more efficient studying.

Train with friends.

Some of the best conversations come during long training runs. Invest time forging bonds with new friends and reconnecting with old ones. They will keep you motivated and push you as well. Also having someone that is counting on you to show up for a run is great for accountability.

Hope these tips help! My endurance training has truly made a big difference in my medical school experience and I believe it will make me a better doctor as well. If you have any other great tips for training leave me a comment and let me know.





Interview: Preparing for Physician-Entrepreneurship

Troy Heidesch, Founder of Smart HouseCalls, speaks to students about starting a business.

Remember the blog post in December about Dr. Toby Bond? Well as it turns out, Troy Heidesch consults as a part-time Nurse Practitioner in his office and is equally as innovative. Troy is founder of Smart HouseCalls, a new start-up which connects patients to their physicians more effectively using webcam technology. His system is HIPAA compliant, high definition, stable, secure and most importantly, billable. Using this technology, quick follow-ups and educational meetings can be arranged over the internet face-to-face with the provider rather than over the phone with the office staff. This has the potential to make an enormous impact in rural areas where access to healthcare is a serious issue as well as add convenience to patients who might not otherwise follow-up due to a busy schedule. I was able to sit down with Troy to discuss his work during the start-up process--hopefully you'll find his insights helpful.

Q: Tell me what you're up to.

A: I am the founder and CEO of a Biotech startup called Smart House Calls. We have built a telemedicine platform that allow physicians to communicate with patients from anywhere to anywhere with an internet connection and then charge  either the patient or the insurance company for that interaction. This improves patient access to timely and convenient care, decreases emergency room visits, and is an income accelerator for primary care providers.

Q: What has been the most challenging part about starting a business?

A: Patience and getting over self-doubt. You expect that a great idea will sell itself. After a few months you realize that success is in the execution rather than in the idea and execution takes time. I believe that self-doubt is common to most entrepreneurs. You think, “Who am I to build a potentially very large enterprise?” Then, as you immerse yourself into trying to succeed, you start seeing that you are really no different than other successful entrepreneurs. You read voraciously, talk with anyone who will listen, and suddenly you find that you are executing and doing a respectable job.

Q: How have you changed your clinical practice to allow time for your business?

A: I work as a consultant for primary care practices seeing patients and then installing our system. This is now giving way to full time within the company as sales begin to ramp up. I get up at 5 AM, do a little work for Smart House Calls, go see patients, and then work until about 7 or 8pm before spending some time with my family. On the days when I do not see patients, the hours remain about the same (and that includes weekends!).

Q: What should students who have entrepreneurial interests be doing to prepare for a different career when they graduate?

A: Read. Great book to start with is “The E-Myth Physician” by Michael Gerber. Decide whether you want to be an employee in your own business or be a CEO at the beginning. They are VERY different from each other. A physician as an employee will spend the day seeing patients and spending time every week to make sure the staff is paid and will pay attention to billing. The CEO will build systems that will work regardless of personnel and will be able to scale. They will spend most of their time thinking five years ahead and implementing strategies to push the business in the direction they envision.

Q: Any other comments?

A: If you have a great idea, talk about it to everyone person you meet. Do not worry about someone stealing your idea. Ideas are a dime a dozen, it’s the execution that is hard. By talking with everyone about your idea or plan, you will gain insight into the marketplace to help determine whether you really have something that people would want to pay to get. Finally, drop any ego or worry of losing control, hire people who are obviously much better than you. They will make you better and will pull your business to success much faster (success may not happen at all without this type of talent). A people should hire A people. If you hire B people they will hire C people and so on. Your idea will flounder and die if your first hires or partners are not exceptional.

So readers, what are your questions about starting a business? Leave comments and we'll get the discussion started.

A big thanks to Troy for his time and insight into these issues. For more information, see their website at SmartHouseCalls.com.


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