Listener Q&A: January 2019

One month down, 11 more to go and 2019 will be a thing of the past!

Stop It

Ok, ok. I won’t start the countdown to 2020 just yet.

That said, there’s no denying that January is wrapping up quickly. And that means it’s time for me to try to answer your questions!

Listener Q&A January 2019

January 2019

In case you’re new to these parts, let me bring you up to speed.

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 the questions, shall we?

How do I get my long runs in during the winter months when it’s not safe to run outside?

This might sound even more douchy coming from the guy that lives in Florida, but the answer is pretty simple.

You basically have two choices: run on the treadmill or suck it up and get outside.

So, in my book at least, you really only have one choice…

As Ms. Jenn is fond of saying, there is no such thing as too cold if you have the right gear.

So if the “unsafe” part of running outside is that it’s simply too cold for you, it might be time to invest in some better gear.

Not sure what the better gear is? Check out the post from the FB group from a few months ago, where Jenn and some of our other northern-friends chimed in with their thoughts on the best cold weather gear. (And if you decide to go for an Amazon shopping spree, feel free to go through this link to send a few pennies back my way!)

If you’re worried about icy roads and slipping/falling, getting some yaktrax are always an option to help you feel a bit sturdier on your feet.

Of course, you can just bite the bullet and run on the treadmill.

All joking and treadmill loathing aside, that can be a very useful tool for runners when the weather is far from cooperative.

Believe me when I say that I’m thankful that our “coldest” winter weather is still a few notches above freezing, so I really don’t have to decide whether or not to bundle up or crank up the treadmill on our coldest days.

If the treadmill is simply not an option for you, and I don’t blame you if it’s not, and you’re not sure you can safely run outside you still have options.

Get on a spin bike or an elliptical and get some cardio in that way. Do some yoga. Strength train.

Just because you’re not able to get your long run in doesn’t mean you’re not able to move forward with your fitness.

Spending a Saturday morning focused on the little things may not seem like progress, but I promise you that it is!

What advice do you have for a non-coach organizing a run/walk group of non-runners turned runners?

First of all, job well done!

The Rock Says Allie Burdick is a Bad Ass!

I love everything about this question and what you’re putting together!

As for some advice, I have two things: be patient and keep it fun.

Whenever you’re starting something new, it is going to take some time to take on a life of its own.

Right now, no matter how much excitement is in your group, the members of the group are looking to you to lead them.

That means that you need to keep showing up.

Even if (when?) no one else shows up.

If you know you won’t be able to be there due to travel or something of that nature, appoint a leader to serve in your stead for that day.

But if it’s at all possible, you need to show up every time until this group builds up enough momentum to run without you.

And that will happen, it just takes time.

You can speed up the process, somewhat, by keeping it fun.

What that means will vary based on the personality of you and your group.

You could have some sort of a “Kangaroo Court” of rules in place where you can fine each other for various transgressions.

You can even set up a credit system, so that if someone invites a friend (as an example) they have $5 worth of credit towards future fines.

Then, as a group, you can decide what the fine money goes toward. Maybe it’s donated to a charity. Maybe it helps fund a group party/gathering after a local 5k.

What you use it for is up to you, but that could help keep it fun and keep people engaged.

And that’s just one option. Anything that makes sense for you/your group that keeps things fun will help the group to pick up steam and become it’s own entity that isn’t 100% reliant on you to keep things moving.

Should I walk on my non-running days? Or is strength training a better option?

Not trying to be an arse, but there’s nothing wrong with a bit of both.

If you have an hour, strength training for 20-30 minutes and then walking for the rest of the time sounds about perfect to me!

Remember, anything is (almost) always better than nothing.

Go for a walk. Get on the bike. Strength train. Yoga.

All are great options for your non-running days. Feel free to mix and match to cover as many bases/deficiencies as possible.

Today’s Episode of the Show is Sponsored By:

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Do you have any tips for traveling to a destination race?

Before I answer the question, can I just say that no one is the subject of a better array of GIFs than JLaw?

If you disagree, you are wrong. Sorry.

Anyway, destination races.

When Tom Leddy and Caroline Valls were on the show, we did a series of quick tips covering this very topic.

Check out episodes 577, 580, 583, 586, and 589 for those conversations.

For me, what I have found works for me is to make sure that I have a go-to meal I can eat the night before a race that I can pretty much get anywhere that I travel to for a race.

Ideally, this is something that you don’t need to cook in the case that you don’t have a proper kitchen where you are staying.

Also, I think it’s good to make sure that your first priority in a destination race is to have fun.

There’s nothing wrong with going into a destination race with certain performance goals, but if you don’t hit them the last thing you want to do is ruin the rest of your trip because you’re grumpy about your race.

If the priority is to make it fun first, a good finish time is simply the icing on the cake.

How do you not get discouraged when you put in a good effort but the weather impacts your speed?

I mean, you can’t control the weather, right?

Control what you can control, and let the rest go!

I know that’s easier said than done, but that’s what you have to do.

And, honestly, it’s about all you can do.

Coffee pre-run or post-run?

For me, this is a more complicated question than it may at first seem.

I’m of the belief that there is almost no bad time for coffee, so my first instinct is to just say yes.

Coffee pre-run. Coffee post-run.

And if the opportunity presents, coffee mid-run isn’t out of the question either.

That said, as a HR training guy, I’ve kind of found that coffee pre-run isn’t the best option due to that damn caffeine.

So now the only time I’ll have coffee before a run is on race day, when I’m not worried about my HR at all.

How should I manage my strength training in the week leading up to a race?

If it’s not a goal race, then simply carry on as per usual.

Assuming we are talking about a goal race, then the rules of the taper apply as much to your strength training as they do to your running.

Remember, the goal of the taper is to allow your legs/body to be fully recovered after a training cycle so that you are ready to go on race morning.

So the week of your run, and maybe even the week before that, you might want to back off your lower body strength training a little bit.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do any strength training, but if you’re doing some heavy lifts or something intense like Cross Fit, you should probably dial things back a bit.

Body weight exercises are probably still ok, though there’s no need to go overboard.

During the taper, when it comes to your training (running, strength, or cross) less is usually more.

What was your longest training run before your ultra?

I did an S&G marathon about two months before my ultra. Does that count?

If not, I did something in the 21-22 mile range about 3 weeks out.

When training for an ultra, total volume is arguably more important than the distance of your longest run.

Meaning, you can probably get away with keeping your longest long run in the 20-25 mile range if you’re getting enough miles in your other runs during the week.

What is enough miles?

It’s going to vary for everyone, but if you can be north of 35 miles several weeks in a row I’d say you’ll be just fine for a 50k.

What is your favorite color? This is important…


Pretty much any shade between royal and navy.

Has your coffee consumption been impacted by the pull up rule?


Is this even a serious question?

Have no fear, I’ve not been in any sort of caffeine deficit since I decided that coffee refills were going to cost me five pull-ups a piece.

The one change has been that I’m less likely to “top off” my cup every time it’s half empty.

I’m not drinking that cup dry before I head back to the coffee maker for more!

I’ve also been erring on the side of taking the bigger coffee cups on most days so I won’t have to refill it as often.

That said, I’m still getting in at least 15 pull ups per day. So clearly my coffee intake hasn’t been diminished at all!

Any tips for preparing for a race at a higher elevation than you live?


When it comes to training, there isn’t much you can do.

Just show up on race day as fit as you can be, and recognize that you aren’t going to be able to go as hard as usual.

Megan Finnesy, who lives in Colorado and is the race director for the Dirty 30 and Double Dirty 30 utlras, says that your best bet is to either get there a couple of weeks early to give your body time to adjust or try to get to elevation as close to the race as possible.

According to her, giving yourself a few days to adjust is about the worst thing you can do.

Do you like to punish your athletes by giving them tempo runs on their birthdays as “presents?”


Any suggestions for returning to running after a stress fracture?

Take. Your. Time.

Even though it’s “only” been ~6 weeks since you’ve run, it’s also been just about as long since you’ve exposed your body to the impact forces of daily life.

So even though the fracture has (hopefully?) fully healed, all of your other bones are likely slightly weaker than they were pre-stress fracture because they haven’t been getting the pounding since you’ve been in the boot.

As such, you simply need to check your ego at the door and start at square run.

Get some time on your feet walking. Do some run/walk intervals. Only run a couple of times per week.

Then, a little bit at a time, ease back into your normal running routine.

This entire process may well take as long, or even longer, than you were out to allow the stress fracture to heal.

But this is not a process that you want to rush.

Running 80/20 Requires Patience

What’s the deal with having multiple pairs of shoes?

It’s not necessarily a requirement, but it’s not a bad idea.

The foam in your shoes compresses during your run. That’s natural and unavoidable.

If you’re running every day, rotating multiple pairs of shoes allows you to let the foam fully decompress in your shoes before your next run. This allows for maximal shock absorption and comfort when you’re wearing your shoes. It also extends the life of your shoes.

That said, if you’re wearing a fairly minimal shoe, there isn’t much (any?) foam to decompress. So rotating shoes is less important.

Some runners also feel like having different shoes for different types of workouts is necessary.

I’m not sure it’s necessary, but if you have a few different shoes it’s can be nice to have a lighter shoe to wear for speed work and something with a bit more bulk for your longer runs.

Do I recommend runners have multiple pairs of shoes? Honestly, I don’t really care one way or the other.

I like having a couple of pairs of shoes in the rotation at any given time, but it’s really your call.

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.

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.

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

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2 replies
  1. Hilda
    Hilda says:

    I finally figured out how to comment on podcasts. I really need to post more often as I RELY on them to get me through long runs etc. Really. Listen to -every-single-one. When talking about your favorite blue color—you were rattling about different blues-Carolina blues etc. I’m surprised you didn’t say Boston Blue. That should be an official Crayola blue. Just sayin. 🙂


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