Listener Q&A: August 2019

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

But before we shut the book on August 2019 and batten down the hatches as Hurricane Dorian comes knocking, let’s do 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?

Your Questions

I missed my 17 miler and may also miss my 20 miler. Marathon is in 6 weeks, should I drop to the half?

I mean, it’s an option.

But it’s important to remember that no single run, or no two single runs, are do or die.

And with another month and a half until your race, you have some flexibility to rearrange you schedule so you can still get a 20 miler in pre-race.

Assuming the rest of the training has been going well to this point, I see no reason why the full should be taken off the table right now.

If you want do the full, there’s still time to make sure you’re prepared to go.

From a running perspective, how important is a good beard?

It’s invaluable.

As a morning runner, should I eat before my run now that my longer runs are increasing in distance?


If you’re primarily burning stored carbohydrate in the form of glycogen for fuel, your body can store enough to get you through something like 90-120 minutes of running.

So as your runs start to extend out past that duration, additional fuel becomes important.

Taking in a little something before your run is certainly an option, as is fueling during your run.

Remember that these long training runs aren’t just important for building your fitness but they are also a chance for you to hone in your fueling strategy before you get to your race. (Assuming, of course, that you’re building to a race.)

So play with some different options. Try a little something pre-run. Try some fuel mid-run. Just have to experiment a bit and find out what works for you.

Just remember that it takes about 30 minutes for the calories you take in to be digested and useable to your body. So you definitely want to fuel before you need it, because the boost isn’t instantaneous.

What does a typical day of eating look like for you, seeing as you’re fat adapted?

Yeah, what I do pretty much flies counter to what almost every running book/coach/guru would tell you to do.

Not only am I high fat/low carb, but I also practice intermittent fasting.

Bear in mind that I’m not super hard core with any of this stuff, but a typical day looks something like this:

  • 48 ounces of water, with added vitamin C and sea salt, between waking and 9:30 or 10 am.
  • Coffee.
  • More coffee.
  • Still more coffee.
  • Black coffee until about noon, then some fatty coffee at noon when I technically break my fast.
  • More coffee.
  • Somewhere between 2 and 3 pm I finish my coffee consumption for the day, and that is usually when I’ll eat my first bite of proper food for the day. Food varies, but almost always fat/protein heavy.
  • Aim for another 48 hours, again with the C and the salt, over the rest of my day.
  • Dinner is typically some type of meat and veg.
  • A few nights per week, I’ll have a glass of gin or tequila as well.
  • I try to be finished taking in any calories by 8 pm, but that’s not a hard/fast rule. I may have a little something else between 8 and 9 when I head to bed.

That’s the basic outline, though it does vary a bit from day to day. And the weekends are even less structured.

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How many rest days do you recommend during marathon training?

Take as many as you need.

Obviously, you need to be logging some miles as you prepare for your race. But you also need to be taking care of you body, and rest days are a big part of that.

I personally like one good day of complete rest per week and then one day with cross training and yoga but no running.

You may need more. You may not.

Maybe more important than total number of rest days would be how much sleep you get at night and the quality of your sleep as well.

If your sleep is shit, you’ll probably need more rest days.

If your sleep is ace, you can probably still thrive with very few, if any, total rest days.

What are some good books to help self-diagnose common running injuries?

Runner’s Fix by Mike Swinger is as good as anything I’ve seen.

Get that book and you’ll be well on your way to running pain-free again.

Do you have to be warm to get a benefit from stretching, or can you stretch at various times throughout the day?

The answer to both questions is yes.


When push comes to shove, it is absolutely better to stretch warm muscles.

Warmer muscles have more elastic properties, meaning they are easier to stretch. You’re also less likely to injure your muscles when you stretch while warm.

That said, you can absolutely still stretch throughout the day. In fact, I’d go so far as to recommend it.

Making gains with your flexibility requires regular stretching, ideally multiple times a day.

But here’s the thing, how do you define warm?

You can’t tell me that the only time your muscles are warm is after a good run or other workout!

As long as you’ve been moving around a little bit, I’m going to make the claim that your muscles are warm.

Take the dog for a walk? Warm.

Go up or down a flight of stairs? Warm.

On you feet doing the dishes after dinner? Warm

In each of those situations, and a dozen others, I’d say you’re more than warm enough to get a benefit from a few minutes of stretching.

How many weeks before a half do you taper and by how much?

I’d do my last long run two weeks before the half, then the taper would begin.

The week before the race, I’d probably do about seven miles, but there’s a lot of wiggle room in there.

What is the best workout to do the Friday before a Saturday long run?

A few easy miles is great.

A proper workout?

Can you train for a marathon and still do heart rate training?

Heart rate training works for any race distance that you are training for!

So yeah, it will absolutely work for the marathon!

Is it normal for the HR to creep up in the latter half of a run, even if the pace stays the same (or slows)?

Even though you’re running at an “easy” level of exertion, you’re still putting forth an effort over time.

And the longer you go, the more fatigue starts to build up and the harder you have to work to maintain the same pace.

If you’re working harder, the HR is going to increase.

Let’s not also overlook the fact that this time of year, more than likely the longer your run drags on the hotter it’s getting too. And the heat absolutely is going to cause the HR to climb.

But yes, it’s totally normal and something that happens to absolutely all of us.

What is cross-training? Just cardio? Any non-running activity?

There is no universal definition of cross-training, which is probably why there’s so much confusion around what it specifically is.

I think I used to say that cross-training was any non-running activity.

More recently, I’ve viewed cross-training as cardio specific and strength training as strength training and yoga as yoga.

The fact of the matter is all are beneficial to us as runners, no matter how you classify them.

What is the difference between compression shorts and running tights?

This may sound ridiculous, but the difference is the compression.

Running tights don’t necessarily provide much in the form of proper compression.

Sure, they are going to hug your legs but thad doesn’t mean they are going to really provide any real compression effects.

It’s not so much that one is better than the other, they are just different products to be used for different reasons.

How bad of an idea is it to run a series of races 3 weeks after a 50k?

It’s not the best idea, but it’s not terrible.

The key is to prioritize your recovery between the 50k and the series and then to run the races intelligently.

What Does That Mean

Don’t feel like you need to get right back to training after the 50k, because you don’t.

Your fitness is clearly strong, so take some time off and let your legs recover.

Once you’re recovered, might I suggest being at least Pain Free + 3, then you can do some running again. Just keep your runs short/easy.

Then on the weekend of the race series, do what your body will allow.

If things feel good, you can push it a bit. If the legs are a bit on the tight/heavy side, then just keep it easy and cruise along.

I typically run up hills by effort and not pace. What should I do while running down?


If you can get comfortable with running down hills, you can easily see a huge bump in your pace while feeling like you’re not working hard at all.

Practice doing that, and you’re golden.

Then when you get to a downhill, you just focus on the effort.

And don’t be alarmed when you see a pace that is way faster than you’re used to at an effort that feels like you’re doing little more than walking.

How’s the new book coming?


It’s something that I’m working on, but it’s not the biggest priority right now.

The goal is to be at 15k words by the end of September.

I’m at about 3500 right now.

Needless to say, I’m behind schedule…

Do you occasionally check the Garmin/Strava data of your clients?

Would you run a race in costume to raise more money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society if it meant more donations?

I’m not so sure about that one.

I’m certainly willing to suffer for some support, but this might be a bit more than even I’m willing to endure.

I’ve heard a cardiologist say you shouldn’t run for more than an hour a day and for no more than 5 days a week or you can cause arterial damage. Thoughts?

First instinct:


But there is a little truth in what this guy is saying.

Turns out that if you stress your heart with too much training, you can cause some damage to the tissue of your heart.

However, if you keep your intensity down most of the time? Your heart should be fine.

Where is the line between safe and too much? I don’t know.

When it comes down to it, I’ll always err on the side of exercise is better than no exercise.

Are pop-tarts a thing?

Brittany What?

I mean, they exist. So I guess they are a thing.

They are terrible, but they are a thing.

Is it ever beneficial to run fatigued during training?

I don’t know how you could argue that it’s not beneficial, provided that you’re doing it intelligently.

Hammering a bunch of sprints at the end of a long run probably isn’t very useful.

But accumulating time on feet even when you’re tired?

Yeah, that’s kind of useful to us as runners.

I would typically do my longest run two weeks pre-marathon before tapering. If that isn’t possible due to my schedule, would I lose too much fitness doing my last long run three weeks before the race?

That shouldn’t be an issue.

Remember, you’re not going to lose much fitness if you’re still being active.

So if you can’t do a lot of running for a week in there, but you’re still being active? You should be fine.

And as long as you can still mix in a few runs in the two weeks before your race, you have nothing to worry about as far as losing fitness.

I’ve seen some runners run wearing a weighted vest. What is the point of that?

There is no point.

The idea is that running with a bit of extra weight is going to somehow make you stronger.

The actuality is that all it’s doing is increasing the amount of force your body is absorbing with each step and increasing your risk of injury.

What are some tips to force yourself to take a little break from running?

Honestly, this thought has never even once crossed my mind.

If I need a little break, I take a little break. If I don’t, I run.


What is the oddest thing you’ve seen on a run?

Hands down, the sign from Rupaul’s Drag Race.

How can I keep my cardio fitness up over the winter without running quite as much?

Cross-training definitely will help you hold on to your fitness.

If you don’t run at all over the winter months and only cross-train, your cardio fitness will likely be fine but you will probably lose some running fitness.

But if you’re still able to mix in a few runs here and there, you’ll be good to go when the snow melts in the spring.

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.

Or better yet, open up your podcast app of choice, subscribe to Diz Runs Radio, and listen to this episode (and all future episodes) on the go/at your convenience.

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