The Running Shoe Episode!

In this episode we speak with running shoe expert Brian Metzler author of the new book Kicksology -the Hype, Science, Culture, and Cool of Running Shoes.

Plus Angie shares tips on how to get the most out of your shoes . . .

And you will hear from a runner who’s been listening to the MTA Podcast since the very beginning.

Brian Metzler has tested more than 1,500 pairs of running shoes and written for Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Outside and GearJunkie. He’s also the founding editor of Trail Runner Magazine.

His new book is called Kicksology -the Hype, Science, Culture, and Cool of Running Shoes, published by VeloPress. He lives and trains in Colorado.

In this conversation we discuss the evolution of running shoes from the over-built (heavy) sneakers of the late 80’s and 90’s to the Minimalism Movement that swept through 10 years ago giving rise to shoes like Vibrams and Newtons to the carbon plate technology of Nike Vaporfly and Next% hitting the shelves today. Plus brands like Hoka, Altra, and On-Running that stand out from the competition with their unique design concepts.

You will also hear some tips on how to choose the right shoe for you and why it is wise to have a “quiver” of shoes to rotate during training.

Big thanks to all the Academy members who sent in questions!


And Thanks to Our Episode Sponsors . . .

Angie has run her last five marathons in Ons

On-Running
Speaking of running shoes, our go to shoes right are made by the Swiss company On-Running.

On was born in the Swiss alps with one goal: to revolutionize the sensation of running. The entire company is based around the idea of zero-gravity running and On has quickly become the fastest growing running brand in the world.

What makes On different is its emphasis on a clean and minimalistic design as well as its sole technology which gives you the sensation of running on clouds. And they have a full range of shoes and apparel to power your full day, on and off the trail.

Finally a green drink that tastes good!

Athletic Greens
The Athletic Greens ultimate daily all-in-one health drink with 75 proven vitamins, minerals and whole food-sourced ingredients makes it easier for you to get comprehensive nutrition without the need for multiple pills, powders or complex routines.

Whether you’re taking steps towards a healthier lifestyle or you’re an athlete pushing for better performance, Athletic Greens takes the guesswork out of everyday good health. Jump over to athleticgreens.com/mta and claim my special offer today – 20 FREE travel packs valued at $79 with your first purchase.

Also Mentioned in This Episode

The Chirp Wheel+ back pain relief wheel. It’s designed with a 5-inch width and spinal canal that cradles your spine and gives your muscles a 4-way stretch. Get your Chirp Wheel+ 3-Pack for 15% off with code MTA.

MTA Meet Up at the San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon.
Trevor will be running the San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon on December 8th. Please let us know if you will be there too. A pre-race diner meet-up (Mexican food of course) is in the works. MTA Coach Athena Farias will be there too! Here is the FB event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/534288650726942/

Congrats to Academy member and long time listener Debbie Gelber (who is also featured on this episode) on finishing marathon #33 at the Authentic Athens Marathon!

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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Live Podcast Event from the New York City Marathon

In this bonus podcast episode you will hear the replay from our live event at the New York City Marathon. Angie spoke on a panel with fellow podcasters Tina Muir, Carrie Tollefson, and Emily Abbate about their marathon stories -the ups and downs of training.

Big thanks to all the listeners who attended and special thanks to Generation Ucan for organizing it. Enjoy!

Carrie Tollefson, Tina Muir, Angie Spencer, Emily Abbate

Carrie Tollefson is a middle distance runner who represented the U.S. in the 2004 Olympics, a T.V. commentator, and host of the CTolle Run Podcast.

Tina Muir is a 2:36 marathoner who ran for Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the World Half Marathon Championships and host of the Running For Real Podcast.

Angie Spencer is a register nurse, running coach, and veteran of 61 marathons and ultras. She is co-host of the Marathon Training Academy Podcast (but you already knew that).

Emily Abbate is a NYC based freelance writer, fitness editor at SELF Magazine, certified personal trainer, and host of the Hurdle Podcast.

Generation Ucan is a nutrition and fueling company founded in 2010. Their SuperStarch® gives runners long lasting energy without spikes and crashes. Use the code MTANYC to save 15% on your order. New customers can use the code MTA25 for 25% off.

MTA Shakeout Run in Central Park

We also had the chance to meet up with listeners on Saturday (the day before the marathon) for a shakeout run in Central Park. We always love meeting new friends and connecting with listeners to the podcast! Three coaches from our team ran the marathon and were about to join us for the meet up.

MTA Coaches: Kristen, Dominique, Steven, Angie

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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Episode #300 Special! Listener Call-In

In today’s show we celebrate reaching our 300th podcast episode by hearing from our amazing listeners! We asked runners to call in and tell us where they live, what they do for a living, and what races they have on the calendar.

Plus Angie recaps her recent marathon in Vermont -which she is calling one of her most challenging races yet.

Huge thank you to the following runners for leaving a voicemail!

  • Shira
  • Mitch Goldstein
  • Lucy
  • Annie
  • Yali
  • Marty Gardner
  • Carolyn Gallagher
  • Linda
  • Armando
  • David
  • Kelly Whetstone
  • July Meyer
  • Kathleen Miller
  • Whitney Young
  • Andy Soto
  • Matthew Lippert
  • Jen Oellerich
  • Cooper DeVito
  • Andrew Lorenzo
  • Lynne Langlois
  • Guy Reams
  • Gregory Kaether
  • Bridget
  • Victoria
  • Byran G.
  • Kevin
  • Ann
  • A.J. Cappuccio
  • Heidi Wells
  • Tamanna Singh
  • Kyle Johnson
  • Mark Goddard
  • Steven Schirm
  • Selina

Also Mentioned in This Episode

The Nor’Witch Marathon in Vermont -that time that Angie almost won a marathon.

Athletic Greens -Go to to athleticgreens.com/mta and claim my special offer today – 20 FREE travel packs valued at $79 with your first purchase.

MetPro -Angie has lost 32 pounds working with Natalie my nutrition coach. To see if MetPro is the solution you’ve been looking for, take their Metabolic Assessment and schedule a complimentary consultation with one of their experts by going to www.metpro.co/mta

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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The Hartford Marathon Race Recap + How to Set Yourself up for a Personal Record


In this episode Angie recaps the Hartford Marathon in Connecticut -her 60th marathon and fastest to date. Plus Trevor recaps the Kaisermarathon in Austria. And in the quick tip segment you will hear how to set yourself up for a marathon PR.

The 26th edition of the Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon was held on Saturday, October 12, 2019. This is a non-profit race and $7.5 million was raised for charity.

This was my 47th state in my 50 State quest and my 60th marathon. My A goal going into this race was to break 3:30, my B goals was to PR (faster than the 3:35:41 set back at my 9th marathon in 2012), my C goal was to BQ (less than 3:40) and my D goal was to run my very best. I’ve been visualizing breaking 3:30 for the past several months and at the expo there was this board where you could write your goal. I wrote “break 3:30”. Based on how well my training had gone I knew I had it in me if all the necessary factors would come together for the marathon.

Pre-Race:

The expo was held at the XL Center in downtown Hartford and it was a nice mid-sized expo. I got my bib, my corral seeding sticker, race shirt and bag, and then walked around. Of course I had to stop by and say hi to Katie at the UCAN booth.

The race started at 8am so that allowed me to get up at my normal time of 6am (I actually woke up before my alarm). I got in a good meditation session, had some breakfast (2 packs plain instant oatmeal with a UCAN bar melted in), and got dressed and gathered my stuff.

I was staying at a hotel very close to the starting line so it made it very convenient to walk over there, find gear check, and use a port a pot for a final time (the lines weren’t long). The starting line area is right by Bushnell Park, close to the State Capitol, the Bushnell Building and the State Library & Supreme Court. I then got in my corral which was for runners who’d posted a sub-4:00 marathon and went to the very front where the 3:30 pace group was. I kind of felt like a fraud being up there but I knew if I wanted to attempt breaking 3:30 that I had to give myself every advantage. Even though I had a lot of nerves I kept telling myself that I was just excited and was prepared to give it my best. There was a few minute wait in the corral and they had race announcements, the National Anthem, and then we watched the wheelchair start 5 minute before the regular start. The weather was absolutely perfect for a marathon. It started out in the low 50’s and got up to low 60’s by the time I finished. It was mostly overcast with some wind.

The Course

The marathon and HM courses split pretty quickly (before mile 2) which definitely reduced congestion. They also had a marathon relay with several relay exchange points along the course and there was a 5k that had a different course. I’ve heard that the HM course is more scenic but the marathon was quite nice too. We ran along the Connecticut River and near Riverside Park and Great River Park for a stretch.

The HM had a time limit of 3 hours and the marathon time limit was 6 hours. There seemed to be quite a few turns in the first few miles but the course was very well marked. There was an out and back from mile 13 to the turn around just after mile 17. The course advertizes as having some rolling hills. The hills at mile 17 and mile 25 felt the most challenging.

Aid Stations

There were frequent aid stations along the course stocked with water, Nuun energy drink, and some with gels. The race estimates that they serve 11,232 gel packs. There was even an aid station stocked with candy near the end. 9,400 gallons of water served at aid stations. The marathon works hard to make the event as environmentally friendly as possible. The 142,000 paper cups they use are fully compostable and 13,785 pounds of trash is diverted from landfills. 29,350 volunteer hours are donated to make the races possible. The volunteers that I interacted with were all helpful and encouraging.

For my fueling I had a UCAN bar with my breakfast about an hour before the race. Then I carried 2 UCAN bars and too them at intervals washed down with water from the aid stations. I also had some caffeinated chews that I used to boost my energy in the last few miles.

The course had quite a few bands or DJ’s (including a bag piper) and several places with a good amount of spectators. The crowds were particularly good near the marathon relay exchange points and closer to the finish line.

I remember running by an auto shop with a rough looking truck parked nearby with the words “The Kraken” painted on it. It made me laugh a bit because I thought, “well, there’s the Kraken.”

They seemed to have reliable pace groups out on the course. I started just in front of the 3:30 pace group and my goal was to stay in front of them for as long as possible and then hang on when they passed me. They caught up to me at mile 25 and after that I stayed right on the 3:30 pacer’s shoulder before passing them in the final stretch.

The Finish

The finish line is absolutely beautiful and very exciting. The finish goes under the Veteran’s Memorial Arch and the street is lined with 500 autumn mum plants to decorate the finish line. There are tons of cheering spectators. They have a rotating cast of six announcers calling finisher’s names for six continuous hours.

The winners for the marathon were Ryan Smith with a time of 2:18:25 and Marci Klimek in 2:35:20. The winners for the HM were Jonathan Phillips in 1:04:51 and Nuhamin Ashame in 1:13:08. They also had a 5k and kid’s race. There were 1493 marathon finishers and 3,710 HM finishers. The Hartford Marathon gives out $53,380 in prize money and they had 67 elite athletes from New England states participating (many going for an Olympic Qualifying time).

They had a reusable celebration buzzer for runners to push if they’re a first timer or got a personal best. It sounded like a firehouse bell and has flashing lights and seemed to be getting a lot of use. They also had a 40 foot long drinking fountain designed by UTC engineers which has saved 220,000 plastic water bottles from landfill.

The post-race area is in Bushnell Park which has lovely walkways and an antique carousel. There was a ton going on post-race and a party atmosphere with a live band, beer garden, and great food area (choices included fruit cups, chips, granola, donuts, bananas, chocolate milk, bagels, rice jambalaya). They also gave out a reusable water bottle, heat sheet (they estimate seven thousand are given out), and awesome medal which has the capitol and Veteran’s Arch with a stained glass look behind it. The race shirt was a long-sleeve in soft cotton and another perk was free race photos and finish line video. Approximately 38,000 photos are taken by photographers on race day.

My Experience:

I knew my training indicated that I could have a good marathon in Hartford if everything came together. Of course 10 days before the race I started feeling really fatigued and having symptoms that indicated I was coming down with a cold (taper troubles). I did everything I could think of to feel better and finally decided that it was fall allergies bothering me. I also knew that my period was scheduled to start on marathon day which is a wild card that many of us ladies have to deal with. There are some things you can control and others you just have to roll with.

Two core values that I’ve been thinking about lately are “gratitude and courage.” Each person will apply gratitude in different ways and each person will have different ways that they can be courageous. But I wanted to bring these two elements into the marathon with me.

I felt good on race morning and was cautiously optimistic about a PR. The weather was looking perfect and I knew all I could do was to go out there and give it my best. The night before the marathon I saw a post by David Goggins on IG that said something to the effect that you have to recertify as a badass (I’m modifying the language). In most professions you have to recertify periodically to keep up with the current knowledge and he was saying that we can’t rest on past achievements and need to keep proving to ourselves that we can do hard things.

Then after waking up on race morning I saw that Eliud Kipchoge ran 1:59:40 in Vienna to go sub-2:00 in the marathon and that was so inspiring. To see his smile and wise words about pursuing your dreams gave me more motivation to go out and do my best.

On my Race Ready ID (which I wear on my watch) I put the mantra “keep pushing” and that’s exactly what I did. I decided not to settle back and get comfortable on any mile but instead stay relaxed, stay grateful, and be courageous. I focused hard on keeping my self talk positive. If I was going up a hill I’d say something like “good thing you trained on hills” or “this hill is smaller than the one’s back home.” I specifically looked for beauty around me (which wasn’t hard considering the fall foliage in New England). If I felt my focus drifting I brought my attention back to the present and told myself to have courage.

Obviously it looks slightly different to keep pushing depending on what mile you’re in because you don’t want to push your effort too hard in the early miles. And it gets significantly harder to keep pushing as the miles increase. I knew I’d have to keep my pace at 8:00 minute miles to break 3:30 so in the earlier miles I allowed myself to run a bit faster to make up for any later miles that might end up being a bit slower. But I didn’t obsess about my pace or splits and only looked at my watch to see my mile split when it buzzed. At mile 23 I knew that if I held the pace and nothing went wrong I’d be able to break 3:30. The 3:30 pacer caught up with me just before mile 25 and I knew that I’d hang on with everything I had. The last mile felt tough with the final hill but I passed the pacer and was able to accelerate in the final stretch. I knew that I could finish strong and I couldn’t wait to see the 3:29 on the clock. I also felt so grateful to be running my 60th marathon and be strong and healthy.

When I crossed the finish line I felt emotional with gratitude. It was awesome to meet my goal of breaking 3:30 and set a PR. My last PR of 3:35:41 was set at my 9th marathon back in 2012. So this new PR of 6:09 was over 7 years in coming. As far as results go I was 256/1,111 overall, 59/384 females, and 6/74 in my age group. I got to see Shira and her husband Chris along with Jo just after crossing the finish line. It was rather amusing that I was able to run strong the final stretch but when I started walking through the finisher’s area my body started seizing up, I got a foot cramp, and it was hard to walk. Still, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.

MTA Meet Up:

Later that afternoon we had a small MTA meet up at the Hog River Brewery. This was where the Manchester Running Club was meeting as well. It was wonderful to meet Kaitlyn who was there with her family (she did the marathon relay), Jo from WI who did the HM, and Shira (and husband Chris) who did the HM. I also got to meet David who heads up the running club.

1. Build a solid foundation.
Don’t rush the process. If you’re looking to PR make sure that you build a solid running base first and are injury free before ramping up your training. We hear from a lot of runners and a few of them write something to this effect: “I just started running again, have a marathon in 12 weeks, and want to meet this aggressive time goal…”

While I applaud having big audacious goals it rarely works out well for people when they try to rush the process. There may be a few runners out there who have natural talent and seem to be injury proof but unfortunately this is not the norm. Most of us have to be smart about training and put in a lot of hard work. It’s important to focus on building a solid foundation first before demanding more out of your body. My recent marathon PR was built on the top of two solid marathon training cycles (London in April and Charlevoix, MI in June).

2. Love the process.
Which really is key for “don’t forget the “boring” stuff”. Success in long distance running often comes down to what you do behind the scenes. This has been one huge key to how I’ve been able to run 60 marathons and make progress toward my time goals. This will include things like strength training. I started strength training regularly during a period of injury and strengthening my glutes (among other areas) has been key to keeping my hamstrings strong and healthy. Another important area is recovery. Things like quality sleep, massage/foam rolling, meditation, not racing too frequently, doing easy runs truly easy can all play a big role in helping you run healthy and strong.

Another behind the scenes area is your nutrition. Fueling your body well is key to getting a lot out of yourself. Think of yourself as an athlete and feed yourself for performance. Yes, food is also meant to be enjoyed but there’s definitely a balance. This will also help you build muscle and lose fat if those are your goals. We all have our particular areas within the realm of fueling that need to be worked on. For some people it means cutting back on sugar and processed foods, cutting back on alcohol, eating more vegetables, or increasing their protein intake. For some it may mean letting go of restrictive eating patterns and truly getting the calories you need to get stronger and reduce the chance of injury.

3. Work on mindset.
Your attitude and thought process can either make or break your PR goals. If we spend time thinking about why we can’t do something then it probably won’t happen. But if we think of all the ways we can make our goals happen they’re more likely to be achieved. Just like we spend time on physical training I’d encourage you to spend time on mental training. In some way spend time every day focusing on strengthening your mindset, finding good mantras, and meditating on and visualizing the results you want. If you don’t practice mindset it won’t magically come through for you when you need it most.

For example, I meditate for 20 minutes every morning and at the end of my session I have a series of positive affirmations that I go through. Each person’s affirmations will be unique but three of mine are, “I am healthy, I am strong, I am a sub-3:30 marathoner.” It feels a bit weird at first to speak of your goals as if they’ve already happened but we must remember that goals start with belief, then become thoughts, and then are put into action.

On race day work hard to stay focused and keep your mindset positive. Control the catastrophic thinking that can happen during the race and try to stay in the present. For example, after crossing a timing mat I didn’t hear a beep and I started worrying that my bib didn’t have the tracking chip and that my race wouldn’t count. I had to deliberately throw that thought out of my head. Another time I felt a slight cramping twinge in my left hamstring and had to stop worrying that it would go into a full blown cramp. I reminded myself not to borrow trouble, to relax, and that I was feeling strong. Throughout the race I found myself worrying that the 3:30 pace group would leave me in the dust and I had to deliberately push that thought away and focus on pushing and running strong in the present. In the last 5k I was worrying that I’d trip and not be able to recover and miss my time goal. Maybe you can’t relate to my examples but if you examine your thought process during a long run or race you’ll find other things that you worry and fixate on.

4. Enlist help and support.
If you find yourself running into the proverbial wall over and over again with your goals it’s important to seek help. We often learn and grow best in a community and we all need support at times. This is going to vary from runner to runner. It may involve following through with a training plan (if you haven’t in the past), joining a local running group, finding a running partner who will challenge you, joining an online community, and getting a running coach. There’s no shame in needing help. Almost a year ago I started getting help from a nutrition coach at Metpro to deal with a stubborn weight gain. This was a turning point in my health and fitness and is one of the keys to where I am today with my running.

To be successful in reaching challenging goals like a BQ or PR in the marathon you have to fall in love with the process. If you’re only running to get faster there will be lots of discouraging runs and races where you’ll question everything. I went 7.5 years (and 51 marathons) before getting a new PR. And of course there will come a point in every person’s running that you won’t get any faster. That’s just a result of aging.

But if you fall in love with the process and start to enjoy the challenge of doing hard things then you’ll find joy in the journey and not just focus on the destination. That may mean you need to find ways to enjoy things like going to bed early, regular strength training, reducing alcohol or other foods that hinder your performance, dialing in your nutrition for better performance, getting up early to run, or foam rolling. You probably know where your weak areas are and what needs to be addressed for you to get better. And if you’re struggling with knowing what to do or how to do it consider hiring a coach. They can help you pinpoint problem areas and map a successful way forward.

Also Mentioned in This Episode

Live Podcast with Generation Ucan
Angie will be speaking at a live podcast event with Generation Ucan on Friday, November 1st from 6:30-8:00 at the New York Marriott Marquis. She will be on a panel with fellow podcasters Tina Muir, Carrie Tollefson, and Emily Abbate. This is event is free but space is limited! Here is the link to register now.

Morning Shake Out Run with MTA
We are also hosting a short 2-mile shakeout jog / chat the day before the Saturday the 2nd at 8:00 am. See this Google doc for more info: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1iy3_jlaHyFbzR4cJx5tGHQA84omJZ_n9wDMULaZH89w/edit?usp=sharing

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Interview with Coach Bob Larsen

In this episode we bring you an interview with Bob Larsen -pioneering running coach, retired Head of Track and Field at UCLA, Meb Keflezighi’s coach, and co-founder of the Mammoth Track Club.

Plus Angie will tell you about a GPS watch with a super long battery life.

In our last episode author Matthew Futterman told us about the “guru who unlocked the secrets of speed”. Well, we are thrilled to have an opportunity to speak with that the guru himself!

Coach Larsen was born in 1939, he’s 80 years old at the time of this recording and still runs everyday! He coached at Grossmont College and Monte Vista College where his teams won conference titles and national championships. He then became the Head Track and Field Coach at UCLA where he led athletes to a total of 20 NCAA titles.

After he retired from UCLA he and coach Joe Vigil founded the Mammoth Track Club in order to made US marathoners competitive again on at the international level. On the team was Meb Keflezighi -the only man who has won the New York City Marathon, The Boston Marathon, and an Olympic medal, and Deana Kastor -holds the fastest marathon time (2:19:36) for a female athlete in the U.S. and winner of the Chicago Marathon, the London Marathon, and a bronze medal in the 2004 Olympic games.

In 2019 he was given the Legend Coach Award by USATF -the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States.

Also Mentioned in This Episode

The Chirp Wheel+ is a back-pain relief device that targets muscles around your spine. Use code MTA for 15% off.

The Runner’s Toolbox -8 inexpensive items to keep at home to prevent and self-treat running injuries.

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 Coach Bob Larson

In this episode we bring you an interview with Bob Larson -pioneering running coach, retired Head of Track and Field at UCLA, Meb Keflezighi’s coach, and co-founder of the Mammoth Track Club.

Plus Angie will tell you about a GPS watch with a super long battery life.

In our last episode author Matthew Futterman told us about the “guru who unlocked the secrets of speed”. Well, we are thrilled to have an opportunity to speak with that the guru himself!

Coach Larson was born in 1939, he’s 80 years old at the time of this recording and still runs everyday! He coached at Grossmont College and Monte Vista College where his teams won conference titles and national championships. He then became the Head Track and Field Coach at UCLA where he led athletes to a total of 20 NCAA titles.

After he retired from UCLA he and coach Joe Vigil founded the Mammoth Track Club in order to made US marathoners competitive again on at the international level. On the team was Meb Keflezighi -the only man who has won the New York City Marathon, The Boston Marathon, and an Olympic medal, and Deana Kastor -holds the fastest marathon time (2:19:36) for a female athlete in the U.S. and winner of the Chicago Marathon, the London Marathon, and a bronze medal in the 2004 Olympic games.

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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Running to the Edge

In this podcast episode we speak with Matthew Futterman, sports editor at the New York Times, about his new book Running to the Edge -A Band of Misfits and the Guru Who Unlocked the Secrets of Speed.

This interview provides an interesting overview of the last four decades of distance running, a reminder of how far we’ve come, and plenty of motivation to run to your edge!

In the quick tip segment, Angie shares a mantra for getting through the last 10k of a marathon.

The author with Coach Bob Larson (photo credit: Matthew Futterman)

Matthew Futterman is Deputy Sports Editor of The New York Times. He has also worked for The Wall Street Journal, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. He is an active marathoner himself and lives in New York with his family. His new book is called Running to the Edge

In this interview you will hear us mention:

Coach Bob Larson -Pioneering running coach, Retired Head Track and Field Coach at UCLA, Meb Keflezighi’s coach and co-founded of the Mammoth Track Club.

The Jamul Toads -a small underdog running team from San Diego, coached by Bob Larson, that won the AAU National Cross Country Championship in 1976.

Steve Prefontaine -an iconic American middle and long-distance runner who competed in the 1972 Olympics and ran for the Oregon Track Club. He was tragically killed in a car accident at the age of 24.

Alberto Salazar -won the NYC Marathon three times in a row from 1980-82. He also won the Boston Marathon in 1982.

Author Lydiard -New Zealand running coach who helped popularized the sport. A proponent of high training volume.

Coach Joe Vigil (pronounced Vee-hill) -Deana Kastor’s coach, expert on training at elevation, and helped found Mammoth Track Club.

Meb Keflezighi -the only man who has won the New York City Marathon, The Boston Marathon, and an Olympic medal.

Deana Kastor -Holds the fastest marathon time (2:19:36) for a female athlete in the U.S. and winner of the Chicago Marathon, the London Marathon, and a bronze medal in the 2004 Olympic games.

Eliud Kipchoge -fastest marathoner of all times, currently ranked #1 in the world.

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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Exploring the “Pain Cave” with Courtney Dauwalter

In this episode we speak with ultra runner Courtney Dauwalter -winner of the 2019 Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc -the most prestigious trail ultramarathon in Europe.

And in the quick tip segment you will hear about nutrition strategies for building muscle and promoting recovery.

photo credit: Scott Rokis Photography

We are thrilled to get a chance to speak with Courtney Dauwalter -a runner we have admired for some time. Courtney describes herself as an “ultra runner with a love for sunshine, long inseams, and candy.”

She won the prestigious Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, considered to be the World Cup of ultra running, on September 1st 2019. This 106 miles race starts in Chamonix, France, and runs through the Alps into Italy, Switzerland, and back to Chamonix where thousands of cheering spectators and media welcome the champions.

Courtney was the first place female with a time of 24 hours, 34 minutes and 26 seconds finishing 1 hour ahead of 2nd place.

Also Mentioned in This Episode

Ultra Addict Movie -a 10 minute film by Salomon about Courtney’s Tahoe 200 run.

Follow Courtney on social media here: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

The Revel Kulia Marathon in Hawaii. This will be Angie’s final marathon in her 50 state quest! Still time to sign up for the race and meet us there.

Angelo Poli

Angelo Poli, metabolism expert and founder of MetPro, joined us to answer the question, “Are there nutrition strategies for building muscle and promoting recovery?”. Since November Angie has lost 31 pounds and got her marathon time back down to Boston Qualifying level using the MetPro system. Visit www.metpro.co/mta for a free consultation call.

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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The Marathon Fueling Episode!

In this episode we discuss how to fuel effectively for a long run or race. Plus, we answer questions sent in from listeners about carbo loading, considerations for female athletes, and fueling for an ultra.

We haven’t done an episode focused on fueling for long distance runners in a long time. And I know that many runners are currently in the midst of training, preparing, and running their fall races. It can often be challenging to figure out what your fueling strategy is going to be, especially for your first half marathon or marathon. Your fueling tolerance can also change over time so sometimes you need to go back to the drawing board. Figuring out a fueling strategy can often be quite challenging because there is no one-size fits all formula.

Your body burns through approximately 80-100 calories per mile (or per 1.6 km) while running. The total calories will vary based on your weight, amount of muscle mass, pace/effort level, and environmental conditions. The body stores fuel in the form of glycogen and keeps around 1200-1800 calories readily available in the muscles (and a small amount in the liver). The amount of muscle glycogen will also vary based on your size, muscle mass, and how carefully you’ve trained your body to absorb carbs (like during the refueling period post-workout).

During a longer run your body will burn a combination of carbohydrates and fat. If you run hard you’ll burn mostly carbs while easier effort running taps into your fat reserves. The body can also break down muscle to convert to energy which is definitely not something we want to be sacrificing. That’s referred to as muscle catabolism.

If you’ll be running for 90 minutes or more (or doing a very hard effort of shorter duration) you’ll want to start experimenting with fueling methods. The other alternative is going through the process of becoming fat adapted which can take from several weeks to several months. Whichever method you choose it may still take some time to learn what to eat before, during, and after running for the best results. We’re going to focus primarily on non-fat adapted runners in talking about a fueling strategy. If you’re fat adapted it is still wise to figure out a fueling strategy if you’ll be going the marathon distance and beyond.

Pre-run Strategy:

If you’ll be running for less than 90 minutes you don’t necessarily need any pre-run fuel. If the run is at an easy pace you may not need any fuel at all (everyone is a bit different). However, if you find your energy levels dipping during a run of 90 minutes or less, a pre-run snack can be beneficial to perform your best. Just make sure that you leave plenty of time for your body to digest the food so that you don’t have stomach issues/GI distress.

Running makes digestion challenging for the body because of the constant motion. Blood is shunted away from the GI system for priority use by the running muscles. This can make adequate digestion (and avoiding nausea and diarrhea) a bit of a trick. Some runners are very susceptible to “dumping syndrome” while running. Basically your body decides that the food in your stomach can’t be adequately digested and sends it on the express route through the intestines (and into a port-a-pot if you’re lucky).

If you’ll be running for more than 90 minutes make sure that any pre-race meal that you eat is finished at least 3 hours before you start. This is the amount of time it takes for the blood sugar and insulin levels to return to their normal state. If you eat closer to a long run or race your body will simply burn through your glycogen stores more quickly and it may cause a drop in energy levels while you run.

Many morning runners do their shorter runs in a “fasted” state. That means they don’t eat (maybe other than coffee) before heading out the door. But it’s actually okay to start a long run or race with an empty stomach too. I know that this may seem counterintuitive and a little scary at first. It was a hard concept for me to accept at first too. I was used to eating around 1 ½ to 2 hours before my long runs and marathons to provide the fuel I thought was necessary. I was sure that my oatmeal and a banana was a good thing. However, I couldn’t figure out why I had a constant churning in my stomach during the first few miles and then experience a blood sugar “crash” at about mile 6-7. It was a huge moment for me when I realized that my pre-race meal was to blame.

During your night of sleep the body is in fasting mode and it hangs onto its store of glycogen in the muscles. The muscle glycogen is sitting there ready to go no matter if your stomach is empty or not. The only thing that gets emptied during the night is the glycogen store in your liver. The goal of the pre-race meal is simply to top off the liver glycogen store and this can be accomplished right before the race without negatively affecting how your body burns the muscle glycogen.

For many years now I’ve used the approach of not eating before a race or long run (who wants to get up at 3-5 am to eat anyway). It was a little scary at first heading out with an empty stomach. However, the new strategy worked! I would simply start my fueling strategy before starting my run and then keep up with a steady fueling plan for the duration. No more churning stomach and energy crash! It’s definitely something to experiment with if your current strategy isn’t working well.

Since I’ve started sharing these new fueling recommendations I’ve heard from many people on this topic. Some said that they were skeptical and hesitant to not eat before a long run. However, once they’ve tried it, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. People are reporting fewer stomach problems and steadier energy.

If you’re having stomach issues on your long runs you can try changing to a different sports drink or fueling product (certain sweeteners like fructose, maltodextrin, agave, and stevia can cause problems for some). Another strategy to try is to make sure your pre-run meal is finished at least 3 hours before exercise. You may also want to avoid dairy products because many people are lactose intolerant and don’t know it. The deficiency of the enzyme lactase can cause cramping, bloating, gas, and diarrhea. A final cause of GI distress for some people is their caffeine intake.

If you choose to eat before your race or long run you’ll want to eat something high in carbohydrate with some protein but low in fiber and fat. Make sure this meal is finished approximately 3 hours before your run (especially if you struggle with GI distress). Some people have “iron guts” and can almost eat anything before and during running while others have such touchy systems that it can be a challenge to figure out a good fueling regimen.

One thing that’s important to remember with fueling is that the goal is not to replace all the calories you burn. Your body simply cannot digest that many calories while you run. You’ll be in a calorie deficit (especially during long runs) but your body is equipped to deal with that. So, when you’re figuring out a fueling strategy for a long run you don’t want to plan on consuming 1000 calories if you’re running 10 miles. Men can usually take in a higher range of calories per hour while women should plan on using their body weight as a starting point. For example if you’re 150 pounds then try consuming 150 calories per hour while running.

What to Eat During Your Run:

Your long runs will be the time to try out various fuels and figure out your strategy. There are many different options available. Here are a few of the more popular options:

  • Gels: An energy gel usually has a syrupy/gel-like consistency and provides carbohydrates to the body quickly. Energy gels can also be referred to as endurance gel, sports gel, nutritional gel and carbohydrate gel. In the same category as gels would be most chews/Gus/blocks/chomps/sports beans/etc. Most contain around 100 calories per serving. Gels are frequently provided at a couple of aid stations during marathons. Some people also find that the concentrated sugar in gels makes them sick to their stomach. This is because most gels have approximately a 73% concentration of sugars and the stomach isn’t equipped to deal with that effectively. You’ll notice that most gels recommend that you take it with 2-4 oz of water to reduce the concentration. The recommended use of energy gels is using one 5-10 minutes before starting a run if you’re starting out fasted and then one every 25-40 minutes thereafter.

    The amount of gels (or related products) you’ll need to consume depends on your metabolism, body weight, how much your system can absorb, and fitness level. Which brand of energy gels you choose will be based on your personal preference and taste. If you have a sensitive stomach do some label reading to see what kind of sugars are contained in the product. If taking a whole gel at once doesn’t work for you it may be wise to take ½ at a time washed down with water from an aid station. If you’re planning on using the fueling products from an aid station during a race it’s wise to practice with that fuel during your long runs.

  • Sports Drinks: Another popular method of fueling is using sports drinks. You can buy readymade drinks or powders that you mix on your own. Depending on how much water you mix the powder with will determine the amount of calories per serving. It’s wise to follow the package directions because the osmolality of the carbohydrate solution is important in how it is assimilated into your body. If you choose to mix the powder thicker than recommended make sure you take it with water. Osmolality is basically the concentration of dissolved particles in your blood plasma. The higher the concentration of your carb source, the higher the osmolality. This means that it will take longer to leave your stomach and intestines (during which time it’s not being made available to your muscles).

    Most races will provide sports drink at nearly every aid station. If you plan on taking advantage of this for your fueling it would be wise to practice with it in advance. If you choose to carry your own sports drink to fuel with make sure that you’ve practiced carrying the amount you’ll need for the race. Many larger marathons don’t allow hydration packs so that that into account as well.

  • Combination products: There are some products that contain a combination of carbohydrates and protein. Many find that including some protein in their fuel helps the body avoid breaking down as much muscle during long distance efforts. A few combination products that come to mind include UCAN Performance Energy with protein, Hammer Perpetuem, and many energy bars. Energy bars typically have a high percentage of carbs, some protein, and minimal fat. They usually contain around 200 calories and have a more substantial consistency. Many people find that eating bars can disrupt their rhythm, require more space to carry, and may present digestion problems. You’ll also want to follow your bit of a bar with some type of fluid to help wash it down.
  • “Real” food: Many runners like to steer clear of more highly processed fuels and rely on real food options. Some of these may include: baked sweet potato, baked salted potatoes, rice balls, baby food pouches (applesauce, fruit sauces), nut butters, honey, maple syrup, flat pop/soda, trail mix, cheese, bacon, bananas, dried fruit, candy, pretzels, etc. A possible disadvantage of real food during running is that it often has a higher amount of fiber and fat and this many cause stomach upset. If you choose to use real food be sure to practice, practice, and practice. You don’t want to get in the middle of a race and have your stomach rebel. During races there are often “unofficial” aid stations set up with everything from beer and pretzels to pickles and candy. Unless you have an iron stomach, have practiced with these foods, or are running at a very easy pace be very careful about trying anything new on race day.

Post Run Fueling:

Proper fueling doesn’t stop when you’re done running. What you do in the post-run period is also very important. Make sure that you begin the refueling process with some protein within 30 minutes after your run. This is the optimum window of time that your body refills your muscles glycogen stores and starts repairing muscle. In other words, the time to carb-load is now. You can train your muscles to store extra glycogen by faithfully refueling during this time period. Many experts recommend using a 3-1 carbohydrate to protein ratio for refueling. But for women progesterone can increase muscle breakdown. We should be getting in at least 25-30 grams of protein with our carbohydrates within 30 minutes post-long run or strength workout. There are many different types of recovery products out there to try or you can reach for “real” food options.

If you feel nauseated during or after running, try to avoid consuming too many simple sugars which can cause “dumping syndrome.” Dumping syndrome is when your body can’t absorb the amount of sugars (or fats) consumed and sends them on through quickly. When that happens you better hope you’re near a bathroom. If you experience regular GI upset after running, try eating bland carbs like mashed potatoes, cream of wheat with maple syrup and ginger or peppermint tea sweetened with honey.

You will probably be ready to eat a more substantial meal around an hour after your long run (sometimes you may not feel hungry at first or you may even be slightly nauseated if your electrolyte level is off). Make sure the substantial meal includes a balance of complex carbs, protein, and fat. Also, focus on maintaining hydration in the hours after running. You don’t need to guzzle water the rest of the day, but make sure that you continue to drink. If it was a hot day or you sweated a lot it can be wise to add electrolytes to your water in the post-run period.

If you are having trouble with “bonking or hitting the wall” at some point during your run, this is probably the point where your muscle stores of glycogen get used up. You need to focus on taking in more carbohydrate calories during the recovery period (to teach your muscles to carb load) and also practice fueling during the long run. Some people wait too long before beginning their fueling strategy. If you wait until you’re feeling weak or shaky you most likely will have trouble replenishing calories to get on top of your energy needs. Remember, long runs are for practicing and you shouldn’t be doing anything new on race day.

Also Mentioned in This Episode

Generation Ucan -the revolutionary new way for runners to fuel. UCAN keeps your blood sugar stable, is gentle on your stomach, and allows your body to burn fat. Use the promo code “MTAFUEL” to save 15% off your order. Or if you’re new to UCAN, save 25% on your first order with code MTA25”.

The MTA Virtual Half Marathon. Registration now open! Check out this year’s awesome medal and hat.

Roar -How to Match Your Food and Fitness to Your Female Physiology for Optimum Performance, Great Health, and a Strong, Lean Body for Life by Dr. Stacy Sims

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Interview with Dean Karnazes + How to Manage Hunger During Training

In this episode we speak with Dean Karnazes ultra runner, best-selling author, and running ambassador.

And in the quick tip segment, you will hear how to manage hunger during marathon training while still losing weight and keeping your energy levels stable!

Dean Karnazes might be the best known ultramarathon of all time. He’s been featured by The Today Show, 60 Minutes, The Late Show with David Letterman (watch the clip below), The History Channel . . . the list goes on. Time Magazine named him as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential People in the World”.

His book Ultramarathon Man was one of the first running books I read. He is newest collaboration is the book Running for Good -101 Stories for Runners & Walkers to Get You Going! Produced by Chicken Soup for the Soul.

From this Interview . . .

Dean’s 525k run through Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakstan

photo credit: Dean Karnazes

Hilarious Interview on the Late Show

Breaking a Rib in Chile

photo credit: Dean Karnazes

photo credit: Dean Karnazes

Running in the Marin Headlands

photo credit: Dean Karnazes

Also Mentioned in This Episode

The Kaisermarathon in Söll, Austria. Trevor is running this on October 5th. Send us an email through our contact page if you know about this race or if you live in Austria.

The Hartford Marathon in Connecticut. Angie is running this on October 12th 2019. This will be her first race in Connecticut and state number 47 in her 50 state quest.

On-Running Shoes -Try a pair of On’s for yourself for 30 days and put them to the test. That means actually running in them before you decide to keep them.

Managing Hunger During Training

Angelo Poli

Angelo Poli, metabolism expert and founder of MetPro joined us to answer the question, “How does one manage hunger during marathon training while still losing weight and keeping your energy level stable?”.

Since November, Angie has lost 30 pounds and got her marathon time back down to Boston Qualifying level using the MetPro system. Visit www.metpro.co/mta for a free consultation call.

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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