Listener Q&A: June 2020

Well then, we’ve somehow made it to the end of June.

It’s hot as blazes.

Races are cancelling all over the world.

The second wave is coming ashore in multiple places.

Le sigh.

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 awhile 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

I’m new to this whole trail running thing and my pace is much slower on the trails than on the roads. So, will hitting the trails help me get faster on the roads?

While, to a certain extent, running is running, trail running and road running are two completely different beasts.

That said, there’s lots of ways that one can benefit the other.

First of all, let’s understand why you’re running slower on the trails than on the roads.

The simple reason has everything to do with the surface.

The softer surface, aka the trail, doesn’t transfer force as readily as a harder surface would.

So your body actually has to work harder to generate the same amount of force when you’re running on the trails.

As such, at about the same level of effort, you will be markedly slower on the trails than on the roads.

So how does this help you when you get back on the roads?

You are going to be stronger after running a lot of miles on the trails, so when you get back to the roads you’ll be able to generate more power with each stride.

Another benefit of trail running, that will help you get faster in a round about way, is that it doesn’t beat you up as much physically.

This leads to a lower risk of injury due to the impact forces of running, so you’re more likely to stay healthy.

And staying healthy, which allows you to continue to train consistently, is definitely a key piece of the getting faster puzzle.

How often should I train by HR per week in order to see the benefits? And how do I determine what my HR should actually be?

That’s quite the question, amigo.

When it comes to HR training specifics, you’ll get different answers depending on who you ask.

The MAF deciples, like myself, will tend to tell you that pretty much all of your runs should be at/below your target.

Others will have different targets based on their specific philosphies, such as the 80/20 principal (80% of volume is easy, 20% is hard).

What all of us, I think, would agree with is that if you’re not intentionally running easy most of the time, there is a good chance you’re not running as easy as you think.

And that is where trouble lurks.

Not hard enough to be easy but not easy enough to be hard is a great way to stagnate in your growth as a runner.

So how often “should” you train by HR?

Most of the time.

As for determining your HR target, again you’ll get different answers depending on who you ask.

From where I sit, the easiest formula is the MAF formula of 180-your age.

But there are other fomulas that are more complicated and may be a beat or two different, one way or the other.

However you determin it, just remember that this isn’t your max HR. It’s your max “easy” HR.

So for your easy runs, you want to stay below that number.

But when you’re going hard? You really want to blow past it, potentially quite a bit past it.

A Beer 5k. Good idea or bad idea?


What have been some of your favorite Olympics of the past to watch?

So, are we talking Olympics as a whole? Or specific Olympic moments?

I’ve always been an Olympics fan, though I’ll admit I tend to prefer the Winter Games to the Summer Games.

But since this is a summer time question, I’ll keep my answer to the Summer Games.

What I love most about the Olympics are the chances to watch sports that I can’t watch any other time other than during those two weeks every four years.

Water polo. Team handball. Canoe/kayak.

Those are some of my favorites.

As far as Olympic moments that stand out, Kerri Strug in ’96 was a big one.

Michael Phelps has been a highlight for, what, over a decade?

Rudisha in the 800 in London.

Definitley looking forward to the Games next year!

How do you measure progress with a MAF test without controlling for temperature?

Obviously, the summer weather is a major factor for a MAF test.

If you really want to control the temperature variable, you gotta head inside.

The problem is, running on a treadmill or an indoor track can bring other variables into play.

How so?

I’m not keen on relying on the treadmill to provide accurate measure of distance. There may also be a variance from one machine to the next, so unless you’re running on the same treadmill every time there could be some discrepancy there.

I know you can use your Garmin indoors, which can eliminate some of that discrepancy.

But you’re still dealing with pace control, aka having the pace controlled for you instead of controlling it for yourself.

And indoor track is another option, but there is always the possibility of other runners/walkers getting in your way/causing issues.

At the end of the day, it’s really hard to eliminate every potential variable that could impact your MAF results.

The key is to try to keep things as uniform as possible from one test to the next.

The last thing you want to do is do some MAF tests outside, some on the treadmill, and some on an indoor track.

That’s just a hot mess of variables right there.

What is the shortest run/distance for a recovery run?

I Don't Know

Depends what you’re doing with your other runs.

And, honestly, distance is way less important than pace/effort.

I’m not sure there’s a too short or a too long, but there’s definitely a too hard.

Keep your recovery runs easy and you’ll get the benefit from them.

When should I consider an electrolyte drink vs just water during the hotter months?

If you’re going to be out there for a couple of hours, you might want to supplement.

But for me, this is a bit of a short-sighted question.

What you do before/after matters just as much, if not more, than what you do during as it relates to your electrolyte consumption.

Are you doing any virtual races this year?

I’m doing the Run the Year challenge, though I’m not sure whether or not you’d class that as a race.

I did the Ordinary Marathon in May, and I am currently doing the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee.

Beyond that, nothing is on the schedule.

Will see if I jump into something else later in the fall, but I don’t know that the odds of me participating in other virtuals are very high.

When it comes to Buffalo Wings, do you roll with bleu cheese or ranch?

Bleu cheese.


What is the wierdest interaction you’ve had with another person while out on a run?

Not sure there’s been anything too wierd, at least nothing that comes to mind.

Obviously, I’ve had some interesting conversations while running with others. But I feel like that is totally to be expected.

I’ve had a few cases of ridiculous comments from non-runners, but still not sure those are able to be classed as wierd.

What does a “normal” week of running look like for you?

For me, the standard routine right now is six days per week and about 42-47 miles total.

Long run on Saturday is usually 13-15 miles. Wednesday is about eight and a half. Sunday is an off day.

The rest of the days are five and a half.

Occasionally I’ll play with the numbers a bit, but that’s pretty “normal” for me right now.

Should I be taking electrolytes with me during my runs?

You can, but you don’t really have to.

As long as you’re doing ok with what you’re doing right now, I don’t know that it makes sense to make any changes to your routine.

Just make sure you’re taking in enough salt/electorlytes on a regular/daily basis, and it’s less of a big deal about what you’re doing for those ~2 hours while you’re running.

Thoughts on the benefits of epsom salt baths?

Shaved ice or ice cream? Flavor?

Ice cream, and it’s not even a question.

Lots of good flavors to choose from, but mint chocolate chip is definitely one of my favorites.

Sometimes one foot will brush against my opposite leg while running. Do you think it’s a shoe issue or a stride issue?

I think it’s a non-issue.

It happens to me on occasion. Pretty sure it happens to most people on occasion.

As long as it’s not every single stride, I wouldn’t worry about it at all.

What’s the “Diz” story? Where did that come from?

My college days were peak “fo-shizzle” time.

I’m not entirely sure how it came to be, but there were a handful of my buddies that talked izzle like it was our native language.

For whatever reason, my nickname quickly became Dizzy. Which was eventually shortened to Diz.

And like any good nickname, it stuck. And here we are.

What are your thoughts on the Hypervolt Thearpeutic massager?

I’ve never used any of the various massage guns, so it’s hard for me to offer an opinion that is actual valid.

My gut says they are probably a decent tool, but the cheap bastard in me says I’m not sure they are worth the steep price tag.

They are probably best for the fleshier areas of the body, like the thighs and glutes, since the precussive nature is more likely to get a bit deeper than a foam roller.

But that’s just me making an assumption, and nothing more.

If there was a race that was actually happening this summer, would you participate?

Lots of variables to consider, but if I was comfortable with what the race was doing to try to mitigate the risk as much as possible, I’d probably do it.

And there you have it.

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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