Listener Q&A: May 2022

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If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring?

Pilgrims, obvi.

Duh

I don’t really do the dad joke thing, but this one has been in my repertoire for something like 35 years.

Anyway, before I subject you to any other terrible comedy material, let’s do some 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

How should I celebrate my first race after 28 months of injury/rehab?

As I’m logging miles between training cycles, is this considered “base building?”

Yes

Call me crazy, but I pretty much consider all miles to be base building miles.

That probably has to do with my HR training bias, but I think it makes sense.

If you’re running “easy” you’re building your base.

And between training cycles, especially if/when you have a big goal race on the horizon, base building should probably be the priority.

Why can Achilles tendons be so stubborn?

An Achilles tendon is a pretty amazing tissue, to be honest.

It’s so strong and powerful, which is often an asset.

But if/when something goes a bit sideways?

It can be a bear to work through/recover from.

Any Central FL marathons, other than Disney, you’d recommend?

The only FL marathon I’ve run, other than Disney, is Celebration.

And I would definitely recommend it.

There are others out there, but having not run them I can’t/won’t offer any recommendations for them.

You can always check out Running the USA or Find My Marathon to help you find races that might work for you, too.

In light of recent events, what do you think of Shelby Houlihan’s ban being upheld?

Do you and your family have any Memorial Day traditions?

How are the guitar lessons coming?

What injury are you recovering from?

Great Questions

I’m not entirely sure.

Something in my mid foot.

Sprain, most likely. Possible tear of the connective tissue between my metatarsals. Maybe a stress fracture?

I don’t know.

Why do running injuries suck so bad?

Pretty Much Sums it Up...

Not sure I’ve ever really thought about it, but I think running injuries suck so bad because they tend to impact multiple facets of life.

Sure, it sucks that we can’t run because we like running.

But injuries can also impact mental health. Social connections. Self-care. Hormone levels.

Running does so much for us, that when it’s taken off the table as an option it hits on multiple fronts.

What are you currently training for?

Can you talk about tapering for a bit?

Of Course

Tapering before a big race is all about letting your legs bounce back and refresh after all the miles logged in training.

So you pull back a bit, usually both on volume and intensity, so that your legs can recover and you’re ready to go on race day.

How much you pull back is kind of up to you.

Honestly?

Not running at all for a couple of weeks leading up to a race isn’t going to have a dramatic negative impact on your fitness.

The way I see it, those runs during the taper are more for your mental preparations than anything else.

Run enough to keep your mind from tripping you up, and that’s plenty.

Should I keep taking in calories on a long run if I wind up doing more walking than running?

Shrug.

What time do you tend to go to bed?

Somewhere between 9 and 9:30 usually.

Halfway point of a marathon: 20 miles. Agree or disagree?

If my heart rate is staying below 150, am I running slowly enough?

If you’re following HR training principles, then all that matters is if your HR is in the range you want it to be in.

If you’re not, then we need to focus a little more on how you’re feeling to judge whether or not that HR level is still to be considered easy.

Can you comfortably carry on a conversation? Can you breathe solely through your nose? Do you feel like you’re not working much at all?

Yes to all? Then you’re probably fine.

Not so much?

Might be better off slowing down a touch more.

If you’re not running a “proper” race but reach a certain distance milestone, does it still count?

My leg muscles on my left side are tighter than a banjo string. Is this an overcompensation issue or just further evidence that I’m old?

Hmm

I could be either, honestly.

Though if it’s dramatically different from your right side, then I’d lean toward some level of overcompensation/imbalance.

Any thoughts on shoes that offer a bit more cushion than the minimal shoes you wear?

So many options!

I’m very much a low-drop proponent, but if zero drop is too much for you right now then go with the lowest drop your body can handle.

A good rule of thumb I’ve heard before is to wear the least amount of shoe that you can.

If you need some cushion? That’s fine.

Just keep in mind that more cushion isn’t usually better.

Play with different levels of cushion and drop, aiming for thinner and flatter if possible.

Is there a better post-run snack than crackers and peanut butter?

I mean, crackers and PB is a legit snack.

But nothing is better than a cup of coffee.

Especially if there’s some butter in it.

Why does your body stop sweating if/when you have heat stroke?

I’m not sure what the exact physiology is, to be honest.

It’s not that you have zero liquid left in your system, though you’re likely in a dehydrated state at that point.

I think it’s also that your body is literally shutting down when your temps get that high, and your body systems stop working like they are supposed to.

Whatever the specifics, if you are running and notice that you’re not sweating, that’s a medical emergency and you need to shut it down ASAP.

How much water do you drink in the summer vs in the winter?

I drink about the same amount throughout the year, I think.

Of course, living in FL it’s not like there’s a dramatic difference between summer and winter conditions.

That said, my metric for making sure I’m drinking enough water is my urine.

As long as it’s in the light yellow to clear range, I know I’m good.

Start getting darker yellow? Time to pump more fluids.

A standard day for me, if you’re curious.

64 ounces of water.

Probably 50+ ounces of coffee.

A cup or two of milk, either straight or as part of a protein shake.

Add in some fluids from fruits, veg, and occasional kombucha sipping, and I seem to be in the light yellow to clear range most of the time.

What’s the deal with puffy hands while running?

It’s mostly due to hand position and centrifugal force.

If you run with your hands a little lower, gravity and the forward/backward swinging of your arms works against you.

If your hands are a touch higher, gravity tends to work with you to help keep the blood from pooling in your fingers/hands.

Keeping your hands up will likely solve the problem.

You can also open/close your fist semi-regularly to help activate the muscles and pump some blood out, as well.

What is the benefit of a race day plan?

Plan for your Race Schedule?

It’s a rare occurrence for a race to go perfectly to plan from start to finish.

But without some sort of plan, it’s easy to get so far off course (metaphorically, though also potentially literally) that your goals for the race become impossible to achieve.

That’s why I like having a loose plan in place, for myself as well as for the runners I coach.

A few things to keep in mind, with plenty of room to adjust based on how things go, seems to work well in a lot of cases.

Were you able to avoid Premier League spoilers? How’d you like the finish?

For the most part, I avoided spoilers.

I actually thought, based on what I did hear, that Liverpool pulled it out.

Alas, it wasn’t to be.

I definitely would have rather seen Liverpool win the league, but it was a pretty awesome day of football for us neutrals.

I’m training for both a road race and a trail race right now. Is it ok if I do most of my long runs on the trails?

How much is it going to suck moving away from the best running partner ever?

Apparently, Meb said he doesn’t like using a handheld water bottle because it throws off his balance a little bit. Thoughts on this?

With all due respect, you’re not Meb.

If you’re a finely tuned athlete, then I suppose you could make an argument that a few ounces could be an issue.

For you and I?

No factor.

If you’re going to carry water for your runs, and you opt for a handheld, don’t worry about how that is going to impact your balance because it won’t.

And if, on the off chance, that you do feel a little bit off? Just switch the bottle from one hand to the next every mile, to keep things even.

I’m coming back from an injury and considering doing a virtual marathon (mostly walking). Any strategy/factors I should consider?

Take it Easy after a Sprained Ankle

I’d treat it a lot like an ultra.

Start slow, then slow down, kind of thing.

In theory, walking for 26 miles is going to take some serious time but the risk is relatively low.

Keep moving, find ways to keep things interesting, and try to have fun out there!


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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