Listener Q&A: November 2020


How was your Thanksgiving?

Did you eat all the things?

My take when it comes to eating on turkey day is pretty straight forward:

Thanksgiving Feast

You know you’re getting old, or leaning in to the “fuck you carbs” mentality a bit too much, when you’re already feeling rough before the meal starts (and before you start your day drinking).

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 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

Stuffing or mashed potatoes?

That is an Excellent Question

A strong case can be made for both options.

If I had to choose one, I’d probably say good stuffing/dressing.

The problem is, good stuffing/dressing is far from guaranteed.

Potatoes, on the other hand, may rarely be spectacular but are really hard to screw up.

Good stuffing is good stuff, but I’ll take potatoes over bad stuffing any day of the week and twice on Thanksgiving.

What is a “must have” for turkey day? What about a “no chance” option?

Must haves:

  • Turkey (duh)
  • Green bean casserole
  • Cranberries
  • Apple pie

No chance:

  • Sweet potatoes/squash/yams with the marshmallow topping
  • Pumpkin pie

Everything else is firmly in the “nice to have but not a deal breaker” category.

Have you ever thought about renaming your Friday episode to just “tips?”

Best Christmas song?

So many good ones, it’s hard to pick just one!

Rockin Around the Christmas Tree. Jingle Bell Rock. Halleluljah Chorus.

Worst Christmas song?

12 Days is Christmas is pretty bad.

And most modern-ish covers of the classics are terrible.

What is Diz thankful for this year?

Obviously, this year has been a bit of a hot mess.

That said, I’m fortunate enough to still have many things for which to be thankful in 2020.

Business wise, it hasn’t been a great year but things are going to end up pretty close to where they were last year for me.

And all things considered, I’ll call that a win.

Family wise, I can’t complain at all.

Running wise, for me personally, it’s been a pretty great year.

I got a couple of races in before the pandemic hit. I’m going to end up with somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 more miles run in the year than I’ve ever run before. So far so good in terms of avoiding the injury bug again in 2020.

How many questions will it take to turn this into a two-parter?

Shrug.

What is the “right” way to swing your arms when you run?

Ideally, you want to swing them as close to front to back as possible.

If your arms/hands are crossing the midline of your body when you’re running, you are generating lateral movement in your upper half which is inefficient for running straight ahead.

As for the bend in your arm at the elbow, I’m sure there’s an angle of flexion that is “ideal” but I’d default to whatever is comfortable for you.

What is your favorite part about interviewing people on the podcast?

I love it when I get an answer to a question or a story comes up that is a complete surprise to me.

This is especially true when it’s someone that I think I know pretty well going into the interview, and then they shock me with something they say.

What did you say

You can usually tell when I’m taken by surprised, and I like that because I feel like in those instances I’m asking genuine questions.

And, hopefully, those genuine questions are the same type of questions that you have in that moment as well.

What has interviewing people and podcasting taught you?

I think it’s really reinforced the idea that every runner has an interesting story of how they’ve gotten to where they are at the moment.

As such, I think it’s taught me to be a better listener both on the podcast and in regular conversation.

What are the signs/effects of overtraining?

Lethargy. Fatigue. Lack of motivation. Loss of enjoyment in going for a run.

When this happens, if you kind of force yourself to continue running, things usually get worse instead of better.

After every run, instead of feeling refreshed, you’re feeling more run down. More tired. Less excited about the next run.

Overtraining can certainly lead to injury, but perhaps more problematic is that it can lead to just saying the hell with running altogether.

If you have a friend that tells you that running is bad for your knees, and you actually want to stay friends with this person, how do you respond?

Thankfully, my circle of non-running friends is extremely small, so I don’t really have to worry about this too much.

And my good friends are the kind of people for whom busting balls (or ovaries) is no big deal.

So suffice it to say, smart-assery runs rampant as soon as these conversations start. But, honestly, I don’t get much pushback from friends at this point.

From mere acquaintances? I’ll try to educate but it’s usually not worth it.

They are usually set in their ways, and it usually has something to do with them not wanting to run so it’s their excuse and they are just trying to be “helpful” by reinforcing their own flawed beliefs, and they’re not usually open to all of the research and science that shoes that running actually is good for your knees.

So I usually just shrug and say I’ll take my chances.

What is the best thing that has happened to you this year, running or non-running?

I hate best/worst questions, because I always feel like I’m going to forget something!

Running wise, probably just being able to stay healthy and consistent with my training this year.

That was the plan back in January, and it’s nice to feel like I’ve done a good job on that front.

Non-running, I feel like my marriage is better/stronger at this point than it was back in January.

And that’s definitely a good thing!

On race day, when you start your finish line kick?

The best bet, as far as I can tell, is to wait until you can physically see the finish line.

When it comes to our ability to withstand discomfort, which is bound to happen when we are pushing the effort at the end of race, our limiting factor is much more mental than it is physical.

When you can see how much farther you have to go, your brain turns off and you can just go.

But when you’re trying to convince your brain that you only have a tenth of a mile, or whatever, left to go, your brain is more likely to push back.

Do you think 2021 will be the year that I convince you to run a Spartan?

That's Not Gonna Happen

If 2021 improves dramatically, and I talk you into hosting some sort of Diz Runs running retreat?

I’d love to do something like this.

But…

My hangup is that i don’t have the time/bandwidth to worry about the logisitics of something like this.

So if things improve and someone (or someones) is willing/able to do most of the heavy lifting/coordinating of details, then I’d definitely be up for it.

Calf sleeves: yay or nay?

For recovery? Definitely a fan.

For performance? No benefit.

If you like the feeling of calf sleeves/compression socks, by all means go for it.

It’s not going to hurt anything.

But in terms of reducing fatigue or whatever other purported performance benefits you might hear being thrown around, there is zero evidence that it helps.

Placebo effect? Maybe.

So if you feel like wearing compression while running helps you, then by all means keep on keeping on!

Any suggestions for a good multivitamin for an old fart like me that still thinks he’s in his 20’s?

This isn’t exactly my wheelhouse, so kind of tough to give a good answer.

When I was in the market recently, I leaned on multivitaminguide.org to help me decide which pill might be the best one for me to pop daily.

Feel free to explore that site and answer a couple of questions to see what they suggest.

How many days should I try to incorporate cross training into my routine?

There are a lot of variables at play which makes it hard to say exactly, but my gut says one day would be a great place to start.

Would two be better?

Cross training is good because it works your body in a different way, thus saving some wear and tear on part of the body that running tends to stress a bit more.

But if you enjoy running, it’s hard to say you should run less to do something you don’t enjoy as much, especially if you’re healthy and not dealing with any issues at the moment.

At the same time, you could make a strong argument that running a little less and adding ina  bit of cross training will help you to stay healthy and enable you to continue to enjoy your running with a decreased risk of injury.

Book and guitar updates?

I want to say I’ve gotten some work done on the book, but I can’t.

I’ve thought about it a bunch, but have yet to sit down and do anything of consequence on that front.

As for guitar work, I’ve been messing around a little bit with learning One Sweet World. It’s a little on the tricky side, but I’m seeing a bit of progress.

Lie in Our Graves is continuing to come along a bit, and I’ve enjoyed jamming out to Grey Street a few times this month as well.

As per usual, more progress on the guitar than on the book, which isn’t exactly ideal…

With more Covid closures coming/already in place, any suggestions for things to do on non-running days to keep making progress while I can’t get into the gym?

So. Many. Options.

It depends a lot on your specific likes and what equipment you have available to you, but there are definitely no shortage of options.

Yoga. Pilates. Body weight strength.

Walking. Shoveling snow. Raking leaves.

Ice skating. Cross country skiing. Snowshoeing.

I get the allure of the gym.

But there really are a lot of other options that are at your fingertips if you just get a little bit creative.

Any suggestions for being ok with taking a rest day?

The fact of the matter is that our bodies don’t get stronger/fitter when we are working, that only happens when we are resting.

So if you’re struggling with taking it easy once in awhile, maybe it would help to remind yourself that if you don’t give your body a break once in awhile you’re actually making it harder to reach your running/fitness goals.

Now, if part of your problem is that you’re getting alerts/reminders from various gadgets that are telling you move more, just turn that shit off!

If you’re not recovering properly, you’re minimizing the impact that the time and effort you are devoting to working out will have.

Hopefully that will help you relax once in awhile, instead of walking laps around your house in an attempt to get 10k steps for no other reason than to be able to tick the box.

How do different surfaces impact our bodies differently, eg roads vs trails?

The most obvious difference is the change in density of the surface.

The less dense trails don’t transfer as much force to your body as the more dense roads/sidewalks, which is why many people feel a bit more beat up after running on the roads vs the trails.

That said, you’ll typically have to work a bit harder to maintain the same pace on the trails as on the roads because of the difference in surface density.

For me, these differences are most evident when I’m doing a run that ends up on both surfaces.

When I’m just running on the trails? Or just on the roads?

My body kind of just settles into a groove and we are good to go.

But when I’m on the roads for a while and then on the trials? Or vice verse?

There’s definitely a little adjustment period that is probably going to happen due to the change in surface.

Do our feet change over time? Seems like my normal shoe size is starting to get too small for me.

I suppose it’s possible that your feet could be changing in some form or fashion, but I’m not sure I’d say that they are likely to still be growing once you are well into your adult years.

Feet can definitely swell during a run, so if your shoes feel good early in a run but not so much toward the end of a long run, I’d lean toward selling being the issue.

A more likely scenario, in my mind, is the shoes.

Sometimes shoes run a little small, so just because you’re buying your standard size doesn’t mean they are the standard size.

Another potential issue would be the width of the shoes.

Shoes that are shaped like feet allow your toes to spread out when you’re running. But narrower shoes kind of squeeze your toes together, which could result in your shoes feeling too small when they are really too narrow.

If all of your shoes, running and non-running, seem like they are too small, then your feet have probably grown or changed in some way over the years.

But if it’s just an occasional thing, I’d look more at the shoes and less at your feet.

Is it better to just run straight through, or is it ok to take a short walk break once in awhile? Do you ever walk during a run or race?

I definitely walk on occasion.

I don’t necessarily follow any set run/walk pattern or interval, but I’m not above a walk break at all.

Of course it’s ok to take a walk break. Just like it’s ok to run without walking and just like it’s ok to follow some set run/walk interval.

You. Do. You.

What are the guidelines to being a guest on your show? Is running races a prerequisite?

If you are a runner, you’re welcome to be on the show.

Fast. Slow. New. Experienced.

Loads of races or no desire to toe the line.

If you run and you’re ok with shooting the breeze with me for an hour or so, I’m down for the cause.

Would you ever move if given the choice?

Honestly, if it was up to me, there’s a pretty good chance that I’d be up for living some sort of nomad lifestyle.

Whether that would be all over the world or just all over the country, I wouldn’t mind having a lack of roots and just traveling all the time.

That said, in the real world, I have basically zero desire to move.

While I don’t for one second “love” the area that I live, packing up and moving is such a colossal undertaking that I’d rather not if I can avoid it.

When are you going to get a date with your wife?

The window of opportunity is opening, as my parents will be heading south next week and be in town until late March.

That means free babysitter/dog sitter, which gives us the option of actually doing something out of the ordinary for us.

Not sure what that means in terms of proper dates happening anytime soon, but at least it’s now a possibility.

We are making a weekend out of the the 50k I’m running in a couple of weeks. Does that count?

How have you been preparing for your 50k?

Honestly, not much has changed from before I signed up for the race to now.

If you look at my training from September/ early October, before I had even thought about running a December 50k, and mid-October to now, the only difference is a couple of long runs that have been a bit longer.

Weekly mileage looks exactly the same.

Long runs have creeped up a bit from 15-16 miles to 18-ish most weeks with an occasional foray north of 20.

That’s it.

Any thoughts about goal setting for 2021?

I’m a big goal fan, so I definitely have thoughts about setting goals for 2021!

That said, I don’t think the process of setting running goals for 2021 is much different this year vs next year.

Why?

I’m not the biggest fan of setting goals around specific races or race results.

I prefer goals that are more process driven than results driven, as I feel like we are better able to control the process than the results.

Runs per month. Strength training sessions. Amount of time on the foam roller or yoga mat.

Those are my kind of goals.

And if you do those kind of things? More often than not the results will come too!

How do you minimize the risk of overtraining/injury when there are no obvious ebbs and flows in the training cycle due to a lack of races?

Training in 2020, in a world where races are few and far between, is certainly different than training in a world where you have more race options available than you can shake a stick at!

That said, don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be.

Find a good routine, and for the most part stick with it.

Feeling a little tired or like overtraining may be creeping up on you?

Take a week or two off.

When you’re chomping at the bit to run again? Start running again.

What are your thoughts on setting PRs in time trials/virtual races?

I think the answer to this one is in the question: personal.

I’m not the running police, so it’s not my place to tell me whether or not you feel like the 5k you ran 30 seconds faster than the 5k you ran at a race in 2019 counts as your new best time ever.

I think it would count, but that’s just me.


Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think it’s time for me to take a little tryptophan coma…

Tired

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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