Listener Q&A: May 2018
Don’t look now, but we are nearing the halfway point of 2018!
It’s crazy to think that we are now wrapping up the fifth month of the year, but facts are facts.
If you’re crushing your running in 2018, congrats! Keep on keeping on!
But if you’ve struggled to gain traction so for this year, try not to freak out about it.
There is still time to get back on track and have a solid year, but you can’t afford to wait much longer.
Get cracking today so that when we are closing the book on 2018, you’ll be able to say that you took a step forward this year.
This Month’s Questions
In case you’re new to these parts, the process is simple.
You ask questions, I do my best to answer them.
The easiest way to get your questions in is to join our FB group and keep an eye out for a post mid-month asking for some questions!
So without any further ado, here are this month’s Qs and my As.
I’ve started to swim as a form of cross-training and to let some niggles heal. Once I start running again, I’d like to keep swimming. Is that too much? Should I sub a run out for a swim? Or is it ok to add a couple of swims on top of my running and strength training?
In general, I’d say you’ll be just fine adding a swim or two on top of your training. Provided, of course, you have the time to do it.
Unless something is hurting you while you’re swimming, the odds of overdoing it in the pool are pretty low.
What happens when your foot size increases?
Get some bigger shoes?
I got started running a bit later in life than most, and I absolutely love it! That said, running doesn’t seem to love me as I’ve suffered various injuries over the past few years. I don’t want to quit yet I can’t help but wondering if I’m just not cut out to be a runner.
First of all, I’m sorry that you’ve been struggling with injuries so often!
There is no doubt that can be incredibly frustrating and the kind of thing that can really make you wonder whether it’s worth it to keep going.
That said, I’m not one that really believes that some of us a “born” to be runners and some of us aren’t.
Sure, genetic variance plays a part in who is more of a “natural” in terms of speed and endurance.
But I’m not very often going to say that someone just physically can’t run without knowing a lot more of your medical history.
That said, without knowing much more of what you’re doing/have done, it is a bit difficult to advise you what to do going forward in order to stay healthy and build toward some of your long-term running goals.
Not to be that guy, but running injuries are kind of my specialty as a coach, so if you’d like to work with me I’d love to help you get over the injury bug.
Otherwise, the best bit of advice I can give you is to stay positive and build slowly.
Like, painfully slowly.
But not painfully in an injured sort of way, of course!
As I’ve hit the max training volume for my half marathon, I’m noticing some random aches and pains that haven’t been present before. Is this normal? Could it have anything to do with starting to run outside again as opposed to being on the treadmill?
No doubt cranking up the volume has the potential bring about some extra fatigue/soreness/aches/pains.
That is what happens when you push your body to do more. You push your limits and your body responds by adapting to the increased demands which helps you get stronger.
And that is why the max volume phase of your training plan is followed up with the taper period before the race. This allows your body to do the repairs to make you stronger so that come race day, you’re feeling good and ready to go!
As for the second question, there’s certainly a logical explanation as to why you’re a little more sore since you returned to outdoor running after winter finally released its grip on you.
Now your body has to actually propel you forward instead of relying on the treadmill motor to do so, which means that you are working a bit harder. Also, the variation in the terrain could impact you a bit and cause a little bit of soreness.
And if you’re combining these two scenarios at the same time, it becomes even more likely that you’re going to be a bit more sore. But nothing in your question makes me think there is any long-term issue that needs to be addressed.
Simply the nature of the beast!
Any tips on improving my ability to run downhill?
Seriously though, if you’re not comfortable doing something the only way to get better at it is to practice.
I absolutely love a good downhill, but only because I’ve practiced running fast down hills.
Things to keep in mind:
- Lean forward
- Trust your legs to keep up
- Flap your arms for stability
Once you get comfortable running downhill, you can really let loose and bomb down a hill while feeling like you’re walking.
All it takes is some practice.
Should I be foam rolling even if I’m not sore?
In a word, yes.
Is it absolutely vital, probably not.
But is it good for you? Yep.
Just because your legs aren’t hurting you doesn’t mean that a little massage action wouldn’t still be good for you.
Plus building the habit of getting 10-15 minutes of foam roll work most days is likely to help prevent your legs for being too sore in the future as your training continues to build toward some of your bigger goals.
When are you doing your first tri?
What are your thoughts on running high mileage even when you’re not training for anything?
I’m not opposed to it at all, provided you’re being smart and listening to your body.
As I’ve said before, sometimes the best way to raise your ceiling is to build up your floor.
And that is what higher volume training is doing.
Now to do it correctly, that may mean very little/no speed work and keeping almost all of your miles at a very easy pace.
But I have no problems with focusing on really building a solid base between training cycles.
What are some of the early signs of burnout?
I think the biggest sign is simply a drop in desire.
When you’re not looking forward to your runs. If you’re not excited about your next race. If you struggle to get out the door even though you’re dressed and the clock is ticking.
When you’re approaching the burnout stage, running starts to become a chore. Something you feel like you need to do as opposed to something that you actually want to do.
You know, like when it stops being fun.
What do I need to do about fueling for long runs?
I’m honestly not the biggest fan of fueling for long runs.
And by not the biggest fan, I mean not only do I not take in fuel during a run but 90% of the time I’m not taking in fuel before the run either.
The 20 miler I did last weekend? That was coming off a night of sleep and nothing but water (with a little vitamin C powder + some sea salt) to drink.
This may not work for everyone, and some would say I’m a damn fool for training this way, but I’m a fan of making it harder for myself in training so that I can try to make it easier on race day when I do have fuel.
Additionally, since diving into the Primal Endurance way of training, I’ve realized that I have plenty of fuel reserves in the form of fat on my body. So the more I’m training without external fuel, the more I’m training my body to become more efficient at burning stored fat for fuel during a run.
And the more I’m able to do that, the less fuel I’ll need on race day which means the less likely I will be to bonk and/or deal with GI distress.
Last summer, when I was still new to running, I remember pushing through my runs and things seeming “brighter” when I was finished. Could that be a sign of heat illness? Any other ideas of what could be going one?
I’ve not heard that exact description as a sign of heat illness, but I wouldn’t doubt that it is.
And whether or not it is, it definitely sounds like you were overdoing it.
Look, when you’re running to the point where your body systems aren’t functioning properly that means you did too much.
Whether you were in the heat stress zone or not, your body was telling you that you were doing too much in those conditions.
So this summer, recognize that.
Push yourself, but be smart. and if things get bright after a workout, recognize that means you did too much and dial things back a bit next time just to be safe.
There we have it, folks.
Another month, another Q&A episode of the show.
As always, the answers in this post are the abridged version of the answer. For a bit more, make sure you press play at the top of this post.
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