Listener Q&A: February 2022


Where did February go?

That is an Excellent Question

Seems like we were just celebrating the New Year, and here we are bidding February adieu.

But before we officially kick this month to the curb, let’s do a little Q&A.

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 a 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

What’s your take on running/training with an overuse injury? Take time off? If so, how long?

Seeing as I’m currently taking a bit of time off due to something of an overuse injury, after trying to convince myself it was NBD and just powering through, the timing of this question is pretty much perfect.

All the normal disclaimers need to be made here about every person is different. Every injury is different. Recovery timelines vary from person to person.

Now that that’s all out of the way, there are not too many cases where overuse injuries resolve themselves if you keep on keeping on.

If you catch them early and take the appropriate action you might be able to get away with running through an overuse injury, but odds are the process will take longer to fully kick the issue.

My suggestion, most of the time, is to take some time off.

How long? However long it takes.

Easier said than done? Of course.

What is your definition of success as a runner? What about beyond running?

Hmm

That’s a good question.

I think my definition of success as a runner starts with enjoying the sport.

As long as I’m looking forward to my runs most of the time, the rest will kind of take care of itself.

Traveling. Racing. Connecting with other runners.

Those things, to me, all fall under the umbrella of having fun with running.

Beyond running, I suppose there are different metrics for each other area of my life.

But being a good person might be the ultimate umbrella.

Husband. Father. Coach. Friend. Contributor to society.

It’s not exactly a crystal clear definition of success, but as long as I’m doing my best to do my best I think I’m on the right track.

How often do you incorporate ab/core workouts during marathon training?

At most, I only do one ab/core-focused workout per week.

Some weeks, I don’t even get that many.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not working my core more regularly than just once per week.

Lots of my strength work incorporates core stability, even if it’s not the focus.

A strong and stable core is pretty important to us as runners, so it’s definitely something you should make a part of your routine in some form or fashion.

Do you monitor your HRV?

My Oura ring tracks HRV, and I check my numbers once a day.

So I usually have an idea of what my HRV is day to day.

But do I use that info to adjust my training accordingly?

Nope.

Should you run with plantar fasciitis? 

This is very similar to the earlier question, so all the same disclaimers apply.

Can you run with PF? Yeah, sure.

Can you do so without making your PF worse? More than likely.

Does running with PF prolong the healing process and, potentially, make things worse until the point where you have no choice but to take an extended period of time off to deal with it? Yeah, potentially.

So it’s hard for me to say that you should run if you’re dealing with a case of PF.

But I’ve certainly kept on running through little bouts of minor PF-type pain.

So ultimately it’s your call.

To help get rid of your PF, lots of stretching and massage work are in store.

Stretch your calves. Stretch the bottoms of your feet.

Massage your calves. Massage the bottoms of your feet.

And check out your shoe situation, especially your non-running shoes.

Dress shoes don’t tend to do our feet many favors, and those shoes could actually be the root cause of many foot/lower leg issues that we associate with running injuries, plantar faciitis included.

How often do you strength train when you’re not racing or during an “off-season?”

Ok, maybe not quite every day.

But my goal is to get in a strength workout Monday through Friday, pretty much every week, no matter where I’m at in the training cycle.

I’ll obviously adjust intensity and volume based on where I am in the training cycle, but I try to at least continue to tick the box every day of the week no matter what.

Best exercise/preventative measure for shin splints?

Foot strength/mobility is key.

Walk around barefoot. Toe pick-ups. Towel scrunches.

Anything that works the muscles in your feet will help support your arch which should really reduce your risk of shin splints.

How do you best train for racing conditions that you can’t easily replicate in your area?

I Don't Know

You just have to do the best you can.

If you live where it’s flat or near sea level, you’re going to have a hard time simulating mountainous terrain and running at elevation.

So do what you can and let that be enough.

Running/racing at altitude is going to be a challenge, no doubt.

But you know what will make it even more difficult? Not being fit at the starting line.

How often do your quick tips come from snippets of conversations with the athletes you coach?

It definitely happens, probably more often than I even realize.

Should you use zero-drop shoes if you have hyper-mobile knees?

I don’t know that you should or shouldn’t, to be quite honest.

I can’t think of too many reasons that, on the surface, it would really even matter.

In my mind, there are several other factors that would be more likely to cause your knees trouble than the heel drop of your shoes.

What are your top tips for someone training for their first ultra?

Dude is Crazy

So you’re taking your crazy to the ultra level now, eh?

Welcome to the party.

Assuming you’re jumping into the shallow end of the ultra waters, like a 50k, my biggest tip is that you really don’t need to do much different than you would do for marathon training.

Yes, I know the race will be ~5 miles longer.

But training-wise? Things aren’t much different.

Maybe get a longer long run, something like 22-24 miles instead of “just” doing 20?

You might could do some back-to-back long runs, but you don’t necessarily have to.

As for race day, don’t hesitate to walk. Take your time at the aid stations. And have fun.

That’s pretty much it.

What are your thoughts on taking advice from another runner on race day?

Shrug.

I suppose it depends on the advice.

If another runner is trying to tell me I’m going too fast or slow, or something along those lines, I’ll probably dismiss those comments and get on with my race.

But if it’s a local who knows the course and is giving me some logistical tips about the course that could be helpful later on?

Yeah, I’ll heed that advice for sure.

How does training by effort work when conditions don’t allow you to hit the desired pace for key workouts?

It works wonderfully, actually.

Your body doesn’t know pace, it knows effort.

Pace is a human construct, nothing more and nothing less.

Your body adapts to the demands you place upon it, aka to the effort it takes to meet a certain objective.

Put in the necessary effort, and your body will respond in kind.

It really is that simple.

How do you make sure to stay safe while running and listening to music/podcasts?

For me, it’s multifaceted.

Most of my runs are in my neighborhood before most of the neighbors are out and about.

Very little traffic to speak of makes safety concerns for me rather moot.

When I’m out of the neighborhood?

I stick to quieter roads as much as possible. I run against traffic so I can see what’s going on. And I’ll jump on the sidewalk when that’s the smarter choice.

There’s no way to mitigate risk entirely, obviously, but I feel like for me a bit of common sense goes a long way.

Will the Lions ever get a QB like Matt Stafford?

Could you explain MAF testing again?

Of Course

Maximal aerobic function tests help gauge the progress/growth of your aerobic fitness.

The test is simple: you pick a route that is easily repeatable and run that route every month or so while trying to keep your HR as close to constant as possible.

If your pace per mile gets faster with your HR staying the same, that’s a good sign that your aerobic fitness is improving.

How are you doing with your xero shoes?

I like them.

Though there is a non-zero chance that they are contributing to my Achilles issues since I started wearing them full time.

So…


And that’s 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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