Interview with Sean Astin

Sean AstinWe are excited to welcome Sean Astin back on the MTA Podcast. Sean plays Bob Newby in Stranger Things 2. He’s best known for the staring role in Rudy, Goonies, and playing Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Sean has completed 13 marathons and a full Ironman triathlon.

In this interview you will hear about the races he’s done, the ups and downs, the #run3rd movement and the after school running programs he helped create.

Run 3rd kids

Also Mentioned In This Episode

#Run3rd 5k in Mesa, Arizona. Run the virtual race and get your #run3rd swag in the mail! Use the code MTA to save $5.00

Sean Astin website:

#Run3rd Facebook group

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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Interview with Gretchen Rubin -The Four Tendencies and Running

Gretchen Rubin is a bestselling author and expert on how to make healthy habits stick. In this podcast episode she explains how your personality tendency relates to your running goals.

And in this episode’s quick tip, Coach Angie explains how to tell if you need an extra rest day during training.

We’ve had Gretchen on the show on two previous occasions and I finally got to meet her and her sister Elizabeth Craft last summer at Podcast Movement.

Short Bio: Gretchen Rubin is one of the most influential writers on human nature. Her books, such as the blockbuster bestsellers The Happiness Project and Better Than Before have sold almost three million copies in more than thirty languages.

The Four Tendencies

Gretchen started her investigation into how humans handle both inner and outer expectations after having lunch with a friend who expressed this frustration,

“I want to get myself into the habit of running, but I can’t, and it really bothers me.”

She continued,

“When I was on the high school track team, I never missed track practice, so why can’t I go running now?”

As it turned out, her friend was an Obliger. This video explains it:

The Four Tendencies and Running

As runners we expect ourselves to arrive at the starting line of a marathon well prepared, having executed our training plan. But sometimes we disappoint ourselves and fail to stick to our goals in a consistent manner.

The Four Tendencies will explain how you handle both inner expectations (which you impose on yourself) and outer expectations (what others expect of you).

Once you know your tendency you can optimize for it. There are strategies, tips, and tactics in the book for dealing with each tendency.

Also Mentioned in This Episode

  • The Four Tendencies book
  • The Four Tendencies quiz
  • The Five Points of Life Race Weekend in Gainesville, Florida. Five Points of Life Race weekend February 17-18, featuring marathon, half marathon and 5K in beautiful Gainesville, Florida, home of the University of Florida—where the mean race temperature on race day is a balmy 58 degrees.
  • RXBAR – a whole food protein bar made with a few simple, clean ingredients, which all serve a purpose: Egg whites for protein. Dates to bind. Nuts for texture. Use the code “MTA” for 25% off your first order.
  • Health IQ -Marathon Training Academy is sponsored by *Health IQ*, an insurance company that helps health conscious people get special rates on life insurance. Go to to support the show and learn more.

By Angie Spencer

It can occasionally be hard to tell the difference between physically needing a break and being lazy. Even as a person who loves to exercise there are some days when I have to really figure out if my lack of motivation is due to a genuine reason or not. And with flu season here there are many people who are struggling with sickness. Here are some questions to ask yourself to figure out what your body needs:

1) Are your muscles really sore or are you feeling achy? This could be a sign that you’re not getting enough recovery or that you’re getting sick and an extra rest day may be just what you need.

2) Are you injured? Or are you dealing with discomfort that hurts while you’re running or afterward? This could be an early sign of injury and giving yourself an extra rest day to help decrease inflammation may be a wise choice. If the issue doesn’t respond to extra rest it’s time to consult professional medical advice.

3) Did you get less than 6 hours of sleep? Getting extra sleep is probably more important and it may be wise to take an extra day or do some easy low impact cross training or stretching/mobility work. Chronically getting very little sleep can lead to unpleasant things like lack of recovery, injury, increased stress levels, lack of progress in your training, and weight gain. I know there is a small minority that can thrive on less than 6 hours of sleep but that’s a very small number. The rest of us are simply functioning sub-optimally if we’re not getting the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep. See The Sleep Episode.

4) Have you been sick? If yes, take an extra rest day or five. It’s been a bad flu season and there has also been a lot of respiratory issues going around. I’ve heard from many runners lately who’ve been struggling with sickness in the middle of their training and it can be very frustrating to feel like you’re getting off track and losing fitness. But if your symptoms are below the neck or you’re dealing with a fever or body aches then strenuous exercise can actually delay healing. If you’ve been sick then it’s wise to focus on rest and recovery and when your energy levels start to normalize then starting back slowly is most beneficial. In most cases there’s plenty of time to pick back up with your training plan. But you shouldn’t train hard until you’re fully recovered. If your race is coming up quickly then it’s more beneficial to be a bit undertrained but healthy rather than try to continue training and prolong the sickness.

You can also use your recovery time as an opportunity to spot train any weak areas with a focus on mobility and then very slowly progressing back into running. I’ve seen many people who haven’t been back to “normal” training for 2-3 weeks after getting sick. Once your energy levels and eating begin to improve you can start with walking and light yoga or ST. If that feels fine then you can progress to easy runs and more normal cross training.

5) Is it just negative mental chatter? If you’re feeling fine physically and know you should get out for a run, then you probably should. If you’ve boiled your lack of motivation down to laziness then promise yourself that you’ll just get out for 1 mile (or whatever distance seems reasonable). At that point you’ll probably be more willing to continue. It’s always the hardest to get out the door and if you do that you’ll probably overcome the whole distance. I’d also encourage you to have a race that you’re training for. Even having a 5k on the calendar (and using a training plan) can help keep you motivated and challenge yourself. Also, understanding which of the 4 Tendencies that Gretchen talked about today can be very helpful in understanding how you respond to expectations and how to stay motivated and consistent.

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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Why Run A Marathon?

In this episode we discuss the many hidden benefits of running marathons, plus we’ll give you some important steps if you’re just starting. And in the quick tip segment we recommend an two online directories for finding races all over the world.

The marathon is a distance that puts you in a small minority of the population. Less than 1% of the population will run a marathon (some figures put this at 0.5% for the United States). And while the marathon is not for everyone, we truly believe that it’s do-able for most anyone who has the desire and is willing to work hard. But the marathon is also challenging enough that it’s important to put the time and energy into training properly. So, why run a marathon?

The start of a New Year causes many of us to think about health and fitness related goals. And if you’re listening to this podcast there’s a good chance that one of your goals is to become a long distance runner this year or take your current level of running to the next level.

For some people running a marathon has been a long time goal and for other people it’s been a natural progression as they’ve increased their fitness and want to challenge themselves. I’m sure many listeners have done a marathon at some point but then life got in the way and now they’re starting from the beginning again.

The reasons to run a marathon vary because each of us are different. We each have a unique set of life circumstances, personality traits and dreams for the future. Training for a marathon provides a big “payoff” or fulfillment factor. You will experience positive changes physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Here are some possible reasons that people have for taking on the marathon distance:

Social Benefits:

Friendships: Make new friends, whether in person or online. Running puts you in contact with a community of active, healthy and goal oriented people and breaks down the barriers between people. Even some of the short-term interactions I’ve had during marathons are special memories that I cherish to this day.

Inspiration: Taking on the marathon challenge is very likely to inspire other people in your life to get healthier and challenge themselves.

History: You get to tap into an amazing history of long distance runners. Our bodies are uniquely built to accommodate long distance running. When you run long distance there’s a sense of tapping into something truly primal.

Travel: A marathon can be a great way to explore new places. That may be a trail system nearby, a country road, or a state or country you’ve never visited before.

Explore: Be a tourist on foot. There’s a unique perspective that you get by running through the streets of a city, or past unique architecture, or through amazing natural settings. Somehow this just can’t be replicated by whizzing by in a car. Plus, during a race the streets are often closed down so you don’t have to battle traffic.

Supported exercise: How frequently in life do we get to have complete strangers cheering for us, or handing us water, gels, candy, and petroleum jelly? Plus, the end result is getting a medal placed around your neck. A marathon is a way to feel like a mini celebrity for the day.

Do good: Raise money for a great cause. Training for a marathon can be a wonderful way to shine light on a charity or cause that is important to you.

Trevor (right) at the Munich Marathon

Personal Benefits:

Self-confidence: Tackling the training runs and eventually the marathon distance help put other challenging things into perspective. You’ll come away knowing that you can achieve a lot more than you previously thought. Long distance running can start feeling like a secret super power.

Head space: Running long increases resilience and improves mental clarity. Running can become a passion, not just exercise. It can be a place where you find peace, solitude, have time to think, and are able to work through negative emotions.

Improved health: Some of the many benefits of marathon training include a stronger heart and lungs; more defined leg, glute and stomach muscles; better posture; possible weight loss; increased strength and endurance; better fitting clothes and more energy. Many people find that as they train it’s a catalyst for reducing or eliminating negative behaviors like smoking, excessive alcohol intake, and overeating junk food. You might add years to your life. But you’ll most certainly add life to your years.

New heroes: You’re very likely to come across some amazing people during training and the marathon. There are runners overcoming some huge challenges that just might put a lump in your throat, tears in your eyes and a smile on your face. Many of the people I admire the most are those who I’ve come in contact with through running.

Integrate: Become more at home where you live. Running has taken me down streets, roads and trails that I would never have explored if I wasn’t a runner. The quest to find interesting and unique running routes for trail runs, speed work and long runs really open up the area that you live to exploration. There’s a special high to discovering a “new” (to you) running route.

Running gear: For people who like to accessorize you’ll now have a great excuse to purchase that GPS watch you’ve been wanting, stockpile some awesome running shoes, and buy attractive and functional sweat wicking running clothes.

Goal achievement: As we get older many of the “firsts” in life are behind us. It’s not like we can (or want to) go back to our high school graduation or the birth of our first baby. Going the marathon distance for the first time is a very special moment and something you’ll probably remember the rest of your life. It will help you realize that there are probably other “firsts” or hobbies that are now within your reach as well.

Emotional payoff: People who run are often happier because of the release of endorphins (or feel good chemicals) in their brains, also known as the runner’s high. This results in a feeling of well-being, lowers stress levels, increases self-esteem, and improves mood.

Heightened senses: There’s something about long distance running that sharpens your senses. Smells, sights, sounds and tastes become all the more distinct. As I run I often take vivid pictures with my eyes (but you can do this on your phone too). The scent of a forest or bacon cooking really gets your attention. Plus, the food you eat post-long run or marathon is going to taste so amazing.

Because you can: The most important reason to run a marathon is for you. It’s all about challenging yourself and personally experiencing all the benefits that long distance running has to offer. When you train for a marathon for yourself it enables you to become more proud of yourself. I like the saying that goes something like this,

“There will be a day when I can no longer run. Today is NOT that day.”

Commit, Train, Succeed!

When you set a big goal like your first marathon it’s important to define your personal motivation. If your goal of doing a marathon doesn’t come from inside you, if you’re not doing it for yourself, it’s much more likely that you’ll give up when the going gets tough…and it WILL get tough. Things like scheduling difficulties, sickness, injury, lack of motivation and much more will probably happen at some point.

So remember that becoming a marathoner begins in the mind so really define that personal “why.” It may be some of the things we previously mentioned or it may be something totally different.

  • Your mind is in the driver’s seat on your marathon journey and once you decide to see something through it’s amazing how much the human will can conquer. There are people who complete marathons in wheelchairs, those in their 80’s and 90’s, and those using prosthesis. Many runners are battling or have overcome cancer, accidents, heart attacks, obesity, depression, anxiety and many other challenges.

In a marathon the average runner doesn’t run to merely beat others. Instead you run to achieve a personal victory. It’s a battle to become a better version of you. It’s hard to explain to non-runners why you would pay money to “abuse” your body. But anyone who has crossed the finish line understands. It’s part of the mystique of the marathon. Everyone who crosses the finish line is a winner.

Oprah finished a marathon a few years ago and her finishing time has become something to beat for many people. She said that running a marathon is a metaphor for life. It has obstacles, moments when you feel like giving up, when you’re tired or overwhelmed. But you keep going. Finally you can see the finish line. She said it was a proud and joyful moment- one of the best she’s ever had.

Veteran marathoner Hal Higdon says,

“Your life will never be the same, and regardless of what the future holds you can look back and say, I finished a marathon.”

And once you’ve decided to train for a marathon and have started that journey our goal at MTA is to support you however we can. That’s why we emphasize smart training. This involves knowing and listening to your body, building up your running base, scheduling your training, knowing how much time you need to train for a race, picking an appropriate training plan or getting a coach, and planning for personal safety. We want you to stay injury free and have the best possible experience. You can do this by building up slowly, not cutting corners, doing regular cross training like strength and core work, addressing small issues early before they turn into injury, taking rest days, and having a balance of hard and easy training days.

Also Mentioned In This Episode

  • -great race directory for finding marathons (and reviews of marathons) in the U.S.
  • -robust list of races all over the world.
  • Health IQ -Marathon Training Academy is sponsored by Health IQ, an insurance company that helps health conscious people get special rates on life insurance. Go to to support the show and learn more.

Shout Out!

Huge congrats to Academy member Joel who recently completed his first marathon!

Wow what an experience. Thank you Trevor and Angie for getting me through my first marathon and for such an amazing podcast. Your podcast has given me the courage to take my running to the next level. I now know I have what it takes to run a Marathon. The Chevron Houston Marathon was a great first Marathon. Having such an awesome support crew (my Texas Family) helped to push me through the tough miles. Unofficial chip Time was 5:51:58. -Joel G.

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Becoming a Lifetime Runner -Interview with Jonathan Beverly

Here at MTA we want to empower you to be a lifetime runner not just a “one and done” marathoner.

In this episode we speak with Jonathan Beverly author of the new book Run Strong Stay Hungry -9 Keys to Staying in the Race.

Why do some runners give up the sport when they get older why others continued for 40 years or more? Running journalist Jonathan Beverly interviewed 50 lifetime runners including champions Deena Kastor, Joan Benoit Samuelson, and Bill Rogers to discover the key ingredients that kept them going strong.

Jonathan BeverlyJonathan Beverly (age 53) is the former editor in chief of Running Times and shoe editor for Runner’s World. He lives in western Nebraska, near the Colorado border, with his wife, Tracy, and son, Landis. He helps coach the high school cross country and track teams and can often be found running the dirt roads and grassy hills of the high plains. He was on the podcast previously to talk about running form.

In this conversation you will hear why some runners gave up the sport while others have been running for decades.

photo credit: Jonathan Beverly

Interview Questions/Points

The book Run Strong Stay Hungry gleans wisdom from over 50 master’s runners—people who have been running for 30, 40, and 50 plus years and distills 9 keys to being a runner for life.

9 Keys

  1. Consistency: Lifetime runners have made running a habit (they run often and have made running a default). You are more likely to get injured in the build up to high mileage than maintaining high mileage.
  2. Variety: Mixing things up. Take time to get stronger, work every system, spice it up, know who you are (keep a strong identity as a runner).
  3. Training by feel: Let go of the watch and use perceived effort, listen to your body . . . become a chef. A chef doesn’t need a recipe.
  4. Humility and Hunger: Compare up, reframe adversity, embrace the process, personalize success.
  5. Adaptability: Setting Goals + Flexing with the Times. Be flexible as your life situation and body changes, be creative, be adventuresome, step away (decouple emotion from paces/PR’s), build adaptive skills, run hard less often, trample on the past, specialize and optimize.
  6. Student of the Sport: Learn all you can, be your own scientist, embrace the puzzle.
  7. Staying Connected: Nurturing the ties that bind and motivate. Be inspired, bridle the downtimes, broaden your purpose.
  8. Hope: Remember optimism can be chosen (see the book Learned Optimism). Cultivate hope, choose optimism, argue with the implications.
  9. Love: Lifetime runners simply love to run. Embrace your split personality- both the competitor and the runner inside, love the run, strike a balance, and find harmony.

Also Mentioned in This Episode

The book Run Strong Stay Hungry

The Running Form Episode -the first time we had Jonathon on the podcast.

Pittsburgh Marathon -Trevor is running this in May

Sun Basket -makes it easy and convenient to commit to healthy eating. Get $35 off your first order through our link!

Quick Tip: A Question From a Slow Runner

Here’s a great question we received from a listener named Maya,

So I’ve been training for a marathon for the past couple of months and I have to be honest with you- I am a slow runner. Running has never been easy for me, I’m really short and very feminine as some like to call it lol. I’m not built like a runner. But I set a goal all those months ago and I’d like to accomplish it. I’ve been training on and off and the marathon that I’ve already signed up for is pretty soon. I’m aiming
for about a 15:00min/min pace average. I just don’t want to be laughed at or judged for how slow I’m going to be running. That’s why my training has been all over the place. I keep convincing myself I shouldn’t even run a marathon. I don’t know, I guess I’m kind of freaking out that come race day, by the time I finish, everyone will be gone, and then when people ask me my time and I say about six hours,
they’ll judge me. I guess I’m looking for some encouragement and some advice on how to deal with this. -Maya

It’s very normal for slower runners to feel self-conscious about their pace.  Some people feel like they’re not “real” runners if they run slow (which we think it totally untrue).  The truth is that most people wish they were faster (whether they’re a 6 hour marathoner or 3 hour marathoner).  And unfortunately there are some judgmental people out there who won’t understand slower marathon times (both inside and outside the running community), but it does no good to worry about them.  I’ve had non runners ask me if I won the marathon and when I answer no they seem disappointed in me.

I think the key to having peace with your marathon time is to decide that you’re going to do this marathon for yourself, on your own terms.  That way if someone doesn’t understand it won’t bother you as much because you’re not doing it for them.  For some reason people like to chime in with their opinions (and social media makes this super easy). But if you really define your “why” for taking on this challenge then it becomes about your personal journey and becoming a better version of yourself. Whatever your pace, training for a marathon is a life changing experience.

It’s also a good idea to make sure that you choose a marathon with a generous cut off time to decrease anxiety about your finishing time. 

We have a couple articles on our website that may be helpful to you as you take on this adventure.  

Issues Faced by Slower Runners

Race Day as a Slow Runner

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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Interview with Ryan Hall

We’ve been long time fans of Ryan Hall and always hoped to have him on the podcast.

Ryan is a former professional runner, 2x olympian, American record holder in the half marathon, and the only American who has run a sub 2:05 marathon. These days he runs to raise money for great causes.

In this conversation you will hear how Ryan manages pain in the marathon and how he reframes the word “hard”. Plus, you’ll hear the story of how, at 13 years old, he had faith that one day he would run with the best in the world and use his running to help others.

Lot’s of great stories and tips in this interview!

Ryan Hall set the U.S. record in the half marathon when he ran 59:43 at the Houston Half Marathon in 2007- the first American to break one hour barrier. He placed 10th Olympic Marathon in Beijing. He’s the only American to run sub-2:05 (2:04:58 at Boston). His wife Sara Hall is also an elite runner -she just won the 2017 USATF Championship in 2:28:10. The Halls have 4 adopted daughter, sisters, from Ethiopia in 2015.

Quotes from this interview

How you define hard is how you are going to experience hard.

So much of running is about being able to shift your perspective as you go.

What you believe about yourself is going to determine where you go in life.

What set me apart from a lot of runners that I ran against is that I wasn’t afraid to risk a lot and fail.

Sometimes our biggest failures come right before our biggest breakthroughs.

When I could get outside of myself I was much better at managing pain.

Focus more on your heart than your performance.

Happy feet make light feet.

Seeing this video always makes me want to go out and run!


Ryan and Sarah Hall Website
Hall Steps Foundation
Running with Joy book

Also Mentioned in This Episode

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

RXBAR -a whole food protein bar made with a few simple, clean ingredients, which all serve a purpose: Egg whites for protein. Dates to bind. Nuts for texture. 100% delicious!

Bedgear Performance Bedding– uses heat-deflecting, moisture-wicking, and air flow technologies to get you sleeping deep so you wake ready to perform at your peak. Use code MARATHON20 to get 20% off.

CW Hemp -use promo code MTACWHEMP for 10% off Charlotte’s Web products – including their new creams and balm.

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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Race Recap: The Rehoboth Beach Marathon

Rehoboth Beach Marathon

In this episode Angie recaps the Rehoboth Beach Marathon in Delaware her 51st marathon and in the quick tip segment, we share tips and gear recommendations for running in the cold.

The 10th annual Rehoboth Beach Marathon and Half Marathon was held on December 2, 2017. The race website is kind of funky looking but they sent out very informative emails and had a very active FB page which included lots of restaurant recommendations.

The race gets excellent reviews on Marathon Guide. I found registration to be a bit expensive. Even if you pre-register 10 months in advance the fee is $100 then it goes up to $160 the closer you get to race day. The half marathon prices range from $85-140.

Race Morning

Rehoboth Beach Marathon
My alarm went off at 5:30 am and I got ready. Trevor and the boys drove me to the starting area. Fortunately there was very light traffic and about a 2.5 mile drive (less than 10 min) to get parked near the bandstand on Rehoboth Ave.

There is free parking in the downtown area and if you arrive early (around 6am) there will be plenty of spots. In the summer months they feature free concerts at the bandstand area with is right next to the beach.

I was able to get race morning packet pick up which was fast and easy. They had gender specific shirts (black for the guys and lavender for the ladies) and we also got the after party wrist band (extras are available for $30 pre-purchase). I got my bib pinned on, sat in car for a while, and then Trev & boys left.

The unofficial gear check

There were some indoor bathrooms and line of port o pots and the lines before 6:30 am weren’t bad. They had an unofficial bag check where you basically just dumped your stuff in an open bin.

As I waited for the race to start I saw the sun rise over the beach and ocean which was beautiful. The weather was clear and in the low 40’s. The race had pacing groups ranging from 3:00-5:30 for the marathon and half 1:40-3:00. Some runners were dressed up in holiday costumes (like Santa, holiday hats, ugly sweaters, a bear in a backpack, etc). There seemed to be many groups of friends together. After some pre-race announcements and the Star Spangled Banner the race started a couple minutes after 7am.

The Course

The town of Rehoboth Beach, DE, is located on the mid-Atlantic coast, is at sea level and is the largest beach resort area in the state of Delaware and has a year round population of around 1,500 people (which increases to over 20,000 during the summer months).

We ran down Rehoboth Ave by shops, through some residential areas for about a mile and out of town down Ocean Drive with nice views of the sunrise over the ocean. Then the course continued out to the Gordon Pond Wildlife Area and Cape Henlopen State Park. This area had hard packed trails at around the 5k point through mile 8.

I saw Academy member Foti Panagakos at this point and we started running together. The State Park area has WW2 bunkers and lookout towers from 1941 when the park was a military base. There are also beach views, coniferous trees, and marsh lands.

It was a very beautiful and peaceful section of the course with a few very minor hills. There seemed to be a nice mix of first time marathoners and those more seasoned like 50 Staters and Marathon Maniacs. The half marathon course split off around mile 9. Overall the course was well marked and there were volunteers at appropriate locations.

One thing that the course had was a couple long out and back sections which can sometimes be discouraging if you’re not prepared for them. Overall there were not a large amount of spectators except a few around aid stations and on some of the out and back areas.

Around mile 20 the course enters the Junction and Breakwater Trails (a former rail corridor) for a final out and back. I saw Bart Yasso around that point cheering. The area had state and country flags hung over the trail, music, and an announcer to liven things up. There is a slight incline from mile 22-25 but it wasn’t very noticeable.

After this trail section we head back into town to finish at 4th Street behind the Rehoboth Beach Running Company. Both the half and marathon have a time limit of 7 hours.

Aid Stations

The aid stations were located approximately every 2 miles and had water and sports drink. A couple also had gels and pickle juice. There was also an unofficial aid station candy stop and the Dairy Queen was handing out small ice creams at mile 10. There were port o pots located at the aid stations. For my fueling I used UCAN of course. I had a UCAN snack bar before the race and 2 servings of the mixture during the marathon which I took at pre-arranged intervals. My energy levels felt nice and solid, although I did enjoy a couple pieces of candy and some pickle juice during the race. Use the code MTA51

Finish Area

Rehoboth Beach Marathon
At the finish line they gave out heat sheets, great medals (anchor/life preserver), water, sports drink, and chocolate milk. There was a large tent with the post race party and more post-race celebration at the top of Cultured Pearl Restaurant. Inside the tent there was a long beer line- Dogfish Head Brewery- 3 beers, DJ doing music, and people singing and dancing. There was also an amazing food spread: waffles, sausage links, biscuits and gravy, hamburgers, veggie burgers, baked beans, mac & cheese, pasta salad, chips, sodas. Another great bonus is getting free race photos.

There were 945 marathon finishers and 1653 half marathon finishers. The male marathon winner was Jon Chesto with a time of 2:44:35. The female winner was Holly Smith with a time of 3:01:02.

My Experience

I enjoyed running with Foti for 13 miles and also interacting with other runners out on the course. I met a firefighter who had just run Philly the weekend before in his full fire gear. I saw a shirt that said,

“Slow and steady wins the race, unless you’re doing a real race.”

I always like observing clever race shirts and signs. The weather started in the mid-40’s and got up to the low 50’s with only a slight wind. It really was ideal running temps. I wore a throw away shirt that I got rid of around mile 2, light gloves from the Dollar Store, arm sleeves, capris, my MM tank, Altra Escalantes, and my lucky hat.

After about 3 miles I took my gloves off and rolled my arm sleeves down mid-race (but pulled them up again toward the last couple of miles in some wind).

My hip flexors and hamstrings were feeling very tight and I stopped to squat down and stretch a couple times (which always prompts runners to inquire whether you’re all right).

My mantra after mile 18 was inspired by an Academy member named Courntey and it was,

“This is fun, this is fun, pain is a liar.”

After some rest time in the afternoon our family got together with Foti and Judy at Chesapeake and Maine (a seafood place by Dogfish Head Brewery).

The next day we stopped by the Delaware State Capitol.

With my oldest son.

Running in the Cold

At pretty much every race you run you’ll see runners in a huge variety of clothing options. As someone who typically runs a little warm during races I’m always amazed at people bundled up with weather that’s 50 degrees or warmer. At Rehoboth Beach I saw everything from shorts and singlets to one man who had literally covered himself from head to toe (with only his eyes showing) for the race.

One key is to start to learn how your body reacts to various weather conditions and dress appropriately. And remember that if you’re warm at the start (not counting those throw away layers) then you’re probably going to overheat quickly. You’ll often hear the advice to dress as if it’s 20 degrees warmer. And when in doubt be sure to wear layers that can easily be removed or discarded.

Gear Recommendations from the MTA community:


Generation Ucan -the revolutionary new way for runners to fuel without sugar. Use the code MTA51 to save 15%

Sun Basket – makes it easy and convenient to commit to healthy eating. Get $35 off your first order through our link!

Bedgear Performance Bedding– uses heat-deflecting, moisture-wicking, and air flow technologies to get you sleeping deep so you wake ready to perform at your peak. Use code MARATHON20 to get 20% off.

Virtue Labs -a new haircare brand with a vision: To give everyone the best hair scientifically possible. Use the code MTA to try Virtue at 10% off, plus free shipping.

Shout Out

I had a pretty decent day at San Antonio today. I ran 3:32:58 and amazingly, I was third in my AG, which has never happened before, so it must have been OK. I’ve learned so much from Coach Steven in the past 6 months, and I kept his advice in my mind, and I think that’s what helped me to have a decent start and not completely fall apart in the end. All I can say is “thanks” — it’s been very challenging, but so much fun. -Mitch G.

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Motivation to Do the Hard Thing!

In this episode we motivate you to do the hard thing in endurance and life! We speak with Rob Jones, a double amputee who just ran 31 marathons in 31 days. Plus, Trevor recaps his Spartan Beast race in South Carolina and Angie gives a survey of the toughest races in the world -which will change your definition of hard.

Rob Jones was wounded by a land mine as a combat engineer with the Marine Corps in Afghanistan in 2010. His injuries required double above the knee amputations and extensive recap. He was fitted with prosthetics at the Walter Reed Medical Center where he relearned how to stand, walk, run, ride a bicycle and row.

photo credit: Rob Jones Journey

Rob trained for the 2010 Paralympics where he got a bronze medal in rowing. In 2013 he did a solo self supported transcontinental bike ride where he rode 5200 miles across the US in 181 days. His most recent challenge was running 31 marathons in 31 cities in 31 days to raise awareness and funds for wounded veteran charities (we talked to him on day 28).

Rob successfully finished his 31st marathon on Veterans Day 2017 -running 812 miles total and raising over $150k for charities.

You can find out more by visiting:

Rethinking What We Call Hard

Life can be full of pain and if you doubt that then a few minutes of listening to the news should be sufficient to change your mind. Although life is also good it can be hard and there is value in doing the hard thing. One benefit of challenging yourself is that through chosen discomfort you can build better resilience to face the pain that we don’t choose and can’t control. Building mental, physical and emotional resilience can make you a stronger and more compassionate person.

One great things about training for marathons is that it can help us redefine what is truly hard in life. In the grand scheme of things most of the irritations we experience on a day to day basis are first world problems.

The dictionary defines this as “a relatively trivial or minor problem or frustration (implying a contrast with serious problems such as those that may be experienced in the developing world).” Many first world problems include not finding a close parking spot, having to take the stairs, not having WiFi 24/7, not having a Starbucks nearby, having little leg room on a flight, dealing with a grumpy waiter or service professional, etc. These things are not truly hard.

Marathon training gives us a broader framework to experience the world. And if you’re at the point in your fitness where you don’t find the marathon hard anymore there are always lots of other hard endurance races to choose from.

Here are some of the hardest endurance races in the world:

  • Marathon de Sables– Sahara Desert, Moroco: 150-156 mile stage race split over 6 days through the blistering desert.
  • Hardrock 100– Silverton, CO: 48 hour time limit through the San Juan Mountains, 33,000 feet of ascent with the highest point at 14,000 feet and 33,000 of descent through tough terrain.
  • The Everest Marathon– Mt Everest Base Camp: participants are required to spend 3 weeks in Nepal prior to get acclimated to the elevation which starts at 18,000 feet and finishes down the mountain at 11,300 feet in very cold conditions.
  • The Barkley Marathons– TN: very hard to get entry, 100+ mile course: 120,000 feet of climbing, having to navigate and finish in less than 60 hours. Only 15 people have finished in the race’s 30 year history.
  • Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc– France: 106 mile course loops through France, Italy and Switzerland through tough and gorgeous mountains.
  • The Patagonian Expedition Race– Chile: this team event has a different course of 375-500 miles every year and requires navigation and survival skills as well as rock climbing and sea kayaking within a 10 day period. The race course is not announced until 24 hours before.
  • Self-Transcendence 3,100 Mile– NY City: longest certified road race where runners start at 6am and run through midnight for 52 days in a row.
  • Badwater 135– Death Valley, CA: starts at the lowest part of Death Valley in July and finishes at the end of the road on Mt Whitney. Over 14,600 ascent, 6,000 feet of descent and extremely hot conditions.
  • Pike’s Peak Ascent and Marathon– Manitou Springs, CO: Starts at 6,300 feet and winds along a narrow trail to 14,115 feet on top of Pike’s Peak and then turn around and make the descent.
  • The Munga– Belfast, South Africa: Along the Munga Trail where you have 120 hours to navigate around 400k (250 miles).
  • Iditarod Trail Invitational– Alaska: You can run, fat bike or ski the 1,000 mile course. Only about 58 individuals have finished since the event was started in 2000.
  • The Jungle Marathon– Amazon Jungle, Brazil: It’s called the world’s “wildest eco race” that transverses jungles and swamps through 100 degree heat and humidity. They offer a marathon, a 4 stage 80 mile ultra and a 6 stage 158 mile ultra.
  • Spartathalon– Athens, Greece: 150 miles+ along the route that Pheidippides ran from Athens to Sparta. Dean Karnazes talked a lot about this in his book “Road to Sparta.”
  • Other honorable mentions include Western States 100 in CA, Eastern States 100 in PA, Leadville Trail 100 in CO, HURT100 in Hawaii, Bob Graham Round in UK (hits 42 peaks in the Lake District), The Dragon’s Back Race in Wales (5 day, 188 miles, total climbs double the height of Everest 56,000 feet), Grand to Grand Ultra (Grand Canyon in AZ to summit of Grand Staircase in UT- self-supported 170 miles in 7 days), 6693 Ultra (choose 120 or 350 miles across the Arctic Circle, described as coldest, toughest and windiest), Ultra Trail Mt Fuji in Japan (105 miles in 46 hours), Plain 100 in WA (100-112 miles in 36 hours, totally self supported).

Also Mentioned in This Epsisode . . .

The Spartan Beast in South Carolina

Spartan Race

Does this look fun?

Trevor completed his Spartan Trifecta -running 3 distances in 1 calendar year. Read his race recap here.

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

BEDGEAR® Performance Bedding uses heat-deflecting, moisture-wicking, and air flow technologies to get you sleeping deep so you wake ready to perform at your peak. Use code MARATHON20 to get 20% off through December 31.

Virtue Labs -a new haircare brand with a vision: To give everyone the best hair scientifically possible. Use the code MTA to try Virtue at 10% off, plus free shipping.

Molekule – Creates a clean air purification experience, from the materials used on the device – like it’s sleek solid aluminum shell, to a streamlined filter subscription – with replacement filters arriving at your doorstep right when you need them. For $75 off your first order enter the promo code MTA at checkout.

Shout Out!

Hi Angie and Trevor, I am a relatively new listener and live in San Francisco. 5 years ago I was hit by a truck as I was crossing the street. My journey to return to health has been long but in some ways that accident was one of the best things that ever happened to me. It helped me to understand in a profound way how important our health is in order to live an enjoyable life. Somewhere along that journey I got it into my head that I want to try a half-marathon. I searched for a podcast on running tips and motivation, found yours, and it became my favorite right away. I wanted to suggest the book *Running With the Mind of Meditation* as a recommended read. The idea to recommend it came to mind during a couple of your shows, particularly in the Munich marathon recap where Trevor mentioned the emotional feelings he experienced during that race. Thank you both again for all of the good work you are both doing. Warmly, -Michelle

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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Marathon Success Story + What it Takes to Qualify for Boston

In this episode we bring you a marathon success story with Academy member Karima Modjadidi who kept a recurring knee injury at bay and earned a PR and BQ at her recent Marathon.

Plus, Angie talks about the Boston Marathon qualifying standards and what it takes to run a BQ.

Karima ran the Lehigh Valley Health Network Via Marathon (we refer to it as the Via) in Allentown, Pennsylvania this Fall.

The race is known for being a last chance Boston Qualifier however last year (2016) it was interrupted by a train crossing for 8 minutes which led to people missing their BQ.

Karima’s goal was to run a Boston Qualifying time at this year’s Via Marathon, but a nagging pain in the knee messed up her last 4 weeks of training.

In this conversation you will hear how she and her coach worked through it and what he told her before the race. She’s been training with MTA Coach Steve Waldon. Spoiler alert: She did qualify for Boston and set a PR! She’s amazing!

Karima is originally from Bethlehem, PA, hometown of Bart Yasso. She’s a PhD student at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in NYC and studies Psychology and Law. Her marathon PR is 3:24:56

This conversation illustrates the ups and downs of training and the often epic struggle that goes into earning a BQ. We hope you enjoy it!

Karima and parents after the Via Marathon

Karima with fellow MTA-ers Foti Panagakos and Mitch Goldstein

Also Mentioned in This Episode

MTA Coaching Services -if you are interested in putting the power of a running coach behind your training we have a limited number of spots open at the moment.

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

BEDGEAR® Performance Bedding uses heat-deflecting, moisture-wicking, and air flow technologies to get you sleeping deep so you wake ready to perform at your peak. Use code MARATHON20 to get 20% off through December 31.

RXBAR -a whole food protein bar made with a few simple, clean ingredients, which all serve a purpose: Egg whites for protein. Dates to bind. Nuts for texture.

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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Race Recap + What Angie Has Learned From Running 50 Marathons

In this episode we recap the Mount Desert Island Marathon in the beautiful state of Maine, USA.

Since this was my 50th marathon you will hear Trevor ask me to share some lessons and take-a-ways from my journey thus far. We also take a short walk down memory lane.

You never know where running will take you!

The 16th running of the Mount Desert Island Marathon in Maine took place on Sunday, October 15th, 2017. They also offer a half marathon (in its 4th year), a team relay and kids run.

The MDI Marathon fills up every year and has an informative website. They offered race deferrals, transfers to someone else and switching between races up until 6 weeks before the race. Another cool thing is that the race numbers are color coded so that participants, spectators, and race officials can identify the various groups:

  • BLUE = Experienced Marathoner (You have completed at least one marathon)
  • GREEN = Greenhorn (This is your first marathon – you picked a good one!)
  • PURPLE = Charity Fundraising Participant (Cheer loudly for these generous participants!)
  • ORANGE = Team Relay (Each relay participant will be issued two bibs. The bib with the team name and number is to be worn on the front, while the “RELAY” bib must be worn on back.)
  • RED = Half-Marathon

Race Exop

The race expo was located at the Atlantic Oceanside Event Center on Friday from 3-8pm and Saturday from 10-5pm. There were a few booths in the room and it was very easy to get your race packet.

Race swag consisted of a long sleeve tech shirt, maple water, balsamic vinegar and usual brochures and advertisements. They also had a pre-race pasta dinner on Saturday evening (which I didn’t attend).

The race director also started the Sea to Summit Series which includes MDI and the Millinocket Marathon and Half Marathon in Dec. Some of you may have heard of this event where race entry is free as an effort to support the community with more tourism after the lumber mill closed.

MTA Meet Up

I drove part of the 12 hour drive up to Maine on Friday and then finished up on Saturday. When I got to town I first went to packet pick up and then to the MTA meet up. We gathered at a coffee shop called Choco Latte on Saturday afternoon. It was awesome to meet Jason & Katy, Liz, Abby all from Maine. Another MTA member Kathleen also at race but wasn’t able to attend.

Bar Harbor is a beautiful area that gets millions of visitors each year from around the world. There are lots of great restaurants, art galleries and culture. When I was walking around town I saw a cruise ship sitting just off the island. Bar Harbor was settled in 1763 by fishermen, shipbuilders, artists, outdoor enthusiasts.

It has Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the North Atlantic Seaboard, and also the beautiful Acadia National Park. There are lots of area activities including hiking, biking, kayaking, birdwatching, snowshoe, cross country skiing, horseback, and great seafood.

Acadia was established in 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson with 6,000 acres. It has since expanded to 49,000 acres and encompasses nearly half of MDI and a scattering of smaller islands. The area has 125 miles of trails and of course some stately lighthouses.

Race Morning

I was thankful for easy logistics on race morning and found parking at park area near the YMCA. The half marathon had separate starting time (8:30) and location. The weather was overcast and in the mid-50’s which is perfect for running.

The race offered an early start for those runners who would take longer than 6.5 hours and had made prior arrangements. The race announcer did announcements over a PA system, there was a beach ball being bounced around in the corral of runners and they played the song ‘Thunderstruck” to pump everyone up.

There weren’t any designated corral sections for different paces or pacing teams. The Star spangled banner was played by a trumpeter and the race cannon sounded at 8am to get the race started along Main Street in Bar Harbor. The course had a 7 hour time limit.

The Course

The race start was on Main Street in Bar Harbor and somewhat flat and slightly downhill before hitting the first of many hills. The course continued around Otter Creek and Seal Harbor, through Northeast Harbor, up Somes Sound to Somesville and down the other side to Main Street in Southwest Harbor where the race ended. There were not many spectators along course, just a few through town areas and around the aid stations.

The trees were spectacular with fall colors and the beauty made the numerous hills a lot better. It started to get foggy and misty around the half marathon starting line which obscured some views of the ocean. On a clear day the view of the water would have been wonderful but the fall colors were stunning throughout. It started raining around 10:30am and continued rest of morning but fortunately the temperatures remained mild so that it didn’t get chilly if you kept moving.

Around the Sargeant Drive area there was the Maine Seacoast Mission’s vessel SUNBEAM just offshore tooting her fog horn in support! They were also using the PA to cheer runners on and played “Chariots of Fire” which was really motivating and unique.

Along the course I saw one guy’s shirt that said,

“The best pace is a suicide pace and today is a good day to die.”

As we got toward the final ¼ of the course the portion designated for runners narrowed and was along a busy highway for the last 10k. This was definitely not my favorite part of the course as we were splashed by cars and treated to vehicle exhaust. Around the 24.5 mile mark there was a Citgo Sign as a tribute to the Boston Marathon.

Aid Stations

There were aid stations approximately every two miles manned by very enthusiastic volunteers. Many of these were themed aid stations (one had a lady dancing in a fat suit, one was put on by midwives called “The Final Push”). They offered water, sports drinks, and gels toward the last few miles. I had a Generation UCAN snack bar pre-race and then 2 servings of UCAN in a bottle to take throughout. My energy felt solid throughout even though the hills took a toll on my legs. Use the code MTAMAINE to get 15% off!


Finish Line

The finish line area was in the town of South Harbor. My time was 4:56:42. At the finish line festival they gave out heat sheets. For refreshments they had Maple Water, sports drinks, granola, milk (white & chocolate), bagels, chips, bananas, and beer. I found the finish line area to be a bit confusing and challenging to find gear check and shuttle bus area to transport back to starting area in town. But in all fairness they did include a map in the race packet but I get notoriously turned around in unfamiliar areas. The race had live results and the medal was a gold lobster claw with a nice ribbon. Another awesome thing was free race photos.

They had a Sunday evening official post race party at the Side Street Café. I didn’t attend because I needed to start my drive back home.

  • The marathon had 651 finishers (Males – 343, Females – 308),
  • 508 half marathon finishers and 54 relay teams.
  • The male marathon winner: 2:28:18 Bryan Morseman (32).
  • The female Winner: 3:05:02 Leah Frost (4x winner and US Olympic Marathon Qualifier).
  • 1st place male for the half marathon was- Eric Ashe 1:15:25;
  • 1st place female winner- Erica Jesseman 1:21:57.
  • MDI also hosted the 2017 RRCA Eastern Region Championship.

This race is a great one to do if you want to visit a beautiful area of the country, love great scenery and fall colors, like smaller races and don’t mind a lot of hills. It was a great one to do for my 39th state and 50th marathon.

Also Mentioned In This Episode

Generation Ucan -the revolutionary new way for runners to fuel with sugar. Use the code MTAMAINE to save 15%

Sun Basket -makes it easy to create healthy organic meals at home in 30 minutes or less.

Virtue Labs -a new haircare brand with a vision: To give everyone the best hair scientifically possible. Use the code MTA to try Virtue at 10% off, plus free shipping.

Rehoboth Beach Marathon in Delaware – my next marathon.

Shout Out!

Not the greatest of marathons (very warm post mile 16) but I shaved off 37 minutes from my PR and last marathon with Coach Lynn’s guidance. Onto the next race in that elusive search for a BQ! -Megan at Marine Corps Marathon

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Interview with Bart Yasso -Race Everything!

Bart Yasso is the Chief Running Officer at Runner’s World Magazine and author of the new book Race Everything -How to Conquer Any Race at Any Distance.

He will retire from RW this December after 30 years at the magazine. As Chief Running Officer he travelled to 45-50 races events per year and personally completed over 1,000 races!

In this episode’s quick tip segment, Coach Angie answers a listener question about how to decrease pre-race anxiety.

Bart and I happened to be wearing the same running shoes . . . out of thousands of possibilities.

Bart’s first book My Life On The Run was the first running related book I read soon after I started training for my first race.

He was the fist high-profile experts we interviewed on the MTA podcast after we launched the show in 2010.

I kicked off our conversation by asking him about the Badwater 146 which Bart he ran in 1989, back when the race only had 7 runners. Bart was the only one at Runner’s World crazy enough to run it.

In our 45 minute conversation you will also hear . . .

  • Top picks (though it’s hard to choose) for 5k and 10k races
  • Tips for half marathon training
  • Running according to feel
  • What to do if you feel like crap on race day
  • Having to DNF a race and how to pick yourself back up
  • Tips for racing the New York City Marathon
  • The Runner’s World Half Marathon festival which Bart helped create
  • Why Bart loves the running community

How they visualize and plan the upcoming magazine issue at Runner’s World

Here is a question we received from a listener named Eli.

I really enjoyed the latest recap of the Munich Marathon. I had a question that I thought might make for a good quick tip. I completed my first marathon – Chicago – last weekend. I was thrilled to complete the marathon with a smile, but my performance was not nearly as good as my training runs leading up to race day. As I analyzed my data, I noticed that my heart rate was 15-20 bpm higher than the same pace in training runs, and that started from the first mile. My resting heart rate and recovery runs have been back to normal since then so I’m guessing that could be attributed to nerves and excitement. Are there strategies to make race day feel more like a regular run? -Eli

Great question about your heart rate and performance during the race.  Many, many runners (most, in fact) find that they notice a higher heart rate during races and this can lead to pacing challenges and more fatigue. 

Much of this phenomena is due to higher anxiety levels going into the race.  Things like subpar sleep the night before, navigating pre-race logistics, too much caffeine, crowds of people, worries about performance, and the generalized excitement in the starting corrals and beyond can account for the body feeling more tense and high strung than normal. 

Another factor that can lead to a higher heart rate is warmer running conditions which frequently happens at the Chicago Marathon.

Most of us develop a sort of long run routine during training so it’s easier to settle in during those and have lower stress levels. As you run more marathons your body should start to settle down a bit on race day.  But it’s helpful to work on positive (and calming) mantras that you repeat before each long run and race. 

Some runners find that doing some meditation on race morning helps their physiological and mental state.  Sticking as close as you can to your sleeping and eating routines can also help along with laying out everything you’ll need for the race the night before. 

I also find that building in extra time to get to the race decreases my stress level.  Then when you’re in the corral try to focus on your positive mantras, breathe deeply, and don’t think too far ahead.

Some runners find that big city races simply add too much stress to the experience and prefer smaller to mid-sized marathons.  Easier logistics and fewer runners help them settle in easier and have a better performance.

-Coach Angie

Also Mentioned in This Episode

Bart’s book Race Everything -How to Conquer Any Race at Any Distance. The book cover is a photo of Bart’s office door.

MTA Virtual Half -only a limited number of registrations left!

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

Thrive Market – Get $20 off your first 3 purchases (that’s $60 of FREE organic groceries + free shipping) when you used the link They are doing a drawing for a free $50 starter kit with lots of goodies. All you got to do is enter your email address when you visit the site.

Shout Out!

Congratulations to MTA coaching client Judith Dahl who ran the Amsterdam Marathon recently. Despite struggling with cramping during the race she was able to finish with a 5 minute PR!

Huge thanks to MTA Coach Steven Waldon who has been a big support this training cycle. I never would have managed to collect myself in the midst of my struggles and finish strong without the solid training plan. -Judith

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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