I was asked about shin splints, preventing and getting over them, but I dive a bit deeper and briefly discuss that an injury is so much related to what happened right before, a few weeks before, it could be nutritional, could be a dozen things.
How long should the long run be?!?
This is a super hot topic that many feel very passionate about.
For more advanced runners I’ll often have them top out in the 20-22 or 3-hour range. The reason for this is any longer and it’s simply a lot of time on their feet that is likely going beyond the point of diminishing returns. Long runs that are too long take too much out of you and require extra recovery time.
For the average (4:30 marathon) or slower runners, it gets tricky because if they want to run 20 miles for the long run, a very important mileage threshold, it’s getting into the 4-hour run range. Mentally it will likely be worth it to at least his 20+ once during training, but going over 3-hours too often, even for 4-5 hour marathoners, is not necessary in my opinion.
I was asked on Twitter if it was normal for legs to feel like jello after a run.
My response was "yes", but there's a different between normal and good! It's normal for legs to feel like jello (very fatigued) after a long or hard run. However even in those cases it's often best to end the run before the legs get to this point of fatigue.
For long runs I think it's normal/ok for the legs to be quite tired at the end, but for most other runs they should never be so long or hard to make the legs feel like this. Reaching this level of fatigue too often will increase the amount of rest/recovery you need between hard workouts. If you go 95% instead of 99% during your tempo/track runs, you'll require less easy/recovery days between hard workouts and you'll feel better!
I was recently put in touch with a local martial arts instructor who was asking for some advice she can provide to her students who are looking to attend a half marathon my local run club puts on.
So I gave her some training plan suggestions for people who can run but need to take it up a notch for a trail half marathon.
But I wanted to take my advice up a notch, so I made this video and article on some general quick thoughts I had for new trail racers.
Watch the video below for more and please comment with any advice YOU have!
I’ve been making more of a conscious effort to get 100-125g of protein in daily.
As a vegetarian, I don’t eat meat. However, I eat a lot of eggs, yogurt, milk.
Check out the video below to see my favorite protein sources!
I believe it’s best to go by how you’re feeling or expect to feel during a run, in regards to hydration.
The biggest myth I see when it comes to drinking fluids during running is that losing sweat is bad. You can drop water weight during a run or race and be fine! I ran the Austin Half Marathon in conditions of 70 degrees F and 90% humidity without a single water stop, and had zero issues with cramping or fatigue.
Below is an excerpt from one of my favorite authors and books on the subject of hydration, Dr. Tim Noakes and the book, Waterlogged.
You shouldn’t relate overheating to dehydration. You overheat when you run too fast. That’s the key. You don’t overheat because you become dehydrated. The brain’s too clever. If you’re not going to drink, the brain will slow you down, and that will lower your body temperature, not raise it. So, we’ve got some great studies where we look at people running half marathons, marathons, short ultramarathons, and long ultramarathons. The longer the race, the lower the temperature, because they are running slower. Their levels of dehydration are pretty much the same whatever distance they run. There’s some sort of regulation, that whatever distance you run, if you drink appropriately, you always get the same level of dehydration, however far you run. But the key is that the faster you run, the hotter you are. But it’s still absolutely safe to expect your body temperature to rise. And the fact is that heat stroke occurs very, very infrequently. It’s the exception, not the rule. And when it does happen, there are exceptional circumstances. Most of those people have some other genetic circumstances that are a problem, or they are taking drugs, or they have an infection. It’s not normal to develop heatstroke during a race. If you do develop heatstroke during a race, something else is going on, and that’s affected your body’s ability to control it’s temperature, but it’s not the normal procedure. Normally it’s perfectly safe to run in the heat, and your body will make sure that your to the finish before your temperature rises too high.
Let’s say that again:
You shouldn’t relate overheating to dehydration. – Click to Tweet
Tim Noakes on the Serious Problem of Overhydration in Endurance Sports | Dr. Timothy Noakes| “The brain, unfortunately, can’t tell you that when you overdrink, you’re going to go slower. So you don’t pick up the messaging. You just go slower without realizing it. It’s very important.”
The Basics of Hyponatremia | Marty Hoffman, MD | “Therefore, NSAIDs not only increase the risk for acute kidney injury, but also increase the risk for the development of EAH. It should be apparent that the use of NSAIDs during endurance events is risky business.”
5 Scientific Ways to Stop Muscle Cramps | Armi Legge | “There are four reasons why losing electrolytes and water probably doesn’t cause — or isn’t the primary cause — of your muscle cramps.2-5”
Hey! Coach Kyle here.
During a recent long run my left calf was starting to tighten up a bit.
I was ready to end the run and head home, halfway through the workout, when I tried something.
What I did was move from my habitual whole/midfoot landing to more of a rearward landing, which loads the calves less.
This gave my calves some relief and that left calf which had been tightening up was good to go for 10 more miles after just a half mile of me changing my footstrike!
Can purposefully changing your footstrike mid-run help delay fatigue or cramping?
To elaborate more on this topic, one could purposefully change footstrike during long/hard runs to give the legs some relief my changing how the muscles are loaded. On a micro level the muscle fibers themselves cycle out fatigued fibers and in fresh ones, but if you change your whole footstrike on purpose you’re taking it to the macro level.
Research during marathons show that as distance and fatigue set in, people move to a more rearward strike. This is a way your body changes the loading locations, but if you possibly spend a half mile or mile here and there with a more rearward strike before fatigue requires it, maybe you can run a slightly bit better for the entire distance!
For some of these, especially the multi-vitamin, I only take a partial serving. Due to the certifications and high standards that Thorne subscribes to they are not cheap. Taking a partial serving helps them be a bit more economically viable for me. I also figure that a partial serving of one of the best supplements is better than a full serving of some low grade and low standard Walmart supplement!
First off, thanks to Soleus Running for gifting me the race entry with the extra VIP signup (I’ll explain more later) and my athlete Sarah F for gifting me hotel points for the Hilton! I’d not have done the race without Soleus and I’d have stayed in a cheap hostel if it was not for the Hilton point donation!
Training: This has gone as well as it could during the South Dakota winter. I’ve ran more mileage than I’ve ever done, averaging 62 miles per week in the last 2.5 months (I averaged 52mpw in 2016). Workouts on clear/flat pavement were few and far between, so I had almost no workouts to hint at my fitness level. I’d ran 100% outdoors on hilly roads that are best cleared of snow/ice or crappy pavement that was not safe for fast running. Almost all in tights and winter gear.
I did have to take a few weeks with reduced volume + no hard running in early Feb due to illness and the taper was much much easier than I otherwise would have done because my left calf had been a little achey off and on in Feb. Race week it drastically improved and thankfully as of writing this it’s 99% fine. I actually didn’t even think about it during the race, at all 🙂
Getting to Austin: I flew in to Austin from Rapid City on Thursday. The flights were super smooth and nothing happened during travel to really mention. It was nice getting to Austin in the early afternoon!
Lodging: An athlete I coach who stays at hotels for work and gifts the points to friends (because the last place she wants to stay on vacation is a hotel) provided me with five nights at the Hilton. Her hotel booking gave me access to the Executive Lounge, which made me feel super spoiled. Food and drink available all day! The only food I purchased was two donuts from Voodoo. This Hilton was also literally right across the street from the race packet pick-up and only a few blocks from the start/finish. Location could not have been better!
Packet Pick-Up: This was a nice expo, plenty of various booths to check out. There was also a booth scavenger hunt where if you go to them all you get put into a drawing for some swag and a free entry. Getting my bag was super easy, no complaints here.
Goals: Initially my goal was to PR with a sub 1:23:10. I knew it was a harder course than what I’ve done, however, I’d ran within 1 and within 20 seconds of my PR in 2016. I hoped that with additional training (and mileage) I’d be able to PR on a more difficult course.
Austin: It was nice and cool when I arrived in Austin on Thursday, however that quickly changed with an 80 degree day on Saturday and a very high chance of thunderstorms on Sunday race morning. My goals shifted from a time to simply run conservatively, not mind the pace, and see what happens. I’m only going to run as fast as I am going to run, and with it being 70 degrees and 90% humidity at 5am on race morning, I was certainly not going to run with a goal pace in mind.
The Race: We’ll break it up into 5k chunks, since there were timing mats every 5k on the course.
0-5k – I started super super slowly with my mouth closed for the first half mile. With it being hotter and more humid than anything I’ve ran in…4-6 months I knew I needed to hold back at the start. The marathoners and the half marathoners run the first 10 miles together and I even let the 3:00 and then the 3:05 pacer + group go off a bit ahead of me. I was clicking off super easy 7:05’s for the first uphill 3 miles at came through 3.1 miles in 118th position for the half.
5k to 10k – The course turned downhill at mile 4, at which point I moved to a more moderate effort level. By 10k I was in 67th place and had cut my average pace down to 6:45. Thankfully the sun never came out so it was just hills and humidity to deal with.
10k to 15k – This was still a net downhill and I continued to speed up a bit, dropping my average pace a few more seconds per mile and passing another 19 runners. I think the only person to actually pass me after mile 4 was a much faster athlete than I who was having to stop at portapotties due to GI issues. He actually passed me twice, presumably after I passed him twice while he was in a portapotty each time.
15k to 20k – This was where the road turned up again, and boy they really cranked up the incline! I was warned about these and they lived up to expectations. At the start and here in the final few miles I would let nearby runners go off ahead but would catch up to them at the top and going down. I had no desire to maintain pace up a hill to simply expire at the top. Constant effort but fluctuating pace. Well, constant until the final 5k 😉 Those last few really short but steep hills are steep.
The Finish – I shifted to “best effort” for the final couple miles. Still being conservative on the hills but pushing it. I think I passed 7 runners in the final stretch.
Austin Marathon VIP: For $175 extra on your entry you receive some nice extra accommodations. The first of these that I took advantage of was the free cap from Greenlayer, who I believe was doing all of the race apparel. It’s a nice cap, I like it. We also received 20% off at the Greenlayer booth, but I did not need anything else.
The VIP pre-race lounge was at the Google Fiber Space less than a block from the start. Here the VIP’s had their own drop bag, breakfast, coffee, and I got to chat with some cool fellow runners. The regular dropbag location was a good 4-5 blocks away, at the finish. It was also nice to have our private and real bathrooms!
Post race, the VIP Lounge was on a balcony overlooking the finish + the hall. See the panoramic view below. It was cool. There was a table with coffee and tea + items, a table with various juices, and then two breakfast food tables. I just had some coffee and fruit after the run, but I came back later and ate a full tasty breakfast 🙂
Is VIP Worth it? Let’s see. The cap + massage would have been $25 and $20. $10 for pre-race coffee and a couple pastries, $20 for the post race coffee and filling breakfast. I would not have purchased any cap, massage, and the coffee/food would have been free for me but I would have had to go back to the hotel. But with those, that’s $75 in just straight up money. $100 extra for the convenience? That is up to you. It’s nice to feel special and to have private bathrooms, private places to chill, private massage, etc. If you’re up for gifting someone $175, this would be a really really fun gift for someone you know who is running the Austin Half/Full marathon!
Other Things About Austin:
Other Misc Photos:
When I travel I usually just live mostly normal, since I work from my computer. As you’ll see from the photos below I did some exploring, but typically doing what I’d normally do.
Each day I tried to see one touristy location within running distance of my hotel. This was Graffiti Park.
Staying around the same area for a week is fun because I get to know where things are at without having to use my phone. Congress, here, was the main stretch and the race start/finish street.
The executive lounge actually had really great coffee with a nice crema on top.
Visited the Mexic Arte Museum that was blocks from my hotel and on the same street as the race.
Kept track with this, thankfully, because the on-course timing was not correct at each 5k mark (but the results have it correct).
The capital was close so I ran there and checked out the University of Texas grounds as well.
I used the rollers on floor 8 once or twice every day. I think it really helped loosen up my legs.
Texans really love Texas.
Got to meet a founder of Janji, a clothing company you should check out!
Ran into the man who made and sent me this singlet!
The rolling + hot tub combo happened at least once daily.
The trails at Lady Bird lake were fantastic!
How I organized all of my stuff at my hotel room.
The famous Austin bats! Super neat site. The bridge unintentionally became the largest bat colony in North America.
More hot tub 😉
The man that checked me in at the Hilton said there were maybe 16 miles of trails with a great deal of variety, at Lady Bird Lake.
Many food trucks in Austin.
This free poster from Clif Bar will look great in my home office.
Recently an athlete of mine asked about the benefits of weight loss, and she mentioned she thought it was because you had to move less weight.
That’s true to a point, but the worth of losing some weight goes far beyond that.
Less Weight to Move Up & Forward
The first point that my athlete mentioned was that you had to carry less weight around. If you want to know the significance of this go for a run with 30 pounds of text books or rocks in a backpack. You’ll quickly find out how much weight matters. If you lose 10, 20, or 50 pounds that’s you removing the backpack.
Better Strength to Bodyweight Ratio
Your one rep max bench press vs your weight is a common standard comparison. Or tests such as the Army Physical Fitness Test include situps and pushups. The less you weigh the more likely you are to complete these successfully. or the Police Officer Physical Ability Test may have a vaulting station where a lighter body will be beneficial.
One of the biggest measuring devices in cycling is your Power to Weight ratio, or how many watts you can put out in relation to your body weight. A rider needs to be able to have a PWR of 6.8 watts/kg in a 30 minute test to have a chance of winning the Tour de France.
For running, VO2 Max, or the maximal amount of oxygen you can utilize at one time also is heavily influenced by your weight.
The less you weigh the more economic of a runner you’ll be, but you’ll also have more energy to spare during your regular daily activities. Imagine wearing a backpack with textbooks in it every time you had to stand up from your desk and go to the bathroom or copy machine!
This is when the body recovers from the stresses of the day, be that stress from exercise or otherwise. Studies have even suggested that losing weight can reduce sleep apnea symptoms!
Having lost 80 pounds myself, I am strongly aware of how important being happy with your body is. It’s not just about feeling good with how you look, but it makes you more confident in your life in general.
Better Quality of Living
Simply put, you’ll be able to have a better life if you’re carrying around 50-200 fewer pounds. Hiking will become more enjoyable, you’ll be able to fit into cramped seats more comfortably, or doing yard work will become easier. I also noticed that with my own weight loss my allergies and asthma have been greatly reduced.
Contrary to popular belief, long time runners actually have better knee and joint health for two main reasons. 1) The activity helps strengthen the bones and muscles that support the joints. 2) Athletic people tend to weigh less, which reduces the pressure put on joints from above.
Improved waist to hip ratio
While this may seem like a silly number, the waist to hip ratio has actually been shown to be a fairly reliable and consistent method of assessing health risk and conditions.