Run And Become: Interview with Sanjay Rawal

In this episode we bring you a fascinating conversation with runner and filmmaker Sanjay Rawal about indigenous running cultures around the world, running as an act of meditation, and the world’s longest certified footrace –The Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race in New York City!

Sanjay Rawal worked in the human rights and international development sectors for 15 years and in over 40 countries before focusing his love for photography and storytelling onto filmmaking. A lifelong runner, Sanjay was happy to lose the pounds he gained eating Mexican food in farmworker towns and take on a project about running. His new film, 3100: Run and Become, opened in theaters in fall 2018. He has a daily meditation practice for 27 years and was a middle-distance runner in high-school and college and runs an average of 50 miles.

Navajo runner

“Marathon Monks” of Japan

African Bushman subsistence hunters

Ashprihanal Aalto from Finland holds the course record at the 3100

The Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race will start on June 16th 2019. Eight runners have entered the race this year including Ashprihanal for the 15th time.

Also Mentioned in This Episode

Link to the movie website: 3100 Run and Become

Link to the race: The Self-Transcendence 3100

Races we are signed up for this summer: view our itenerary page.

NuNee -designed specifically to relieve that dreaded Runner’s Knee pain. Use code MTA10 for a 20% discount.

MetPro -Using Metabolic Profiling, MetPro analyzes your metabolism and provides you with an individualized strategy to obtain your goals.

Tigerbalm Active -a non-sticky gel with a cool-to-warm sensation that helps with muscle fatigue and recovery. Pick up Tiger Balm Active today at your local CVS or Rite Aid store

Varidesk -converts any desk into a standing desk and is designed with durable, best-in-class materials that fit in any environment or workspace.

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 Alexi Pappas -Olympic Runner and Filmmaker

In this episode we bring you an interview with Alexi Pappas, Greek-American distance runner, Olympian, actor and filmmaker. And in the quick tip segment, we discus a study that claims that walking boosts creativity.

Alexi Pappas represented Greece in the 2016 Summer Olympics Women’s 10k event. She set a new national record for her country running 31:36:16. She has moved up to the marathon distance with an eye toward representing Greece in the 2020 games. She ran 2:43:38 at the Chicago Marathon last year. She also starred in the movies Tracktown and Olympic Dreams.

photo credits: www.alexipappas.com/

Also Mentioned in This Episode

Alexi Pappas on the web: Website, Instagram, Facebook

Generation Ucan -keeps your blood sugar stable and allows your body to burn fat. Use the promo code “MTAALEXI” to save 15% off your order.

Lactigo -a topical gel that improves athletic performance and recovery. LactiGo is an effective, fast-acting topical gel with menthol and carnosine that helps people maximize their athletic performance and speed muscle recovery. Applied directly to the skin above the desired muscles for targeted relief. Use the code MTA for a 10% discount!

Varidesk– converts any desk into a standing desk and is designed with durable, best-in-class materials that fit in any environment or workspace.

Biolite 330 -Transform your lowlight runs with BioLite HeadLamp 330, an ultra-thin, no-bounce headlamp that is so comfortable, you’ll forget you’re wearing it! Use code MTA at checkout for 15% off your order.

Ted TalkHow Walking Can Make You More Creative by Marily Oppezzo

University of Bristol Study -tracked 200 students and faculty and found that those who performed aerobic exercise at the beginning of the day were 23% more productive than those who did not.

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 London Marathon Race Recap


In this podcast episode we bring you the long awaited race recap of the 2019 London Marathon. We’ll tell you all about our trip to the U.K. and what it was like to run this amazing race. This is a beast of an episode so kick back and enjoy!

The 39th edition of the London Marathon was held on 28 April, 2019. This marathon has been continually operating since 1981 and this year there were a record of 42,906 starters (414,168 tried for a ballot place) and 42,549 finishers on The Mall. Hugh Brasher is the race director and the marathon has raised 1.3 billion dollars for charity since it started. Their tag line this year was “thanks a billion.”(3) After several years of not getting in through the lottery system we were very excited to get charity spots with the UK based John Muir Trust and to raise money to plant trees on a property they manage in Scotland.

Pre-Race:

Trevor’s dad flew out from WA state to watch the boys while we were gone and we’re so grateful to him. However, our trip got off to a slightly rough start when I came down with the flu 12 hours before our flight went out. One of our kids also had the stomach flu the day before. Fortunately my stomach was fully recovered by two days before the marathon and sickness didn’t slow us down on our site seeing. Here are some of the things we did while in London…took walking tour of London, toured Westminister Abbey, Churchill War Rooms, The Tower of London, and the National Museum. We also went all over using public transportation including riding the Emirates Cable Car which went over the Thames River.

The Race Expo (aka The London Marathon Running Show)

The Running Show was located at the ExCel building in East London. They were open to runners and the public from Wednesday through Saturday before the marathon. You were required to pick up your bib using ID and the email bar code sent to you and to test out your timing chip. If needed you could designate another person to pick up your bib. There are three colors of bibs with three corresponding starts (red-charity, blue, green) and the zone that you line up into before the marathon.

The race was good about sending out pre-race emails and there’s a ton of information about logistics over on the website. They allow ballot and age qualifiers to defer their entry one year before the deadline if needed (this is not the case with charity spots). They also have an app so that you’re able to track family, friends, or celebrity times that you’re interested in.

They had a variety of games, motivational posters you could sign, and a treadmill set at world record pace (to see if anyone can run that fast for 400 meters). You can view the video above.

MTA Meet Up:

We had our MTA meet up near the expo on Saturday for an afternoon British tea which consisted of tea, sandwiches, and a variety of deserts and scones. Had a great turnout…list names, sound-bites… Thanks to everyone who came out to meet us! In fact, the MTA podcast was dubbed “The People’s Podcast for Running” by Phil Shin, one of the runners at the meet up.

MTA Meet Up

Race Morning

The London Underground offers free transportation on race day when you show your bib, which is a very nice touch. One thing to be aware of is that not all underground locations are open on race day so you want to carefully plan how to get to your particular start line (for us it was in Greenwich Park).

Riding the train to Greenwich Station on marathon morning

It took us an hour and a half to get from the hotel we were staying at to the start area via public transportation. There was also nearly a mile walk to get to the corral area. You also want to allow for time to get your drop bag to the appropriate location (they provide specific clear plastic drop bags), use the port-a-loos (long lines, bring your own toilet paper), and get into your assigned starting corral by the time limit (although some volunteers were letting people into their assigned corral after the deadline.

Many run in costumes in support of their charities

Race morning logistics can be a bit more challenging at large marathons, especially since at London there are three separate start areas. The baggage drop was efficient. Another thing to remember depending which coral you are in is that it could be up to an hour or so after the official start before you cross the start line. This is important to consider when it comes to ditching throw away clothing and doing last minute nutrition/hydration.

The Course

The London Marathon is known as a flat and fast, point to point course. It has blue lines painted on the course which would be the exact marathon distance if you were able to follow it directly (the tangent). However the reality is that you’ll end up weaving around other runners a lot of going further than 42.2 km/26.2 miles. The course was clearly marked with both kilometers and miles and there was a timing mat every 5k.

Pace Teams: According to the website there were 65 pacers from the Runner’s World x New Balance Pace Team, ranging from 3:00 hour to 7:30 pace. Pacers were carrying large flags displaying their times and were available in each of the three starting areas. However, I noticed that the 4:00 pacer for the red start disappeared at mile 5. Trevor finished before the 4:30 pacer (in 4:38).

The first 3km of the marathon are spent heading east from Greenwich Park and this is a good time to go with the flow and watch your feet with the large pack of runners around you. It can be crowded for the first 5 or 6 miles since all three starts merge at the 5k mark. This is the section of the course with the most noticeable downhill so you might notice faster splits during this beginning section.

At around the 10k mark the course goes by the Cutty Sark (a British clipper ship built in the late 1860’s) and this area has a ton of spectators (which narrows the course a bit).

The Cutty Sark

Crowd support is amazing through the whole marathon but it quiets down a bit until 20-22km where there are more crowds and where runners cross the Tower Bridge and hit the halfway mark. It was here that there was approximately a mile section where we could see faster runners who were at the 22 mile point. One thing that struck me is that most of them looked like they were in a lot of discomfort.

Tower Bridge

Later on there’s the Isle of Dogs and Canary Wharf section of the course which is a bit quieter. The crowds pick up again around 35km at Shadwell and the final 5k passes some amazing landmarks including Big Ben and Buckingham Palace before turning into the finish line area at The Mall.

Aid Stations:
There were 19 aid stations on the route situated as follows: 13 had water in 250 ml bottles with a flip-top lid. They requested that you drain theses before discarding so that they can be recycled. Sports drink was available at 5 locations (2 with compostable cups) and at mile 23 the Ooho sachets which are 25 ml seaweed capsules filled with sports drink. They are edible and biodegradable, vegan and allergen free. You were supposed to consume them like a cherry tomato.

I really enjoyed having the small bottles of water because I was able to hang onto it and consume it as needed. I didn’t use any of the sports drinks, gels, or other food on the course. I brought UCAN bars with me and ate half a bar every 5 miles. Since the start time was later I was able to have a normal breakfast that morning and then just started on my fueling strategy during the race.

Finish:

The finish line area was exciting with the crowds and the announcer as you cross the final timing mats. They gave out a nice medal with several of London’s landmarks on one side and the course on the other, the finishers shirt, and a bag of food at the end (included in the bag was sports drink, a variety of different snack foods, and a heat sheet). Then there was the gear check pickup followed by the meet and greet area which had letters of the alphabet in order to meet friends/family.

Trevor saw MTA listener Simon Wright at the finish

Winners:

There was an incredibly strong elite line-up for both men and women going into the race. One interesting thing is that the London Marathon pays for pace rabbits for the elites for the first half of the marathon (you’ll see them dressed in the black and white stripped singlets). The regular pacing for the first half is one reason why there’s often fast times coming out of London.

Elite Men:

  • 1st: Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya) – 2:02:37 (4th time winning London, beat his own course record and set the 2nd fastest time ever). He told a reporter with the BBC “I’m happy to win on the streets of London for the fourth time and to make history. The crowd in London is wonderful, and that spirit pushed me.”(6)
  • 2nd: Mosinet Geremew (Ethiopia) – 2:02:55
  • 3rd: Mule Wasihun (Ethiopia) – 2:03:16
  • 5th- Sir Mo Farah (GB)- 2:05:39
  • Elite Women:
  • 1st: Brigid Kosgei (Kenya) – 2:18:20, she ran a PB; “I am over the moon with that,” she said. “I always promise myself in the last mile that I would never run another step. But this is not my retirement.”
  • 2nd: Vivian Cheruiyot (Kenya) – 2:20:14
  • 3rd: Roza Dereje Bekele (Ethiopia) – 2:20:51
  • 6th- Emily Sisson (US) 2:23:08, made her marathon debut running the 6th fastest American time on an eligible course

Men’s Elite WC:

  • 1st: Daniel Romanchuk (US) – 1:33:38
  • Marcel Hug (Switzerland)- 1:33:42
  • 3rd: Tomoki Suzuki (Japan) – 1:33:51
  • Women’s Elite WC:
  • 1st: Manuela Schar (Switzerland) – 1:44:09
  • 2nd: Tatyana McFadden (US)- 1:49:42
  • 3rd: Madison de Rozario (Australia)- 1:49:43

Ever Presents

The Ever Presents are a group of 11 runners who have completed every London Marathon since 1981 (this was the 39th year). We saw a feature on TV pre-race about the oldest Ever Present, Kenneth Jones, age 84. He talked a bit about his training and goal of making it to 40 years in a row. He finished this year in 7:40. Another Ever Present, Chris Finill age 60, clocked a time of 2:59:46, breaking the three-hour barrier for the 38th time in 39 races. There will be 10 Ever Presents running London in 2020 as one didn’t finish this year. (7)

Slower runners treated badly:

The London Marathon is currently investigating reports that back of the pack runners were insulted (called fat and slow) while the course was being torn down around them. There are even reports of water stations closing before runners arrived and the clean-up crews spraying runners with cleaning fluid used to clean the streets. One woman reportedly came away with chemical burns. Elizabeth Ayres, one of the official pacers (of the 7:30 group) told reporters that the attitude and lack of support was the most disappointing part. She said, “The whole marathon was just horrible. I had runners that were crying.” She also said that she had encountered a number of issues, such as no water stations being available after the third mile, clean-up operations starting while she was still running and officials insulting competitors. She heard comments from event workers including: “If you weren’t so fat you could run faster,” and “it’s a race not a walk.” Ayres has done a total of five marathons has also run the London Marathon previously, which she said usually has an up-beat, “party” atmosphere. She was expecting that again when she set off on Sunday, but told CNN that “after about a mile, we didn’t have anything, apart from vehicles trying to knock us off the road,” and people telling the runners to “get a move on.”

Hopefully this very sad experience can be used so that slower runners aren’t treated this way ever again. If you advertize a certain course time limit then you need to keep full course support open during that entire time. It’s challenging enough to be out on a marathon course for over seven hours but to do it without support and that kind of negative pressure would be horrible. (5)

Costumes:

On a more positive note the London Marathon is known for lots of costumes. On the way to the race we talked to a runner who was carrying an ostrich costume in a bag. I later saw him at the start line. Other costumes viewed along the way included rhinos, a 2 person dragon, a 2 person dog, trees, a sleeping bag, a tent, a flip flop, a running shoe, a Mrs. Doubtfire looking old lady, a banana….

There were 38 official Guinness World Records set out of 78 attempts. The Guinness World Records has worked with the London Marathon for the last 12 years with on the finish line verification. This inspires some fun and creative costumes. We all know it’s challenging enough to run a marathon while not in costume so mad respect to anyone who attempts this.

The fastest marathon dressed as a love heart, run by Thomas Brockwell in 3:05:32. He was quoted as saying, “The last 800m were hell when I saw just how close it was. The legs are now fully dead.”

A married couple set the record for fastest marathon with two runners handcuffed together in an impressive time of 3:43:17.Rebecca, the wife, said: “We were alright until 20 miles and then my husband got a bit tired, so it was quite difficult at the end to be in sync and for me to motivate him. The chains were pulling.” Her husband said: “My legs were gone; my back had a spasm!”

Lukas Bates dressed as Big Ben to run the marathon hoping to run the fastest time for the Guinness World Record dressed as a landmark. The video of him trying to cross the finish line in the costume went viral (if you haven’t seen it do yourself a favor, stop everything and go watch it now). He was running for the UK Alzheimer’s Society and raised 5,000 pounds. Unfortunately his time of 3:54 wasn’t enough to break the record of 3:34:34. Then his day got much worse when his costume was stolen post-race when he stopped to get a drink at a pub. There’s been a reward offered for the costume’s safe return. (1)

My Experiences:

As I mentioned earlier the week didn’t get off to the best start with my bout of stomach flu. Fortunately I was feeling normal by two days before the marathon but I didn’t run for five days pre-marathon. We ended up doing so much walking around London that I decided to give my body extra rest and call it good. I also tried hard to get as much sleep before the race as possible (which can sometimes be challenging in a different time zone).

One of the things that I always get super nervous about (especially during large marathons) is logistics. It can be a challenge to know how much time to leave to get to the start area. By the time we had arrived at Greenwich Park and had walked to the bag drop area I had basically 20 minutes to get into my corral. And of course I needed to use the toilet quite badly due to the amount of water and tea I’d consumed earlier in the morning. I decided that using the bathroom trumped getting into my corral on time. One thing I noticed was that it was difficult to hear any of the announcements in the bathroom lines. Thankfully I finished in the bathroom with two minutes to spare and hustled over to Zone 2 of the red start (charity runners). I noticed later that they were letting people in even after the deadline.

The starting area atmosphere was exciting with lots of nervous chatter and the noise of announcers coming through the speakers. One thing they did in Berlin that would have been nice in London was having big screens in every Zone so that we could see what was going on. There was one screen closer to the start line that was showing each wave start as well as drone footage panning the huge crowds. There were runners packed in as far as the eye could see in front and back.

Finally they released my wave and we officially crossed the start line to the cheers of crowds lining the starting area. It was exciting and a bit surreal to be running such an amazing marathon. And no matter how many marathons a person has done there’s always that looming question mark about how the race is going to go. Thankfully the weather was perfect for a marathon. It was overcast most of the day and cool in the morning (mid 40’s to high 50’s). There were a couple times when it started raining lightly during the race but it didn’t last long. I wore a throw away jacket to the start line, discarded it there, and quickly warmed up by mile 2. My John Muir Trust singlet and running skirt were just perfect for the weather.

I found the first few miles to be pretty congested and had to stay mentally focused to keep on pace especially around the aid stations and anytime the road would narrow. Plus, there were spectators along nearly the whole route which always keeps me from zoning out. Despite the amount of runners I posted fairly fast 5k and 10k splits which made me a little nervous. On one hand I was feeling mostly good but I was afraid that I’d get handed a piano later in the race. The British expression, “Keep calm and carry on” came to mind.

By the 10 mile mark my right hamstring was making a few protests and I started dealing with some negative thinking. Here are some of the things going through my mind (among many): How will I ever keep up this pace? If I’m hurting now, it will probably only get worse. How hard do I want to work/suffer to go sub-4? I really had to work hard to bring my thoughts into a more positive space and enjoy the experience and scenery around me. There were a lot of costumes and the crowds were yelling the names of runners who had put them on their shirts. I thought I kept hearing my name until I realized that there was an Andrew running around me. I realized that I was thankful that I didn’t have my name on my shirt because I find it distracting to get called out like that (but many people find it motivating so know what works for you).

Around mile 18 my stomach started feeling a little off (sort of like a rerun of my stomach flu feeling) and that had me worried. I decided to find a port-a-loo to stop at because you may have heard the advice, “never trust a fart after mile 18.” I stopped at the bathroom and everything was fine but it did cost me around 3 minutes as peeling sweaty layers down and up can be a challenge (I also managed to drop my phone on the ground).

Like I mentioned before the London course is fairly flat and the small hills were quickly followed by a downhill section which really made me feel like I’d achieved something. On the up-hills sections I reminded myself that I’d trained on much more challenging hills which felt like a mental boost.

I started looking forward to getting past the 20 mile mark and decided that my mantra would be “I’m stronger after mile 20.” I knew that with my marathon experience I could more easily push through the challenges and pain than many newer marathoners out there. I also started paying more attention to my mile splits and realized that I needed to keep my pace sub-9:30 if I was going to finish in under four hours. Chanting my “I’m stronger” mantra under my breath I really did feel strong the last 10k. In fact, there were many runners who would abruptly start walking in the middle of the course which made those final miles feel a bit congested. I had to do a fair amount of weaving around people to stay on pace.

As happens during nearly every marathon sometimes the last few miles of a race can feel like a bit of a blur. I remember going through a couple tunnels, running down the Royal Mile, and hearing the announcer at the finish line and the cheering crowds. I had a good burst of final speed to cross the finish line in 3:59:30 which made me surprisingly emotional. I didn’t realize it would feel so good to meet my goal and finish my first sub-4 marathon in over three years. I felt so incredibly grateful for my strong, healthy body and the good training cycle I’d had. It was great to get that medal put around my neck and be able to finish my 57th marathon (and 4th World Marathon Major). I collected my swag/food bag, got my checked bag, used the bathroom and tried to find the underground stop to get me back to our hotel. We had decided pre-race not to wait for each other at the finish. As I was walking I noticed a bunch of bicycle taxis and asked a driver how much it would cost to get me to my address. I decided to take the stress off myself of getting back to the room and enjoyed riding instead (which is quite the experience in London traffic). Plus, one benefit of marathons is the chance to support the local economy.

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To Be A Runner -Interview with Martin Dugard

In this podcast episode we speak with Martin Dugard author of the book To Be A Runner -How Racing Up Mountains, Running with the Bulls, or Just Taking On a 5-K Makes You a Better Person (and the World a Better Place).

Martin Dugard is the author of the memoir To Be A Runner, a series of essays which takes the reader around the world as he recounts his personal journey through the world of distance running.

He has written books on famous explorers like David Livingston, Christopher Columbus, and Captain James Cook, and his writing has appeared in Esquire, Outside, Sports Illustrated, and GQ.

He is also a NYT Best Selling author and co-author with Bill O’Riley of the Killing Series, which has sold over 15 million books.

He lives in Orange County, CA and coaches a local high school cross-country team.

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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Inspiring Stories from This Year’s Boston Marathon


In this podcast episode we bring you inspiring stories from this year’s Boston Marathon. Plus we will give you a run-down of the final results and soundbites from race weekend. And in the quick tip segment, Angie answers a question about what officially counts as a marathon or half marathon.

2019 was the 123rd edition of the Boston Marathon. There are around 500,000 spectators who come out every year to cheer on the 30,000 runners. This provides a nearly 200 million dollar boost to the local economy.

The BAA reserves around 3,000 spots (of 30,000) for its charity runners. Participants who ran on behalf of more than 260 non-profit organizations raised $36.6 million for charity at the 2018 Boston Marathon.

Marathon Monday
The marathon wasn’t always on a Monday. Up until 1969 the race was always on April 19th, Patriot’s Day, a civic holiday commemorating the battles of Lexington and Concord during the American Revolution. In 1969 officials changed the race to always be the third Monday in April which is known as Marathon Monday.

Boston Strong
The mantra “Boston Strong” came about after two bombs exploded at the finish line in 2013 which killed two people and injured 260 others. The city of Boston responded by more than a million spectators coming out to support the 2014 race in which Meb Keflezhighi wrote the names of the victims on his bib and went on to win the race. (2)

Qualifying Times
It continues to get more challenging to get into Boston with a qualifying time. A total of 30,458 applications were received period for qualifiers, a significant increase from recent years. 7,384 qualifiers were unable to be accepted due to field size limitations. Qualifiers who were four minutes, 52 seconds (4:52) or faster than the qualifying time for their age group and gender were accepted into the 2019 race. Qualifying standards will be five minutes faster for all age groups, starting with the 2020 Boston Marathon.

2019 Winners

Men
The men’s pack stayed together until around mile 21 when Geoffrey Kirui dropped the pace from 5:06 to 4:31 and the lead pack dropped down to five. Then there was an exciting sprint finish down the length of Boylston St. for the 3rd closest men’s race ever.

  • 1st- Lawrence Cherono (Kenya) in 2:07:57 (he said,” I was so focused because I’ve never won a major marathon”),
  • 2nd- Lelisa Desisa (Ethiopia) in 2:07:59 (who said that this was the first time he’s ever been outsprinted),
  • 3rd- Kenneth Kipkemoi (Kenya) 2:08:07. 4th- Felix Kandie (Kenya) 2:08:54, 5th Geoffrey Kirui (Kenya) 2:08:55.
  • The first American was Scott Fauble in seventh with 2:09:09 and Jared Ward, who finished eighth in 2:09:25 with a PR.

Women:
Worknish Degefa of Ethiopia took the lead around mile 4 and would go on to expand this lead to 3 minutes by mile 18.

  • 1st- Worknish Degefa winning time was 2:23:31
  • 2nd- Edna Kiplagat of Kenya, 2:24:13.
  • 3rd-American Jordan Hasay posted a time of 2:25:20.
  • Des Linden the defending champion finished 5th in 2:27:00

Men’s wheelchair:

  • 1st- Daniel Romanchuk (USA) 1:21:36
  • 2nd- Masazumi Soejima (Japan) 1:24:30
  • 3rd- Marcel Hug (Switzerland) 1:26:42

Women’s wheelchair:

  • 1st- Manuela Schar (Switzerland) 1:34:19
  • 2nd- Tatyana McFadden (USA) 1:42:35 (at one point she tipped over in her WC)
  • 3rd- Madison de Rozario (Australia) 1:41:36

Notable and Inspiring Finishers

Joan Samuelson
Joan Samuelson, age 61, finished in 3:04. She made history 40 years ago with a 2:35:15 Boston finish, enough to win Boston and break the course record. This year, to celebrate the 40th anniversary, she planned to run within 40 minutes of her record-breaking time. She did better and finished within 30 minutes of that goal.

Gene Dykes
Glen Dykes, age 71, broke his own age-group record, posting the fastest course time for a 70-to-74-year-old with a time of 2:58:50. This is after some pretty huge races earlier in the year like the Arches Ultra 50 Miler in Moab in late January, and then the 200-mile Delirious Western Endurance Scenic Trail race in Australia three weeks later. That one took him 101 hours to complete, including five encounters with venomous snakes. “At one point, I spotted a Tiger snake below me when I was in mid-stride,” he recalls. “I had to twist my body and throw myself into the underbrush to avoid it. But these ultra distance adventure runs are great fun, especially when they include sleep deprivation. You get flashbacks afterwards—the good kind.” (3)

Adrianne Haslet
Adrianne Haslet a survivor who lost her left leg in the 2013 Boston Marathon finish line bombings had been training to run this year’s marathon, but she was struck by a car while in a crosswalk in January. She persevered, and ran the BAA 5K, her first race back. “I wanted to run this race so badly. I may have walked, but I never gave up.” (4)

Ben Beach
Ben Beach is one of the Boston Marathon Legacy runners and ran his first Boston Marathon at age 18 in 1968. He is now 69 and suffers from a rare neurological disorder that sends his left leg gyrating awkwardly, the lower leg extended sideways and nearly parallel to the ground with each stride. “I’ve made my peace with that. This is what running is like for me now.” His Boston personal best of 2:27:26 was set in 1981. He finished this year in just over 6 hours after dealing with cramping for more than half the race.

“I feel good about the streak,” he said. “And I don’t want it to end. I’m struck by how adaptive human beings are. Runners know that the even slightest imbalance will almost guarantee an injury, but here I am, still bumbling along. The way my body has adjusted – it amazes me. I intend to be back in Hopkinton next April and to make up for this lackluster performance,” (5)

Marko Cheseto
Marko Cheseto is a double amputee who lost both his legs about six inches below the knee to frostbite in 2011. Originally from Kenya, he had come to study at the University of Alaska in Anchorage. In his senior year, deeply upset over the suicide of another UAA runner from Kenya, Cheseto overdosed on prescription pills and disappeared into the woods around the UAA campus. He was the subject of a massive, two-day search. On the third day he stumbled into a hotel near campus, his shoes frozen to his feet.  Cheseto remained in Anchorage, graduated with a degree in nutrition, got married, had three children, and has become an American citizen. Eighteen months after losing his feet, he resumed running once he was fitted with a pair of running blades.

“One thing I just told myself was the condition that I have is just a phenomenon that happened in my life,” Cheseto said on Marathon Monday. “It does not define who I am. I still have my inner power.” He finished in 2:42. His goal is to run a sub-2:10 marathon. (6)

Michael Herndon
Michael Herndon, age 31, a Marine veteran from Ohio was the picture of determination. His legs locked out near mile 22 forcing the Afghanistan veteran to get on his hands and knees. He refused to give up, drawing inspiration from three fellow comrades who didn’t survive a bombing attack overseas. Herndon’s fellow Marines Matthew Ballard and Mark Juarez and British journalist Rupert Hamer died in 2010 from an improvised explosive device’s blast in Afghanistan. When his Achilles tendon starting giving him trouble on Monday and his legs “gave up” near the end of the race, Herndon chanted his fallen comrades’ names aloud to help himself focus on finishing.

Once Herndon crossed the finish line, he was lifted into a wheelchair to receive medical attention. This was his first marathon and even though he didn’t get the time he wanted he’s determined this won’t be his last. He finished in 3:38. He said this about his inspiration, “They are not here anymore. I am here, and I am able. I am lucky to still have all my limbs. I can still be active. I find fuel in the simple idea that I can run. Some cannot.” (8)

Dave McGillivray
It has become tradition that each year after Dave McGillivray completes his duties as race director for the Boston Marathon, he makes the trek back out to Hopkinton from the finish line to run the race himself. He’s run the Boston Marathon for 46 consecutive years (16 years as a regular runner and 30 years after the race as the race director), and, on Monday, he brought it up to 47, just six months after he underwent triple bypass surgery. He’s run 157 marathons in total.

“I would definitely put it up there as the toughest one and the most challenging,” McGillivray told Boston.com on Tuesday. “But it probably was the most special, given that I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect.” The 64-year-old ran Boston this year for Team Big Heart, the marathon running team for the Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation, surpassing his goal of raising $100,000. McGillivray said his goal was to give back and create awareness about heart illness, and along the way he befriended Jack Middlemiss and his family. Jack was born with cardiomyopathy, the same illness that his brother, Joseph, died from at age 6. Jack underwent a heart transplant when he was 5.

McGillivray said the boy became his “inspiration,” and they became “heart warriors” together. “My mission now in life is to create an awareness that just because you’re fit, doesn’t mean you’re healthy, and that if you feel something, do something about it,” he said. “There were times in my life when I thought I was invincible, and I never thought they were warning pains. I just thought they were challenging pains. And now I realize there are warning pains out there, and you have to really recognize the difference and act on them. That’s what I did, and, as a result, I gave myself a second chance.” (9)

Also Mentioned in This Episode

Generation UCAN -the revolutionary new way for runners to fuel. UCAN keeps your blood sugar stable and allows your body to burn fat. Use the promo code “MTABOSTON” to save 15% off your order.”

On Running– The shoe Angie is wearing at the London Marathon. 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.

VARIDESK -the world’s leading standing desk solution, converting any desk into a standing desk so you can maintain a healthy active lifestyle in the office or at home.

NuNee -designed specifically to relieve that dreaded Runner’s Knee pain. Use code MTA20 for a 20% discount.

Lactigo -a topical gel that improves athletic performance and recovery. LactiGo is an effective, fast-acting topical gel with menthol and carnosine that helps people maximize their athletic performance and speed muscle recovery. Use the code MTA for a 10% discount.

Biolite -headlamp that runs for up to 40 hours on a single charge, it’s super bright, you can tilt it with one hand, and it’s so comfortable you’ll forget you’re wearing it. Use the code MTA at checkout for 15% off your order.

Trevor’s Boston Trip

Trevor had a chance to go and cheers on the runners this year. The highlight of his trip was meeting up with listeners to the podcast. Big thanks to Coach Steve Waldon, Mitch Goldstein, Tom and Cari Hardin, Henry Howard and his wife Manju and mother-in-law Karen, Logan Collier and her friend Rachel, Mike Emmerling and his son Mike, Randy Mays, Beck Straley, Karima Modjadidi, Ingrid Sell-Boccelli, and Lena Katharina for coming to the MTA Meet Up!

MTA Meet UP

Trevor with Ryan Hall and Tom Hardin

Trevor with MTA Coach Steve Waldon

Trevor with ultra runner Stephanie Howe Violett

With fellow podcaster Tina Muir

With Tim Hadzima of Abbot World Marathon Majors

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Run the Mile You’re In! Interview with Ryan Hall

In this episode we speak with Ryan Hall -2x Olympian, American record holder, and author of the book Run the Mile You’re In. And in the quick tip segment, we answer a listener question about how to deal with chafing.

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 at the 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. In this episode we walk through the big themes of his new book Run the Mile You’re In. His wife Sarah is an elite runner and they have four adopted daughters from Ethiopia.

In this interview Ryan shares . . .

  • What it means to run the mile you’re in
  • Identity and the ability to not take your failures personally
  • How the African runners process failure
  • Goals of the heart
  • The comparison trap
  • Dealing with pain
  • Having a healthy body image

Mental toughness isn’t something you either have or don’t have. Mental toughness starts with the belief that you are mentally tough, and it is nurtured through positive declarations.

Competing out of love results in superior strength. The next time you find yourself in a painful situation, find a way outside of yourself. Think about your love for God, your family, your friends, those you are helping. There is more strength inside of you than you can imagine when you fix your eyes on Jesus All you have to do is stay close and stay in love, and you can endure incredible pain.

Also Mentioned in This Episode

Ryan Hall’s website: https://ryanandsarahall.com

NuNee Device -designed specifically to relieve that dreaded Runner’s Knee pain. Use code MTA20 for a 20% discount.

On Running Shoes – clean and minimalistic design as well as its sole technology gives you the sensation of running on clouds. 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.

BioLite Headlamp 330 -ultra-thin, super bright, NO-BOUNCE headlamp that’s so comfortable, you’ll actually forget you’re wearing it. Use code MTA at checkout for 15%

MetPro -Using Metabolic Profiling, MetPro analyzes your metabolism and provides you with an individualized strategy to obtain your goals.

The John Muir Trust -help us plant 262 trees!

Resurrected Runner -creator of parody songs for runners

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 Fitness Expert Ben Greenfield

In this episode we speak with author and fitness guru Ben Greenfield and in this episodes quick tip, Angie will answer a listener question about how to stay in marathon shape.

Ben Greenfield has been in the health and fitness podcasting space longer than we have. He was the first influencer to reach out to us after we launched and we used to have him on the show once a year. He’s a competitive triathlete, personal trainer, biohacker, speaker, and author of the book Beyond Training. He is a walking encyclopedia of health and fitness! In this conversation we talk to Ben about transitioning to obstacle course racing, building strength, tips on breathing for runners, ways to biohacker your house, and his thoughts on screen time and screen time for kids.

Also Mentioned in This Episode

John Muir Trust– contribute a tree to the MTA Forever Forest. We went with the idea of planting 262 trees as a nod to the marathon distance, with donations going toward our tree planting fund to create an ‘MTA Forever Forest’. “Come to the woods for here is rest. There is no repose like that of the green deep woods.” -John Muir

London Marathon Meet Up –See details here.

Yoga Trapeze -Yoga teacher Lucas Rockwood has come up with a unique solution called, The Yoga Trapeze. This lightweight, versatile inversion sling can hang in a doorway or from an exposed beam. It is excellent when used for yoga poses, core work, and traction (1-7 minutes upside down daily is recommended). You can try the Yoga Trapeze for 30 days for just $1 by going to YogaTrapeze.com, and if you use coupon code “marathon”, you’ll get a free instructional DVD with your order. 


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

Topo Athletic -a gimmick-free running shoe company delivering footwear solutions for healthier, more natural running patterns. A roomy toe box promotes functional foot movement and the cushioned midsoles come in a variety of thicknesses and heel elevations, so you can pick your unique level of protection and comfort.

Athletic Greens -the best of the best in All-In-One whole food supplements and the easiest way to build a healthy habit each and every morning.

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: Angie Tries to Race Walk a Marathon

In this podcast episode Angie recaps the Red Rock Canyon Marathon in Las Vegas, Nevada, where she decided to see how fast she can walk a marathon. It got interesting!

Plus you will hear how to improve your walking speed and use it effectively in marathon training.

The Red Rock Canyon Marathon in Las Vegas, Nevada, is put on by Calico Racing. The 12th year of the race was held on Feb 23, 2019.

Pre Race:
The race director was great about sending out pre-race emails and there was good information on the website. Joyce, the race director, said that putting on the race this year was very challenging because the government shutdown made it uncertain whether they would have to find a different location to hold the event. Then two days before the marathon the Las Vegas area had a snowstorm and the course had to be rerouted due to bad road conditions.

Packet pick up was located at Silver Sevens Hotel on Friday evening and they did offer last minute bib pickup on race morning at the start line. Since there wasn’t adequate parking available at the start area they required that runners either be dropped off or ride one of the buses from two locations in Vegas. I purchased a bus ticket to ride from the host hotel since I wasn’t planning on renting a car in the area and it departed at 4:45 am on Saturday morning for an approximate 40 minute bus ride. I sat with a lady from WA who is also working on her 50 states and has done over 100 marathons.

Race Morning:
The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area has more than 179,000 acres and is absolutely beautiful with red sandstone formations, sheer 1,800-ft. cliffs and several mountains, including Mount Wilson, Rainbow Mountain and Indecision Peak.

The park, which sees more than a million visitors each year, is federally designated as a Backcountry Scenic Byway, the 13 mile paved scenic drive traverses some of the Mojave Desert’s most stunning scenery with sandstone formations, desert vegetation, and wildlife.

It was dark and around 20 degrees when we arrived at the start and it slowly started getting light as we waited for the race to begin. It was lovely to see the sun rise over the mountains but I was very unsure about my race strategy due to the cold. Fortunately there were some indoor bathrooms to stay warm in addition to the portable toilets offered by the race. By the time the race started at 6:15 am my toes and fingers were numb. The half marathon started at 7am and the 5k after that.

Course:
The course was modified because of the snow. It consisted of 4 laps of 5.77 miles and one shorter lap. Each lap started by the visitor’s center and had approximately 3 miles of uphill climbing and 2.77 miles downhill per lap. Some places had a 10% grade and total elevation gain for the marathon was around 3,000 feet. The marathon had a 7 hour cut off and the half marathon a 6:15 cut off.

The course was paved throughout the entire race and a section of the road was coned off for runners so that car traffic could continue through the park. This meant that there was often two way traffic of runners in the coned off area but it seemed like people navigated it well. Although doing repeated laps isn’t the most fun it was actually nice to see the same people again and again and spectators and runners who’d already finished cheered you on when you passed the start/finish line multiple times. Another redeeming factor was the beautiful blue skies, sunshine, seeing the snow on the ground, the mountains, and the overall stunning scenery. The fresh air was very invigorating and it did warm up to the mid-40’s by noon.

Aid Stations:
We passed by the same aid stations multiple times and they were staffed by friendly and encouraging volunteers. They offered water, sports drink, and gels at each one. The race also had EMS standing by at the starting area and there were a couple locations with portable toilets. There was a bag drop at the starting line and because of the looped course those were available (many runners added and shed layers as the temperatures changed). I used Generation UCAN snack bars for fuel (1-30 minutes before the marathon and then ½ a bar every 5 miles). My energy levels were solid throughout and my stomach felt good.

Finish:
The male winner was Aaron Gall and he finished with a time of 3:23:35. The female winner was Tatyana Steis and she finished in 3:35:58. The average finish time for the marathon was 5:11:32 and there were a total of 95 marathon finishers, 288 half marathoners and 170 who did the 5k.
They had a nice food table at the finish line with ramen noodles, applesauce, yogurt, pudding, granola bars, chips, water, and sports drink. As I made loops by the finish line earlier in the day I semi panicked because I didn’t see any food (and I’m always hungry after a marathon). The race gave out a nice big medal and a tasteful technical shirt.

My Experience/Strategy:

Like I mentioned earlier I felt very nervous and conflicted about my plan to walk the entire marathon. Part of that hesitation was wondering if I’d be warm enough and the other part was probably a bit of pride not wanting to look like a dork. So I decided to start off walking and see how it went. It actually took quite a bit of concentration to walk the whole way, especially on the downhills. I decided to adhere to the rules of race walking where you have to have one foot in contact with the ground at all times and the front/leading leg straight on impact. Race walking requires a bit more hip and arm action to keep power and momentum. A lot of people out on the race course made comments on how fast I was walking, and of course I felt compelled to explain my walking experiment. I managed to speed walk the entire time, felt strong and often passed people on the up hills (and then they’d usually pass me on the downhills). By the end of the marathon my legs felt a bit stiff from the straighter form required for walking and the tops of my ankles and feet were sore but overall fairly good.

photo credit: Mark Goddard

I met up with a former coaching client of mine named Mark Goddard from CA before the race and also saw him out on the course and after the race. Another MTA listener Teri was running the half marathon and I saw her out on a couple of the loops. Another fun surprise was when MTA fan Bobby from NY said hi to me out on the course. He was in the area and spectated a bit of the race. I also met some other cool runners at the event: Theresa, Grant, and Kyle who finished his first marathon (as part of training for an Ironman). We hung out and talked post race while we were waiting for the return bus. There was a couple out on the course and the ladies shirt said, “it’s my birthday and I’ll run if I want to.”

I got a lot of remarks about my walking speed and I’m sure people were laughing behind my back about me walking down hills. My finish time 5:31:21 for an average pace of 12:40 which was faster than I predicted due to the hilly course. My fastest mile was 11:38 and slowest mile was 13:58 (probably the one with the bathroom stop). My overall place was 57/95. This was my 44th state and 56th marathon.

It’s so important to remember that running and walking pace is all relative. A marathon is always a huge accomplishment, no matter how much time it takes you to finish or the percentage of running or walking you do.

I got this email a couple days after the marathon:

“Congratulations to everyone who came out to tackle the hardest and coldest Red Rock Canyon Marathon in our 12 year history.  I SO appreciate all of your cooperation with the forced last minute changes to the course.” Joyce (race director)

How to become a faster walker

We’ve never really talked specifically about walking as part of marathon training. We often refer in passing to doing run/walk intervals and in many of the marathons I’ve done there has been some walking, sometimes planned but often unplanned. I’m sure many of us have had the disheartening experience of a marathon gone wrong where were ended up doing extended periods of walking.

A couple such times stand out in my mind. The first one was my 3rd marathon, the Little Rock Marathon, which I did back in 2011, five months after having our third child. My endurance and core strength was certainly not up to par yet and the hilly course didn’t help matters. I managed to run for the first half and then ended up walking the entire second half. It felt like the longest slog ever.

Another marathon that stands out was my 32nd at the Lincoln Marathon which was unseasonably hot for May. Toward the later miles of the race I began walking more and more and it started feeling like a death march. There have been many other marathons where I planned to walk certain intervals, like through aid stations or up hills, and this didn’t have the same demoralizing effect. Sometimes I would look forward to seeing a hill because I’d given myself permission to walk.

I also think that doing specific run/walk intervals are a very smart race strategy for many people. You might see individuals during a race that have a timer go off as a signal for them to start their next interval. I’ve often had run/walkers pass me during marathons or we would leap frog each other during the event. When I did the Air Force Marathon in OH I remember Jeff Galloway (probably the biggest promoter of the run/walk/run method) blaze by me on the course. Let me tell you, his walking intervals were not a stroll in the park.

Other ways that walking can be used in your training is during your warm ups and cool downs. Walking for 5-10 minutes as a warm up and cool down is a very effective way to get your body safely ready to run and then to return it to homeostasis. Some runners walk between speed intervals at the track. And it’s entirely normal to walk tough hills, especially if you’re trying to keep your heart rate in a certain zone. My rule for hills is if I can walk the hill faster than I can run it I default to walking. Another way that walking can be used is if you’re dealing with a niggle, injury, or illness. It’s a great way to still get some healthy activity in without setting your body back. Occasionally there will be run days when I just feel super worn down and know that running will only exacerbate that feeling. I often switch my running mileage over to walking and usually feel much better the next day.

The health benefits of walking are indisputable and it’s something that accessible to nearly every person. Walking is often the gateway into running for many people. I was recently doing continuing education to renew my nursing license and did a course educating healthcare professionals on exercise. Check out these stats on the amount of Americans who don’t get the minimum recommended amount of physical activity. First off, here’s what is considered the minimum amount of exercise:

“People are classified as meeting aerobic exercise recommendations if they report engaging in moderate-intensity activity (like walking) at least 150 minutes per week, vigorous-intensity activity at least 75 minutes per week, or an equivalent combination of the two. Ideally, aerobic activities should be spread throughout the week and performed in at least 10 minute sessions. The muscle-strengthening recommendation consists of two days per week of moderate- or high-intensity exercise involving all major muscle groups.” (5)

We all know that obesity is an epidemic in the United States. Estimates show that nearly 70% of the adult U.S. population 20 years of age and older are either overweight (33.3%) or obese (36.4%). One of the contributing factors in the obesity epidemic is the fact that few people engage in leisure-time physical activity. According to data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately one-half of U.S. adults do not perform the minimum amount of exercise needed to prevent diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. One in four adults do not perform any exercise at all. About 80% of adults do not perform the minimum amount of aerobic exercise combined with the minimum amount of muscle strengthening exercise recommended in the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Taken individually, the aerobic activity guideline was met by 49.7% of adults nationwide, and the muscle-strengthening guideline was met by 24.9%. Numerous reasons for failure to exercise exist, including lack of interest, competing demands for limited leisure time, fear of injury or pain, no access to facilities, and lack of knowledge of proper technique.

Often when people say that they “can’t” run (which of course is debatable) I encourage them to start a habit of walking or another activity that they enjoy. It’s all about finding a healthy activity that you will stick with. I always find it inspiring that there are many older people in our neighborhood who are out walking every day, rain or shine.

At the other end of the spectrum from walking for exercise there’s the sport of race walking. Race walking is a sport practiced from youth track and field all the way up to the Olympic level. It’s something that most people don’t know or think about. I think the first time I thought much about it was when I did my USATF coaching class and there was a woman in the group who had competed in race walking for the Phillipines. She was able to walk a 7:30 mile. That certainly puts my 11:30-12:30 pace into perspective. Many of the world class race walkers do sub-6:00 minute miles.

Some of the benefits of race walking are that it produces less impact on the body and requires solid endurance even though is a technically demanding sport. According to the USATF website: “Race walking differs from running in that it requires the competitor to maintain contact with the ground at all times and requires the leading leg to be straightened as the foot makes contact with the ground. It must remain straightened until the leg passes under the body. Judges evaluate the technique of race walkers and report fouls which may lead to disqualification. All judging is done by the eye of the judge and no outside technology is used in making judging decisions.” (2)

Race walking dates back to about 400 years ago in England and it didn’t take long to become a very popular sport around the world. By the 19th century, race walking was just as popular as horse racing and spectators often bet on the race outcomes, especially since racers would suffer through races that would last for several days. The typical races at that time would consist of racers trying to walk 100 miles in less than 24 hours. Other races would last more than 40 days, where the racers would try to walk one mile each hour. It did not take long afterward for race walking to become a part of the Olympics (1).

It’s seriously impressive when you look at the paces that these top level race walkers can do (often sub-6:00 min/mile). Check out some of these American race walking records (2):

  • Female: 5k= 21:51 (7:02), 10k= 44:09 (7:06), 20k= 1:30:49 (7:18), 40k= 3:27:10 (8:20)
  • Men: 5k= 19:09 (6:09), 10k= 39:22 (6:20), 20k= 1:22:02 (6:36), 40k= 3:02:18 (7:20)

Technique:
Race walking requires more of a hip swing than running. But similar to running you want to avoid over-striding which will produce a braking motion. Proper use of the arms is one key to mastering the hip motion because synchronizing arm and hip motion maximizes efficiency and speed.
Posture- Your body should be straight up and down throughout the entire stride, unlike with running where you want a forward lean starting from the ankles. In race walking bending reduces the ability to extend the hip and accelerate the stride.

Arms- Each arm should travel from a couple of inches behind the hip to just above the chest line. The primary power for arm movement is done by driving the shoulder on the backwards swing of your arm. But you don’t want to generate power by wildly pumping your arm backward or thrusting it forward.  Use the shoulder as a fulcrum so that the arms swing like a pendulum.

Hips- The hips are the body’s primary source of forward motion. When the hips are rotated forward, the swinging leg is pulled off the ground. As you repeatedly pivot the hips forward, they act as the body’s motor, propelling it forward one step at a time and increasing the stride length behind the body.

Swing Leg- To remain efficient, race walkers must pay careful attention to how their legs swing forward after push-off. Race walkers swing the legs forward with the knee as low to the ground as possible. While some upward motion is necessary to break contact with the ground, it should be minimized. For the greatest efficiency of motion when the rear foot lifts up, it rises only an inch or two off the ground.

If you’re having a hard time visualizing these concepts we’ll include some links with the show notes or you can go over to Youtube and look at a video of a race walker in action. Even if you’re not planning on giving up running and turning into a race walker there are good reasons to improve your walking efficiency. Many runners use a run/walk method to pace their marathons and having good speed and efficiency during the walking intervals will help to rest your running muscles and give you a better overall pace. During ultramarathons, particularly on trails, there is a good amount of walking/hiking that goes on. Some ultramarathoners learn speed walking techniques to help improve their ultra times by getting the most out of their walking sections. Plus, becoming a faster walker will give you a more purposeful look as you walk to work or while out doing errands.

Sources:
www.athleticscholarships.net/athletics-race-walking.htm
www.usatf.org/statistics/records/view.asp?division=american&location=road&age=open&sport=RW
racewalk.com/howTo/basicTechnique.php
ultrarunning.com/featured/how-to-increase-your-walking-efficiency/
What Healthcare Professionals Should Know about Exercise. CEU

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The World Marathon Majors -The 6 Largest Marathons on Earth


In this podcast episode we speak with Tim Hadzima, the Executive Director at Abbott World Marathon Majors, about the six largest marathons in the world and what makes them unique.

The Abbott World Marathon Majors is a series consisting of six of the largest and most renowned marathons in the world. The races take place in Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York City. The purpose of the Abbott World Marathon Majors is to advance the sport, raise awareness of its athletes and increase the level of interest in elite racing among running enthusiasts.

“Each of the six races that make up the Abbott World Marathon Majors boasts an international elite field for both men and women in the open and wheelchair categories, has a mass participatory field completing the same course as the elites, takes place in a major international market, has a history of 25 years or more and is regarded among the very best in the industry. Collectively, the group annually attracts more than 5 million on-course spectators, more than 250 million television viewers, 300,000 applicants and 150,000 participants. It also raises more than $80 million for charity worldwide and generates an economic impact of more than $400 million”.

In addition to the five races, two other Qualifying Races were included in the series: the IAAF World Championships Marathon and the Olympic Marathon.

We had the chance to speak with Tim Hadzima for this episode. Tim has been the Executive Director at the Abbott World Marathon Majors since 2013. He is also a marathoner himself and based in Chicago.

Interesting Facts We Learned from Talking to Tim Hadzima

  1. The Tokyo Marathon was not originally part of the Majors.
  2. The Chicago Marathon donates the red carpets the cover the bridges.
  3. Over 400,000 people enter the lottery for the London Marathon.
  4. The New York City Marathon had 52,000+ runners in 2018.
  5. The Berlin Marathon has one of the best start lines in the world.
  6. The London Marathon has raised 1 billion pounds for charity.
  7. The Singapore Marathon is under consideration to become the 7th World Marathon Major.
  8. Running is becoming more global. A decade ago there might have been a dozen marathons in China, now there are 1,200-1,300.
  9. Eliud Kipchoge, who is highest in the global rankings, is a once-in-a-generation gifted athlete.
  10. Elite wheelchair athletes can recover more quickly and most of them do every race or ever other race.
  11. If you’ve run one of the Majors you can claim a star towards a Six Star Medal.
  12. Over 4,000 runners have completed all six Majors.
  13. There is also a global ranking system for amateur athletes.

Medal for Six Star Finishers

Also Mentioned in This Episode

Earbuddyz Ultra -solve all your AirPods woes so the next time you’re running that marathon, dropping or readjusting your AirPods mid race is the last thing you need to worry about. Visit EarBuddyz.com or get them on Amazon for and use the promo code “mtafriends” for 20% off.

Topo Athletic -Our first running shoe sponsor!!! Topo Athletic makes a gimmick-free running shoe with a roomy toe box that promotes functional foot movement. And the cushioned midsoles come in a variety of thicknesses and heel elevations, so you can pick your unique level of protection and comfort. Get 10% off your first pair with promo code MTA.

Take our Podcast Survey -In order to find great advertisers, we’ll need to learn a little bit more about you. Once you’ve completed the survey, you can choose to enter for a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card.

Blinkist -the only app that condenses thousands of nonfiction books into the best key takeaways so you can read or listen to them into just 15 minutes.

Experiencing “Phantom Pain” during marathon training. Have you ever found yourself obsessing over little aches and pains as you get closer to race day. Read Angie’s post here.

Help us Plant a Tree for the John Muir Trust!

Help us plant a MTA Forever Forrest in partnership with the John Muir Trust. We’ve set an initial target of planting 262 trees (you will see what we have done there) as part of the Trust’s Wild Woods tree planting appeal during 2019 as they look to significantly increase the number of native trees across the land in their care.

Angie visited one of the places where they are planting trees when she walked the slopes of Schiehallion, a few days before she ran the Loch Ness marathon.

By helping us plant the MTA Forever Forest, you’ll be helping the MTA community to create an everlasting feature of the Scottish landscape. Each donation of £10 (about $13 USD) will cover the cost of planting one tree, including staff time and equipment.

www.johnmuirtrust.org/MTA

Angie with Kevin Lelland of the John Muir Trust

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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Meb Keflezighi -Live Podcast Interview!

In this special podcast episode we bring you to the Tallahassee Marathon in Florida for a live interview with the great Meb Keflezighi -the only man who has won the New York City Marathon, The Boston Marathon, and an Olympic medal.

For years we’ve been wanting to get Meb on the podcast. Well, it finally worked out and all I needed to do is drive to Florida and back to bring it to you!

I made it to Tallahassee which is the capital of Florida and checked into my hotel, which was also the race headquarters. Big thanks to the race director Sheryl Rosen for helping me arrange this interview!

Let me set the scene for you guys . . .

We had a dedicated room at the race expo at the session was open to the public. I wasn’t sure how many people would show up but even an hour before we were supposed to start there were runners already in the room. By the time we started the room was completely full and there were people standing in the doorway.

Meb was born in Eritrea in 1975. The country had a 30 year war with Ethiopia to gain independence. It was during this period that Meb’s father Russom Keflezighi had to flee the country because he was a supporter of liberation and was wanted by the Ethiopian soldiers.

In this conversation you will hear him talk about his family and what it was like growing up in Eritrea and immigrating to the US and the people who impacted his life. He also talks about how he got into the running and specifically how he became a marathoner. He will hit some of the highlights of his career and describe fighting through injury and dealing with unexpected mishaps – there is one marathon where he had a plastic breath rite strip in his shoe before the race that he meant to take out of his shoe and put on his nose before the race start but he forgot.

Among his many accomplishments:

  • Meb won a silver medal at the 2004 summer Olympics in Athens in 2004.
  • He won the 2009 New York City marathon in 2:09:15.
  • He won the Olympic trials in Houston in 2012. He is the oldest winner of the Olympic Trials Marathon at age 36.
  • He won the 2014 Boston Marathon with a time of 2:08:37, two weeks before his 39th birthday.

He’s retired now and has a new book coming out in March called 26 Marathons, What I Learned About Faith, Identity, Running, and Life from my Marathon Career.

Also Mentioned in This Episode

Generation Ucan -a fueling product that Meb calls his secret weapon. Use the code MTAMEB to save 15%.

NuNeeShop.com -NuNee is designed specifically to relieve that dreaded Runner’s Knee pain. Use code MTA20 for a 20% discount.

Drury Inn and Suites -where we stay when we travel. Free evening food and drinks!

Athletic Greens is the best of the best in All-In-One whole food supplements. Get 20 FREE travel packs valued at $79 with your first purchase.

Mace -When runners hit the road or trails, they shouldn’t have to worry about self-defense. Enter promo code MTA for 20% off the kit today.

Blinkist -the only app that condenses thousands of nonfiction books into the best key takeaways so you can read or listen to them into just 15 minutes.

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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