Listener Q&A April 2016
It’s that time again y’all…
That’s right, it’s time for me to help YOU out by answering your running (or otherwise) questions in the monthly Q&A podcast episode.
If you want to get your questions answered, the best way to submit them is to simply join our Facebook group. Somewhere in the middle of the month, I’ll ask for questions and all you need to do is leave a comment with your question and I’ll answer it.
So with that…
Bring On the Questions!
Andy asked the first question this month, and as he’s gearing up for his marathon this spring he’s got an eye on the long term weather forecast and things don’t look good.
If his race were to be impacted, or possibly even canceled due to the weather, he’d like to find another race 2-3 weeks later that he can run so that all of his training can be put to use.
If that scenario does in fact play out, how should he treat those couple of weeks between the goal race and the contingency race? Get a long run? Extend the taper? Something else?
It’s tough talking in terms of hypotheticals, but if at all possible a long run (20+ miles) is definitely my recommendation. A four to five week taper is definitely going to impact the race, so finding a way to go long one more time and then redo the taper period would be advisable.
I would also think about doing a higher intensity workout or two as well, such as a good tempo run or some long repeats to keep your legs sharp and ready.
Thanks for the question Andy! Hope the weather doesn’t get in the way of your training!
The next question comes from Stephen, who is regularly noticing additional aches/pains on his left (non-dominant) side.
He’s wondering if he should do additional sets/reps on his left side to help build up the strength on that side.
A strength discrepancy could be the problem here, but before we jump into that let’s look at another possible scenario.
When you run, are you always running on the same side of the road? Because of the crown of the road, one leg often get’s more of an impact than the other due to the slope of the road. So if you’re always running on the correct side of the road (against traffic) that could be the cause of your issues.
If that’s not the case, strength imbalance could be playing a part in which case your suggestion of focusing slightly more attention to the left side versus the right side could work.
One way to really find out if this is indeed the issue is to do single leg exercises (lunges, single leg squats, single leg deadlifts, etc) and compare your left side and your right side. If both sides seem equal in terms of strength and balance, the problem is probably not a strength deficiency.
But if your right side is easy and you can hardly do 3 reps on your left, then that is probably the problem.
Chad is wondering what he should do after finishing a big race (Boston!) and not really having anything else on the schedule until the Dopey Challenge in January.
First and foremost, congrats on running Boston Chad! That’s awesome!
So now that you’re probably getting back into running after your marathon, what should you be doing between now and training for Dopey in the fall?
Simple answer, have fun!
- Run some local races, such as 5ks or 10ks.
- Get out on the trails and just enjoy running and being in nature.
- Do some hiking.
Whatever you enjoy doing, do that.
Stay active so you maintain your fitness, but enjoy the freedom and flexibility of not being on a specific training schedule at the moment.
Just don’t do what I did after my first marathon, and sit on your arse for 4 months! That will definitely impact your fitness in a bad way!
Thanks for the question Chad.
Jill is dealing with a nagging injury.
After a week off to rest, she is wondering how she should get back into running as she is recovering from her injury, i.e. dive back in or ease back in.
Oh man Jill. This is a tough one because there isn’t a black and white answer!
The biggest thing to remember, no matter what the injury is and no matter how long you’ve been out, is to remember to go short, go slow, and let it go.
If you try to dive right back in after an injury, the odds of aggravating your injury are much higher.
Instead, ease in and listen to your body.
Run a slower pace. Run a shorter distance. And don’t worry about the workouts you missed.
The goal of the first few runs after an injury should be to finish the run thinking you could do more because nothing hurts and you feel good.
Hope you feel better soon Jill! I’m missing my Saturday morning running partner!
Gene chimed in with a question, asking about the benefits of wearing compression socks during long runs.
Short answer, there really isn’t any benefit of wearing compression socks during long runs/races.
The research doesn’t show a measurable difference between wearing compression or not wearing compression, however, I fully believe in the power of the placebo effect. So if you’re already wearing them, and you think they are helping, keep on keeping on my brother!
That said, I’m still a HUGE FAN of compression for the recovery benefits. And those benefits have been studied and verified several times.
One possible benefit of wearing compression gear during a run, however, is if you’re coming back from a minor injury.
Depending on the injury, and how bad it is, compression socks/sleeves can help you reduce the risk of reinjury.
Great question Gene!
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Sarah is wondering about the importance of racing shorter races (5k, 10k, half) while building up to a marathon?
I definitely don’t think it’s important to race shorter races when preparing for a longer event.
That said, I’m all for doing it!
Some of the long training runs during a marathon build up can be incredibly boring, so mixing in a race as part of your training can be a fun way to add variety to your training.
And depending on what your long run should be for that day, completely switching out a long run for a slightly shorter race can be fine as well.
If you want to do a race, do one! If you’d rather focus on training, focus on training. Either way is fine.
Sharon is curious about how long is too long for a taper for a marathon.
She’s running Marine Corps in October, and has one of her favorite half marathons 3 weeks before.
Her plan is to do her longest long run 2 weeks before the half, and then 3 weeks later run the Marine Corps Marathon.
How should her last few weeks of training play out?
Honestly, this question comes down to which race is “more important” to you? Whichever one is more important, that would be the race you’d focus your training around.
That said, what would be stopping you from doing the long run 2 weeks before the half, run the half, and the week later doing another long run (20-ish miles), and then doing a 2 week taper to MCM?
I think for me, that is what I would do, unless one race or the other is the clear A goal race.
Hope that makes sense Sharon!
Jason is asking my thoughts on using a metronome to help maintain a regular cadence in his running.
I’ve never really focused on cadence in my running, so this isn’t my strong suit.
That said, if you’re looking to maintain a stead cadence, which is a great way to help maintain a stead pace, I say go for it!
Try it and see if it works for you.
And if you do try it, please let me know what you think of the experience Jason!
Another question from Stephen, and this one is slightly less serious than the first one.
Running kilts: yes or no?
For me? Probably not.
For you? Go for it my man! Though would you go commando with the kilt? I feel like you’d have to, but that could also cause some problems, no?
The next question is Andy’s second contribution this month, and he’s looking for some suggestions for core strengthening.
He just ran a hard 10 mile race, and his core is really sore and he thinks he needs to build some strength. What are my suggestions?
Funny you should ask my brother, as I did a video on the best core exercises for runners a few months back.
So clearly, those exercises would be my recommendations.
But when it comes to core strengthening, remember the goal of your core is stability and stabilization. Crunches are ok, but crunches don’t provide any stability or stabilization benefit.
That’s why I’m much more a fan of planks, bridges, etc as a way to strengthen the core (for runners or for anyone).
The last question of the month is Sarah’s second question this month.
She is curious about my take on a 9 day training cycle versus a 7 day training cycle, which is better, and how to alter a 9 day cycle into a 7 day window.
Many elites train on a rolling 9 or 10 day training cycle meaning that every 9th or 10th day things start to repeat.
As opposed to most of us mortals, who do a 7 day cycle which results in doing our long runs every Saturday or Sunday, speed work every Tuesday, rest day every Monday, etc.
A 9 or 10 day cycle is great, but for most of us it isn’t practical in our busy lives.
The trick here is to figure out what works best for you and go with it, especially in terms of rest.
A 9 day cycle clearly allows for more rest/recovery days between hard workouts, so with a 7 day cycle we need to be willing to allow for additional recovery days.
Whew. Lots of great questions this month y’all!
If you’d like any additional clarification on any of the answers I offered in this month’s Q&A episode, please let me know!
This month's questions cover running kilts, core strengthening, metronomes, and more! Click To Tweet
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