Listener Q&A: August 2020

It’s that time of the month again!

Yeah, yeah. Calm down Rocky…

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 awhile 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

So, how you doing?


How does nose breathing benefit runs? Especially for heart rate training?

This isn’t exactly my area of expertise, but I’ll take a stab at it.

The first and most obvious benefit of nose breathing is that our nose is an air filtration system. And putting cleaner air in your lungs is never a bad thing.

When we breathe through our nose, we also tend to breathe a bit deeper. Deeper breathes bring more oxygen to our lungs, which is kind of a good thing.

As for heart rate training, the breathing deeper bit ties into that as well.

Short, rapid, and shallow breaths tend to trigger an increase in heart rate.

Also, it’s just harder to run hard when you’re breathing exclusively through your nose. So focusing on nose breathing helps to keep you from pushing too hard on your runs.

Can HIIT training benefit runners?

Of course, some forms of HIIT are going to be more beneficial than others.

But I’m a firm believer that being a good athlete is going to serve all of us runners.

And a good HIIT workout definitely is going push you in ways that running doesn’t, which helps you become a more all-around athlete.

How much is too much when it comes to adding salt/electrolytes to my drinks when running in the summer?

When we are sweating like crazy, we absolutely need to replace both the fluids and the salts that we are losing.

Some people are naturally saltier sweaters than others, but our need to replenish salt levels is something that all of us should at least be aware of.

I add sea salt to my water bottle every time I fill it up, whether I’m running or not, year-round.

And I’ve definitely noticed that if I don’t put enough salt in my water for my long runs in the summer, I’m more worn out and typically have a headache for most of the day.

So I guess the answer is to play with how much extra salt you’re adding to your bottles and how much salt you’re taking in throughout the rest of your day as well.

Feeling a little off?

Try adding some more and see if that helps.

I’m sure there is an upper limit somewhere, but I wouldn’t sweat trying to figure it out exactly.

What are your go-to mantras/sayings when things get tough for you on a run?

The one I always try to remind myself of is to take the next step.

So much so, that last year I got a permanent reminder put in place.

The other one that I have been turning to a bit more often is “naught without labor.”

There may be another permanent reminder coming, eventually, so I’ll never have to worry about forgetting this one either.

How long should you give a coach or a new training style before deciding it isn’t working for you?

This is a tricky question, but I like it!

Obviously, it’s going to be situation dependent.

Sometimes, if the changes you’re making aren’t too dramatic, the sings of progress may be apparent relatively quickly.

Other times, you may honestly need to give the changes several months to prove whether or not they are working for you.

In terms of working with a coach, there are potentially some different dynamics at play.

I think the biggest thing in the coach/athlete relationship is the blend of personalities.

If I can relate well with my athletes? We are good.

Sure, we might have to adjust expectations a bit along the way, change the routine up, or whatever, but as long as we can communicate and relate we are good.

And I think that is something that you’re able to figure out pretty quickly, and possibly even before you start working with the coach!

Not sure I can give you a firm answer on either front though, sorry!

Does the type of socks you wear make a difference?

To me, it’s all about comfort.

Finding socks that are comfortable for you and keep your feet happy is a gamechanger.

If you’re constantly getting blisters or your socks are bunching up or whatever, that’s just not a lot of fun!

And, potentially, it leads to you changing your form slightly to try and keep pressure off of certain areas, which is only asking for more trouble.

I’ll go ahead and spend a few extra bucks on some of the fancier socks.

But if your feet don’t mind some simply cotton socks from Target, then more power to you!

Summer or winter?

Depends on what you mean by winter.

If we are talking summer vs proper winter, then summer for sure.

But if you’re asking Florida summer vs Florida winter?

Well then, that would be a different story altogether!

How often should one wash their hair after running?

The humidity is brutal this summer. Any tips to combat this?

I wish!

The problem with the humidity is that you can’t get away from it in some places.

If you run at 3 am, you can minimize the heat effects because the sun isn’t out, but it’ll still be humid AF!

All you can do when you notice that the heat/humidity combo is really getting to you is pull back a bit.

Not a fun thing to do, obviously, but you just have to listen to your body in this situation.

What are the benefits/drawbacks of joining Strava?

I suppose the biggest benefit, if you will, of being on Strava is that it allows you to connect with other runners that don’t use Garmin.

The more I use Garmin connect, the less I’m a fan of it. Strava isn’t great, not by a long shot, but I think I like it better?

I mean, nothing says you can’t use both.

It’ll take about 3 seconds to link your Garmin to Strava, and then your workouts will upload to both places.

But if I wasn’t a coach, I would have very little use for either platform.

Can you recommend some good exercises for ankle strength and stability?


Working on balance is a great place to start!

Barefoot, just balancing on one leg.

Not fancy, but certainly effective!

As your stability improves, try upping the ante by doing to raises on one foot without touching anything to help you keep your balance.

When you can do that? You’re good to go!

Would you consider using Thanksgiving Dinner flavored candy corn for fuel during a run?

How important is it to kick your foot up and back while running? You know, like the elites do?

Great question!

So here’s the deal, as clearly as I can try to explain it here.

As I read it, when you say kicking your foot up and back I’m thinking about a bend in the knee and really bringing your heel up toward your rear end.

That is not ideal, and something the elites really don’t do.

Why? Because it’s all wasted movement.

What the elites do, and what very few of us mortals do, is extend their hips as far back as possible while maintaining ground contact with each stride.

And that is a form improvement that we should all be striving for!

Why? Because that is engaging our glutes and propelling us forward more with each stride!

Seems like every long run I get a side stitch after about 8 miles that takes a while to subside. Any suggestions for avoiding these?

Not really, because the jury is still out on exactly what causes the stitch to begin with!

A stitch is a spasm of the diaphragm, which is why it’s so hard to breathe when you’ve got one and why slowing down and controlling your breath helps it to pass.

One thing that may help is to keep working on core strength/stability.

No guarantees, but if your core is a little weak then your diaphragm may be working overtime when you’re running to not only help with breathing but also help with core stability.

How does running make you a better person?

It’s kind of hard to answer this one concisely, but I’ll see what I can do.

Running just is that thing for me that kind of makes everything else ok.

It’s that constant that I can trust is going to be there when I need it.

So when I need to clear my head? I go for a run.

When I need to process something? I go for a run.

When I need to return to my routine? I go for a run.

If I’m not able to run for awhile? I get a little more irritable. A little less patient.

Basically, I’m just a bit off.

But a few miles is enough to right the ship and make everything right in my world again.

Well, if not right at least manageable.

And that makes me a better person.

When are we going to get to see/hear you play some DMB covers?

Not Gonna Happen

How’s the book coming along?

But I have a plan to change that pretty soon.

So stay tuned!

And there you have it.

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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