Listener Q&A: January 2021

How’s the New Year going so far?

Hope your 2021 is off to a good start!

If it is? Keep it rolling into February.

If you’ve stumbled out of the blocks? Let’s get back on track, starting today!

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 cross-friction massage of the Achilles?


I suppose it depends a bit on what exactly is going on, but I’m not sure I’m on board.

Cross-friction on muscle tissue? Sure.

But on a tendon? Not so much.

How do you politely tell a mileage snob to take a hike?

Best. Middle Finger. Ever.

Honestly, not sure that polite would be my go-to in this situation.

You could block them or you could ignore them.

But I’m not sure that engaging with them is going to help, as odds are it’s just going to make you more upset/angry/frustrated.

Most trolls love getting the attention/reaction, so if they know they got to you once they may keep coming back for more.

Can a stability shoe be too stable?

Is it better to train for balance with or without running shoes on?

I like working on my balance barefoot because it takes away any of the support that my shoe provides in order to truly make my legs/feet work.

But that doesn’t mean that working your balance when you’re in shoes isn’t helpful, because it definitely still is.

So to me, I’d say without shoes is better but any balance training is much better than none!

Foam rolling the IT band directly: yay or nay?

Back in my day, foam rolling directly on the IT band was promoted as a great way to relieve IT band issues.

But that has definitely come under scrutiny in the past decade or so.

Here is the situation as I understand it:

  • the IT band is super thick/dense tissue, and foam rolling directly on the IT band doesn’t really do anything beneficial. It just hurts. A lot.
  • foam rolling directly on the IT band doesn’t do any damage to the tissue.

If you have IT band issues, and the resulting knee pain, foam rolling is often an important piece of the puzzle to help you get back to running pain free.

But instead of rolling the IT band directly, you want to focus your attention on the areas where the IT band comes into contact with the quads and hamstrings.

Doing this can break up some of the adhesions between those muscles and the IT band, which can help relieve the knee pain often associated with IT band issues.

So all that to say, I guess I come down on the said of nay.

Is there any hope for the Detroit Lions?

Does Cadbury make good Valentine’s Day gifts?

Should I do any kind of warm-up before my 50k?

This is a little bit of a slippery slope kind of question.

Yes, in theory, you should definitely do a warm-up before your 50k.

But that doesn’t mean that it needs to be super formal or intentional.

I do jumping jacks and lunges and leg swings before pretty much every one of my runs.

For a 50k? I might do a couple of lunges and a few leg swings.

Or I might just walk back and forth to the car a couple of times, especially if I have to check-in, use the bathroom, etc.

And, of course, with a longer race, the first few miles will almost certainly be a part of the warm-up since I’m not trying to hit it hard from the outset.

So, yeah, a warm-up isn’t a bad idea. But the warm-up may not look like your regular pre-run routine.

How easy should someone take it coming back from a “normal” case of Covid?

Super easy.

Look, I’m no expert but I think it’s safe to say we don’t know everything there is to know about the virus at this point.

But one thing that we do know, at least with some degree of certainty, is that it impacts everyone differently–both in the short-term and the long-term.

I’d say start really basic with your first run back, and simply see how your body responds during AND after.

Then use that to chart your course.

You could be back to your normal routine in a few days. It could take a few weeks. It could take a few months.

We just don’t know enough at this point to give any firm advice.

Listen to your body and don’t rush it.

Hope it’s smooth sailing for you.

What are some myths/beliefs you’ve let go of during your running journey?

The only way to get faster is to run fast.

Gotta eat lots of carbs to fuel the body appropriately.

Good stress vs bad stress.

Is running twice a day bad for you?

There are lots of variables here, but the key (as always) is listening to your body.

If you’re feeling good, recovering well, and looking to add a few more miles to your weekly volume then a double day or two can work well.

But is it better than adding an extra day to the mix? Or increasing your daily mileage a bit?

Not necessarily.

Is there any benefit to ice-cold showers?

I’m not sure there is a specific running benefit to taking cold showers, but I’m intrigued about some of the purported overall health benefits of cold showers.

It’s actually something I’ve been thinking about looking into and may implement at some point.

Obviously, I believe that overall health improvements are going to help improve your running, so maybe there’s a relationship there.

But a direct cause/effect benefit? Not sure I’m willing to make that leap just yet.

When is Rebekah coming on the show?

She was on the show a couple of years ago, actually.

What are your go-to sitcoms for unwinding a bit?


Brooklyn 99.

Big Bang Theory.

Schitt’s Creek.

Parks and Rec.

Do you think Yasso 800s are a good predictor of marathon finish time?

Sorry, but there’s a big difference between running half-mile repeats and 26.2 miles.

I could see an argument that for a certain, and relatively small, cross-section of runners there could be a strong correlation between the two.

But across the board?


It’s a great workout, but I’m not buying it as an accurate marathon predictor for all runners.

Is there a downside to doing bodyweight exercises 5-6 times per week instead of 2-3 times?


Lots of variables here to consider.

Are you doing the same body parts/muscle groups 5-6 times per week? Or rotating through the body?

How much are you pushing each muscle group? To failure? Or just doing some good reps without overdoing it?

What are the goals for your strength training?

And instead of looking for a downside, maybe the better question is there an upside? Meaning, will you get more benefit from 5-6 days than you would from 2-3?

My inclination is to say that 2-3 is plenty and there’s not much reason to do more than that.

Yet I do my lunge matrix before just about every run, so I do some bodyweight exercises up to 6 days per week.

So how hypocritical do you want me to be?

I guess I’ll say there’s not a major downside, but not sure it’s of much benefit either.

What’s your prediction on Boston and NYC this fall?

My heart is full of hope, my head says nope.

And if they do happen, I don’t think they will look “normal” this year.

Maybe more along the lines of what happened in London in 2020?

But who knows.

Where is the most unusual place you’ve ever run?

On a cruise ship, maybe?

I don’t know, depends on your definition of crazy I guess.

If you could run anywhere, where would you like to explore on foot?

That is an Excellent Question

I’m all in on the idea of running tourism.

I’d love to explore Europe on foot. The Amazon. Latin America. The Rocky Mountains.

Cities. Countrysides. Small towns.

Honestly, not sure there are many places I wouldn’t be keen to run/explore!

If I had to pick just one?

The Alps I guess? But I’m pretty much down for whatever.

What is your preferred peanut butter?

Crunchy. Natural.

If the ingredient list is peanuts and salt, I’m good to go.

Anything else? No thanks.

Why is a short-ish recovery run after a really long run better than taking the day off?

Yeah, so, I’m not entirely sure that going for a short-ish run is better.

Not saying that it’s bad, but not saying it’s better.

As has been the case this month, there are a lot of variables to consider here.

What qualifies as short-ish? How did the long run the day before go? Any soreness post-long run? What is your injury history?

Depending on your answers, going for a short run may not be a bad thing.

But is it better than an off day? Or better than doing some easy cross-training?

Again, it depends.

Care to run the Jax Spartan with me next month?

Any tips to actually race a race as opposed to just running it?

If you’re really planning to race a race, there’s a lot more mental work that you should probably be doing as opposed to a race you’re just running for fun.

Having a plan in place in terms of how you’re going to pace the race, what your exact fueling strategy is going to be and how to respond if/when your brain starts to work against you are important.

Knowing the course a bit more intimately is also helpful so you’re not surprised by that random hill that always seems to be near the end of any race.

Tapering becomes even more important since you really want to toe the line as close to 100% as possible.

If you’re racing with friends, make sure you’re all on the same page about whether or not you’re running the whole thing together.

On one hand, you don’t want to make race day this dramatically different thing, but if you’re planning to race the race it’s definitely different.

And preparing for those differences is kind of helpful.

How far ahead should I eat before my long run?

Some people can eat something just a few minutes before and be fine.

Others need an hour or few for things to digest a bit.

If you are going to eat before a long run, you’ll just have to be willing to do some trial/error to figure out what foods work best for you and when you need to eat them in relation to when you’re planning to start running.

Word of advice? If you’ve got a sensitive stomach, make sure you’re doing your trialing/erroring near-ish to some bathroom options, just in case.

Does it take more effort to get the heart rate up on the treadmill, or am I just imagining things?

Assuming all other factors are the same, I’d say it makes sense that it takes a little more effort to get the HR up on the treadmill simply because of physics.

When you’re running on the treadmill, the motor of the treadmill is doing some of the work that you have to do on the ground.

Namely, the treadmill belt is moving and the road is not.

Why is climbing a flight of stairs so much harder than running for an hour?

Just like the previos question, the answer comes down to the physics of the situation.

When you’re running, for the most part, you’re moving forward only.

Going upstairs? You’re simultaneously moving up and forward.

Moving up is harder because you’re moving directly opposed to gravity as opposed to moving perpendicular to it.

The same reason running uphill is harder than running on a flat surface.

Any suggestions for adding in a little stretching during the workday?

Just gotta think outside the box a little bit here.

The first thing that you can do is just get up and move more.

Go to the bathroom. Refill your coffee cup/water bottle. Walk to the break room to get a snack from your lunch box instead of having it in your desk. Stand up when you’re on the phone.

The key here is that the more you’re moving throughout the day, even without doing any proper stretching, the less tight you’re going to feel at the end of the day.

And if you can get up and do a few simple squats or lunges as well? Even better!

Additionally, you can find some chair/office yoga routines that you can easily do at your desk on a break. It may not be inconspicuous though, depending on the layout of your office.

Need to be really sneaky?

Just flexing and extending your knees and ankles can help loosen things up a little bit throughout the day.

Is there any benefit to rotating different kinds of shoes on a regular basis?

It really depends on who you talk to.

Some people are big fans of the idea of rotating between different shoes because it stresses your body in slightly different ways depending on the amount of cushioning and the drop that each pair has.

But then there’s plenty of folks, myself probably included, that say if it ain’t broke why try to fix it?

I think that mixing in some different shoes isn’t a bad thing, but if you decide to do it don’t just dive into the deep end.

Start with shorter/easy runs to try a new style of shoe, and see how your body responds.

Are you more sore than usual afterward? Feel exactly the same?

If things feel really off, may want to stay away from that particular style of shoe. Is everything good to go? Then you can probalby keep them in the rotation without any issues.

How is your posture training going?

It’s going, I guess.

It would help if I was a bit more consistent with using the strap gimmick.

When I use it regularly, I definitely notice a difference in my posture even when I’m not wearing it.

When I slack off for a few days, my poor posture returns.

So I guess the jury is still out, but early returns are that it just might be worth it.

And that, as they say, is 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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What Was Your Favorite Question and/or Answer this Month? Let Me Know in the Comments Below!

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