Listener Q&A: April 2018

I’m getting this post out a bit late today, so there is no time for small talk; let’s get right to the questions!

What is the worst way you’ve ever missed a race?

I honestly can’t say I’ve ever missed a race that I’ve actually signed up for.

There are several instances where I’ve planned to sign up for a race and when I went to register, realized that the race had already happened. Do those times count?

There was also a time that I would have missed Wine and Dine a few years back.

I did what I usually do and stayed home as long as possible before heading to Disney. Shortly after I left, Beks called and said there was a huge traffic jam on I-4 with traffic literally stopped. She told me where the issue was, she had a friend that was in it and gave her the inside scoop, so I was able to get off the interstate before I got into the mess and get back on after it.

That’s the closest I’ve come to missing a race, thankfully.

I’m running my first time-based race next month. Any advice?

I’ve yet to do a time-based event, though it is on my list as something I’d like to try eventually, so I don’t have much to offer from personal experience.

That said, over the years I’ve talked to several people that have done time-based events and/or looped ultras, so maybe some secondhand suggestions will help?

  1. Don’t be afraid to walk.
  2. Don’t rush through the aid station.
  3. Eat something each lap.
  4. No need to carry anything but water.
  5. You don’t have to go the full 8-hours.

Hope those suggestions help.

And the most important thing to remember, for any race, is to make sure you have fun!

I need a hydration belt that holds a 16-18 ounce bottle, my phone, and a few gels. Any suggestions?

Not really.

At least, not really by the strictest definition of a hydration belt.

My suggestion would be to go with something like the Orangemud HydraQuiver Vest Pack.

I have the Vest Pack 2, which holds two bottles, and I absolutely love it. If you only need the one bottle though, they’ve got you covered.

Plenty of room to hold fuel, your phone, your keys, and anything else you may need out on the road or trail.

Another option would be a good handheld bottle.

I have a Nathans handheld that I use for shorter runs sometimes, and I really like it, but the pocket isn’t quite big enough for my iPhone 7.

So that could be an issue.

I also use this belt to hold my phone and there is plenty of room for other things as well, but it doesn’t have a bottle attachement.

Could I get a video of good warm up/cool down routines? And is there a good breathing pattern I should try to adopt?

I’ve talked about two of my favorite warm-up routines many times in the past, both of which have videos available.

So, I’ll just mention the lunge matrix and the Wahoo! glute activation sequence again and tell you that both are great sequences to do before running.

One word of warning: ease into either of them. If you try to do the full number of lunges, you might find your legs to be dead before you even get out the door. And the glutes? Do too much too quickly, and your ass will be on fire for sure!

As for a good cool down routine…

Stretch, I guess? Maybe some foam rolling too?

Those should be my go-to components of a cool down, but I rarely do a proper cool down besides just making sure my last 5-10 minutes of running is really easy. And maybe even walking it in as well.

As for the breathing part of your question, I’m a big fan of either the 3-2 or 2-1 breathing method described in this article.

It works for me, and from an injury prevention standpoint, it makes all the sense in the world.

It may take a little getting used to, but once you figure the pattern out it becomes second nature.

Any tips for running two marathons in short order?

Unlike some coaches, I’m not opposed to running two marathons a few weeks apart.

What I am more opposed to is racing two marathons a few weeks apart.

Provided you have the base to support a 26.2 mile training run without necessitating a full week (or more) off to recover from the effort, I actually think it can be a good thing.

Provided, of course, that you resist the urge to race the first one.

Whatever you need to do to make sure you keep the first marathon at a casual pace, that’s what you need to do.

Stop for photos. Set pace/HR alerts on your watch. Don’t listen to music.

Whatever you have to do to keep the effort where it needs to be, do it.

Any tips for becoming more of a morning runner?

While there is nothing that says that you have to run in the morning, I do think that it is easiest to become a consistent runner by running early.

Point blank, life doesn’t get in the way at 5 am the same way it does in the afternoon/evening.

I’m assuming you’re coming at this question from that perspective, that you’d rather run later but just have a hard time being consistent because of all that life throws at you.

If that’s the case, how do you get to the point where you are more comfortable getting up and getting after it in the morning?

If waking up on time is an issue, I’d definitely encourage you to think about getting a Pavlok. (Stick with the Shock Clock, if waking up early is all you need/want out of it.)

Another thing to consider is what you do in the evening to set you up for success in the morning.

Making sure you shut your electronics off an hour or more before going to bed will help your body get ready for sleep mode. If you need to stay on your device, consider getting a pair of blue light blockers and make sure you turn on the sleep setting for your phone.

Also, cutting out caffeine after the early afternoon and limiting alcohol intake will help you get improved sleep which will help you get up more easily in the morning.

You can also make sure to set everything out for your run before you go to bed so that you won’t have any excuse not to get out there.

And if you want to take it to the next level, go ahead and sleep in your running gear as well.

What are your 5 favorite foods/snacks for a runner?

At home:

  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Peanut butter
  • Dark chocolate
  • Fresh veggies
  • Cheese

On a run:

  • Nut butter
  • Picky bar
  • Honey
  • Oranges (any citrus, really)
  • Potato chips

I have an elevated HR. Any ideas about how to adjust HR guidelines if my normal HR at a really easy pace is already way over my MAF limit?

The hardcore MAF guys would tell you to just walk and stick with the numbers as they are.

But that seems a bit ridiculous.

I don’t have any suggestions for resources/formulas to make the adjustment, but it sounds like something needs to be adjusted.

Perhaps strict HR training isn’t best for you, but just going by perceived effort would work better?

What’s your opinion on caffeine tabs before a run?

It depends.

There is no doubt that caffeine is a performance enhancer, so it may help you run faster and/or improve your endurance.

But it also revs up your heart rate, so if you’re following HR training philosophies it’s not going to help you because you’re going to have to slow down your pace to try and keep your HR under control.

I’m also hesitant to recommend it for training runs/long runs because I’d rather have the boost on race day as opposed during a training run.

Maybe trying it once or twice to make sure your body handles it alright would be a good idea, but then save them for an extra boost on race day instead of blowing it out for your long runs.

What is kombucha and why do you drink it?

Kombucha is a drink made of fermented tea, and it is great for improving digestion.

What is the best run to follow up with a stride workout?

I’m not sure I completely understand this question, but my gut is saying that an easy run is always the best kind of run to do before or after a workout.

Strides aren’t typically as intense as some other workouts, but since many runners don’t do enough easy runs as is, I’m always going to recommend going easy before anything else.

And that, my friends, is that!

With a little luck, my answers to the questions this month were marginally useful.

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What Was Your Favorite Question and/or Answer this Month? Let Me Know in the Comments Below!

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