Listener Q&A: September 2019

Is it just me, or is it starting to feel just a bit like fall?

Sadly, this meme is pretty much spot on.

That said, according to the calendar not only is it now officially fall but Sepetember is about over and that means it’s time to answer some questions!

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

Where did you those sexy blue blockers you wear for the Friday Fives?

Amazon, obvi!

And here’s an affiliate link so you can get yourself a pair of sexy specs too!

Do you have any thoughts on the effectiveness of ice baths?

I’m a fan.

I don’t do them often, but I almost always feel like my legs respond pretty well to some time in the cold tub/ice bath.

That said, I can’t deny that the science seems to say they don’t really do much to help speed up recovery.

Placebo effect?

Maybe. But I’m fine with it.

If you’re on the fence, try it and see if it works for you.

But if you hate a cold tub with the fiery passion that I reserve for treadmills, there’s no need to force yourself to go for a post-run soak.

Should I run my prescribed 10k the day before my first marathon?

First question, who is prescribing you to run a 10k the day before the marathon?

Second question, what is your goal for the marathon and how has your training gone?

If you’re well fit, training has been aces, and your goal is simply to cross the finish line, then whatever.

An extra 6.2 the day before isn’t going to be a big deal.

But if you’re looking to hammer and/or you’re a bit unsure of your fitness going into the “big one,” then I’d say no 10k.

I noticed a lot of salt on my arms and salt stains on my clothes after a recent long run. Does this impact my run? Any tips for reducing the amount of salt lost?

Honestly, there isn’t much you can do to limit how salt you’re losing when you’re sweating during a run.

Some people are just saltier sweaters than others!

That said, it’s great that you’re noticing it now so that you can use this information to help you avoid issues in the future.

How so?

Well, if you know you’re going to lose a lot of salt in your sweat, you can be a bit more proactive in an effort to prevent your electrolyte balance from being thrown out of whack during your long runs or on race day.

Because if you end up with a dramatic electrolyte imbalance, it can increase your risk of cramping during your runs and it can also lead to feeling lousy after your runs are finished.

The day or two before your run, adding a bit more salt to your food can help.

Taking a salt pill or adding some electrolytes to your water before/during your runs can help you to replace the salt you’re losing from sweating and keep things in balance.

And opting for something with a little salt after your run can help you feel better after the run by restoring the balance to your system.

Is it too early for pumpkin spiced lattes?

How can I maintain half marathon fitness over the winter months?

The fact of the matter is, maintaining fitness is a whole lot easier than building it!

The key to maintaining the fitness you’ve built over the winter is to simply stay active.

Ideally, you’d be able to at least get one or two runs in per week to help maintain your running fitness.

But, honestly, any type of physical activity is going to help you hold on to most of your fitness.

So skiing. Snow shoeing. Sledding. Shoveling snow. Building a snow man with the kids.

All of those things are going to help you maintain your overall fitness.

Now, to be clear, overall fitness and running fitness aren’t exactly the same thing.

So if you don’t run at all until the snow melts in the spring, no matter how physically active you stay you will lose a bit of running fitness.

If you are able to maintain your overall fitness, it won’t take you very long to get your running muscles activated again and you’ll be back to where you are now pretty quickly.

But, if you can mix in at least a semi-regular run throughout the winter months, you’ll keep pretty much all of your running fitness and be ready to build upon it when spring arrives.

How do you prevent black toe nails?

The best way to avoid black toe nails is to get the right shoes.

Black toenails a typically caused because your toe is rubbing on your shoe when you run.

Narrow shoes or shoes that aren’t big enough are the primary causes of black toenails.

Remember that your foot swells as your run. So a shoe that may be ok for a few miles my be too small for your longer runs.

Try increasing your shoe size by a half size or switching to a shoe with a wider/foot shaped toe box, and see if either of those options helps.

What is the best way to keep sweat out of my eyes?

Seriously though, there isn’t a great option.

A visor/hat/sweatband may help, but as long as you’re sweating you’re going to get some in your eyes.

Just gotta deal with it.

Is there a tried and true method for dialing in your race pace?

From where I sit, it’s definitely a process where there is some trial and error.

If you have a specific goal time, it’s easier to practice running at that pace in some of your training runs to see if it’s realistic or not.

But as a proponent of heart rate training, that isn’t an option I even consider.

Instead, I’ve been working on getting more comfortable simply listening to my body on race day and not focusing on any pace.

When I interviewed Chuck van Duzee on the show back in the day, he said something that has really stuck with me.

He basically said the goal on race day is to run as fast as you can with respect to the distance that you’re covering.

So going in with a specific pace in mind may not be the best bet because it may limit you and actually result in a slower finish time than you were capable of.

Instead, he encourages runners to learn to listen to their body and simply try to do what they are capable of on that day.

And I gotta be honest, I’ve done this my last four marathons. And those are the best four marathons I’ve ever run.

How come my HR while running spikes quickly but my HR while cycling stays pretty low even though I’m going as hard as I can?

Running is harder than cycling.

It really is that simple.

When you’re running, you’re weight bearing. When you’re cycling, you’re not.

So your body has to work a lot harder to run than it does to sit on the bike and spin.

And your HR data reflects that.

What are some good running/training books that you would recommend?

Funny you should ask…

The Diz Runs book club is coming soon, with some in-depth discussion of various running books happening in the Patron group. So if you’d like in, come support the show via Patreon and let’s make it happen!

Now, on to your question.

There are obviously some great running books out there.

Here are a few that are on my shelf that I have enjoyed reading and/or have learned a lot from.

Is the stair climber a good way to train for a race with a lot of climbing?

When subbing in a bike ride for a run, how do decide how hard to go?

It’s all about the effort.

Like I mentioned above, riding the bike is easier physiologically than running.

So match the effort (ideally, real effort and not perceived effort) to what you would have been doing in your run, and you’ll be good to go.

Can you explain all of the acronyms and jargon within the running community?

Yeah, I’m lost most of the time too!

Before the invention of Diz Runs coffee, what coffee was your go to?

Honestly, I’m not quite as much of a coffee snob as I may portray.

I like coffee, but I don’t really have a go to.

A lot of times, it would just come down to what’s on sale at the store when I’m running low on coffee.

What is the best strategy to snag a PR/hit your time goal in a race?

In my experience, the best generic strategy is to go for the negative split.

Meaning, you want to run the second half of your race slightly faster than the first half of the race.

So instead of looking at what pace you need to run and trying to hit every mile at that exact time, the better option is to start a touch slower, settle in to goal race, and finish a bit stronger.

Now, a couple of additional suggestions.

Remember that even if you try to run the tangents, in most longer races you’ll still end up running a bit longer than the official race distance. So plan your pace markers accordingly.

Also, don’t kick too soon. Too often, runners start their finishing kick too early and end up blowing up before the finish.

My advice is to wait until you can literally see the finish line before you go for broke. There is something powerful/psychological about being able to see the finish that allows you to keep digging a little deeper.

I’m new to MAF training. When can I start adding in the occasional hard workout?

According to the man himself, you should wait at least 8 weeks before you do a hard workout.

You gotta give your body a chance to establish your aerobic base and start getting used to burning fat for fuel before you blast a run.

If you’re really struggling with speed withdrawals, you might be able to mix in a couple of short strides on occasion without blowing past your MAF limit. Just keep an eye on your HR and stay disciplined!

Is it possible to trim almost 8 minutes off of my half time for my next race?

Yeah, it’s totally possible!

Easy? No. But possible? Yes!

Without knowing all the specifics of your past training, current levels of fitness, and other variables it’ll be tough for me to tell you want to do to hit your 2:30 goal. But I absolutely believe that it’s possible!

Keep training intelligently, listen to your body, take care of the little things, and then give it hell on race day!

And don’t freak out when the clock says 2:20-something at the finish line.

How does losing salt during a run impact you?

At the simplest level, our muscles contract because of the different salts in our system.

If you lose too much salt through sweat, it will mess up the contract/relax cycle of our muscles.

And if you can’t contract/relax your muscles, it’s pretty hard to keep running.

How come the calorie counter on my Garmin can vary so much from one nearly identical run to the next?

Most likely, it’ll have to do with your effort.

If your HR was higher, the calorie burned formula is most likely going to say you burned more calories.

The better question, however, may be how accurate is the calories burned data on the Garmin?


What is your take on recovery sandals?

Yeah, not sure I’m buying the science of a “recovery” sandal.

I’m all in on my sandals, literally wear them 365 days a year.

But I can’t come up with any reason that my rainbows are going to “inhibit” my recovery in a way that a pair of oofos won’t.

You live in a state with three NFL teams. Which is your team?

I’m from Michigan.

As bad as the Lions are, I’ll always bleed Honolulu Blue and Silver.

I could care less about the Bucs, Jags, or Dolphins.

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.

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