Listener Q&A: April 2017

Don’t look now, but April is almost finished and May is coming quickly!

But before we turn the page on the month of April, we must do some Q-ing and A-ing!

For those of you that are new here, the process is quite simple:

I put a post up in our Facebook Group asking for questions.

Then a week or so later, I answer the questions on the podcast.

Easy enough, eh? Thought so.

Let’s get to it!

This Month’s Questions

As per usual, below you’ll find the abridged version of my answers.

For a little more depth, aka rambling/stories/nonsense, hit the play button above to listen to the podcast episode in its entirety.

I’m trying out some Altras-the Intuitions-and even though the shoes feel good on my feet my runs are HARD! Like, running on sand hard. Any ideas why this is?


First thought, width.

If your old shoes were rather narrow, transitioning to a food-shaped Altra well force muscles in your feet to work overtime to support your foot because the walls of the shoe aren’t where they usually are.

My thought is that as your feet begin to “embrace the space” a bit, those muscles in your feet will get stronger and the feeling of running on sand will be a thing of the past.

I also floated this question in the Altra group that I’m a part of, to get some additional thoughts. Many thoughts there came back to the

Many speculated that the zero-drop feature of the Altras was causing the feeling of difficulty. I’m not sure I agree with that, especially since your calves/Achilles tendons aren’t tight or troublesome, but that was the consensus from some other Altra aficionados.

Another suggestion that made more sense to me is that the Intuitions tend to be a pretty rigid shoe. Perhaps you’re getting less spring/assistance from you shoe while you’re running?

Another guy said he had the same problem until he went up a size, and everything has been smooth sailing since.

All that to say, my gut is saying that you just haven’t adjusted to the differences between the Altras and the shoes you were wearing in the past.

The adjustment period to Altras can be long, like 6+ months long in many cases.

For me, it probably took me close to a year before I was fully comfortable with my Altras.

That said, it was the best decision I’ve ever made as a runner.

So stick with it, and fingers crossed you’ll be back to running more effortlessly soon!

Summer is coming. Any tips for training in the heat?

I’ve got a few…

  • Start early. Finishing a run before the sun comes up helps. I know it’s no fun to get up at 3 am on the weekend for your long runs, but it’s not a whole lot of fun to run in the heat and humidity of the day either. And it’s a lot safer too.
  • Staying hydrated is another key. Drinking plenty of fluids, and by fluids I mostly mean water, is necessary to allow your body to cool itself when you’re running in the heat.
  • Eating healthy is a good idea year-round, but in the summer it’s important as well. So often we focus on staying hydrated, but if you’re not eating quality food your body isn’t getting the fuel it needs to function.
  • Don’t worry about the stats. You’re going to run slower in the heat.

I’m new to this whole running thing, and during my most recent half (2nd time racing the distance) I paused my watch when I stopped to use the bathroom. Problem was, the line at the porta potties was long! According to my watch, I PRd. According to my official time, I didn’t beat my time for my first race. Can I claim this as a PR or not so much? And also, how does anyone ever PR if you have to stop to pee and lose so much time while racing?

I’m going to contradict myself in this answer, so be prepared!

Hypocrite Warning

I don’t care if you want to say that you set a new PR for this race. That’s fine by me.

That said, I would say that your official time is your official time.

To me, this is the same thing as people that stop their watch when they hit 13.1 or 26.2 and claim that as their finish time, even though they still have a few hundred yards to go to get to the finish.

When you cross the start line, your time starts. When you cross the finish line, your time starts. The elapsed time in between? That’s how long it took you to run the race.

If I was in your situation, I’d just qualify my time with your story. My official time was X, but I also stood in line to use the bathroom for 15 minutes.

As for the second part of the question, you’ll figure it out.

I honestly don’t stop to pee during a half. I can go 13.1 without needing to go. That said, I’ll usually be one of the last people into the corrals because I’m going to pee just before the race starts.

For the marathon, it’s a little different. I’ll usually have to pee at some point, so I either wait until I come to an unoccupied porta potty so it takes the least amount of time possible or just run off of the course and find a tree.

For guys, that option is obviously a little bit more doable. But I’ve seen plenty of ladies making their way back to the course from the trees/bushes just off the course to know that the ladies use the natural bathroom on occasion as well.

There is also a physiological component at play. When you’re running hard, your body sends more blood to your muscles than it does to your kidneys. So you’ll actually produce less urine during your run than you would if you weren’t running as hard.

So even though you’re well hydrated, you should have fewer urges to go when you’re running than when you’re not.

What is the proper nutrition plan for a marathon?

As a Trailwind Trailblazer, I feel like I’m supposed to plug Tailwind here, right?

I’m going to fall back on my default answer for many things here and say that there is no one size fits all way to fuel yourself during a marathon.

It takes trial and error and determining what works best for you.

That said, there is some science that should not be ignored. To utilize calories, your body needs water to help them be absorbed. So a liquid option (like Tailwind) will deliver the fuel more quickly to your muscles than something like a gel or a chew or even real food.

I’m also a fan of consistent fueling instead of taking a mass of calories at once and then riding it out for a bit.

Not to plug Tailwind again, I’m going to plug Tailwind again so you’ll have to deal with it, but that’s why Tailwind is made to be sipped while you’re running instead of gulped all at once.

Your body will better process 200 calories of liquid fuel over the course of an hour than it will if you just choke down a 200 calorie gel all at once and then don’t have anything else for the next hour.

So my advice is to experiment with different products/food items to figure out what works best for you and to also try to take in a steady stream of calories instead of one huge batch intermittently.

Is there a benefit to grinding out a handful of miles when I’m already tired after a long day at work?

Not really.

If you’re that worn out from your day at work, the benefits of slogging through a handful of miles will be minimal at best.

Is it better than not running at all?

Perhaps. Though I think I’d make the argument that skipping the run today and doing it tomorrow morning when you’re rested will be yield better results than trying to gut out those miles after work.

What is a good resting heart rate for runners?

Remember that question about the nutrition for a marathon and how there isn’t a one size fits all solution?

The same logic applies here. There is no “ideal” heart rate for all runners.

There are too many biological and physiological factors at play to try and pick a target that all runners should aspire to achieve.

Plus, for what it’s worth, very few people ever take an actual resting heart rate. Though with wearable technology now, that could be changing.

Back on Topic


I’d say in the 60s or lower would be fairly normal. Below 60 would be pretty good. Below 50 is great.

Below 40 and you’ll have to convince doctors and nurses that nothing is really wrong with you; you’re just a runner and you’re healthy.

What is a good mix of road/track training for the 5k?

The best way to train for a 5k? Run a 10k instead.


In pseudo-seriousness though, it doesn’t matter.

You don’t need to get on the track to do speed work if you don’t want to.

And you don’t have to get on the roads to do your longer runs.

The ratio to concern yourself with is making sure that you’re getting in enough easy miles and then making sure that when you’re running hard you’re really going hard.

You all know how much I love me some 80/20 Running, but the principals in it are sound.

Train on the track, on the roads, or a bit of both.

Just make sure that most of your runs are easy, and when you go hard you fricking hammer it!

Running when you’re sick: yes, no, or it depends?

It depends.

Of Course

I like going for an easy run when I’m feeling stuffed up/congested as it helps to loosen the mucus and it enables me to practice my snot rockets.

I’m a legit snot rocketeer… #notsohumblebrag

I also feel that if I have chest congestion, running really helps break that phlegm up and I’m better able to cough it up and get it out of my lungs when I’m running versus when I’m just resting.

That said, there’s no question that running hard/long when your sick can strain your system and make it a little harder for you immune system to do its job.

So it’s a fine line.

If I were to give general advice, and you know how much I hate giving general advice, I’d say that as long as you don’t have a fever and your body isn’t “achy” then a little run is probably ok.

If you have a fever or you have the body aches, stick to the couch and get some rest.

Thoughts on doing 5k training based off of kilometers instead of miles?

Interesting question, and quite honestly one I think I’d be very open to!

That said, at least here in the States, I don’t see it happening anytime soon.

You try to talk metric system here, and people lose their minds.

Metric System

Some people just don’t understand that, on the whole, the metric system is a thousand times easier than our random system of weights and measures.

But that’s a discussion for another day.

The idea of training/racing a 5k with a “metric mind” makes so much sense, which is probably why it’ll never happen…

Thoughts on race frequency? Too much racing can be bad, and expensive, but having a race on the schedule helps me stay motivated and adds a little excitement to my training.

I couldn’t agree with this more!

I definitely benefit from having a race on the calendar because it gives me a little more purpose behind my training.

You’re right that too much racing can lead to injuries, but I think having a tune up race a month or so before your goal race is fine.

And I think running a race as a training run can be worthwhile too.

It depends on the person and on the distances of the races, but one race per month wouldn’t be unreasonable.

Is it possible to train for a half marathon running almost exclusively on the weekends?

The answer here is yes, but the feasibility of it would depend on your goals for the race.

If you were trying to race, sorry bit it’s not going to happen.

If you’re looking to make it to the finish line, avoid an injury, and be able to walk away with a smile on your face, it’s definitely doable.

Give yourself plenty of time to gradually build up the distance of your runs week over week, and in a few months, you can realistically make it from the start to the finish.

Mid-week, I’d love to see some core work and/or stretching, but can you run just once per week and survive a half marathon?

If you could only do one more podcast episode, but you could talk to any runner living or dead, who would you pick and why?

Now that’s a question!

I’d want someone that I could talk with about more than just running, that much is for sure.

My first instinct was to go with Pre, but I’m not sure there would be much more to talk with him about than just his running.

Maybe Jesse Owens?

Talk with him about what it was like going into Nazi Germany and just crushing the field in front of Adolf Hitler. But more than that, what was it like being a black man on the world stage at that point in history?

And what was his experience here in the USA like? Before the Olympics? How did it change when he came home with all the medals?

What he thinks of guys like Usain Bolt, and how fast he thinks he’d be if he ran on the modern tracks we have now as opposed to the cinder tracks of his day?

I like history, so I’d pick someone from the past for sure. And it just might be Jesse Owens.

What is the best way to determine your race pace so you don’t go out too fast?

What I almost always do with my clients and with myself is to figure out what the goal pace is for the race, and then add 15-30 seconds to that for the first 2-3 miles.

The start of the race is where your goals go to die, because there is so much excitement that it’s easy to start running way too fast and end up hurting (big time) by the end of the race.

If you plan to run slower than ideal, even if you go a little faster than the plan you’ll probably still be right on your goal pace instead of significantly faster than it.

Hope that makes sense.

Well Done!

Another great month of questions in the book, and with a little luck there is an answer or two in there that is actually helpful!

Thanks to all that submitted questions this month.

And if you’d like to get your questions in the mix for next month, join the group on Facebook and be on the lookout for the call for questions next month.

And while you’re waiting, jump into a conversation or two ok?

You Got It Dude

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