Listener Q&A: September 2020


So. Many. Questions.

This month’s Q&A is a beast, so let’s get to it!

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?

This Month’s Questions

Who will win a Super Bowl first: the Cleveland Browns or your Detroit Lions?

Judging by recent form, you’d have to say the Browns, right?

Post Race Blues

Any tips for managing heel spur pain?

Oof, that’s a tough one.

Your question is correct, however, in that the goal is simply pain management.

The only fix is to get in there and shave that joker down surgically.

In the meantime, some pads may help to take pressure off of the area.

And definitely stretch your calf and do regular work on your plantar fascia.

What is the best option for improving your 5k time? Focus on endurance, shorter/harder workouts, or a bit of both?

Definitely a bit of both, but it’s not going to be an even split. You’re going to want to spend a lot more time building your endurance than you spend focused on top speed.

Why?

You can improve your top-end speed all you want, but if you don’t have the endurance to go with the speed you’ll blow up before you hit the finish line in the 5k.

I know of several folks that PRd their 5k on the heels of a marathon training cycle.

Not saying you need to go to that extreme, but logging more miles at an easy level of effort, with some strategic speed workouts, is the best way to PR in any race distance.

What is your simplest/clearest answer when someone asks you how to breathe while running?

In through the nose, out through the mouth.

If we have room for a little more insight, breathe in for two steps, out for one.

Monthly book check-in?

No progress to report just yet.

If I can only run twice per week and one of them is going to be a long run, what should the other run be?

Easy run, no doubt.

If I can squeeze in a third run, what should I do for that one?

Also run easy, no doubt there either.

What is the silliest excuse you’ve ever heard for why someone doesn’t run?

I don’t want to lose weight.

Are You Kidding

How can we avoid becoming discouraged when we are “past our prime” as runners?

At some point, your fastest days are going to be behind you.

For those of us that really get off on pushing the pace and chasing PRs, that can really be discouraging.

When that happens, instead of focusing on the fact that you’re not able to run as fast or as far (or whatever) as you could “back in the day,” try to pick a different metric to chase.

Maybe it’s something as simple as PRs after a certain age.

Or maybe it’s running smarter races in terms of pacing, maybe focusing on negative splits?

Maybe you turn your focus a bit more outward, and get more satisfaction from helping runners finish their first races of certain distances. So you almost run your races as a pacer more than as a racer.

At the end of the day, it’s all about finding different ways to focus your attention behind simply how fast you can go from start to finish.

What is your warm-up routine like before your runs?

I do my version of the lunge matrix, which ends up being 32 lunges on each leg.

I then do leg swings, side to side and front to back, on each leg.

Leash up the dog and I’m out the door.

Takes something like 5-7 minutes.

How do you go about taking an off-season?

Don’t overthink this one.

An off-season for a runner includes very little, and ideally zero, running.

It doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t still be active, but running isn’t really a thing.

Spend some time on the bike or in the pool. Get in the gym to lift weights of focus on some good bodyweight strength sessions. Unroll the yoga mat and work on your flexibility.

Then when it’s time to run again, start running again.

How long are we talking about here?

It depends on who you ask, but I think you’d be hard-pressed to make an argument that a proper off-season is going to be anything less than a month.

Something like one or two months sounds like a good off-season to me.

(Says the guy that, by this standard, hasn’t had an off-season in years.)

What are your thoughts on HR training when I’m basically only walking to keep my HR below my MAF HR (112 bpm)?

I have a few thoughts.

One, the most important thing is that you enjoy your running/workouts.

If trying to focus on HR is sapping all of the joy from your running, then don’t focus on HR!

I still think that, big picture, HR training is incredibly valuable and beneficial for any runner.

But having fun has to be your first priority.

Second thought, there is some question about the 180-age formula for those that are 65+.

Maffetone himself says that, in certain circumstances, adding 5-10 beats may be appropriate.

So maybe if you give yourself a few more beats, it could be the best of both worlds for you?

Right now, my running schedule is being messed up do to the fires in CA. If I end up being forced to take a week or two off due to poor air quality, how should I ease back into the routine when the air clears?

No need to overthink things here.

You’re not going to lose massive fitness in just a couple of weeks.

So I’d just stick to your normal schedule/routine, and if it’s safe to run do what you would normally be doing on that day.

What have you found to be the best thing to help with plantar fasciitis?

Stretching your calves will make a world of difference, so that would be my top recommendation.

Rolling your feet a bit helps too, but calf stretches are the best bet as far as I’m concerned.

What are your thoughts on checking/tracking biomarkers?

Hmm

Color me intrigued.

A few years back, I paid for a test with Inside Tracker but have yet to go and actually get my blood drawn for said test.

So I guess I’m interested enough to have spent some cash on it but not enough to follow through and actually get the test.

What is your favorite fall food/beverage?

Hard to get any better than a good, crisp apple this time of year.

When it comes to foam rolling, what is a good amount of time to spend on each body part?

I Don't Know

Hard to say, honestly.

Maybe aiming for a minute or two on each body part?

What is your advice about rest days while streaking?

Are Runners Stupid?

I mean, if you’re streaking you’re not getting a rest day, right?

Sure, you might only do a mile which is less than typical, but it’s hard to call that a rest day.

If the streak is working for you, then keep on keeping on.

But don’t bother with the mental gymnastics required to convince yourself that a one mile day is the same as a rest day.

Cause it’s not.

Is it a good idea to train to run without water for 10-13 milers when it’s not too hot?

I don’t know that I’d call it a good idea, but it’s probably not a bad thing.

As humans, we are capable of operating just fine while mildly dehydrated.

Running for a couple of hours isn’t enough to put most people into any danger.

What are your 5 tried and tested gadgets for running/recovery?

Are we looking for running gadgets or recovery gadgets?

Not sure I really have 5 for each, but I’ll see what I can do.

Running gadgets:

  • Watch
  • Heart rate strap
  • Orange Mud pack
  • Headphones

Recovery gadgets:

  • Bed
  • Foam roller
  • Yoga mat
  • Spin bike
  • Scraping tools
How many people in your phone are on the block list?

What’s the block list?

What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to people?

Is it too much to say that people are my biggest pet peeve?

Probably selfishness.

I think a lot of the world’s problems could be solved if all of us just did the right things for ourselves and for each other.

But too often we, myself included, think too much about ourselves first and each other never.

When was the last time you and Beks had a proper date?

It’s been a minute…

Probably not since January or February? Something like that?

When running on the trails, do I need to pack out things like apple cores or banana peels?

I mean, the correct answer is yes.

In practice?

I’m not going to lose my mind because you leave something like an apple core behind.

But drop an empty gu packet on the side of a trail, and you’re a bad person.

How do I get more people to listen to my podcast?

What is a good alternative to gels/gus/chews?

I’m a fan of Tailwind myself.

But when it comes to gut bombs, one of the biggest causes is too much fueling. So be aware of how much fuel you’re taking in, no matter what the form.

If you’re taking in too much while you’re pushing, your body is going to revolt.

And that revolt is seldom very pretty.

Is there a way to step up your mileage dramatically and safely.

You can do one or the other, but both is akin to playing with fire.

Do you find yourself stalking/checking in on other CRAW teams?

Nope

I’m not worried about where our team ranks in comparison to anyone else.

As long as our team is making progress, that’s all I’m worried about.

My 50k was technically a DNF. Should I do another one to actually finish before the time limit before I start thinking about doing a 50-miler?

Don’t overthink this one.

If you’re going to do a 50-miler, it might make sense to run a 50k or two as part of your training.

But do you need an “official” 50k finish before you push yourself at the 50-mile distance?

No.

My post-run routine usually includes a short walk, a bit of stretching, and then some more walking. Do you think that’s too much walking?

Not at all.

Any thoughts or suggestions for staying motivated to keep training during the winter months with so much uncertainty surrounding races for the foreseeable future?

That’s a tough one, obviously.

The motivation really needs to come from within, and if you’re motivated primarily by races it’s difficult right now.

I’d encourage you to find some other goals to really focus on right now, beyond races, and then if some of the races you’re thinking about running do happen you can jump in them.

But if they end up getting canceled, hopefully having some other goals won’t make you feel like all the work you’ve done has been wasted.

Have you considered dropping the Lions as your NFL team of choice?

How long has this episode been going on for?


And with that…

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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