Depending on where you live, you may not feel like summer is winding down just yet.
But according to the calendar, August is winding down and Labor Day, aka the unofficial end of the summer, is right around the corner.
Before you put your white pants away until Memorial Day, let’s do a little Q&A!
You Ask, I Answer!
The format is simple: you ask me questions and I try to answer them in a way that is somewhat useful.
Want to get your questions answered in a future Q&A episode? The best way to do so is to join our FB group, watch for the post asking for questions, and throw your query in the comments.
And if you have a bit deeper question, one that may require a bit of back and forth to really give you the guidance you need, scheduling a consultation call might be a better option.
But for now, let’s get to this month’s questions!
Why do negative splits matter?
This question assumes, obviously, that they do matter.
In some cases, negative splits are a good thing. In others, it’s much ado about nothing.
And in case you have no idea what negative splits are, it basically means running each segment of your workout or race faster than the previous one.
On race day, negative splits are a good thing to strive for because it means you avoid the temptation to go out too fast and crash and burn in the last mile or two of the race.
But in a training run, especially an easy run, negatives splits don’t matter at all. If you’re running your easy runs easy, you are going to slow a bit as you begin to fatigue. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
It’s hard to go wrong with a good mint chocolate chip.
Why do my hip flexors start to bark at me at the end of my long runs? I know I have weak glutes, could these be related?
If your glutes don’t do their job, your hip flexors have to work a little overtime. So the two are quite likely related.
Most runners suffer from the dreaded weak glutes/tight hip flexors situation.
And a big reason for this is because we sit so much in our daily lives.
We sit on our commute. We sit at our desks and on the couch while we unwind in the evening.
And all that sitting weakens our glutes and tightens our hip flexors.
Get those glutes firing during your runs, and odds are your hip flexor pain will either diminish or go away completely.
How do you stay motivated as a beginner?
I almost think it’s easier to stay motivated and recognize progress as a new runner than it is after you’ve been at it for a while!
The reason is that there is so much more room for improvement on so many different fronts.
Speed. Distance. Endurance. Races.
Just about everywhere you look, you can compare your run today to where you were 3 months ago and see progress.
Where it gets tough is when you start to compare where you are to those that have been running for many years.
You see someone post about an “easy” run when their pace is faster than you’ve ever run before. Or a “short” run that is twice as long as your longest run.
And when that happens, you start to question what you’re doing.
Avoid the temptation to compare yourself to others!
Easier said than done, I know.
But if you keep your focus on you and on the progress you’re making as a new runner, I think you’ll find it’s quite a bit easier to stay motivated because you’re seeing so much growth.
Today’s Show is Sponsored By: DKMS
What should a proper post-run recovery plan look like?
When it comes to post-run/race recovery, it’s important to recognize what you are trying to accomplish.
Namely, what is your body trying to accomplish?
After a hard effort, you’ve no doubt damaged thousands (millions?) of cells in your body and your body is setting out to repair that damage.
Helping your body do that job should probably be your priority, yes?
Most post-run recovery protocols focus on refueling.
And yes, refueling is important but I think it’s short-sighted to think that proper recovery is really as simple as taking in the right mix of macros or a certain brand of recovery fuel.
This just in, but your body needs more than food/calories/macros to recover properly.
In order to speed the recovery process, focusing on rehydrating should also be a priority.
And, call me crazy, but maybe that should be more of a priority than refueling?
Do you think eating during your run is necessary?
In a word, no.
There are a lot of variables to consider, but I don’t think it’s necessary.
And for some people, it may actually make things worse instead of better…
How does hiking fit into a training plan? Cross training? Same as a regular workout? A little of both?
I tend to classify hiking as cross training.
Now, if you start to mix a fair bit of running into your hike then that is different. But if you’re hiking only, it’s great cross-training.
How should I get back into running after a couple of weeks off due to injury?
You probably don’t need to be overly cautious, depending on the injury of course, but there is no point in jumping back in as if you haven’t missed a beat.
Taking a week or two and doing nothing but easy runs would be wise, just to make sure that your injury is healed and that you’re good to go.
If you jump into a hard workout, you are almost asking for something to go wrong becasue of the intensity of the workout.
As for your long runs, if you’re not training for a race then just do a distance that you’re totally comfortable with for your first long run back and progress from there.
If you are in the middle of a training cycle, then it gets a bit more tricky depending on where you are in the cycle and what your base of fitness was like before the injury.
After a 16-miler that didn’t go great, I ended up in the ER after losing consciousness at a restaurant later in the day. Not sure what happened. What can/should I do to avoid a similar situation after an upcoming 18-miler?
Firstly, I’m glad you’re ok! That’s scary stuff!
Secondly, hopefully while you were in the ER they gave you some idea of what was wrong?
Were you dehydrated? Were you sugars or electrolytes way off?
The key to avoiding a similar situation in the future is to try and figure out why the issue came to the surface in the first place.
It could be fueling. Or heat. Or hydration.
But if you have no idea, it’s a little tough to pinpoint what you should change.
If I can only do one type of higher intensity workout per week, what is going to give me the biggest bang for my buck?
Can I be honest with you?
The different types of higher intensity workouts stress your body in slightly different ways, but in the big picture, one isn’t dramatically better than another.
I’d encourage you to mix and match a bit so that you’re stressing your body differently each workout.
But if the goal is to get faster and avoid injury, the best bet is to do more easy running and less speed work.
Every race shorter than about 400m is predominately an aerobic endurance event, and speed workouts don’t help you improve your aerobic endurance.
What does improve your aerobic fitness? More easy running.
How do you best transition to a zero-drop shoe?
The process of transitioning to a zero-drop shoe really isn’t that complecated.
Start with a short and easy run, and build from there.
The worst thing you can do is just dive in with a speed workout in a zero-drop shoe before you’ve fully adjusted.
Take it slow, start with easy runs, and it won’t be long before you’re good to go.
And make sure to give a little extra TLC to your calves.
A little extra stretching and foam rolling goes a long way!
What would you like to see change/improve about the running community/culture today?
That’s a tough one.
I think the biggest thing that could improve would be if more people recognized that there are no one-size-fits-all solutions.
I feel like that is starting to seep into our collective conscious in terms of training plans, but I still see a lot of people looking for universal solutions to other running related issues all of the time.
Strength training. Recovery. Injury prevention/treatment.
In every situation, there are numerous near-universal truths that should be kept in mind. But in every situation, there are unique factors at play which must also be considered.
How do you train for a hilly race when you live in a flat area?
If you look hard enough, you can usually find some “hills” even in the flattest of locales.
Yes, this might mean man-made hills such as overpasses or parking garages.
But they are there.
And there may also be some other hills that you can run on, even if they aren’t “real” hills.
If there’s a will there’s a way, and that doesn’t mean you have to be stuck on a treadmill with the incline cranked up high.
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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