Another month winding down, another Listener Q&A episode on deck!
Lots of questions this month, so let’s just dive right in!
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 do you think of Gwen Jorgenson leaving Bowerman?
How’s the book/guitar coming along?
How should my first run after a marathon feel?
Is there a benefit to rolling the IT band?
Back in my ATC days, rolling the IT band was pretty standard practice.
These days, they say that it’s unnecessary.
You’re not doing any real damage if you roll your IT band, but you’re not necessarily solving any of your problems either.
It’s just going to hurt a lot, so not really worth it.
The new research says that the benefit of foam rolling in that area is to break up adhesions that form between the IT band and the quads/hamstrings.
So what you really want to do is focus the rollers attention where the IT band overlays those muscle groups, basically where the front/back of your thigh (quads/hamstrings respectively) meets the outside of your thigh (IT band).
Rolling the IT band specifically is likely to break up some of those adhesions, but rolling the specific areas is probably going to get you more bang for your buck.
What is the best WDW snack?
Have you ever been a pacer?
Yes, a couple of times that were vastly different from each other.
The first time I paced, I was pacing Bill Culver during his first 50 miler.
I think I ran the last 16 miles or so with him? Maybe it was 18? Something like that.
The other time I was an official pacer for a local half marathon, and I think my goal time was 2:15.
I didn’t run as evenly as I wanted to, mostly because I didn’t want to be that guy that left my pacing partner earlier than I ultimately did.
Lesson learned, if I ever run as an official pacer again, don’t worry about hurting the feelings of any other pacers that aren’t up to the required effort of the day.
For my next pacing effort, I’m on the hook for at least 40-ish miles in the mountains of north GA in a couple of weeks.
Did you learn/get anything useful from your gait analysis?
The biggest thing was confidence that my form really wasn’t that bad.
That was worth it right there.
I also was able to see that I was running with a narrower stance than might be classed as ideal, so I’ve been working on widening my base a little bit more.
Probably need to get on the treadmill and film myself running again, to see if things are trending in the right direction.
At what point is it a bad idea to run when there’s smoke from forest fires?
I’d just heed the advice of the AQI.
But if there’s a question, probably better to be safe than sorry.
How would you build excitement for a race you are no longer excited about?
I think for me, I’d try to change the angle to make the race as much fun as possible.
So maybe if I signed up for the race planning to really race it, but that’s probably not going to happen now, I’d try to come up with a new goal.
Maybe it’s a mid-race photo hunt. Or a challenge to take a certain number of interesting/unique selfies. Recruit a friend or two and run the race with them for fun.
The key is finding the thing that works for you and really leaning into it.
How is a fartlek workout different from just running random intervals?
But most interval workouts aren’t random, so that’s the difference.
Fartleks are all over the place, which is what makes them fun in my view.
If you like a bit more structure, however, fartleks aren’t for you.
Are there any benefits to heat training in terms of heart rate training?
The heat is a stressor, and if you’re running in a hot environment it’s going to bump your HR up.
Yes, you can adapt to the heat a little bit over time.
But your HR is still going to be up when you run in the heat no matter how much heat training you do.
What shoes are you wearing these days?
I just got a pair of the new Altra Torins to review, so that’s what I’m wearing.
Not sure I love them, but they aren’t bad.
Any truth to the idea that arm sleeves help block the sun?
Sure, if you have arm sleeves designed to do so.
Certain fabrics are more UV protective than others.
If you’re looking for UV protection from your sleeves/shirts, spend the extra money to get good ones so you can actually trust them to block the sun for you.
What was your favorite movie to watch as a kid that is unwatchable to you now?
Dexa scans: have you had one? Any benefits?
I haven’t had one, but I’d be open to it.
As far as benefits to you in the short-term, I’m not sure there really are.
But I could see some potential benefits of collecting the data over the years.
What are the benefits/risks of caffeine during a long run/race?
The benefits are a little extra shot of energy.
Caffeine is a stimulant, so having a little extra boost can help you from a performance standpoint.
The biggest risk, as I understand it, is that for some people caffeine can stimulate the colon a bit which can lead to an unplanned pit-stop or two during your run.
As always when it comes to dietary advice, it’s all about knowing your GI system and what works best for you.
Do you consider MAF 180 better than 80/20? If so, why?
I suppose I do since I’ve stuck with MAF for 3.5 years and kind of faded away from 80/20 after about a year and a half.
As far as I’m concerned, whichever one works better for you is fine.
I think MAF is simpler, which is probably why I like it so much.
Hips! How do you keep them healthy and how do you check if you’re lacking in mobility?
Not sure there’s any magical way to keep your hips healthy, outside of proactively taking care of them.
Strength training. Foam rolling. Stretching.
Simple stuff, provided you actually do them.
As for checking to see if you lack mobility, it’s a safe bet that your hip flexors are tight.
Not a guarantee, but a high likelihood.
If you want to check, I’d say do a kneeling hip flexor stress and see how far you can lean forward before your hip flexor is screaming at you. Then compare both sides.
It’s not exactly scientific, but as a DIY it works pretty well.
What are your favorite races from where you’re from and where you live now?
Don’t really have any favorites from back home, as I’ve only ever run a local 5k there.
No doubt there are some great races, both road and trail, in Northern Michigan, but I haven’t run any of them so I can’t really answer.
As for down here, I don’t know.
Disney races? Maybe Celebration?
The Olympics are here! What have been your favorite stories so far, and what are you looking forward to before they finish up?
I’m struggling with the Olympics this year.
I have a devout disdain for the way that NBC airs the Olympics, namely all chopped and edited and inserting various personal interest stories that I have zero interest in.
And since the Olympics are in Japan and the time difference is so extreme, it’s hard to get the live feeds so I can watch the events without the drama.
So I’ve been meh.
I am, so far at least, enjoying water polo as that is one event that I’m interested in that I’ve been able to watch replays of instead of just the highlights.
I wish they’d let me do the same with the swimming…
As for the last week or the Olympics, the track events will get going which should be exciting.
But I’m sure NBC will find a way to ruin it for me…
Are you afraid of anything?
I’m not anti-snake, but when they pop up out of now where it usually gives me a bit of a start.
I suppose I’m afraid of being injured.
I think most of my fears are of the rational kind, nothing fun/exciting that I can think of.
What is the story of your first marathon that you actually prepared for?
I suppose it’s a lot less exciting, seeing as it wasn’t the dumpster fire of my first marathon.
My third marathon was a 65 minute PR over my first 26.2, and I was pretty strong until about mile 24.
Had a little hiccup at that point, but I got myself together and got it across the line.
It was the Kiawah Island Marathon in December of 2012. I did a run a mile, walk a tenth strategy, and it worked until the end when the only hill on the course (about 4 feet of elevation!) about broke me.
Is it worth using the suggested modifications to your MAF HR?
What are some things you’re considering in running, business, or life in general that make you a little uncomfortable?
This question assumes I’m making plans far enough in advance that I’ll have time to get uncomfortable, and that isn’t exactly something I’m known for doing!
I suppose on the running front, the idea of doing some longer ultras in the not-too-distant future is a little bit uncomfortable.
Business-wise, I’m definitely uncomfortable with the idea of putting together this new deluxe coaching option. I suppose I’m also uncomfortable with the idea of getting serious about writing book number two, seeing as I’ve been putting it off for a couple of years now.
As for life in general, I’m uncomfortable with the uncertainty of the future, both short and long-term. But that’s always going to be the case, right?
I’m a little scared about being the parent of a teenager, but thankfully I’ve still got a few years to figure that one out.
Looking back on the interviews you’ve done recently with listeners of the show, did anything in particular stand out?
It was a blast, and a lot of fun getting to know those that raised their hand a bit more.
I guess it just cemented the belief that every runner has their own story, and there is always something you can learn/takeaway from everyone you come across no matter how similar/different they may be to you.
Would you say that most running injuries are avoidable?
What is your favorite running memory?
2 PRs on the same day?
Beks running the last bit of my first ultra with me?
Adi running across the finish line with me at a local trail half a handful of years ago?
Lots of great memories over the years, and hopefully many more to come, so picking a favorite is pretty much impossible.
Is there anyone you really like and have tried to get on the podcast, but just haven’t been able to make it happen?
Do you think there’s a genetic ceiling for each runner in terms of growth/progression in the sport?
I’m never going to break 10 seconds in the hundred-meter dash. There will be no sub-4 minute miles in my future. And I can comfortably say there is zero chance I’ll ever run a 2:20 marathon.
I simply don’t have the genes required to do any of those things, along with 99.9% of the rest of the human beings on the planet.
That said, I’ll go to my grave thinking that there will always be ways I can improve my running.
Do you have a running coach?
I don’t have one, never have, but I could definitely see myself having one at some point.
For me, any coach I consider would have to be aligned with my heart-rate training philosophy for sure.
What are ways to wake up your glutes and get them firing?
There is arguably nothing more important to a runner than glutes that are firing, so if yours are asleep at the wheel you’d benefit massively from waking them up!
If only it was that easy, eh?
The first thing you need to do, if you’re not doing it already, is to actually work your glutes.
Squats. Lunges. Deadlifts. Bridges. Hip extensions.
Work your glutes, and they’ll be more likely to work for you.
Another thing that will help is to get them going before you start your run.
That’s why I’m such a fan of the lunge matrix–I’m priming my glutes so they are ready to go when I head out the door.
As for getting them to fire during a run, hill sprints are a great way to get your glutes engaged, though they aren’t the kind of thing you should do all the time.
You can also focus on pushing as far back as possible behind you with each stride, as that movement extends the hip and fires the glutes.
And that, as they say, is that.
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