Listener Q&A: April 2019

And just like that, another month is drawing to a close!

Before the April showers officially give way to May flowers, it’s time for me to A your Qs!

You Ask, I Answer

In case you’re new to these parts, here’s what’s going on.

At the end of every month, I do an episode dedicated to you and your questions.

Want to get a question answered in future Q&A episode? Come join our FB group, watch for the post asking for Qs, and put your query in the comments.

Basically, whatever you ask I try to answer!

Sometimes, the answers aren’t worth a whole lot. But every once in a while, I like to think (or at least hope!) that I hit the nail on the head!

When it comes to free advice, there are no guarantees that you won’t get any more than what you paid for it.

That said, I promise to do my best!

And if nothing else, there are usually at least a few decent memes/GIFs to make it worth your while.

Let’s get into this month’s questions, shall we?

Your Questions

What are your thoughts on doubles?

I don’t have a problem with doubles, but they aren’t some sort of “secret sauce” that will magically make all your running dreams come true.

In most cases, for us mortals, I’d say they are fairly unnecessary.

But there are certainly times when adding a second run to a day would certainly make sense.

One recommendation, make the second run of the day an easy one.

If you want to push the first run, that’s fine. But the second one? Slow and easy.

If you’re doing HR training, is it ok to do one or two workouts a week that is over your HR target? What about one or two per month?

There are a few different philosophies related to HR training, so depending on what you are specifically following there may be a bit of grey area on this one.

That said, I would say that for most people one or two workouts per week over your HR target is way too much!

The determining factor is your volume.

How many days are you running?

If you’re only running three or four days per week, then one or two workouts per week is a huge chunk! If you’re running six days, it’s still a lot but it may work.

For me, I probably do one or two workouts a month at most. And I haven’t done a proper speed workout since August.

Not saying I’m right or wrong, just saying that in my view less is definitely more.

After six weeks off due to surgery, I’ve started back to running again. How long before I can incorporate some speed work back to the routine?

First of all, glad that the surgery went well and that the recovery process seems to be going quite smoothly!

As for adding some speed work back in, it really depends.

I’d say that at an absolute minimum, give yourself a solid four to six weeks to rebuild your base of fitness.

It’s a sliding scale very much depending on how you’re feeling, but I wouldn’t rush the process.

If you could run with any fictional character, who would it be and why?

This is a tough one!

Honestly, no one immediately jumps to mind.

But I’m not going to not answer the question.

I’ll say Phil Dunphy from Modern Family.

Hearing all the random stories and Dunphy-isms would be a good time.


Should I have a couple of different shoes to rotate through, or is that really not necessary?

It’s not a bad practice, but I’m not sure it’s 100% necessary across the board.

The cushier your shoes are, the more important it is to give the foam a chance to “bounce back” after one run before wearing them again.

But if you tend to wear shoes with very minimal foam between your foot and the ground, I don’t think it’s that important.

There is also something to the idea that different shoes work/stress your feet/legs differently.

And of course, it also depends on how many days per week you’re running and how many miles you go each run.

If you’re “only” running a couple of times a week, there probably isn’t much need to rotate shoes.

What should the longest run pre-marathon be?

It really depends.

How much experience do you have? Is your base strong? What are your goals for the race?

I’m personally a fan of going 20-23 miles for my longest run pre-marathon.

But there are loads of variables that need to be taken into account to determine what is right for you.

What is the biggest difference in training for a full vs a half?

The biggest difference to me is simply the amount of mileage required when training for a full vs a half.

In training for a half, even if you’re really planning to hammer your race, your longest training run is probably not going to be anything more than about 15 miles.

When training for a full, at a certain point a 15-miler is a “short” long run.

Making sure you have the time to do those long training runs is pretty important.

And doing the little things becomes even more vital as well, as additional miles put additional stress on the body.

So a good injury prevention regimen routine is kind of an important thing.

Does elevation training really do anything?

I think so, but probably not for the reason you’re expecting.

The physiological adaptations of living/training at elevation require being there for a substantial period of time.

So doing a workout or two per week at elevation, but then living at or near sea level you aren’t going to see the physiological adaptations that you would see if you were living and training at elevation for several weeks.

But I do think there is a bit of a psychological benefit to be gained from training at elevation.

All this said, I’ve not looked too much into the science so I could be missing something here.

But I just can’t see how there would be any physical/physiological changes from doing a few workouts at elevation.

Would you rather only run on treadmills for the rest of your life or only race 5ks for the rest of your life?

At first glance, there is no good answer to this question.

But after thinking about it for a minute, I think it’s a slam dunk.

I’ll take only racing the 5k over the treadmill for sure.

I’m at a point in my running now where I really don’t need to race.

I enjoy races, but if all I could race were 5ks I’d probably race once every few years and just enjoy my running on a regular basis.

And I think I’d be ok with that.

What’s the point of speed work if HR training helps you get faster?

Good question!

Just because you don’t need to do some harder workouts to get faster, and you really don’t, doesn’t mean you should never push yourself.

So what are some of the benefits of speed work then?

  • Improves form
  • Strengthen muscles/tendons/bones
  • Improves lactate threshold
  • Confidence boost

A little bit of speedwork really makes the easy running you’re doing that much more valuable.

But too much of a good thing, in this case, can quickly become a not good thing.

So do some speed work, just don’t overdo it.

I’m getting ready for my first full marathon. What is the best way to figure out what pace I should plan to run on race day?

I’ve heard a few different “formulas” for translating from half marathon finishing time to full marathon finishing time.

Double the time and add 10 minutes is probably the most common. But I’ve also heard double and add anything from 10-45 minutes.

The key here is that you won’t know until you get a bit deeper into your build up to the marathon.

And what really matters is how much training you are able to do leading up to your race.

If your training is on point, you can probably assume you’ll be closer to the lower end of the range in terms of predicted finish.

But if you are doing the minimum training, then that second 13.1 might take you a fair bit longer than you expect it to.

Would you ever consider doing the Double Blue Ridge?


Doesn’t mean I’d do it, of course. But I would at least consider it.

A month out from a half, what little things should be incorporated to (hopefully) trim another few minutes off my time come race day?

I mean, the little things should probably be constantly incorporated not just in the last month before a race.

Just saying

But, better to start a month out than wait until a few days before the race!

Either way, most of us would absolutely benefit from better sleep and some soft tissue work.

Of course, improving your diet and making sure you’re well hydrated isn’t a bad idea either.

Is a hot dog a sandwich?

Any idea why my calves hurt when I run slower, but at a quicker pace they don’t hurt at all?

More than likely, it has a good bit to do with your form changing at the different paces you’re running.

Try shortening your stride a little bit, and see if that doesn’t help.

Which Easter candies make good long run fuel?

The best options are probably jelly beans and hard candies.

They can typically go into a pocket or a pouch, and won’t end up being messy by the time you dig them out an hour or two later like a chocolate would.

Any advice for making sure that running stays fun for kids?

The key, clearly, is making sure that fun is always the priority.

Maybe that means having some mini-races as part of the runs.

Or some good treats at the end.

Another good idea to make sure the kids are having fun is to offer praise for things other than performance.

Praise effort. Praise attitude.

Focus on the things the kids can control.

And if you’re praising all of the kids and making them feel like they are doing well, odds are they will continue to have fun.

When carrying a water bottle, should I switch hands or does it really not matter?

For the most part, it really doesn’t matter.

In a perfect world, it would probably be better to try and get equal time between one hand and the other.

But those 10-16 ounces aren’t going to really cause any serious problems.

With a longer-term goal of a BQ in the next few years, should I worry about running a fall full or is it ok to run a half or two instead?

I say go with the halves!

If you’re not really in a position to BQ this fall, then there’s nothing wrong with trying to blow the doors off of a couple of halves.

If you want to run a full and try to chip away at your marathon time, then go for it.

But if you don’t “need” to see your PR improve by another handful of minutes to give you confidence that you’re on the right track, and you’d like to push it a bit over 13.1 miles, then go for it!

Is it ok to delay my post-run stretching a bit after I finish my run?

Is it ok? Sure.

Is it ideal? Not really.

If I have a long run with some miles at MGP, is it ok if I run them a bit faster than goal pace?

It’s not the end of the world to run those miles a touch faster than goal pace.

That said, one of the benefits of running miles at goal pace is to help you get comfortable running at goal pace.

So if you’re pushing past goal pace in this training run simply because you feel good, it’s fine.

But if you’re pushing past goal pace because you can’t figure out how to stay at goal pace, it might be a good idea to work on trying to sit on goal pace so it won’t be as hard to settle in on race day.

My long runs with my husband tend to be my fastest runs of the week. Is that a bad thing?

As long as you’re listening to your body and not forcing anything, you’re probably just fine.

If something starts barking at you a bit, better off to slow down that long run a bit.

There we have it, folks.

Another month, another Q&A episode of the show.

As always, the answers in this post are the abridged versions. For a bit more, make sure you press play at the top of this post.

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