Listener Q&A May 2017

Guess what day it is?

Hump Day

Yes, it is hump day.

But more importantly, it’s also Listener Q&A Day!

May 2017

That’s right folks, it’s time for the monthly “you ask, I answer” episode of the show.

If you’re new to my little corner of the internet, it’s a really simple process:

  • Around the middle of each month, I put a post up in theDiz Runs Facebook Group asking for questions.
  • Then at the end of the month, I answer them on the show.

Pretty simple, eh?

Let’s get cracking, shall we?

This Month’s Questions

Any tips for not going crazy running around a horse track for 10 hours? And why aren’t you joining us?

Running a half mile loop for 10 hours doesn’t sound like the most fun thing in the world, I’ll be honest.

That said, if there are a bunch of other people doing it I’d try striking up a conversation. Get your mind off the monotony, make a new friend.

And even if you get seperated pace wise, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll see each other again down the road.

As for why I’m not joining you, traveling to races isn’t quite in the budget right now. That’s going to change soon, and when it does I can’t wait to join yall as often as possible.

How do I train for a race at altitude when I live at sea level?

It’s tough to do.

Not only are you going to have the thin air to deal with, but also the climbing and descending that we flatlanders can’t easily replicate.

If you’re really serious/borderline crazy, you can get a mask thingy that makes you look a bit like Bane.

Bane Altitude Mask

How Many Miles Today Guys?

The mask restricts the oxygen you get to simulate running at elevation no matter where you are training. I don’t know how effective it is unless you’re wearing the mask 24/7, but it’ll at least give you an idea of what you can expect.

Common mistakes runners make preparing for, during, and recovering after a marathon?

How much time do we have for this one?

Seriously though, we all make mistakes at various points in our training, racing and recovery.

I certainly screw things up all the time, but that’s how we learn right?

In training for a marathon, or any race really, I think a lot of runners simply push too hard during their easy runs. I know I talk about 80/20 Running often, but I believe in the principals of the book and the science/physiology supports it as well.

If you’re running your easy runs too hard, you aren’t recovering adequately and are imparing your training.

So many runners would do well to slow down a bit for those easy training runs.

During a race, a very common issue is sticking to the plan.

A marathon is a long and difficult race.

Marathons Easy

Your Mom…. Always funny!

If you have a plan before the race, and you should, stick with it!

Now, it’s one thing if something crazy happens and the wheels fall off early. Then maybe you switch your goals for racing hard to simply finishing the race and trying to have a good time. In that case, let go of the plan and just enjoy the rest of your run.

But if you’re feeling good halfway through the race, stick to your plan! Don’t think you can start picking up the pace a bit becuase you’re feeling strong or that you can get away with skipping a pre-planned walk break.

Those things will catch up to you later, I promise!

And in the recovery, easily the biggest error in judgement is not taking enough time off from running.

We tend to think that after 2-3 days we are good to start running again, and that’s ridiculous.

My advice? Wait until you’re “Pain Free + 3” to start running again.

What is pain free? It means your legs/body is no longer sore at any time. So you can go up and down stairs. You can get up from the couch. You can sit down and stand up from the tolet. And you can do all of these things without a hint of pain or tightness or anything.

Anyone that has ever run a hard marathon knows that all fo these symptoms are quite common after a marathon (and half marathons as well), so no running at all when you’re having any of these symptoms.

And once the symptoms are completely gone? Wait three more days. That way you make sure that your body is fully recovered and you’re ready to go.

Then ease back into your normal training routine over the next couple of weeks and get back to rebuilding your base and getting ready for the next race on your calendar.

I’m going to get serious about stretching, finally! When should I do my stretching routine?

Stretching can be done pretty much anytime with one exception: don’t stretch pre-run!

Ideally, you want your muscles to be warm before you stretch. So doing your stretches after a run as a part of your cool down is probably the best bet.

If you’re serious about improving your mobility/flexibility, regular stretching is key.

When I say regular, I don’t just mean regularly stretching post-run. I mean regularly stretching daily. And if possible, a couple of times a day.

Think of your muscles and tendons as heavy duty rubber bands, because really that’s what they are. If you want to stretch a rubber band,

If you want to stretch a rubber band permanently, simply stretching the band once or twice a week isn’t going to do the trick. Sure, it’ll lengthen slightly while you’re stretching it but it’ll snap back to normal after days of non-stretching.

But if you’re stretching that band a few times a day, every day, it won’t take long for it too loosen up all of the time. Not just when you’re stretching it.

Your muscles are the same way.

Stretch after a run for sure. But also at night. Randomly throughout the day. Basically any chance that you can get a little extra stretch, take advantage of it!

Not sure what stretches you should be doing? Here you go!

What can I do in the “off-season” to give my body a break from running but maintain my fitness?

Point blank: the only way to really maintain your running fitness is to run.

That said, I’m definitely a proponent of cutting back on your volume of running, and potentially eliminating it short term, to give your running muscles a little break.

In the stead of running, any other cardio type of exercise can help you hold onto your fitness. So cycling, swimming, rowing, hiking, roller blading–basically anything that gets your heart rate up and holds it there is good.

And the “off-season” is also a good time to do some strength training and functional fitness type of activites that may have been neglected during your peak training weeks/months.

Other ideas include joining some type of rec league for basketball or tennis or some other sport that will get you moving but isn’t “just running.”

You can also keep running, but mix things up a bit. If you normally run on the roads, get out on the trails and explore nature a bit. If you haven’t done much trail running in the past, you’ll be amazed how much of a different workout trail running is compared to road running.

Basically, the world is your oyster. Just don’t spend a few months doing nothing, or your fitness will definitely be lost.


What are your “go to” Altras and why?

This is a much tougher question than it probably should be!

If I could only get one style of Altra ever again, it would probably be the Ones.

I really like the Instincts, and they seem to hold up better over many hundred miles than the lighter-weight Ones, but the Ones are simply amazing.

They almost feel like you’re wearing thick socks instead of shoes, they are that cofortable.

So if I had to choose, I’d take the Ones.

Thankfully, I don’t have to though so I can continue to rotate the 4-5 different styles of Altras I have depending on where I’m running and what workout I’m doing.

Want to check out all the different Altra options available? Just click here!

What was your take on the 2hr marathon attempt?

Honestly, I didn’t pay much attention to it.

It seemed too “unnatural” to me to really care.

I want to see someone run sub-2 in an actual event. And I believe that it will happen in my lifetime.

But to try and control all of the elements in such a “test tube” fashion, it just didn’t seem right.

Is it impressive? Absolutely.

And if nothing else, the whole spectacle just shows how difficult it really is to go sub-2 (as if we were unaware).

If they could stack the deck in their favor as much as possible, and the best runners in the world still fell short? Yeah, it’s tough.

There will be another similar attempt, and it’s just a matter of time before it is successful. And it’ll definitley be bad ass when it does.

When it happens in an actual race? That’s when I’ll lose my shit.

Austin Powers

Groovy Baby, Yeah!

What are your ideal weather conditions for a marathon?

I don’t claim to be a Floridian, because I’m definitely not one!

But when it comes to running and racing, I do prefer things to be a little warmer than most of my northern brothers and sisters.

My ideal weather conditions would be temps in the mid-50s at the start, with enough cloud cover that the sun doesn’t become a factor during the race.

I think the physiological “perfect temperature” for running a marathon is about 41*F (5C), but I like it a little warmer than that.

I suppose if I was getting to pick my “ideal” conditions, I might as well make it unrealistic eh?

My ideal would be about 75 pre-race.

About 30 minutes before the race, the temperature would start to dip so that it’s in the mid-60s at the start of the race. And then it just keeps cooling during the race, finishing up somewhere in the low 50s.

That would be ideal, but I don’t see a 25* drop from pre-race to the finish line being too likely of a scenario.

I’ve had a little flare up of runner’s knee recently. Here’s my plan, 2 weeks off of running then ease back into running with about half of my current volume. Good plan?

Yeah, for the most part.

Get away from running to allow things to calm down, but what are you going to do to prevent it from coming back in the future?

Something I see a lot with runners and the “common running injuries” is that they take the time off but the injury returns because they don’t do anything to solve the root of the problem.

So to put it a different way, what is causing your runner’s knee and how can you address the cause so that once you get back to running you’re pain free long term.

How do you do that with runner’s knee?

One common cause of runner’s knee is a weak core. So doing some core stability exercises, such as planks and bridges.

Another cause is a weak VMO (inner thigh). So strengthening that muscles specifically can help. Here’s a great video with some simple exercises you can do at home with no “real” equipment.

After a foot injury, I’m thinking maybe I need to get some better sandals/flip flops to support my feet this summer. Any suggestions?

I’m not going to tell you for one second to give up sandals or flip flops.

I literally wear my Rainbow sandals 365 days a year, so telling you to not wear sandals would strike me as a bit hypocritcal.

That said, in order to get away with wearing sandals all day every day you need to condition your feet to be able to do so.

While you’re recovering from your injury and building strength in your feet, one type of sandal that I have some experience with is the Spenco Sandal.

My mother in law used to work at a podietrist’s office, and for a few years we got new sandals and/or inserts for every birthday and holiday.

So that may be a place to start in terms of finding a supportive sandal for the summer months.

But to my earlier point, I’d recommend you really spend some time working on strengthening the muscles in your feet so that you don’t need inserts or orthotic shoes or things of that nature.

Here’s a post from a while back, with video, that can give you some ideas for things to do to strengthen your feet musculature for the long term.

And make sure you’re not wearing pointed toe shoes and/or heels if at all possible. Because serioulsy, those shoes aren’t good for you.

High Heels are the Devil

Well that’s it for this month!

If you want to get your questions answered next month, the best thing you can do is join our Facebook group and post up your quetions when you see the call for Qs mid-month.

And while you’re there, make sure you’re taking part in the many different conversations that are going on in the group on a daily basis!

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