Year in Review: the Historic, Unbelievable, and Inspirational Running Stories of 2018


In this podcast episode we take a look back at the biggest stories in the running world from 2018, it was quite a year! And in this episode’s quick tip Angie shares two simple questions that can improve your training this year.

New Records

Eliud Kipchoge smashed Dennis Kimetto’s world record in the marathon by more than a minute, finishing in 2:01:39 in Berlin. This was his 3rd Berlin win and 11th marathon.

Gladys Cherono of Kenya won her third Berlin Marathon while setting a new course record of 2:18:35.

Molly Huddle set a new US Half Marathon Record at the Houston Half Marathon breaking the tape in 1:07:25 and beating Deena Kastor’s 12-year-old record by a nine seconds,

Abraham Kiptum set the new half marathon world record in Valencia Spain. His 58:18 finish was also a 51-second personal best for Kiptum.

Zach Bitter broke the 100-mile trail world record at the Tunnel Hill 100-mile race in Vienna, Illinois with a time of 12:08:36

Camille Herron won the 100 mile challenge at the Desert Solstice Track Invitational in Phoenix, AZ, while breaking both the 24-hour world record and the USATF 100-mile world record on the track. Herron, who is from Oklahoma City, ran 100 miles (160K) in 13:25 and 162.9 miles total (260.6K) for a new 24-hour world record.

Andrew Snope won the world 24-hour barefoot track record by running 144 miles/230.4K during that time.

Cynthia Arnold of Montana set a new record for half marathon pushing a triple stroller record when she ran 1:29 while pushing three kids at the Missoula Marathon. The kids were ages 6, 3, and 10 months. https://runningmagazine.ca/the-scene/half-marathon-triple-stroller-record-broken-in-montana/

Mo Farrah set a new Eurpoean record in the marathon with a time of 2:05:11 at the Chicago Marathon.

The 2018 Boston Marathon had extremely challenging conditions with wind, rain, and cold. Many of the elite favorites dropped out or performed much more poorly than they expected. In a surprising upset, Japan’s Yuki Kawauchi won in 2:15:58. He’s an extremely prolific marathoner who holds a job as a teacher.

Desi Linden won Boston in 2:39:54 after doing her best to encourage other runners like Shalane Flannigan during the race. An unknown runner named Sara Sellers placed 2nd at Boston and has launched her running trajectory in an entirely different direction.

Jim Walmsley  set a new course record at the Western States 100 with a time of 14:30:04.

Gene Dykes of Pennsylvania broke Ed Whitlock’s M70 marathon record with a time of 2:54:23 at the Jacksonville Marathon in Florida on Dec 15th. https://www.runnersworld.com/news/a25593341/70-year-old-marathon-record/

Jeannie Rice, age 70, of Ohio ran 3:27:50 at the Chicago Marathon—smashing the 70-plus women’s world record. Rice, who still works as a realtor in the Cleveland area, felt fine after her marathon. She was back at work—in heels—Tuesday after the Sunday race. www.runnersworld.com/runners-stories/a23742988/70-year-old-woman-sets-marathon-record/

Pete Kostelnick, who we had on a recent episode ran from Kenai Alaska to Key West Florida (a total of 5,390 miles in 97 days. He also ran a total of 10,000 miles in 2018 and was recognized by Strava for that accomplishment.

Pete Kostelnick

Karel Sabbe from Belgium age 28 set a new Appalachian Trail FKT (fastest known time) by covering 2,189 miles in 41 days 7 hours and 39 minutes, which is almost 4 days faster then the previous time!

Karl “Speedgoat” Meltzer earned his 40th career 100-mile victory at the age of 50.

Notable and Interesting News

Sir Roger Bannister, the first man to run a mile in less than four minutes, passed away in 2018 at the age of 88.

Abu Dhabi ADNOC Marathon has its inaugural race this year. They offered a large prize purse with $100k to both the male and female winners!

UN employees called PRunners meet for a weekly run in Central Park. “Founded by the representatives of Finland and Liechtenstein, the group includes members from Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Latvia, Lebanon, Mongolia, Montenegro, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Portugal, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland and Tunisia”. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/12/world/americas/united-nations-running.html

The Wonder Woman Run Series was launched by DC Comics with five events across California.

The Bizarre and Unbelievable

Cheng Kean Wee, a pacer for the Penang Bridge International Marathon in Malaysia may have had his balloon save his life during a lightning strike. https://www.runnersworld.com/news/a25309340/marathon-pacer-balloon-struck-by-lightning/

The Honolulu Marathon was plagued by course cutting according to Marathon Investigation which claims that more than 300 people’s results show no splits for one or more timing mats but still crossing the finish line and claiming false finishing times.
https://www.marathoninvestigation.com/2018/12/honolulu-marathon-over-300-runners-flagged-in-initial-review.html

Shenzhen Half Marathon in China disqualified a total of 258 runners for cheating at the after traffic cameras show large numbers of runners cutting through trees. Race organizers announced yesterday that there were 18 runners with fake bibs, three imposters and 237 cheaters, most of which took a short cut on the course. https://runningmagazine.ca/sections/runs-races/traffic-cameras-catch-mass-cheating-at-shenzhen-half-marathon/

2018 Telco Mexico City Marathon has seen an estimated 13,000 runners facing disqualification for shortening the course! https://runningmagazine.ca/sections/runs-races/13000-alleged-cheaters-at-mexico-city-marathon/

Ginette Bedard finished her 16th New York City Marathon in 6:19:01 at the age of 85. Bedard is quoted in Runner’s World, “I always thought to myself, I’m not qualified to do the marathon, those are superhumans. Until somebody told me, ‘What do you care?’ That gave me some kind of incentive, and I got addicted, because I was better than I thought. The assuredness extends to dating, too. She’s all but given up finding anyone “interesting” or “suitable to my tastes” after her husband passed away four years ago. “A man of my age is too old for me,” Bedard said. “[A man with a cane] isn’t what I’m looking for. https://www.runnersworld.com/runners-stories/a25049407/ginette-bedard-new-york-city-marathon/

Proposals during marathons/races: There has been a growing trend of marriage proposals happening at marathons, particularly during races. This has created some controversy with some people speaking out on social media that during a race isn’t the time to propose. Many think that it’s only proper to let the runner finish their race and not to take away from their hard work.

Brendan Morphet encountered two grizzly bears at August’s Yukon River Trail Marathon in Whitehorse, Canada, and lived to tell about it.

Highlands College students run a half marathon every year as part of the curriculum. https://www.runnersworld.com/runners-stories/a25323961/highlands-college-all-students-run-half-marathon/

The Inspirational

Dr. Theodore Strange was running the NYC Marathon and came upon an unresponsive woman. He performed CPR until police came with a defibrillator. The woman didn’t respond until the third shock. She was transferred to the hospital and thankfully recovered. https://www.runnersworld.com/news/a24846279/doctor-saves-womans-life-at-nyc-marathon/

Dan Leite crossed the finish line of the Columbus Marathon in 4:54:59 with a new heart, after receiving a heart transplant three years earlier.
https://www.runnersworld.com/runners-stories/a25457903/dan-leite-marathon-after-heart-transplant/

Justin Gallegos, a runner at Oregon, became the first professional runner with cerebral palasy when he was given a pro contract from Nike. https://www.runnersworld.com/news/a23760216/justin-gallegos-nike-contract/

Dave “The Washing Machine” Garvin from Australia, ran the Melbourne Marathon with a 20kg (45 pound) washing machine strapped to his back as part of a challenge to raise money and awareness for mental health services. He’s done multiple marathons, often in costume.

Matt Daniels of Australia finished a stretch of running 535 half marathons in 535 days to raise funds for Leukemia research. He’s no stranger to endurance events having completed 55 marathons in 55 days back in 2016. https://www.pressreader.com/australia/geelong-advertiser/20181226/282114932689709

Daniela Ryf a Swiss triathlete who is the 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 Ironman World Champion was stung by a jelly fish during warm up. “It felt like having fire under my arms,” Daniela told CNN Sport. “A bit of me wanted to go back to the hotel and cry but I thought that wouldn’t really help much,” said Ryf. “My team invested so much time to help me achieve everything. The race was my turn to give back. Her efforts culminated in a new course record of eight hours and 26 minutes. She has an incredible mentality which has helped her push through the pain barrier on countless occasions and remain positive throughout her glittering career. “If giving up isn’t an option, you don’t have to think about it,” she said. “You then just need to figure out how to keep going. “The body only does what the mind tells it to do. I told myself I wouldn’t give up and that I’d be the champion. https://edition.cnn.com/2018/11/16/sport/daniela-ryf-ironman-world-champion-hawaii-spt-intl/index.html

Nate Viands, an 8-year-old leukemia survivor finished his first marathon 3:32!
https://www.runnersworld.com/news/a25617079/eight-year-old-marathoner-beat-leukemia/?source=nl&utm_source=nl_rnw&utm_medium=email&date=122318&src=nl&utm_campaign=15487824

Xolani Luvuno of South Africa completed his nation’s iconic Comrades Marathon, the world’s largest ultramarathon — with one leg. Luvuno, who lost his right leg to amputation following a bone cancer diagnosis in 2009, conquered the 90.184 km distance on crutches in an official time of 15 hours, 50 minutes. https://www.thesouthafrican.com/comrades-marathon-xolani-luvuno-video/

Also Check out this article:
https://www.runnersworld.com/news/g25596959/best-race-moments-2018/?fbclid=IwAR2v4AUe5d1yzr-bc_i6–C3oEuy8xmqRkqaEiFzrSkutKsW28Qx1YFvQMk

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Use code MTA20 for a 20% discount.

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Unraveling the Mystery of Your Metabolism


In this podcast episode we bring you a fascinating conversation about how the body’s metabolism works and how you as a runner can lose weight and keep it off.

Our guest today is Angelo Polo -an expert on the metabolism and the founder of Metpro. He has worked with NFL players, celebrities, physique models, entrepreneurs, and politicians to help them achieve body transformations. We wanted to have him on the show to pick his brain.

In this episode you will hear . . .

  • The mysteries of the body’s metabolism explained and why it is so unfair
  • What the diet industry gets wrong
  • Considerations for runners
  • Positive disruptive habits that you can start implementing now to see results in your nutritional intake.

Also Mentioned in This Episode

Metpro – Take a metabolic assessment and schedule a complimentary consultation with one of their experts by going to www.metpro.co/mta

The Tallahassee Marathon -Run a fast course through Florida’s capital city this February 3. Plus meet special guest Meb Keflezighi! Trevor will be doing a live audience interview with Meb on Saturday February 2nd at 1:30 at the race expo. The marathon and half marathon is on February 3rd. Use code Academy for 20% off your race registration.

Sun Basket offers 18 weekly recipes including Paleo, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, Vegan, Pescatarian, and more—all delivered to your door. Get $35 off your first order with our link!

About Trevor Spencer

Trevor Spencer is the producer of the Marathon Training Academy Podcast. He loves to inspire people to take action in their fitness and life.

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Finding Your “WHY” as a Long Distance Runner

Why do you run?  In this episode we talk about the importance of finding your “why” if you want be a long term runner and what listeners shared with us about what motivates them.

Plus we give you a quick run down of this year’s MTA Virtual Half Marathon.     And in the quick tip segment, Angie answers a question about how to implement treadmill running into your training. 

When it comes to running or any other important habit that you want to implement in your life it’s important to find your “why.” In fact, finding your why is probably the most important thing you can do to create a sustainable running habit.

I know that right now we’re talking to aspiring runners, brand new runners, lifelong runners, and those somewhere in the middle.  Maybe you’re still a bit on the fence about this whole long distance running thing.  You know that it can be a key to making you healthier and happier, but some days you just don’t have the motivation to get out there and some days you find yourself just plodding along. 

All of this is totally normal.  Not everyone falls in love with running during the first steps…in fact, many very accomplished runners had a bumpy start.  Like Pete Kostelnick who we interviewed on our last episode. He didn’t always pump out 55 mile days for weeks on end.  In fact, after running his first marathon he swore he’d never do another.

Some “Whys”Are More Sticky

One way to turn an “it’s complicated” relationship with running into a full blown commitment is to find your why.  And I’m going to let you in on a little fact…some whys are more “sticky” or meaningful than others. 

My Story

When I first started to run as a teenager my whole motivation was to lose weight.  That began an on again, off again relationship with running that would last the next decade.  As soon as I started feeling too fat or out of shape I’d jump back on the running bandwagon.  But it was a means to an end.

When I started running again at the age of 27 my weight had nothing (or at least little) to do with it.  I was looking for a change in my life.  I was seeking something that I could do for myself to make myself healthier and happier.  And this time it stuck. 

Angie at her first marathon

I ran my first marathon in 2008 and haven’t looked back sense.  That’s not to say that there haven’t been bumps in my running journey.  I’ve dealt with setbacks, discouragement, and many runs that just sucked.  But I’ve stuck with it because part of my identity is based on being a healthy and strong person and being a runner makes me feel both of those things.  Along with the benefit of being healthier physically running also helps me manage anxiety and depression.  I also love the way running has allowed me to explore the world. Now I’m one of those people who hopes I can run up until the day I die.

Another thing to keep in mind when thinking about your why is that it may (and probably will) change over time.  It’s important to reevaluate your WHY on a regular basis.  Some of your whys will be serious and life-changing, some will be fun and whimsical, and most people have a combination of reasons.

We asked the participants of the 2nd annual MTA Virtual Half about their why.   And here’s what they said:

Love of food/drink

“I like eating ice cream and drinking brewpub beer.”  -Kathleen

“I like to drink beer year round.”   -Stephen

Friends/running community:

“Besides my love of food? Well, it’s my running friends.  No matter how crappy my day can be I know they are there to make me laugh.” Kathleen

“Endorphins, girl time, chocolate.”  Jennifer

Races:

“I made a goal. Run 26.2 in all 50 states by the time I turn 50 (2019). Although I’m 2 states away from finishing my goal, I know I won’t stop. It keeps my head level. It’s my ME time. Oh, and it’s my bad ass feeling.”  JoAnn

“Running in the winter can be tough. I always have to sign up for another race to keep up my motivation.” Margaret

Alone time:

“I love being out in nature, having some Me Time with a podcast.”  Amanda

“Running is a huge part of who I am, and I can’t even conceive of a week without running. I run for fun, to enjoy being outside in every type of weather, to challenge my body, to focus my mind, and also to let my mind drift. Plus I love to eat chocolate.” Lynne

Supporting charity:

“I started long distance running to support a local charity. It helped to find the right charity, the right coaches, the right races, and most importantly the right running buddies. I went from a novice to half marathoner to marathoner and will hopefully keep adding on the distances. Running keeps me sane. And the MTA family keeps me motivated.”  Pamela

Because I can:

“Because I can! When I’m running, all of the “I shoulds” turn to “I cans” and then “I dids.”  Rachael

“Because I can and what keeps me going? My friends do as does my community, but so does my family. Having that support and knowing I can, and that my body allows me to do this is my why, because I couldn’t always run and only started 4 years ago. I am the sole healthy member of an immediate family struggling with morbid obesity. I also live in the second most unhealthy state in the US and see my community struggle with health. Some in my immediate family are completely immobile because of it and I think about that when I run and feel much gratitude for my ability but also sadness and empathy knowing that they cannot do the same. I run for myself and my health but also for those who can’t and hope that I might, in even the smallest way, be an inspiration to someone in a similar circumstance, whether it be in my family or community. I want to challenge the doubts of people who fear starting an active lifestyle and think running (or walking) is not possible. I want to help others love to live healthier active lives. This is my “why” every single day.”  Jennie

To be a positive example:

“I’m a positive example for my kids to follow. It’s something my wife and I share.”  Ryan

“Running is my passion and purpose and allows me to connect with and inspire others. I enjoy running with friends and coaching kids. Reaching goals feels amazing.”  Cari

“My two kids are my why.” Kyle

“My girls, my patients, my health, and because today I can and tomorrow I might not be able to.”  Jennifer

“Started running 2 1/2 years ago for my health. Never thought I would love to run but I do! Helps me keep my head clear, de-stress, sleep better, maintain a healthy weight, and be a role model for my daughters. If their Momma can become a runner at age 45 they can do anything they set their mind to. I ran my first marathon this year.”  Hope

A way to enjoy nature/fresh air:

“I have been looking at running as an opportunity to enjoy ALL seasons rather than always sitting inside waiting for Spring to come and just feeling cooped up and inactive all winter. It has kicked seasonal blues in the butt so far this year!!”  Sara

“Because I love being outside, because it helps me with stress, and because I never feel better than after I’ve finished a run!”  Suzanne

“Fresh air and being outside – I need my outdoor time!”  Jo

Stress relief/better headspace:

“Running is like medicine for me. I’m a pastor and my job is never done. When I finish a run, I feel accomplished something and it helps me with the stress of life. A good long run is one of the few times in my week that my mind can just relax and enter into the pattern of foot-falls, breaths, and motion.” Eric

“I’m in law enforcement and running is my stress relief as well. I started running to lose weight and redirect my thoughts from stress at work.”  Joel

“Because I love it! For my mental health, it makes me happy, the feeling I get after finishing a long run or race is the best!”  Annabelle

Change or improve my health:

“Stay healthy. I also remember how good I feel afterwards.”  Valerie

“About 18 months ago I was fat and unhealthy and hated what I had become. I read a book that spurred me into action, lost 30kg. Then I started running and found my new passion. I did a 282 day running streak, found the MTA podcast along the way…I have first marathon in 7 days time. My why is that running is my new addiction…it’s better than food, better than alcohol, it’s the best way to start my day.” Simon

“I have been running for 5ish years and it’s the whole package of clearing my head of negativity, being healthy and sleeping better.”  Scott

Challenging myself/achieving goals:

“What keeps me going is the challenge and the accomplishments. Plus I feel good after I’ve done it, may it be a half, a full or an ultra. I’m trying to see if I can do a 50 miler next year. Which is definitely another challenge for me. But first, I’d like to finish my 50 states half and full by next year.” Lynne

“I just enjoy challenging myself….trying things I’m not sure I can do….and it’s something I get to do for myself that’s healthy.”  Tom

“The thought of something greater within myself waiting to be discovered.”  Andrew

More confidence:

“I love the process of working towards a goal that is challenging and something I chose for myself. I love how it puts structure into my daily life and how it affects me as a person – I’m so much more confident, independent and enthusiastic than I used to be.”  Cecilia

“Because of all my “nevers” that actually came true. I never thought I could get a doctorate, mountain bike race, have twins, have amazing family and friends, have a rewarding career/business of my own, have a heart attack at 45 and bounce back. Running certain races/distances/times/with friends is a satisfying way to keep quashing my “nevers” and continue to test my limits physically, mentally, and spiritually…on my feet and in my life as a whole.”  Jennifer

“The confidence that running gives me is my reason and my hope is to run forever!”  Tricia

“It makes me feel like a stronger person. Knowing I have the ability to win the battles with feeling tired, being cold, and being lazy. Every time you go running; that’s a win.”  Stephen

“I can’t imagine not having running in my life. My “why” is that it completes who I am. It helps with my fitness and stress and my ability to think more clearly. It provides me with the opportunity to be outside where every run is a different adventure. I love the struggle and the feeling of accomplishment after completing a 20 miler. I love the running community. It’s fun quirky and tremendously supportive. I’m 53 and I’ve only been running for 5 years and my largest regret is that I didn’t find it earlier.”  Gregory

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Pete Kostelnick, Self-Supported Run from Alaska to Florida!


Pete Kostelnick was looking for a way to unlock his wildest dreams so he ran from Kenai, Alaska to Key West, Florida. He set out to accomplish this as a self-supported run, pushing all of his gear in a jogging stroller.

He began on July 31st and reached Key West on November 5th. In this interview you will hear how he got into long distance running ten years ago. Why he decided to take the adventure of a lifetime, and how he managed to pull it off. Enjoy!

Pete Kostelnick is a 31 year old ultrarunner from Iowa (currently living in Ohio) who holds the world record for fastest coast-to-coast crossing of the United States by foot -a record he set in 2016. He crossed in 42 days, six hours and 30 minutes . . . beating the previous record of 46 days, 8 hours, and 36 minutes set by Frank Gianinno Jr. in 1980.

Pete is also a two time winner of the Badwater 135 Ultramarathon in Death Valley and set the current course record there.

Stats from Pete’s Alaska to Florida Run

From Pete’s Feat Across America FB Page

  • Start point: Anchor Point, AK
  • End point: Key West, FL
  • Total Miles 5,390.76 miles (when mileage is added to the hundredths)
 distance in kilometers is 8675.58
  • 97 days 6 hours 57 min

  • Daily average: 55 miles
. (88.5 kilometers)
  • Total elevation gain: 175,301 ft (that’s 6 Mt. Everests)
  • 
Highest elevation gain run: 5,034 ft Day 6 in Alaska

  • Lowest elevation gain run: 238 ft Day 96 in Florida
  • 
Total moving time: 969 hours 32 min

  • Highest mileage run: 93.22 miles Day 24 in Yukon

  • Lowest mileage day: 0 Day 23 in Yukon (only 0 day due to wildfire)
  • 
Highest mileage state: Alaska 622 miles
  • 
Lowest mileage state: Kentucky 110 miles

photo credit: Pete Kostelnick

photo credit: Pete Kostelnick

photo credit: Pete Kostelnick

Pete Kostelnick

photo credit: Pete Kostelnick

About Trevor Spencer

Trevor Spencer is the producer of the Marathon Training Academy Podcast. He loves to inspire people to take action in their fitness and life.

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Smart Pacing Strategies in the Marathon

In this episode we discuss smart pacing strategies with Coach Steve Waldon -one of our coaches here at MTA and a 3:30 pacer at the New York City Marathon. You will hear how to establish goals, the tricks to pacing (tools and tips), how to adjust mid-race, and how to get through the tough later miles!

Coach Steve Waldon is a RRCA Certified Running Coach and a 3:30 pacer at the New York City Marathon. He’s a 2:53 marathoner with over 25 marathon finishes, nine 50 mile finishes, and two 100Ks. He also completed the Atacama Desert Crossing -155 mile self-supported stage race.

Topics/Questions Covered in this Discussion

  • Common mistakes people make
  • Choosing an appropriate pace
  • What if you start out too fast?
  • Adjusting Mid-Race
  • The reliability of our GPS watches
  • What to do in the later miles
  • What about run/walkers
  • What does it take to become a pacer at NYC Marathon?

Also Mentioned in This Episode

NuNeeShop.com. Don’t let knee pain keep you from completing your long runs, or worse, sideline you altogether. Let NuNee help you get back to running without knee pain. Use code MTA30 for a 30% discount.

Audible.com. Right now, for a limited time, you can get 3 months of Audible for just $6.95 a month
Text MTA to 500 500.

Action Heat -makes the world’s best heated clothing, like Heated Jackets, Socks, Gloves, Hats, and more. Save 20% off your order when you go to www.actionheat.com/MTA

Pace Bans -here are some websites for finding both free and paid pace bans.

About Angie Spencer

Angie is a registered nurse and running coach who empowers new runners to conquer the marathon, run faster, and take their health and fitness to the next level. Join the Academy

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Listener Q & A with Angie and Athena

In this episode we do a listener Q & A session!

Angie and special guest Coach Athena Farias tackle questions about recovery, what to do in the off season, back-to-back marathons, how to train for a 50k, dealing with taper madness, and more.

Plus we will give you a quick rundown the 2018 New York City Marathon.

We like to do a Q & A episode about once a year because it’s always interesting to see what people are struggling with in their training.

Angie Spencer is the Co-Founder of Marathon Training Academy. She has a Bachelor of Science from Montana State University and has been a Registered Nurse for over 15 years. She is a RRCA Level 2 and USATF Level 1 Certified Running Coach, veteran of over 55 Marathons and Ultras, and a lover of books and dark chocolate!

Athena Farias is a RRCA Certified Running Coach, Certified Personal Trainer, and Exercise Physiologist. She has a Masters in Exercise Science and Health Promotion, has run 15 marathons (5 Boston qualifiers), 5 ultras, and numerous obstacle races. She’s an endurance junkie and lover of all things trail running! She lives in San Antonio, Texas.

“MTA Coach Athena has been a phenomenal coach, . . . She was a great balance of pushing me to work harder and also pushing me to rest and recover, and thanks to her I scored a 35+ minute PR and a sub four hour marathon this past weekend in Indianapolis! I’ve learned so much from Athena and MTA and am excited to take all that knowledge and use it to become an even better runner.” -Ripley Doten

Questions Featured in This Episode

For this Q & A episode we solicited questions from our email subscribers and got back so many good ones! If you want to subscribe to our email newsletter you can do so here.

Recovery

After running a marathon, how long should recovery be? When can I start running again? -Hannah Trimble Brown

My question would have to be about recovery between marathons. As I’m shooting for very specific goals in the next few years, I’d have to ask how long is the
recommended minimum time to wait between marathons? For example, if training goes really well but for some reason I have a poor race day, how long would I want to
wait to run another marathon to have another try at my goal time? -Andrew Lorenzo

The Off Season

With the help of your podcast I completed my goal of completing my first
Marathon, the Toronto Waterfront Marathon this fall. I even hit my time
goal of sub 4 hours in 3:59:15!

My question is what now? This is my first year of running and I don’t know
what to do now until spring Marathon season. I have already signed up for a
spring Marathon in May.

Thank you for taking my question. -Anthony Barton

Back-to-Back Marathons

How would you train for back-to-back marathons that are 4-5 weeks apart? Kim Cannon

Tapering

Wondering if it is “normal” to experience a sluggishness in the later
weeks of marathon training? Like the 18 and 20 mile weeks and after during the taper
weeks? I ask because this is my second time to run a marathon and both times I have
experienced a sluggish few weeks leading up to the marathon.
Thanks! -Wynnifred Hoodis

Hot Weather

Hi, I have a question about running in a tropical climate. Most of the year where I live it is very hot and humid. The temperature is usually over 35 celsius (100
fahrenheit), with extremely high humidity, and it only drops around 5-8 degrees at
night. Do you have any advice for training and racing in these conditions? In
particular, do you have any advice on heart-rate training and whether I should
adjust my aerobic threshold heart-rate because of these conditions? Thanks!
Geoff from Cairns, Australia

Ultras

I would like to know how training for a 50km differs (or is similar to)
training for a marathon. Thank you! -Trista

I keep experiencing a whole variety of niggles after marathon
distances. I wonder if I’ll ever make the necessary adaptations so I can graduate to
ultra distances. Various foot, knee, hamstring, back, pelvic, shoulder… pains! 
 They are mostly bi-lateral, and go away if rested. Probably there because I’m over
zealous and taking on more than I should in my first year of running. Thank you!
-Jamie

Smell

Often when I finish a run I have a very distinct smell that could best be described as like cat urine. My question is what causes it, and how do I prevent it. Thanks, Russell from Cantonment, Fl.

Taking Advil

Hi Angie, When I finished the NYC Marathon I heard a runner on the phone saying she took two Advil about half way through the race. How common is this and is it
recommended? Is this hidden in what the pros drink? I think my body would have
welcomed that pain relief during the last several miles. Thanks for all. John

Knowing My Limits

I have been running for 5 years.  Completed 2 full
marathons, about 10 half marathons and 1 half Ironman.  I have never, ever been
happy with my finishing time.  My fulls were completed at 6 hours each and my half
marathons range from 2:30-3:00 finish.  I don’t mind being in the back of the pack,
but it is frustrating to see others celebrate their new PRs while I stay in the same
rut.

How do I know if this is my physical limitation and I need to accept it or if I need
to push myself mentally and physically?
Thanks for any advice you can give!
SaraRaleigh, NC

Becoming a Coach

How did you know you wanted to be a running coach and start this podcast? Learning to be a coach or stepping into some sort of career or side hustle geared towards running- something that makes me so happy and brings me so much peace, has been on my mind a lot lately.  I just wanted to get your feedback on how you got started in this field and any advice you have! Thank you guys for all you do!!
Whitney Young

How Coaching Works

If it is possible, I would like you to explain more in detail how does the
MTA personalized coaching services work taking into account that maybe most
clients don’t live in the same city as the coach: How do clients interact with coaches? How often do they communicate? How are training plans designed? Thanks and greets from Mexico, José Juan Cabello

Also Mentioned in This Episode

MTA Coaching Services -currently accepting new clients. See how it works.

cbdMD. Their all-natural CBD Oil Freeze Rollers help your body to heal and recover fast no matter how much you train. Roll it over your sore muscles and feel instant relief. It’s bio-freeze and natural healing rolled into one. Use coupon code MTA20 for 20% any of their products.

Anolon Cookware. Shop Anolon’s cookware sets, baking tools, even pasta makers and culinary torches – all at Macy’s • Anolon – designed for creativity in the kitchen.

Bombas Socks -With an Arch Support System that provides extra support where you need it most and a Cushioned Footbed that’s reinforced for comfort without added bulkiness, Bombas feel like a hug around your foot. Use the code MARATHON for 20% off your first order.

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Heart Rate Training and More with Dr. Phil Maffetone

When it comes to heart rate training perhaps you have heard of the Maffetone Method -which is a calculation that uses 180 minus your age to find your maximum aerobic function.

The genius of heart rate training is that it trains your body’s systems to tap into its fat stores for energy instead of burning sugar.

That’s why we are excited to have Dr. Maffetone himself on the podcast to pick his brain about MAF Method, inflammation, and the over-fat pandemic.

Dr. Philip Maffetone is an internationally recognized researcher, educator, clinician, and author in the field of nutrition, exercise and sports medicine, stress management, and biofeedback. He is the author of more than a 20 books, including The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing. He is probably best known for the MAF heart rate training (180 minus your age) also referred to as the Maffetone Method. He was the first person to publish a book on heart rate training back in the 1980s.
In addition to working with top athletes he is also a musician and has published articles on the effect of music on human development. And he worked as a physician to Johnny Cash, James Taylor, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The MAF Method, Calculating Your Maximum Heart Rate

noun_343728_ccDr. Phil Maffetone developed a formula for establishing the peak heart rate you should achieve during the first three months of training. One of his mantras is, “Speed up by slowing down.” To calculate your ideal training heart zone for building your aerobic base do the following:

Subtract your age from 180 to determine your maximum aerobic heart rate. For example I’m 39 years old so . . . 180-39 = 141

Then subtract 10 if you’re recovering from a major illness or hospital visit or on regular medication for a chronic condition; subtract 5 if you have not exercised before or are just beginning to rebuild your running base; 0 if you’ve been exercising regularly without interruption. If you have been training for more than two years without any of the problems listed above, and have made progress in competition without injury, add 5.

This number would represent your maximum heart rate to use for aerobic training to promote fitness gains while staying mostly in the fat burning zone. A training range from this heart rate to 10 beats below would be used as the training range. (for example my range would be a heart rate of 135-145). This provides a conservative guideline for a 3 month period of base training.

He also recommends doing a maximum aerobic fitness (MAF) test once per month to track your progress. After warming up with 10 minutes of easy walking or jogging, run 1 mile at your maximum heart rate in zone 2 (ex 145) and record the time, jog a 2nd mile at the MHR and record time, finally jog a 3rd mile at MHR and record. The times from each mile should progressively get a little slower. If you do this test regularly you will see how your aerobic endurance is increasing.

Some people get frustrated because they find that their normal pace is outside the training zone. But lacking a solid aerobic base could be the reason why they’re not experiencing fitness gains or struggling with overtraining syndrome.

Take-A-Ways from This Interview

People often find the topic of heart rate training confusing because there’s no one size fits all strategy. It’s not like we can promise that if you follow Dr. Maffetone’s system (or that of anyone else’s system) for 3 months that you’ll be able to take 2 minutes per mile off your pace. But I think one big take way from this conversation is that health and fitness is about more than just setting PRs. There are many factors that go into giving you the best quality of life possible and you are an experiment of one. We’d encourage you to think about a few things:

  • Measure your waist. If it’s not less than your height consider changing how you look at training and nutrition.
  • Consider whether you need to improve the functioning of your aerobic system. Have you reached a plateau with your training? Does your body always seem to be in a state of stress, inflammation, and fatigue?
  • Find your MAF (maximum aerobic function) heart rate: https://philmaffetone.com/180-formula/
  • Perform the MAF Test- get your baseline numbers and retest on a monthly basis: https://philmaffetone.com/maf-test/

Eight Step Methodology

You can go through the 8 Step Methodology and take the associated quizzes to consider which areas you need to work through:

  1. Carbohydrate Intolerance– Do you have excess belly fat? Do you feel fatigued regularly? Do you get hangry? Do you have hormonal imbalances?
  2. Control Inflammation– Do you have ongoing joint or muscle pain? Are you struggling with chronic injuries? Do you deal with allergies, skin, or gut issues?
  3. Vitamin D Status– Get a blood test to determine what your Vitamin D levels are. Vitamin D is essential for optimum health and fitness and deficiencies are fairly common.
  4. Folate Status– Folate is an essential B vitamin found in vegetables, meats, and legumes. It has a role in preventing cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, and much more.
  5. Build the aerobic system– By training to improve your aerobic (or fat burning system) you can increase energy, improve circulation and immunity, and much more.
  6. Manage stress– We live in a fast paced world where much is often demanded of us and we also demand a lot from ourselves. It’s important to recognize areas of stress in order to take steps to manage stress.
  7. Build a better brain– The brain controls and manages nearly every body system and improving the functioning of our brain will help us manage the aging process better.
  8. Healthy aging– We can’t control the fact that we will grow older. But we can learn to maintain the quality of our life and approach the future with a positive mindset.

photo credit philmaffetone.com

We recommend that you head over to Phil Maffetone’s website for more information on any of the things that we talked about on this episode. We’ll provide links to both the MAF heart rate formula and the MAF Test with the show notes. If people are interested we may talk about the 8 steps in more detail in the future.

Also Mentioned in This Episode

The Fat Adapted Eating Plan – Let us help you cut out sugar and grains.

Dr. Maffeton’s website.

Healthiq.com -Marathon Training Academy is sponsored by *Health IQ*, an insurance company that helps health conscious people get special rates on life insurance. Go to healthiq.com/mta to support the show and learn more.

Anolon Cookware -Shop Anolon’s cookware sets, baking tools, even pasta makers and culinary torches – all at Macy’s. Anolon – designed for creativity in the kitchen

Shoutout

Dear Angie, I recently completed the Bournemouth Marathon following MTA’s intermediate
training plan. Throughout the training I stuck to Phill Maffetone’s max heart rate (180 minus my age, which is 36). In the beginning of the race I felt a bit sluggish but when I got to 20 miles in 2:57 still monitoring my heart rate and there was no wall. For the last 6.2 miles I felt more of a running flow than I’d experienced since I ran a fast half marathon in 2004. I finished with the last 3 miles at 7:30 pace. What an experience to go slow, get to half way and have something left! I came in 3:48 which I was delighted with since I hadn’t run properly for 13 years until I came across MTA last autumn. The experience was magical and owes a tremendous amount to the wisdom, inclusive encouragement and confidence building of MTA. I did a negative split and finished really strong. My mantra ‘stay strong, stay tall, stay calm, stay positive’ (an adaption of one I’d heard on MTA) was repeated throughout the second half. Miles 20-26.2 feel like an almost sacred space. Thanks Angie and Trev, I’ve still got what it takes. Best wishes, -Tim

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The Loch Ness Marathon in Scotland

I’ve had the long-time dream of visiting Scotland and it just happens that they have some pretty amazing races there including the Loch Ness Marathon in the Highlands.

Since Trevor couldn’t travel with me to this race I convinced my friend Adrianne from MT to meet me over there and we both flew separately into the small airport in Inverness.

Due to the effects of a hurricane the weather was windy and raining hard which we took as normal Scottish weather. But the weather challenges weren’t the last that day.

We rented a car which had a standard transmission that Adrianne was going to drive and we started off for our first B&B. But soon we realized that between the weather, fatigue, hunger, unfamiliarity with directions, driving on the left side of the road, and a burning smell the car emitted when switching gears that this car was a poor choice.

We checked into the Arden House in Kingussie, called the rental agency, and headed back to Inverness to trade in the car for an automatic. By the time we got back to Kingussie we were ready for a hot meal, a dram of whisky and an early bedtime.

The next day we had a traditional Scottish breakfast which included black pudding (a type of blood sausage consisting of pork blood, fat, and a cereal like oats), Scottish oatcakes, sausage, eggs, bacon, mushrooms, tomatos, and beans. Then we set off headed for the John Muir Trust offices located in the town of Pitlochry.

We met with MTA listener Kevin Lelland and he gave us a tour of their facility which included a great visitor’s center and art gallery. Then he took us to the mountain Schiehallion “The Fairy Hill of the Caledonians” which was part of the land they care for in the Highland Perthshire. We met with land manager Dr. Liz Auty and went for a hike around the land.

One thing that struck me about the land is the variety of colors and textures. Some of the autumn colors were beginning and we could see vivid greens, gold, browns, reds, and many other shades. There are also abundant waterfalls and sheep grazing in many fields.

I was also fascinated by old stone walls that dotted the countryside. The weather was chilly but the rain held off and we enjoyed getting some exercise and learning about the conservation efforts being done there.

John Muir
The John Muir Trust is named after John Muir who was born in Scotland and emigrated to the United States as a boy. He was a great nature lover and influential in the beginning of the movement to preserve the wilderness in the US National Parks System.

He’s particularly known in California where he made his home and because he spent so much time in Yosemite National Park. Some of his famous quotes include these,

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilised people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity…”

and

“Keep close to Nature’s heart…and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”

Edinburgh

Mid afternoon we took off for the town of Leith which is close to Edinburgh. A former coaching client of mine named Elspeth and her family were going to host us for a couple of nights. We enjoyed meeting Elspeth, her husband Dave and two kids. After a quick dinner we went with Elspeth to a belly dance class that she teaches.

It was the first time I’d ever tried belly dance and like most things it’s more challenging than it looks (especially for someone as uncoordinated as me). It was also more physically challenging and I’d soon worked up a sweat (and had sore calves the next day). But it’s important to try new things and get outside of our comfort zone so it was fun to try.

On Friday we got an early start and walked from Elspeth’s house to the foot of King Arthur’s Seat which was around 2.5 miles. It’s a fairly challenging hike to the top and I was surprised that there wasn’t more of a defined path. From the top you can see a panoramic view of the coast looking out toward the North Sea and the city of Edinburgh.

It was very windy at the top so we got a few pictures and then hiked down by the ruins of St. Anthony’s Chapel which was built in the early 1400’s and by St. Margaret’s Well.

As we continued down we came across wild blackberries (or brambles as they’re called). Next we toured Holyrood Palace and Gardens which was beautifully preserved and is still visited by the queen on an annual basis.

We then walked to the Royal Mile and met Elspeth for lunch at The Salt Horse which had some great food. Our next stop was the Edinburgh Museum and we enjoyed the section on Scottish history. We shopped a bit more and stopped for tea at The Elephant House which is where JK Rowling is said to have written much of the Harry Potter Series.

We also walked along Prince’s Street.
Before returning to Elspeth’s house we stopped at a Co-op and purchased some Scottish sweets for our children (and ourselves) including Scottish Tea Cakes, Irn Bru (a type of orange soda), Tunnek’s caramel bars, and tablet (a crunchy fudge like dessert). Later we walked to a new bar in the area called Nautilus which served locally sourced foods and Scottish liquors. I tried a whisky from a distillery at the bottom of Ben Nevis that had quite a kick. All in all we were on our feet for around 13 hours that day and when I was taking my boots off that night I noticed blisters on the tops of two toes. Not the best thing to have with just a day before the marathon.

On Saturday morning we toured Edinburgh Castle, an imposing fortress build into the rocky hillside, which is home to the Stone of Destiny and the Scottish Crown Jewels, ate a Scottish breakfast, walked through the Grass Market, saw the Scott Monument from a distance, said goodbye to Elspeth, and started the drive back to Inverness. It was truly a beautiful drive with intermittent rain.

The Race Expo

Prior to the marathon the race sent out regular emails and was very active on social media. They also have a very thorough website. The Loch Ness Marathon race expo was held at Bught (pronounced Buct) Park in Inverness at the event village.

They had several tents set up for post-race festivities, rides, food trucks, and a large inflatable Nessie. We found a nearby car park and it was easy to get my race packet. They also had an area with vendors set up and the runner’s café with the pre-race pasta dinner going on.

I didn’t linger long because there was a MTA meet up organized by a local listener named Helen. We met up at the Eden Court Theater for dinner and it was great to meet Helen who was running the 10k the next day as well as Brian from Glasgow running his 2nd marathon, and Chris from Edinburgh.

MTA Meet UP before the Loch Ness Marathon

After dinner we went to our very nice B&B just outside of Edinburgh and crashed. I hadn’t been sleeping well the previous few nights and wasn’t expecting much for the night before the marathon either.

Race Morning:

The race was held on Sunday, 23 September 2018 and the Baxter’s Loch Ness Marathon has been run every year since 2004. It’s one of the most popular marathons in the UK and the largest marathon in Scotland. It’s also one of the most scenic marathons and raises a large amount of money for charity.

They also had a 10k, 5k and kid races the same day starting in different locations. Since this was a point to point course there were buses located at the Inverness Ice Center near Bught Park to get us to the start line. I got there promptly at 6:45am and was on the first bus (which was a comfortable climate controlled coach bus).

My seatmate was named Paul from England and this was going to be his 2nd marathon. The buses left promptly at 7:30am and we had a beautiful drive to the starting line up and around Loch Ness. I saw lots of sheep and a couple red deer along the drive.

They dropped us off at a Christmas tree farm which seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. But there was the familiar line of port-a-loos and I got in the queue for those. There seemed to be a mix of runners from all over the world based on the conversations I was hearing.

They had music playing and an announcer talking about the marathon and discouraging impatient runners from watering the trees. After the bathroom I got in line for the tea and coffee which helped dissipate the chill of the morning. The weather was clear, slightly windy and in the low 40’s (or around 5 degrees celcius). When it was time to put my bag in the bag drop truck I stood in the informal corrals and shivered a bit.

At the starting line there was a bagpipe band playing which added to the atmospheric feel and just before the start time they played their traditional starting song “I’m Gonna Be- 500 Miles” by The Proclaimers (a Scottish duo) *(soundbite from the starting line) At 10am the starting gun was fired and we were off.

The Course

The starting line was near Whitebridge, located up in the hills above Loch Ness and the course immediately started slanting downhill which continued through around mile 10. The road wasn’t overly wide and the course felt a bit congested for the first 5 miles as runners spread out based on their pace.

In the midst of the downhills there were some rolling hilly sections. The air was crisp and fresh and I quickly warmed up. I really like wearing arm sleeves because you can pull them up if you’re cold and pull them down if you’re warm.

There were quite a few runners in some type of costume like a group of ladies in caterpillar onesies, a guy dressed in Union Jack gear, a squirrel, a guy in an elephant suit, and lots of people in kilts. There was also a man trying for the world record in full Highland Regalia.

The course followed the southern side of Loch Ness, passing through three small villages. All the roads were well marked with mile signs and the course was very scenic with green hills, trees changing colors, babbling brooks, and lots of sheep and cattle in the fields. Around mile 7 views of Loch Ness came into sight. We ran near the lake until around mile 20. From mile 18-20 there was a very challenging hill at a section of the race which can already be a bit tough. Then the route goes into Inverness, crossing the River Ness by the Ness Bridge in the city center and finishes at Bught Park.

Aid Stations:
The aid stations were well supported and supplied with small water bottles, several with electrolyte drinks, and gels and blocks. There were also regular port-a-loos and medical stations. There weren’t many spectators since we were running through the country side most of the time but there were some people out in the small villages we went through and more as we got back into Inverness and closer to the finish line. The race felt well supported and the beautiful scenery made up for the few number of spectators.

Finish:

As we got into Inverness we ran on the opposite side of the river from the finisher’s festival and from there you could hear the announcer and crowd. I was thankful to have been warned of this and didn’t feel disillusioned when I still had 3 miles left.

The roads were lined with people in the final miles to the finish and there was a definite atmosphere of encouragement and excitement. I even saw my friend along the sideline and she managed to get a couple pictures.

The marathon was chip timed and it was great to finish under the marathon arch and cross the final timing mat. We were given a nice medal, a bag for food and gear, and then got our finisher’s shirt. I headed off to get my drop bag so I could access my jacket for some warmth. Then I went into the food tent which was nice and warm and had a live band

Post race food consisted of hot soup, rice with a meat or veggie sauce, bananas, shortbread, oatcakes, and a granola bar. They also had other food and drinks that you could purchase. After eating I met up with Adrianne and walked back to the car.

  • The 2018 Loch Ness Marathon male winner was Mohammad Abu-Rezeq in a time of 2:22:56.
  • female winner was Sheena Logan in 2:51:11.
  • The 2nd place male was Adam Holland with a time of 2:24:24. I read later that he’s one of the UK’s most prolific race winners having 200 marathon and ultra wins to date. The total number of marathon finishers was 2,810 with the final finisher coming in at 8:12:58.
  • Other notable finishers include Willie Rennie, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrat party and Jonathan Ward running as Ben the Elephant for the RAF Benevolant Fund (he finished in 4:37:30).
  • Another amazing finisher of the 10k was 83 years old Antonio Countinho from Portugal who just started running at age 80.

My Experience

I definitely wasn’t sure what to expect with the marathon considering I’d been dealing with heel pain since my last marathon in Alaska and the fact that I hadn’t been sleeping well the previous few nights. Sometimes the rigors of travel can do a number on your body.

But my body really liked the cooler weather and my energy levels were strong. I didn’t even mind that it rained several times and I was soaked by mile 10. Fortunately the sun would come out in between for some relief to the wetness.

My pacing strategy was to power walk the hills and run the flat sections and downhills. I was very thankful not to experience any heel pain during the race. I think one key to a more positive experience was that I felt more prepared mentally and my mantra was “I am strong, I am relaxed, I am thankful.”

I had a great time and felt very grateful to finish my 55th marathon in 4:20:14 (which although not particularly fast for me, was my fastest marathon in 2.5 years).

I felt good post race and after getting a good shower, a few snacks to eat, and a bit of rest we went out to Culloden Moor Battlefield and walked around.

It was there in April of 1746 that the Jacobite forces clashed with the English army in the last battle of the Jacobite uprising (those who supported Prince Charles Stuart’s claim to the throne). Around 700 Jacobite soldiers were killed in the few minutes of fighting. On the battlefield they had many markers and stones with the clan names engraved on them where many of those killed were buried in mass graves.

After we were back in the car it rained and we saw a beautiful rainbow over a field. The frequent rain and appearance of rainbows was something that happened frequently.

I also heard from MTA listeners from the meet up. Brian finished his marathon in 3:49 and Chris achieved his sub-4:00 goal with a time of 3:50. Congrats guys!

The rest of my trip:

The day after the marathon we did a Loch Ness Cruise out to Urquart Castle and toured the visitor’s center and walked around the ruins. It was absolutely beautiful being out on Loch Ness and approaching the stately castle ruins by boat. After a nice brunch we drove out to the Isle of Skye, stopping along the way to tour Eilean Donan (eelin donan) Castle.

It is located on a small island right by the shore with a stone bridge connecting it to the mainland. It’s owned by a family and was completely renovated starting in 1911. Many parts of the castle have been restored with artifacts while part of the castle is still private living space. There have also been many TV shows and movies filmed at this location.

Then we continued our drive to near Glen Brittle and hiked to the Fairy Pools. A waterfall cascades down from the mountain collecting in these vivid blue/green pools. After a plunge in an ice cold pool for luck we hiked back to the car and went to check in at our B&B in Portree which we discovered had no heat. The radiators were broken so we had to content ourselves with a hot shower and dry clothes before seeking something to eat.

We ate at the Antlers Restaurant and sat in the bar area. We shared our table with a few people who were waiting for a table including a honeymooning couple from Michigan and an 83 year old man from Southern Scotland who had climbed all the mountains (or munros) in England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. I had venison, neeps & tatties (mashed turnips and potatoes), and white pudding for dinner.

We spent a chilly night in our room and on our final day got an early start so we could climb to the Old Man of Storr. It was an absolutely beautiful and strenuous hike, especially as we neared the top and were nearly blown off the mountain by the high wind gusts. This was one time in my life where I was thankful not to be a lighter weight.

The Storr Mountain is the highest point on the Trotternish Ridge. It’s really hard to describe how gorgeous it is there and the pictures certainly don’t do it justice. One of the interesting things about hiking in the Highlands is that the ground often has this spongy feel- probably because it has a high water content.

We hiked around up there seeing sheep grazing by the trails, took lots of pictures, and headed down once it started to sleet and snow. This was definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me. Back in Portree we stopped for lunch at a café to warm up and then drove back toward Inverness.

Along the way we saw some Highland cattle (the breed with long horns and long wavy hair) and had to stop to take some pictures. Back in Inverness we checked into our B&B, walked to the Inverness Castle, explored around town buying a few final souvineers, and had a great dinner at the Fig & Thistle. The next day we had our long flight back home and it took me about 3-4 days to get my sleep back on schedule.

I’ve found myself wondering why I’ve been so tired this week and then remembered, “oh yea, I just ran a marathon, spent a busy week hiking and exploring, and traveled back home.”

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Episode 26.2! How Has Marathon Training Changed You?

We started podcasting eight years ago and this week we finally reached episode #262!!

Since the number 26.2 represents the distance of a marathon we deiced to ask our listeners how the process of training for a marathon has changed them. Runners from all over the world called in and left a voice mail and we are amazed by the stories and insights they shared!

Big thanks to everyone who called in and wrote in to tell us how marathon training has changed them. In this episode you will hear short audio clips from 25 different callers. We also received the following wonderful emails . . .

Change in Mindset

The tag line of the MTA is “Run a Marathon and change your life”. I would posit that training for a marathon will change your life. I am about halfway through my training and I am a totally different runner than I was just a few short months ago. My legs are stronger and my endurance is at a point that I didn’t think was possible. The biggest change is in my mindset – I feel like anything is possible. I am no longer nervous about doing my 1st marathon but excited about the challenge. -Dave

Confidence to Go the Distance

Before I started on my fitness journey at age 49, I would have told you that I was full of self confidence.  But I had no clue what I was capable of.  I have been in sales for many years and have had some success at that.  But it was mainly because I am good with people and sales are about relationships.

In 2015, I started running.  I did some 5k’s and 10k’s.  My 1st race at both distances was a fundraiser for Alzheimer’s because my mom is battling Alzheimers.  Running quickly became a source of stress relief and I lost 100 pounds.  I am always wanting to see how far I can push myself so I trained for a half marathon, ran the race and was hooked.  I immediately knew I was going to sign up for a marathon. 

I started training for the marathon and that is when the magic started to happen.  There are several things that happened that changed me.  I watched the movie Patriots Day and it motivated me to want to one day run Boston.  Once I got into the long runs of 15 miles or more, the demons of self-doubt and desire to quit to avoid the pain became real.  I did every run by myself. 

I committed to stick with the plan.  I remember my feet hurting and feeling weak with 5 miles to go and just praying to God to give me the strength to keep pushing forward.  Some days were harder than others, but I started and finished every single run on my plan.  The confidence to meet any adversity grew out of those long Saturday runs.  Even before I actually ran the marathon, I gained the absolute confidence that no matter what the task, if you follow the plan with a sincere effort that is laid out by someone who has been there before and succeeded, it can be done. 

Once I ran the race, I was an emotional wreck.  I was so proud.  Losing 100” pounds is great, but joining the club of 1 percenters is amazing.  I now have many short term goals to work towards to help me get qualified for the Boston Marathon.  MTA Coach Lynn and MTA are a part of my team of experienced winners.  I have absolute confidence in success.  Sometimes it happens quickly and sometimes slowly.  I take real pleasure in the process of getting there.  It is a journey not an event.  Thanks MTA for taking me on and helping me on my journey.  Sincerely, -Marty Gardner

No Longer Living in Fear, on the Couch

I spent the majority of my first 40 years sad, depressed, and unhappy and I thought about suicide often.  My wife told me she wanted a divorce just days before my 40th birthday.  I was scared and decided it was time to get out of my comfort zone.  I hated running but I love Disney.  So I decided to run a race at Disney.  It would be out of my comfort zone but being at Disney would motivate me.  So I signed up in March of 2014 for the Tower of Terror 10 Miler. I had 7 months to go from a 250 pound couch potato to being able to run this race. 

Along the way I ran a 10k and did so well I decided I’d be a genius and sign up for a full marathon 2 weeks after my Disney race. I finished the 10 mile race in the top 5% of runners and my life began to change. I was now experiencing life.  No longer was I living in fear on the couch.  Then two weeks later I went to my first full marathon.  I had no family of friends there.  I went on my own, scared to death. Although I got cramps in both hamstrings at mile 18 and had to walk to rest of the race I finished in just over 5 hours and my life hasn’t been the same since. Running has shown me a whole new way of seeing life. Thanks, -Scott

Learning Diligence

I just gave a talk in church today on “Diligence”. I made the comparison of the diligence it took for me to be able to run marathons. I didn’t just wake up as a marathoner, but it required me to train, sacrifice, and keep at it for a long time. I made the comparison of the diligence spoke of in Hebrews 11:6. As a result of my marathon training, I can make comparisons and analogies of perseverance, diligence, dedication, overcoming trials and adversities, and many other important life topics. I love you guys and I love your podcast!! –Richard Jones

Seeing it All Come Together

Trevor and Angie, I am currently in the process of training for my first marathon, and wow let me tell you….I am not the same person I was when I started my training in June. I just graduated from college and was looking for something new to challenge myself, and give me something I could do
for myself.

I was waiting to see if I got into law school, what my next steps would be, and I needed to have control of something in my life, so I started running. I told myself if I could make it through a month of a training program, then I would sign up for a marathon because, what an ultimate goal!

I have been known to quit on things very easily when things get tough in regards to fitness, and I had actually signed up for a marathon in the past and ended up not running because I literally did not train at all. After I ran my first 10-miler, I decided to sign up for it. I decided it was time to do this and prove to myself that I can conquer anything I set my mind to and wanted, and I was doing this for myself.

My family did not understand what I was trying to gain from this and were afraid I would get injured. While I will admit I am accident prone, I didn’t let that stop me from running. I have done all of my training by myself. I wish I had a running group, but I also think being by myself taught me so many lessons about accountability, confidence, courage, and strength. When I didn’t have anyone to cheer me on or encourage me through the 16 and 18-mile runs, I was there for myself. 

I believe ultimately, we, ourselves, should be our biggest cheerleaders. This journey has given me so much self-confidence, to say “Yeah, I ran 18 miles this weekend,” Our bodies are capable of so much, and I have seen that through my training. I have loved being able to encourage myself through each mile with saying, “come on, you’re almost there!” and “Think of how proud you will feel!”  I think one of the important takeaways from this journey is that I have done this for myself.  I get excited and nervous butterflies thinking about my actual marathon.

I know I have put in the work, and the mileage, and the mental strength. I am excited to see it all come together and reach the destination of this journey! Thank you for all of the knowledge and support, Angie and Trevor. I would have been lost this summer without your podcast and MTA! Best Regards, -Nicole Cote

How You Think and Feel About Yourself

Long before I started listening to MTA, I heard people say running a marathon would change your life. So, I was a little disappointed when I crossed the finish line of the Gobbler Grind in November 2017 and felt exhausted but not really different. Then, I realized it was the process leading up to the marathon that changes how you think and how you feel about yourself.

Through that process, I learned I could do something very challenging but I also learned there were certain things I had to do to be successful — such as planning and following a calendar and getting advice. Although I’m a lone runner I called upon the encouragement and advice of many acquaintances and people I didn’t know personally to become a stronger and smarter runner.

I started running after my brother, who was three years younger than me, died unexpectedly after collapsing during his 154th marathon. I started running to help cope with my grief and to try to get to know better the running community that loved him. I learned that physical activity does help. I think the endorphins that make you feel good also open your emotions in other ways, and sometimes you can cry for a bit and feel better. Finally, through running, along with the other things going on in my life, I learned that you can’t rely on one thing to change your life. But something such as running can help you be strong and adventurous in other areas.

You can adopt a new identity as a runner but that will still be just part of who you are. It’s all good. #R4J -Heidi Wells

Calm and Focused

Marathon training has taught me so much, but one of the skills I’ve been able to apply to everyday life has been a kind of serenity brought on by preparation in the lead-up to challenges. Trusting the training in a way. I once wrote about an exam situation in the Facebook group and how while waiting for the big exam to start, I felt calm and focused, like when I wait for the bang at the marathon start line. Another big one is perseverance through challenges which I hope to be able
to make use of during labour when the time comes to have my baby. Kind regards, -Ida

Grit and Gratitude

When I think of the marathon training experience, there are really two words that resonate – grit and gratitude. Grit is a pretty obvious one for most runners – that quality of digging deep within oneself when the going gets tough.

For my first marathon which I ran last year, I wore a shirt that has a great deal of meaning and significance to me. I am from Pittsburgh and a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates. In recent years the Pirates had endured 20 straight losing seasons, a historic losing streak in all of sports. But in 2013, the Pirates broke through and made the playoffs. As the game approached, my brother and his family sent me a Pirates shirt that I wore as I watched them get a victory.

That game embodied that gritty quality of overcoming adversity, fighting back, and celebrating the character of where we have come from and who we are. Sadly, my brother died the next year, in late 2014. For me, this shirt was a tangible representation of my brother and all that we shared, my gratitude for his life and my admiration for his fighting spirit. 

Many runners have a practice of dedicating a race to a person or a cause. I dedicated my first marathon race to my brother, but also more broadly to all of those living with mental illness and the challenges that it brings. In my both personal and professional life, I have been privileged to walk alongside so many inspiring people overcoming challenges and adversity.

My journey of running 26.2 miles is very trivial in comparison to these challenges. However, my experience is that distance running connects me to some inner quality of grit that contributes to remarkable resilience of the human spirit. This was a true gift of the marathon training journey.

One of the most surprising aspects of distance running has been the gratitude that emerges in my heart when I run longer distances. But I think this is an experience that many runners can connect with and one that propels us forward that gratitude for feeling our feet on the trail, the breeze on our skin, the simple act of moving our bodies. It’s really hard to capture in words.

One of my favorite reflections on running is by the Kenyan marathoner Eliud Kipchoge who once said “I don’t run with my legs, I run with my mind and heart”. This says it all for me. When I can embody a space of grit and gratitude in my mind and heart, this makes the whole experience worth it. For me, that is where the magic is and where marathon training has changed my life. -Aaron

Now Seen as a Healthy Person

How has marathon training changed my perspective and life? I don’t think I can summarize it in a few sentences- but I will try to hit the highlights. I started running in January 2013 at the age of 42 and I am about to start training for marathon #5. I found MTA while training for my second marathon.

I wanted to become a runner because so many successful people I had read about or knew were runners. What I was looking for was a way to become better at managing my career while losing weight.  What I found was a way to improve my professional life and my personal life while becoming healthy.

I love just about everything to do with marathon training. Training is something that I have control over. I decide on my goals for the race. Then each day I decide whether or not to get up in the morning and run the miles
on my training plan. I decide whether or not I make time for my PT exercises. I decide if I am going to eat 2 cookies …or 8 cookies.  There are so many parts of our day that we do not get to decide, but marathon training has made me realize that I have control over more things that I thought I did.

During my long runs I get the chance to figure out which decisions each day are the most important to me and how to accomplish more than just my race goals. Training has changed my perspective to recognize and acknowledge my own, and other people’s accomplishments, and how hard people work to reach their goals (instead of thinking things come easy for “those other people”).

In addition to changing my perspective, marathon training has changed other people’s perspective of me. I am now known as a ‘healthy person’. Marathon training has made me realize that your identify is not set in stone. Anyone can change their life and their perspective on life during any decade of their life. Crossing the finish line of that first marathon isn’t where my life was changed. It was slowly changed over multiple training cycles and hundreds of runs, so slowly that I can’t say when that change happened. But it has happened and it has changed my life for the better and MTA is one of the best parts of my running experience. -Suzanne

Running and Training has Kept Me Fighting

I started running four years ago to combat severe depression and anxiety. I was 31 years old and hadn’t lived the most healthy life before starting running. It has been one of the only things in life that I have begun on my own accord for my own reasons. After a year and a half I entered the Pittsburgh Half Marathon and last year I ran my first full at the Richmond Marathon.

I learned to set multiple goals from the podcast and I finished in 3:11:50 (yes, every second counts). Running and training has kept me fighting to get through a post-surgery DVT, crippling depression, severe anxiety, divorce, suicide attempt, relocating and many other things.

This all influenced me to join the SpeakUp Race Team raising funding for the Cameron K. Gallagher foundation which goes towards education on teenage depression and anxiety. Being a SpeakUp Team Member has helped add more purpose to each and every run. It even helped me commit to running the Erie Marathon and the JFK 50 Miler to use as motivation and fundraising tools.

I am super excited to say that I was able to BQ with a 3:04:53 at the Erie Marathon and am excited about running Boston in 2019. Thank you for all your wisdom! –Eric Suvak

Opportunities to Serve

I have been running for a long time. All through school I ran, and have continued to where I am now. I just completed my 30th marathon this past week. Even with all my running the change that happened to me was three years ago. It was the spring after my wife and I had our 1st child. I was training for the Salt Lake marathon and I felt like my training was very selfish and taking over other responsibilities. I actually prayed about it and wanted my running to be more about sharing this talent of running I have.  

A couple of weeks passed and I got a message from an old co-worker asking if I could push a child with disabilities. So that Saturday I pushed a boy named Reese in a 10k, and the races have not stopped for the past 3 years. Reese and I have done everything from a 5k to triathlon to marathons. He has changed me as a runner because I don’t think about me or how bad I hurt or tired I am. I just focus on Reese and how happy he is. He can’t talk, but anytime he sees me he gets the biggest smile on his face because he knows it is time to race.

We have had some pretty crazy times out on the course together. His mom, Carla, is a saint and will always say “thanks for being his loaned legs”. Carla also got me into pacing races too. Pacing has been awesome too because I don’t think about myself, I am more worried about the people I am pacing who are trying to get a PR or BQ.

This last Saturday I paced Huntsville and it was HOT. It was difficult to not complain about the heat, but as a pacer if I had started complaining, it would have made it harder for the people I was pacing. I am grateful for running and how it has changed me to not focus on myself. I am grateful that I can serve others through running.

Running is a individual sport, but there are some amazing opportunities to serve those around us through our crazy sport. It does not have to be what I have done it can be as simple as writing a name of someone on your arm and doing the race in their honor or running for a charity. Things like that can change the focus and purpose of your training and racing. I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I did not run and have the opportunities to serve that I have. I am a huge advocate for pushing people in races literally and metaphorically and just serving others through running. Thanks again, -Andy


Also Mentioned in This Episode

Boston Qualifying Times Change. The Boston Athletic Association announced that they’re tightening up qualifying standards for the 2020 marathon by 5 minutes. The cut off time for qualifiers this year was 4:52 and of 30,458 applicants there were 7,384 Boston Marathon qualifiers that were shut out. The cut off was 3:23 for the 2018 race. https://www.baa.org/2019-boston-marathon-qualifier-acceptances

The NuNee -designed specifically to relieve that dreaded Runner’s Knee pain.
Let NuNee help you get back to running without knee pain. Available today at NuNeeShop.com. Use code MTA20 for a 20% discount.

CBDMD Freeze Roller -uses all-natural CBD Oil to help your body to heal and recover fast. Use coupon code MTA20 for 20% off any of their products.

CBDmd freeze roller is da bomb!

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If Life is a Marathon, Here Are the Rules!

Hey guys this is Trevor and I’m currently in Switzerland for the Jungfrau Marathon -which is a brutal but absolutely gorgeous race in the Swiss Alps.

This episode is going to be a bit unusual. You will hear a recording of a motivational talk I gave, to a group of non-runners, about what running marathons has taught me about life.

In the quick tip segment Coach Angie explains how to successfully taper for a race, because many runners go through “taper madness”. Enjoy!

I first gave this talk to a local Rotary Club luncheon when I lived in South East Missouri. The recording you will hear on this podcast episode is from the second time I gave the talk -which was to a group of young men between the ages of 16-21. It was recorded in 2016. I used to go every Tuesday night and hang out with these guys and speak to them.

You can tell by my presentation that I was trying to entertain and inspire, not necessarily inspiring them to be runners, although I did take some of them out running from time to time but to inspire them to live life more intentionally and fully. Below are the powerpoint slides that go with the talk.

New York City Marathon has over 50,000 runners and 2 million spectators

Should have worn his Nip Guards®!

Non-runners find it funny that this is a real product.

If you google “runner’s trots” you can find this photo. What’s happening below the waist is not pretty. Click here to see the full version. Yikes!

marathon sign #1

marathon sign #2

marathon sign #3

marathon sign #4

marathon sign #5

marathon sign #6

we interviewed Rhonda on the MTA podcast here

His shirt says, “50, Fat, Diabetic, Ahead of You”

We featured Derek’s story here

Harriet died in 2017 at the age of 94. She was a cancer survivor who started running marathons at age 76 and ran the fastest time for a woman over 90

Matt is the author of the book The Long Run

#Truth!

Angie at her 50 mile ultramarathon. She recapped the race here

If you think running a marathon is tough, remember there are people who do this!

Here our interview with Dr. Noakes about the central governor

The “finishing kick” shows that we don’t run our muscles to fatigue. Our body reserves energy though our brain tells us that we too depleted to go on.

Holding down the floor after the New Orleans Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon

My audience. I had the privilege of speaking to a group of young men between the ages of 16-24 every Tuesday night. That’s me in the center (with glasses)

Thank you for listening!

Also Mentioned in This Episode

RX Bar -a protein bar made with 100% whole ingredients. Angie loves the chocolate coconut flavor. For 25% off your first order, visit RXBAR.com/MTA and enter promo code MTA at checkout.

Healthiq.com -Marathon Training Academy is sponsored by *Health IQ*, an insurance company that helps health conscious people get special rates on life insurance. Go to healthiq.com/mta to support the show and learn more.

The Jungfrau Marathon -I am currently in Switzerland and just completed this epic mountain marathon. Race recap coming soon!

About Trevor Spencer

Trevor Spencer is the producer of the Marathon Training Academy Podcast. He loves to inspire people to take action in their fitness and life.

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