Listener Q&A October 2019

Happy (almost) Halloween!

As a kid, there’s no better holiday than Halloween, thanks to all that candy!

As an adult? I’m not quite as excited about the last day of October as I used to be. #curmudgeonAF

Anyway, before you finish carving your pumpkins and putting the finishing touches on your costume, it’s time for a little Q&A. And with a little luck, this month’s answers will be more treat than trick…

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 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?

Your Questions

How does strength training and cross training fit into MAF training?

Adding cross training to the mix is pretty simple.

The same HR limit applies whether you’re running or not. So while cross training, focus on keeping your HR below the same limit you use when running.

Strength training, however, is where it gets a bit tricky.

When you’re lifting, it’s not likely that your  HR is going to get really elevated. But, the impact that a good strength training session has on you phsyiologically is very similar to that of running harder than your aerobic max.

So does that mean you shouldn’t do strength training if you’re MAF training?

What that does mean, as far as I’m concerned, is that strength training needs to be short, sweet, and not too intense.

Limit the number of workouts/exercises where you’re really pushing your body to fatigue.

Instead, a better option may be to do many sets of minimal rest to avoid putting too much stress on the body at once.

From where I sit, strength training is still a vital component of any good training philosophy.

And for any runner, but especially for those utilizing the MAF style of training, how you do your strength training may be a bit different than what you’re used to.

How come it’s easier to keep my HR down when I’m running at a natural pace vs when I’m running intentionally slower?

If the goal is to keep your HR lower, why aren’t you just running at your natural pace all the time?

To answer the question, it most likely has to do with a change in your running form to slow you down a bit.

As you get more comfortable with that stride pattern, your HR should drop quite a bit.

But seriously, if it’s easier to keep your HR down when running at your natural pace then just do that!

Can candy corn replace Cadburry Eggs as running fuel?

What causes toe cramps?

Same things that cause pretty much any other cramp: overuse/muscle fatigue, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance.

Any knowledge about using stem cell treatment to to help with arthritis?

Nope, sorry.

Will my post-race (3 weeks ago!) blisters ever go away?

I mean, they should.

Assuming it’s not a socks/shoes issue, which it very well could be, a little TLC for the area of your blister is on order.

First of all, drain the blister if you haven’t done so already. You need the skin in that area to dry out/toughen up. And as long as you’re letting the blister continue to exist, that won’t happen.

Grab a tube of silver sulfide from the drug store, or get some on Amazon becuase it’s 2019 and it’s way more convenient, to use in case the skin of the blister peels off. The cream will help prevent infection and also help that tender skin toughen up a bit more quickly.

Once the skin in/around the blisters has toughened up, use a callus shaver to hack off any build up of skin and a pumice stone or skin grater to smoothe everything out. This should help to reduce friction and prevent the rubbing that is likely causing the blisters to continue to bubble up.

Worst case scenario, you might need to schedule a week off to let your feet heal.

Better to do that, in my opinion, than to continue dealing with blisters for the next several months.

What is your poison?

How did you decide to run the Cannonball Marathon?

I have a working relationship with the folks from Junction 311, which is the company that puts on the race.

Part of that relationship included me running some of their races and then talking about the races to hopefully help more runners learn about the various races and eventually show up at a starting line.

What should I do/avoid the week before my first marathon?

The week before a marathon, whether it’s your first 26.2 or not, is pretty straight forward.

At that point, you’ve done the work. You’ve logged your miles and there’s nothing that you can do to improve your fitness for the race.

So the week before the race, it’s ok to do some running but only as much as you need to keep your mind at ease about what is looming on the horizon.

But that doesn’t mean you aren’t preparing for your race that week, because you certainly are!

Make sure you’re hydrating. Eating well. Getting some extra sleep. Maybe mix in a little extra foam rolling or yoga.

Depending on what your goal is for the race, you probably also want to put your final race plan together.

Other than that, try to keep things as normal as possible.

Should I taper for a race that isn’t my “A” race?

If the race distance is a big jump from what you’ve been doing, it might be wise to back of slightly just to make sure you’ll have enough gas in the tank.

If the race is basically the same distance you’ve been running? No taper necessary.

It also depends how hard you’re planning to run the race.

If you’re just running easy, less of a need to taper.

Doing the race as a “dress rehersal” for race day, a taper may be in order.

However, perhaps the better question is how long you’ll have to recover after the race to keep training for your goal race.

You definitely want to make sure you’re recovering well after these races, as the last thing you need/want is an injury that puts your goal race in jeopardy.

How do you train for the expo?

Sorry, I got nothing.

I didn’t exactly “like” tapering for my first half marathon. Is it normal to be a bit more agitated during the taper? And if so, how can I prevent it from happening again?

Is it normal?

Yeah, it’s normal.

I’m not sure you ever really eliminate the taper crazies or the taper pains, but they do have a tendency to diminish the more you’ve raced a certain distance and the less pressure you’re putting on yourself for the race.

As you get more comfortable with the half-marathon distance, you’ll find 13.1 isn’t that daunting.

And then if/when you’re “only” running the race for fun, there is virtually zero issues associated with tapering because there isn’t any pressure being put on you by you.

What does your menu look like in the few days leading up to a marathon?

Basically the same as it is in the days leading up to a long run.

To be clear, I don’t keep the exact same diet every day of the week.

But I eat the same types of foods/combinations of foods pretty much every day no matter what my running plans are.

I do have a pretty standard pre-race dinner, but outside of that I pretty much just go with the flow.

I may pull back on alcohol consumption in the last several days before a race, but other than that I don’t really change anything.

What are some good running safety tips?

This is a tough one for me to answer because I’m a dude, so I don’t have many of the same safety concerns as the ladies do. Especially when it comes to running by myself while it’s dark.

I just go out, make sure I’m paying attention to cars, and do my thing.

Not exactly the best adive, eh?

When it comes to being safe from cars, some type of light works wonders.

I’m fan of knuckle lights, but you use what you’re comfortable using. Head lamp. Flashling. Vox gear. Blinking lights.

You do you, but remember that the easier it is for the driver to see you the more likely said driver will give you ample space as they pass.

In terms of being safe from seedy characters during a run, probably the most important thing is to remember to use your common sense.

Try not to run in places that you are unfamiliar with. Stick to routes where there are other runners/pedestrians/activity. You can get some mace to carry with you, or something more serious if you’re so inclined.

You might be able to get a dog to go with you, especially a bigger breed that likes running. Your dog will not only be on alert, but most people with bad intentions aren’t going to approach you if there is a chance they might cause your dog to come to your defence.

Any idea what kind of sandals that Samantha Wood was talking about when she said she runs/ran in sandals?

Not sure what kind of sandals Samantha specificially uses, but there are different options of running sandals available.

What are your thoughts on doing marathons less than a month apart?

It can work, but you gotta run them intelligently.

In most cases, it comes down to running vs racing.

If you’re out there trying to hammer multiple marathons in less than a month, that’s not the best idea.

Doing that is going to increase your risk of injury, no doubt.

Why? Because you’re limiting recovery time, and if the tissues of your body don’t have time to fully restore themselves to full working order before your hammer your next race, odds of them breaking down are much higher.

But, if you’re just wanted to collect medals or secure Marathon Maniacs status, you can definitely do multiple marathons in month.

Shoot, you could do mulitple marathons in week!

Just need to me really careful to keep the effort low to limit the amount of stress on your body.

Are HIIT classes good for runners, or should I look for something a bit less intense?

They can be.

If you’re enjoying the HIIT classes, keep on keeping on.

If you’re not really into it, look for something else.

Personally, I’m not a fan. But that’s just me.

How do you stay motivated to run year round?

I’m a runner. It’s what I do.

But I’m also not afraid to take a week or two off if I feel like my motivation really starts to wane.

When that happens, and it may not happen often but it definitely does happen, I just take a couple of weeks off.

And, for me at least, absense definitely makes the heart grow fonder!

What are your favorite treats post-race?

Big greasy burger and some quality french fries.

Doesn’t get much better than that!

I could probably be talked into some good pizza as well, and maybe a little ice cream too.

But the race that has coffee at the finish line will be my favorite race ever!

Any suggestions for ways to make the treadmill a bit more fun?

More fun? Not at all.

Tolerable? Maybe.

You know I’m never going to be a fan of running on the treadmill, but if you have no choice it’s all about distractions.

Netflix. Hulu. Whatever.

Pick a show you want to watch, but only allow yourself to watch it when you’re on the treadmill. No exceptions.

You can also turn to an app like Peloton, which has some treadmill classes/workouts that you can on any treadmill. Having some music and the leader of the class calling out different paces and elevations may help keep things from being too monotonous on the dreadmill.

Likewise, you can turn to the Run Better app and use it to simulate running on various marathon courses from around the world.

When it comes to breathing, how widespread is the “in for 3, out for 2” approach?

I’m a fan.

It was something that was talked about in Runners World many years back, as an excerpt from the book Running on Air.

It definitely took me awhile to have it feel a bit more natural, but now it’s pretty much second nature at this point.

What do I eat/not eat the week of my marathon? And can I still have a little wine?

Stick with what you know.

No major dietary changes the week of a race.

Stick to the healthy foods that you typically eat, that you know your body tolerates well, and don’t stray too far from that.

As for a drink or two over the course of the week?

You’ll be ok with a little vino.

What is the difference between running in different zones and doing heart rate training?

There’s not much of a difference, in all honesty.

In both cases, you’re using your HR to dictate the pace at which you train.

The more major differences depend on your training philosophy.

If you’re more of a hardcore MAF trainer, you will pretty much never go above your MAF limit.

If you’re an 80/20 runner, then you’re good with some harder effort 20% of the time.

Don’t stress out too much trying to differentiate the two.

Have you tried the new cola flavor of Tailwind yet? Thoughts?

I haven’t tried it yet, sorry.

With half marathons two weeks a part, what should I do for running between races?

Nothing too crazy.

Make sure you give yourself a chance to recovery after the first race, ideally getting all the way to Pain Free + 3.

Then get a couple of easy/short runs to loosen the legs up and work out any kinks.

In terms of fitness, you’re not making any gains between races.

So be smart and don’t try to run too much between races, because you can definitely hamper your potentical for a good race by running too much/too hard between the races.

What are your thoughts on using KT tape to help with nagging injuries?

I’m ok with it short-term, but it’s not a long-term solution.

I definitely feel like it’s better to fix the problem correctly as opposed to slapping a bandage on the problem and calling it good enough.

I’m really struggling with keeping my HR down. Any suggestions?

It’s hard to know for sure why your HR is being stubbornly high, because there are so many potential variables at play.

It’s easy to get focused on our running and assuming that if we just slow down our HR will drop.

And, to a certain extent, that is 100% true.

But your pace is far from the only thing that is impacting your HR.

Stress. Sleep. Hydration. Nutrition. Caffeine. Weather

These are just a few of the factors that may be keeping your HR elevated, that have basically nothing to do with how fast/slow you’re running.

My go to “formula” for keeping my HR in the zone is to run early, before life stress can impact me, and before coffee.

I often get heart burn when I run. Any suggestions to eliminate that going forward?

The simplest suggestion would be to carry some antacids with you, and pop a few if needed.

Taking something pre-run is also an option.

Another thing that can be at play, depending on when you’re running, is having too much in your stomach before your run.

If your stomach is full, and then you start sloshing it around while running, that could certainly cause some heart burn issues.

Another month, another Q&A episode of the show.


And I’m Spent…

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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