Listener Q&A: April 2020
So, how’s quarantine treating ya?
I hope you’re making the best of this whole situation, because as far as I can tell we don’t exactly have any alternatives.
One day at a time, and eventually things will start to get back to normal.
At least that’s the hope!
Speaking of normal, since this is today is the last Friday of the month that means it’s time for a little Q&A!
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?
This Month’s Questions
Thoughts on strength training after a run? Before a run? Does it matter?
In the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t make a huge difference one way or the other when you do your strength training.
That said, since we are runners and we are probably more focused on our growth as runners than on building muscle mass, my take is that it makes sense to run first and lift second.
Yes, that means that your legs will be fatigued before you start lifting so you won’t be able to do quite as much from the strength training side of things.
So you do 2 sets instead of 3. Or 10 reps instead of 12.
Either way, you’re still pushing your body and building the fitness that is helping you as a runner.
And that is your goal, right?
What are the pros/cons of running with a facemask?
You’re trying to get me in trouble with this one, eh?
From a running perspective, there are no pros to running with a mask.
From a public health perspective, it’s beneficial if you’re running in an area that is overcrowded/where proper social distancing is difficult, such as a single track trail.
The cons are many, but at the end of the day they are mostly all “first world problem” kind of issues.
The mask is uncomfortable. It must be removed before drinking, which can be an inconvenience for the longer runs. It makes it difficult to breathe.
If you can’t adequately social distance, do everyone a favor and deal with the issues caused my running with a mask.
But if you are able to run in places where either you don’t see anyone else or you’re able to pass them with ample space in between, you can probably go ahead and leave your mask at home/in the car.
If you were going to prioritize the little things, which two or three do you feel are most important?
Again with the questions that are impossible to answer!
When it comes to the little things, I’m generally referring to things like sleep, diet/nutrition, soft tissue work, cross-training, and strength training.
You could further sub-divide some of the categories, but let’s just look at those five for the purposes of this question.
And while you could make an arguement for each of the options, for me sleep is hands down the most important.
After that? You really can’t go wrong with any of them, but if I have to choose I’ll lean toward diet/nutrition.
I’m thinking about getting my first running watch and was curious about your thoughts for using the HR sensor vs a HR strap?
The sensor cannot be trusted.
But don’t just take my word for it, here’s a review from the American College of Cardiology that explains just how inaccurate the wrist sensors can be.
How do you know when it’s time to retire a pair of shoes?
Either the shoes are just shot or my body tells me.
If the shoe is straight up worn out, then that’s a good sign that it’s time to replace them.
But when the shoe still looks like it has life in them, that’s when I try to listen to my body.
If I’m kind of achey and sore after a standard run where I’m not pushing my pace, it could just be a fluke.
If I’m kind of aches and sore after every run for a week or two, then it’s a sign that my shoes need to go.
Since you’re a rotator, and I am too, it can be a little more difficult to identify when your body is telling you that your shoes are ready to give up the ghost.
You just have to pay closer attention, and if you notice that you seem to be a bit more sore after runs in one pair of shoes than the others, you run a little experiment.
Either run in the old shoes for a few days in a row and see if you really notice the aches and soreness piling up, or remove them from the rotation for a week or two and then reintroduce.
If you’re feeling great when you weren’t running in the old pair and as soon as you wear them again, the soreness returns? Pretty clear what needs to happen.
One thing I don’t do and will never do: use an arbitrary mileage number to determine when shoes need to be replaced.
Way too many variables at play.
What is the most interesting/amusing thing you’ve seen on your run?
How long should I train before giving myself a little break?
Somewhere awhile back, I heard about the “Rule of Ones,” and I think it might apply here.
It is a general guideline, but it goes somethign like this:
You should take one day off per week.
One week per month and one month per year, either take it off or pull back the volume rather significantly.
Admittedly, I don’t follow this advice to the letter myself.
I do tend to always take one day per week, minimum, as an off day.
But other than that, it kind of depends on how I’m feeling and what I’m working toward.
If you’re not overdoing your training, you don’t necessarily need the breaks as often, or for as long, as you might if you’re really hitting it hard most of the time.
Not sure that answers your question, but maybe it gives you some guidance in terms of how to proceed in this period of uncertainty.
Is it a sign that my fitness is improve when I’m able to walk less/run more while maintaining the same HR?
If you could only listen to music OR audiobooks OR podcasts for the rest of your life, what would you pick and why?
Thankfully, I don’t really have to make this decision.
But if I had to, I’d pick podcasts because I can cover all of those bases with podcasts.
Certain podcasts have the ability to educate and/or entertain like audio books do.
Certain podcasts are very music heavy, so I could still scratch that itch.
And, of course, there are mulitple podcasts featuring long-from conversations/interviews.
If I were to just pick one of the other mediums, I would pretty clearly be giving up the other two mediums completely.
And that would really suck.
Bracing or taping?
In specific situations, both bracing and taping can be the right option.
In almost every situation, neither is a good long-term option.
The better bit?
Actually address the issue that is causing the symptom that requires the brace/tape to alleviate.
Fix the problem, not the symptom.
Any thoughts on graston/scrapping?
Hurts. So. Good.
I have some tools that I try to use at least once a week.
The problem is that certain areas are hard to work on yourself.
Specifically, it’s pretty tough to get your full hamstring solo.
Also, in a lot of cases, the treatment is more effective if you put the muscle under tension while you scrape.
That is also really difficult to do to yourself from a logistical perspective.
I don’t know that a set of tools are a “must have” for every runner, but if you get them and put them to use they are definitely going to help.
Here is the set that I have, and I have zero complaints with them at all.
Can we get an update on your experience with HR/MAF training? Still doing it?
I suppose it has been a minute since I’ve done a MAF update, eh?
So, I started down the MAF-style of training after reading Primal Endurance in November of 2017.
I officially started MAF training on 1 December 2018, and haven’t looked back since.
I keep pretty much every run below my MAF, and I feel like I’m still building fitness and making progress.
The key to that senence, however, is that I feel like I’m still making progress.
One thing I haven’t done in awhile, probably over a year, is a proper MAF test.
I really should make one of those happen again soon, and then get back on track with running a test every 4-6 weeks.
Because then I would actually have some hard data to show progress (or lack thereof) instead of just “feeling” like I’m making progress because my regular runs continue to trend in the right direction.
Any recommendations for getting a spin bike or bike trainer? I am feeling a serious need for some cross-training!
I’ve never used a bike trainer, so I don’t really feel like I can give any helpful advice on that front.
I do have a spin bike, and while I don’t use it as much as I would like, I absolutely love the thing!
My thoughts on deciding between the two options: I feel like a bike trainer would be easier to move “out of the way” when you’re not using it.
It’s not like you can just slide a spin bike “out of the way” when company is coming over or you need to pull the car into the garage.
With a bike trainer, I assume that is a viable option.
But, honestly, as long as you use whichever you get I say go for it!
Is a 50k, 20 miler, half marathon, and 24 hour race (basically another 50k) too much for a three month period?
The caveat here, of course, is that you’re fit/your training went well leading up to the first race and you’re not trying to hammer all of them.
Another caveat is how spread out these races are.
It’s a three month period from the first to the last, but are all the races evenly spaced? Or are they front/back loaded?
I don’t see any major issues on the surface with the overall volume, so if it all lines up semi-neatly below the surface I say rock and roll!
Why do I feel the need to qualify all of my runs by telling people that I walk some as well?
What are some creative ways to set running goals beyond the norm?
This is a tough one to answer without knowing a bit more about what kind of goals might light you up, but there is literally no limit to the options that are at your fingertips.
- Mileage goals.
- Time on your feet goals.
- Elevation goals.
- Unique goals (number of high fives from other runners, amount of trash picked up, number of dog kisses).
- Location goals.
- Running streaks.
Seriously, the options are virtually endless on this one.
Find something that sounds fun to you, and go for it!
Thoughts on the idea that icing an injury delays the healing process?
Depends on the injury, honestly.
To be fair, I haven’t exactly been diving into the journals and the most up-to-date research on the topic, so there’s that.
Acute injuries, in general, are more likely to benefit from icing than more chronic/overuse injuries.
But even then, it’s not accurate to say that across the board all acute injuries should be treated with ice if possible.
Another factor to consider is what you have at your disposal.
Usually, at least as far as I’m aware, the studies that conclude that ice either positively impact the timeline of healing from an injury are typically doing some other form of intervention to help the process.
Meaning, they don’t just say sit on the couch for 24-48 hours and let the increase in blood flow start the healing process.
They are being aggressive with the treatment from the drop.
So if you can’t do that/don’t know what to do to properly treat the injury, a little ice to keep the swelling at bay and numb the pain isn’t a bad idea at all.
Where do you stand on short-shorts vs shorts with a slightly longer inseam?
As my pasty white thighs will attest, I tend to opt for slightly longer shorts.
How many Cadbury Eggs did your family get at Easter this year?
Our Easter Bunny knows what’s up.
No garbage candy in our house.
No Cadbury Eggs. No peeps.
Starburst jelly beans and Reese’s eggs for the win!
Another month, another Q&A episode in the books!
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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