Listener Q&A: July 2018

In case you’re new around here, every month I reserve one episode of the podcast to answering listener questions.

And today is that day!

If you want to get a question answered in next month’s Q&A episode, the best way to make that happen is to head over and join our little group on FB.

Watch for the post asking for questions, it typically comes out mid-month, and throw your questions in the thread.

Pretty simple, eh?

This Month’s Questions

This month, we’ve got a lot of questions.

Most ever? Perhaps. If not, we are darn close.

As such, let’s rock and roll.

What is the best way to “move up” from 5ks to potentially run a full marathon?

Slow and steady.

If you’ve been mostly running 5ks, then you have a lot of work to do in order to get ready to run 26.2 miles.

There are no ninja tricks I can give you; you simply need to work on upping your mileage gradually over time.

Add a little bit to your long runs every week, with an occasional cutback week to give your body a little break (about 1 per month), and in 6-8 months you could be ready to go for a marathon.

What is your go-to energy source for longer runs?

I guess I’d have to say Tailwind.

I don’t really do much fueling for my long runs since I started down the road to becoming a fat adapted athlete. I carry water with me and drink that, but that’s pretty much it.

On race day, assuming I’m really racing hard, I’ll probably make sure to have a little Tailwind with me to give me some simple calories to keep me humming along, but other than that I use stored body fat as my go-to energy source.

Is there a “best” kind of hill workout?

Personally, I’m a fan of working on running up AND down hills while maintaining an even effort level.

Hill repeats (sprinting up, walking down) are a great workout, but I don’t think they do much to help us run a hilly course on race day.

Because, on race day, you’re not going to go all out for a minute and then take a casual stroll back to the bottom of the hill.

Instead, you’re going to try to grind up the hill as well as you can, and then hopefully you’ll be able to open it up a bit and fly down the other side of the hill.

And that is where just running at a steady effort (yes, your pace will slow going up and should really pick up on the way down) is going to serve you more than hammering up and walking back down.

Now that you’ve made it to 600 Episodes, how has the show lived up to your expectations? And what about the FB group?

There is no way I could have ever imagined that the show I launched in July of 2014 would become what it has become.

I didn’t have a plan to “only” do a certain number of episodes, I just kept worrying about doing the next one and then all of a sudden it’s like “oh shit, I’m going to have done 600 episodes soon!”

I suppose the show has stayed true to my aim from Day 1: fun chats with a variety of runners about running, life, and everything in between.

Hopefully, it has improved over time. I feel like it has, and I feel like there is plenty of room for continued improvements.

With a little luck, another 3-4 years from now I’ll be looking back at Episode 600 and cringing at how it sounds.

As for the FB group, it’s been awesome.

Honestly, without the Tribe, I don’t think I’d log into FB nearly as often as I do.

I think that we are on track to creating the best running group on FB, which is saying something.

Is there a bad time to stretch?

Stretching before your run, as in stretching by holding a stretch for more than a few seconds, is not a good thing!

I’ve talked about this before, but stretching your muscles before a run (or race) actually decreases the contractile force of your muscles which makes it harder for you to run fast. So it’s kind of counter-intuitive, eh?

A better option for before a run is to do some sort of dynamic warmup such as an easy run, lunges, squats, or good old jumping jacks.

Those types of movements will warm up your muscles, get your heart beating, and help you actually be ready for your run.

Save the stretching for after your run to really get the most benefit from it.

I have stiffness/pain in my neck recently, perhaps due to pushups/planks. Any ideas?

Tough to know for certain, but my guess is that you just slept a little bit funny and those muscles are tight after spending a night or two supporting your head in an unusual position.

Happens to me every so often, and one or two nights of “normal” sleeping and I’m usually good to go.

What is the latest news about the Diz Runs Ragnar team?

As of right now, very loose plans about possibly putting a little team together for the Ragnar Trail event that happens like 30 minutes from my house in December. Of 2019.

I may try to get on a team for this year’s event to experience it, and then assuming good times had by all, go all in and put a team together for next year.

So stay tuned…

What is MAF pace?

As I’ve talked about before, MAF tests/MAF pace workouts are ways to measure your progress when you are running at a comfortable pace for a certain duration or distance.

MAF pace is the pace your run during the actual duration of the test while keeping your HR as close to your MAF target as possible.

So for me, I usually do a little over a mile to warm up before I actually start the test. Once I start the test, the next four miles give me my average MAF pace.

Check out my data from a recent MAF test, and that may help things make a bit more sense for you.

If 3-hours is the longest you should do a training run without increasing your risk of injury and/or extending your recovery time needed after a training run, how can you train for an ultra? Seems like you’d need some runs that are much longer than three hours, yes?

Remember, it’s much more about your pace than the duration.

Think about it, if you come to Disney with your family and walk around the parks for 12-14 hours you aren’t falling apart the next day due to all that time on your feet.

Why? Because it was mostly walking and standing.

So if you’re trying to hammer goal race pace beyond 3 hours, you could be in trouble. But if you are going for a nice, relaxed three hour (or more) run in training for an ultra, you’ll be fine.

What are your current running/race goals? Do you have a coach?

Currently, my goals are kind of vague.

I’m training for the 7 Bridges Marathon in Chattanooga in October (Care to join me? Use code dizruns at registration to save 10%), and I have my next ultra on the calendar for January.

But I also may have two more marathons this fall, kind of depends on whether or not the speaking opportunities pan out.

So, I may end up with 3 marathons in about a 6-week window. If that happens, the goal will be to run races in three new states, have fun, and come through it healthy with an eye on the ultra in January.

As for a coach, right now I’m still self-coached. The main reason I’m not working with a coach is because I’m using myself as a test subject with the HR training for this year.

Will I work with a coach in the future? Probably. But I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.

I’ve been running in orthotics for years and thinking about running without them. Thoughts?

Proceed with caution, my man.

I’m not a fan of orthotics, in most cases.

That said, your body is used to having them in your shoes. If you take them out and start running, you are going to be asking for trouble.

Start slow, literally with walking, and give your body a chance to adjust if you really want to run sans the orthotics.

But recognize that it’s probably not going to be easy or pain-free to get yourself off of the orthotics.

During repeats, what is the difference between walking and an easy jog during the recovery?

Not much.

The goal for the recovery is to catch your breath and be ready to go hard again.

However you get to that point isn’t as important as actually getting to that point.

I typically do a walk for the first half of the recovery and a job for the second, but whatever works for you is fine.

Any advice for dealing with tight feet other than massage on a lacrosse/golf ball?

Yes. Stretch your calves.

A lot.

Is this the longest Q&A ever?

If not, it’s pretty darn close!

What advice would you have for someone thinking about their first marathon in terms of selecting which race to run? Close to home? Destination?

I don’t think that there is a one-size solution to figure out which marathon should be your first.

There are pros to running a race close to home, and there are pros to making a bigger event out of your first 26.2 by selecting a destination race.

The biggest question I would have is do you really want to run the marathon? If so, the rest almost is irrelevant.

Look at the pros/cons of each, and make the best decision for you.

What was your favorite song from the Dave Matthews show?

This is a tough one.

If I had to pick, I’d say Jimi Thing.

There were a lot of songs I really hoped to hear that weren’t played, which was a bit disappointing, but that doesn’t mean the set list was bad and the show sucked.

I had a blast and enjoyed the songs that were played, just wish a few more of my personal favorites could have been played this year.

Oh well. Fingers crossed for next year!

Is there an advantage of being acclimated to various weather conditions?

Sure, but it’s not like just because I run in the heat all summer it’s easier for me to run in the heat.

It’s still a struggle, I just try not to bitch about it too much because I know it’s not going to change until at least October.

And it does help on race day if I’m running somewhere cooler, so that always helps me keep grinding in the heat as well.

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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