Listener Q&A: December 2020

Merry Christmas, to those that celebrate!

Merry Christmas

This year, Santa Diz is bringing you a little “present” in the form of the monthly Q&A episode.

Hopefully, the real Santa left a little something better than that beneath your tree, eh? hehe

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 a 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

Book and guitar update?

When are you going to write your own guitar riff intro for the podcast?

Not Gonna Happen

When thinking about goals for the new year, how do you measure success?

I think that knowing how you’re going to measure your success is a key part to the goal setting process.

When you set goals that don’t have defined metrics for success, it’s difficult to know how you’re doing which makes it harder to stay motivated toward reaching your goals.

Once you define your success metrics, then it’s all about tracking your progress.

How often do you track your metrics? It depends.

Daily? Weekly? Monthly?

Find the right time frame that works for you and your goals, but if you’re not getting progress updates at least once a month it gets awfully easy to veering off the path to successfully reaching your goals.

What is your favorite type of Christmas cookie?

Either the peanut butter blossoms or a good buckeye.

Favorite movie version of the Christmas Carrol?

How was the race?

It was good, but it was hard! #thatswhatshesaid

Lots of hills, no major hills but a near constant up and down for 32 miles.

Some pretty runable sections, some more technical areas where some careful stepping was required.

Honestly, I really think the Blaze Pioneer 50k is going to become a pretty popular race in the North Florida/South Georgia trail running circuit.

For a first year race in the midst of the year of Covid, I don’t know that the race could have been any better.

What are your goals for 2021?

How do you set running related goals around mileage?

I’m on record as saying that yearly mileage goals are dumb.

Yet one of my goals for 2020 was to run 2,020 miles, and I’m planning to run the year in 2021 again.

I still don’t think annual running goals are necessarily the best thing for most runners, because too often I think we tend to set those marks in a “perfect world” kind of scenario.

Meaning, we set a mark that requires us to be just about perfect in our weekly/monthly running totals in order to be successful.

And as we all know, life doesn’t usually just roll over and allow you to get all your miles in without any interference.

So if you’re going to set a goal for mileage in 2021, I think the first thing you need to do to expect that things aren’t going to go perfectly smooth for 365 days.

Instead of just picking a number willy nilly, you definitely want to be strategic.

Look at the next year and plan accordingly based on all the dynamics that are at play.

And if you set a marker for the year, please don’t be proper married to the number.

Meaning, if something happens that really puts you off the necessary pace, don’t decide to sell out at all costs to make up the lost miles.

Doing so is a great way to dramatically increase your injury risk, and aint nobody got time for that!

How are you?

Should trail shoes be worn only on the trails?

In theory, I’d say that it would probably make the most sense to reserve your trail shoes for the trails only.

But can you wear your trail shoes on the roads on occasion without any major issues? Sure.

I can say with some experience that it’s a little harder on the feet to run in trail shoes vs road shoes for a longer distance, but it’s definitely doable if/when push comes to shove.

Any place for PEDs in the life of a runner?

I say no, but I’m hardly the morals and ethics police.

If we can agree that the use of PEDs is cheating, then it’s up to you and whether or not you’re ok with cheating yourself (and others) in order to be successful.

I’m not cool with that.

When it comes to me qualifying for Boston some day, it’s going to be because I did it.

Not because I put a needle in my arm or springs in shoes.

What about cannibas for athletes? CBD and/or THC?

I’ve never smoked weed before, but from what I can tell being high isn’t exactly the performance enhancer of steroids.

So I guess I feel like if you can run a faster race than me while you’re stoned, there’s probably a pretty good chance that you could have fun said race even faster if you were sober.

Honestly though, this is the same kind of slippery slope that you can get into with the PED discussion.

And wherever you draw the line, you can pretty easily say “yeah but” and point out why something that is on the other side of the line doesn’t deserve to be.

I don’t know why I’m more ok with CBD products than I am with HGH, but I am.

Pineapple on pizza: yay or nay?

Any advice on getting better at figuring out what my body is trying to tell me?


I wish I had some hard and fast rules to share with you here, but sadly that’s not the case.

Figuring out what your body is trying to tell you is a bit of a process.

And sometimes (often times?) that means that you miss a few signals and end up learning to speak your body’s language the hard way.

In a “perfect” world, what does an ideal training cycle for a marathon look like beyond the running?

Are Runners Stupid?

I’m not entirely sure how to answer this question.

In a perfect world, you’d do all the things, right?

You’d get plenty of sleep. Your diet would be on point. Foam rolling would be a daily occurance. Yoga and strength training would likely happen at least 2-3 times per week. You’d be able to keep your stress in check and devote some time to the mental side of the preparations.

In the imperfect world in which we live, where do you trim?

It’s hard to make a solid case that any of those things are not important.

So which ones take priority and which do you skip completely?

Or do you try to do a little of all of them?

Probably the latter, but it’s hard for me to say that with any real conviction.

Do you want to build a snowman?

If you are half marathon ready as your base level of fitness, what would building up to marathon fitness look like?

The simple answer is that you’d just keep adding to your long run to build toward your marathon.

That would probably take about 8 weeks, though the more time you have the more gradually you can build and the easier you can absorb the inevitable tosses/turns that life throws your way.

The more complicated answer is that it really depends.

What is your running/injury history like? If you’ve had some injury issues in the past, it would probably be wise to take a little longer to build up slowly and try to mitigate the wear and tear on your body.

How diligent are you about doing the little things? The more miles you’re logging, the more vital good recovery principles become.

What is life like right now? Marathon training, and the necessary long runs, definitely eat into your schedule in a way that you can’t quite figure until you’ve done it. Making sure you have the time to log the miles is something a lot of runners overlook when moving up the distance from the half to the full.

Toe socks: yay or nay?


Did you develop any new running/training habits this year that you’ll carry over once things get back to “normal” again?

That is an Excellent Question

I’m not sure that anything new really developed for me this year.

You have to remember that for me, from a running perspective, the Covid situation really didn’t have a huge impact on me.

I wasn’t planning on running a lot of races this year, and the only races I was really planning to run happened before everything went sideways in March.

The only major change that happened was adding a sixth day per week of running to the routine, and I definitely see that being a thing that sticks for me going forward.

Other than that, I’m really just going to keep on keeping on after what has probably been the best running year of my life!

What goals would you suggest for someone with no races on the calendar but is very race motivated?


When it comes to goals, there is only so much you can do.

I can tell you to focus on the process and not worry about races all I want, but if you’re motivated by races that isn’t going to do much.

Instead, I’d suggest framing your goals in a way that will help you have race day success when you end up with races back on the calendar again.

Admittedly, this is one of those mental gymnastics situations where you can pretty easily see right through it if you try to.

But if you’re able to frame the process in a way that supports your race goals, maybe that will help?

How is the Oura ring working for you?

I suppose it’s working fine.

I still keep an eye on things, but I’m not nearly as obsessive as I was when I first got it.

I’ve definitely noticed some trends and made some alterations as a result, so I suppose it’s served its purpose well.

Does shoveling snow count as cross-training?

There’s a local 50k happening in February that is made up of 10 5k loops. I’m not going to do the full race, but what do you think about running as many as I can? Or is it ok to have a certain “max” in place going into the event?

Know Thyself

I think either option can definitely work.

The deciding factor, as far as I’m concerned, is making sure you protect yourself from yourself.

Odds are, if you get out there you’re going to encounter a fair bit of peer pressure to keep going.

So if you’re the type to get suckered into doing “just one more loop” there’s a real chance you could end up doing the 50k by accident, especially if the plan is to run as many loops as you can.

In that case, having a firm limit might make the most sense.

And don’t forget, just because you set your limit at 5 loops (or whatever) doesn’t mean you’re committed to doing 5 loops.

You can always bail earlier if you need/want to.

And that, as they say, is that.

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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What Was Your Favorite Question and/or Answer this Month? Let Me Know in the Comments Below!

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