Race Recap: The Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati, Ohio

flying pig art

For years I’ve heard great things about the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati, OH, and in the back of my mind I knew I wanted to run this race.

So I signed up because . . . life is short and you regret the things you don’t do more than the things you do, as they say.

The marathon was on May 7th but they have multiple events all weekend. You will find (appropriately) that everything is pig themed.

  • The staff at the information booth are called “info pigs”
  • The volunteers on the course called “grunts”
  • Corrals are called “pig pens”
  • The kids divisions called . . . “Piglet”, you guessed it!
  • The finish line is called the “finish swine”

This year they had participants from all 50 states and 20 countries.

At The Race Expo

The race expo was in downtown Cincinnati but the parking was easy. From the moment you entered you building you are greeted with pig culture. -A pink car with a pig noise, pig sculptures, pig inflatables, volunteers in pink shirts, huge pig balloon archways.

They gave me a technical t-shirt, back pack, and poster. They do a great job a merchandising (the best I’ve seen yet). You could buy Flying Pig gear as well as drinking glasses and stuffed animals. I posted a picture of this on Facebook and Angie (ever the hater of clutter) said, “Please tell me that you’re not bringing home lots of pig related knick knacks!”

Race Start at the Flying Pig Marathon

photo of Trevor

A wise man once said, “A journey of 26.2 miles begins with a 10 minute walk from your car”.

I was wearing racing shorts, short sleeve t-shirt, and compression socks. I also had a long sleeve throw-a-way shirt but it didn’t provide any warmth. Once you get into the corral the body heat makes it noticeably warmer.

Excitement was in the air. A barbershop quartet sang the National Anthem and the race got under way.

I was in a corral (pigpen) towards the back so I think I didn’t cross the start line until 30 minutes after the official race start. The bad part about staring in a later corral is having to weave through people for the first 3 miles or so.

The Course at the Flying Pig Marathon

I’ve divided the course into five main sections: (The Kentucky Loop, The Killer Climb, The Neighborhoods, The Highway Miles, and The Home Stretch)

1. The Kentucky Loop (Mile 1-5)

We started by the Cincinnati Bengals Stadium down by the River then ran past the Cincinnati Reds Stadium -which is the most exposure to professional sports I’ve had in a while. Beautiful riverfront.

Soon you cross a bridge into Newport Kentucky and it was here that I remember shading my long sleeves. It was still very congested and I couldn’t help notice how over-dressed some people seemed to be.

We ran through the City of Newport for a bit then crossed another long bridge back into Ohio. At this point I had weaved past many people and was starting to feel like I was hitting my stride. A train was crossing the river at the same time and was close enough I could have reached over and touched it.

I made a game out of racing the train (it was going about 11 minutes per mile). It’s fun to gamify your run, especially in the later miles. At mile 3-4 when your feeling like superman/superwoman be sure to pay attention to your pace.

I brought some new songs for my running playlist (songs that Angie won’t let me play in the car when she’s riding with me). The German band Rammstein has a song Ich Tut Dir Weh which translates to “I hurt you”. It’s a great song to run to although you might not care or the lyrics -which have something to do with sticking sharp medals in your face. I look at the chorus which says I hurt you, I’m not sorry, It’s good for you”, as a good metaphor for the marathon.

We finished out this section by running through some industrial looking areas of town like a boss hog.

2. The Killer Climb (Mile 6-8)

view from <strong data-recalc-dims=Eden Park” width=”1024″ height=”768″ class=”alignleft size-large wp-image-10258″ />

I was warned about the hills and sure enough we hit a long gradual climb from mile 6-8 as we headed up to Eden Park. I managed to run most of this section without taking walk breaks (except for one stop to use the bathroom). Thankfully there was lot’s of music and crowd support to propel you up the hill.

When I got to the top I was rewarded with an amazing view of the River and could see over into KY. Some dude was yelling “Who just killed that hill? YOU DID!”

At this point you would think that now there would be some downhills but their wasn’t.

From the website:

“In about half a mile and after a few turns you will notice St. Ursula Academy and Convent on the right side of the road . . . Now that you find yourself at a convent, have you committed the sin of excess lactic acid production? If so, you will pay. But, if you have run smart in this section, your reward awaits 12 miles ahead when you run strong on the very gentle roll of Eastern Avenue.”

Sin of excess lactic acid production. #YouMadeAFunny!

3. The Neighborhoods (Mile 8-18)

For the next ten miles we ran through various residential and commercial sections of town which are all a blur now. The half marathoners split off around mile 9. I remember seeing the 13 mile mark come and go and I didn’t feel discouraged! My time at this point was 2:21:59 (10:51 pace)

One thing I can say for the Flying Pig Marathon is they do a great job keeping it fun. And it looks like the community really gets behind it. I was struggling the remember some of the funny signs people were holding so luckily I got some actual quotes sent over from MTA Fan Cari Masek,

“Make America Chafe Again”

“Go PIG or go home”

“I like PIG butts and I cannot lie”

“Marathons are a pre-existing condition”

“You get to keep your medal forever, all I get is this poster”

“Pain is temporary, online race results are forever”

“This little piggy cried all the way home!”

The Aid Stations

bacon stop

  • Just about every mile you came to an aid station with either water or Gatorade
  • There were also people handing out Orange slices at times.
  • A few times I saw crackers, salt, candy and Fig Newtons (pig newtons).
  • They had a greased pig stop for getting Vaseline.
  • Hog wash station with a dude who would spray you with water

However, the moment that filled me with the will to strive on was when I came to the famous bacon stop (mile 15). They handed me a small dixie cup with three strips of bacon. I hesitated for less than a second. I’ve never eaten bacon half way in a marathon so didn’t know how it would go down. It goes down mighty fine! And you can take it twice because it’s an out and back section.

4. The Highway Miles (18-19)

This section was kind of a drag because you are running along a highway (with half marked off with cones) as cars are going by. There is not much to look at and no shade. But apparently it is the only reasonable way to get back downtown.

This was the most boring part of the course but there were motivational signs (Shoat Quotes) to keep your mind occupied.

“What I’m looking for is not out there, it is in me.” -Hellen Keller

“Don’t fear moving slowly forward . . . fear standing still. -Kathleen Harris.

5. The Home Stretch (20-26)

How I feel after finishing the Flying Pig Marathon

I felt pretty tired by the time I reached mile 20 (as one does) and I started taking more frequent walk breaks, especially on all the uphill sections. I knew I still have an hour to go, which can seem like a long time. A mantra that popped into my head was “hang on for the ride.”

I ran through a cheering section where all of a sudden people were handing out mini basket balls. I took two then a coupe yards away you run past some portable basket ball hoops they had set up. It’s hard to shoot on the run and most people were missing. I kid you not, I made the sweetest one-handed drive by bank-shot and then followed it up with a left-handed nothing-but-net to the delight of the crowd. It was my only 2 seconds of glory in the marathon!

At mile 23 my Apple Watch died though I left the hotel with a full charge. My pace was very slow and walk breaks frequent. “I just wanted to finish feeling good and happy” I thought. “No pretenses. Enjoy the journey”. It’s natural to obsess over your finish time.

At mile 24 I was translating everything I could into German to keep my mind occupied. “Hallo aus dem Fliegende Schweine Marathon. Ich laufe sehr langsam und mein Deutsch is sehr schlecht”.

At mile 25 this dude with a sincere face said “your almost to 12” I was like TWELVE!!1??? The lady next to him tried to help the guy recover by saying “He’s seeing if you’re with it, so good job!”

At mile 26 I saw the white fence keeping the crowds off the road. One final hill before the end. Of course. I told myself “ok, no stopping now!”. Saw a sign that said, “the first person that ran a marathon died.” Which is true.

With just a little bit further to go my body was begging me to stop but I thought “Too much pride to walk now.”

The “Finish Swine”

There’s nothing like crossing the finish line of a marathon and knowing that you just did something epic! Amazingly, I still felt strong and wasn’t looking for a place to sit down. I also had my appetite. They had pretzels, chips, cups of fruit, bananas, and HOT CHEESE PIZZA.

They handed me a beautiful Flying Pig Marathon medal, a heat sheet, and I headed toward the post race party. In thinking about this marathon I’m glad I ran in under 5 hours (I finished in 4:56:51) and I’m glad I felt strong at the end. This was marathon number 13 for me.

Hogging Out At The MTA Meet-Up

I drove back to the Drury hotel and got a nice shower and some rest but the day was not done! I met some wonderful MTA fans for diner and drinks at the Hofbrauhaus brewery. It was fun to hear how each person got into long distance running.

I definitely recommend the Flying Pig Marathon and want to give a big thank you to all the race organizers and volunteers who do an amazing job! Next year is the 20th anniversary and they predict that the race will sell out.

Also Mentioned In This Episode

Generation Ucan – our preferred source. You will go hog wild for the Ucan Snack Bar! Use the code UCANFLY to save 15%.

The Drury Hotel Company. They have 140 hotels in 21 states (we have stayed at dozens of their locations). Exceptional service, great treadmills, free wifi, huge breakfast and free evening food and drinks! Use our link and get 15% off your stay and a free gift from us.

The Resilient Runner Program for Preventing and Self-Treating Running Injury

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The Injury Episode! With Special Guest Dr. Ben Shatto

In this episode we talk injury prevention with our friend and physical therapy doctor Ben Shatto. Plus we answer injury related questions from real everyday runners like you. -Glutes, claves, hamstrings, IT Band, foot and knee pain . . . we cover it all!

We wanted to make this episode as practical as possible so we start with discussing the prevalence of running injures (as high as 70-80% runners effected according to some sources) then Angie shares some of the biggest mistakes she sees runners make that lead to injuries.

Next, we dive into some excellent questions sent in by email subscribes that deal with specific injuries.

Dr. Ben Shatto, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS is a physical therapist who specializes in managing orthopedic conditions and strength and conditioning. Ben has been running since 2005. He is co-creator of the Resilient Runner Program for Prevention and Self-Treatment of Injury.

Top Mistakes We See Runners Make

  1. Only running and neglecting to cross train
  2. Racing too much
  3. Not taking time for recovery
  4. Ignoring smaller issues that may turn into bigger injuries
  5. Not doing the needed body maintenance (stretching, sleep, foam rolling, massage, chiropractor)

Questions Used in This Episode . . .

Injury Prone Runner

Hi Trevor!! A huge thank you to you and Angie for an excellent podcast. I have two (semi-related) questions. I consider myself an 42 year old injury-prone runner (I’ve have had hip, ITB, plantar issues), although currently I’m healthy. Yes, I’m knocking on wood.

I’m signed up for a challenge race, the Disney Dopey Challenge in January, which
I’ve done before. However, I seem to get injured when my long runs get high. I’ve
had marathon plans that go beyond 26 miles “to prove that I can do it,” but I’m
thinking that’s not the best plan for me. I’ve done 4 marathons, so I know I can do
it, so I’m thinking I should do a plan that has a much lower maximum run.

So my first question is, if you are injury-prone runner, what is the maximum
suggested long run distance to prepare for a marathon? THANKS! -Katie

Returning to Running After an Injury or Surgery

I’d love to know Ben’s advice on how to return to running after an injury. I’m 4
weeks into a severe ankle sprain. When I’m cleared to run again I want to jump
right back where I was pre-injury but don’t want to risk re-injury either. How do I
safely return to running after six weeks? (I have continued to do the stationary
bike and core work while injured) -Tina K

Feet Hurt All The Time

Hey, Trevor and Angie! I love your podcast, and have been an avid listener for
several months now. I’m emailing you today in the hopes of gaining insight on a
recurring foot issue. I’ve never had plantar fasciitis or a stress fracture, but my
feet hurt ALL THE TIME. Sometimes it’s just a niggling pain after a day on my feet, and occasionally (although rarely) it hurts to walk for a day or two . . . I can’t seem to overcome the issue. I run an average of 14 miles a week, teach a Zumba class twice a week, and throw in strength training, yoga, and cycling for cross training. Any light you could shed on the matter would be very much appreciated. Thanks in advance! Blessings, -Mariah



I am a Masters runner (53 years of age) and have been running since grade school. I currently run 45-65 miles a week depending on where I am in my training cycle for a marathon. In the past I have had ankle soreness and a heel problem that quickly responded to ART (Active Release Therapy). Over the past couple of months, I have been having issues and have been getting ART treatment for piriformis syndrome . . . it is not responding to ART as quickly as other issues. Because of this I decided to back way off on my miles (once or twice a week and only about 15 miles total) to see if that will help it heal. My question for Dr. Ben: Do you know if there are their other treatments that work better than ART for piriformis syndrome (e.g. dry needling, ultra sound, etc.)? Thanks! -Greg J.

Running After Pregnancy

Hi Trevor and Angie, I have been listening to your podcast for about a year, when I began training for my first marathon. I ran it 14 months postpartum while still nursing my son. I never in a million years thought I could pull it off, but somehow I did and you two were in my ear for every long run. I am expecting again and would like advice for how to take care of my body while running through pregnancy. Specifically, how to care for my back as my belly starts to bulge. And how to know when enough is enough. It can be difficult to distinguish the general uncomfortableness (is that even a word?) of
growing a human from an actual developing injury.

Any and all advice from Dr. Shatto would be wonderful. Thanks so much! -Allie

Shin Splints

Hi Trevor and Angie, I’m signed up to run my first marathon at the end of May in Traverse City, Michigan. A couple weeks ago my shins started bothering me. Last year I got shin splints in the spring. I tried to treat them the same way as I’d done in the winter (lots of icing, maybe a day or two off, stretching, massages, etc.), but this time they just didn’t go away. Do you have any more suggestions for shin splints? I just bought a pair of compression socks, I ice once a day, and I massage my calves with a lacrosse ball. If I continue to back off on the running, but maintain a high level of cross training, do you think I will still be able to run the marathon on May 27? Thanks, -Kate

Tight Calves

I often have tightness in my calves. This can range from being slightly
uncomfortable on one day to cramping calves the next. I would say that in about 70% of my runs, I feel the tightness in my calves and have just learnt to run through it. (Which is never really a good thing!!). Any ideas? Thanks for a great podcast. -Wayne

IT Band

My question has to do with IT Band tightness/irritation. When my IT band
(left side) is particularly aggravated, it manifests in extreme pain just
under my left ankle-why is that and how can I prevent it? The pain gets so
bad that it feels like I’ve broken something! Thanks, -Britt

Knee Pain

Hi Angie and Trevor. My name is Clayton Bryant. I’m a New Zealander that lives in China. I’ve been listening to your podcasts for about the last couple of years and it has helped me tremendously. Here’s my question. What do you do if you have a running injury and you do not have access to professional help that understands your sport? It is widely said that You should find a doctor or a physiotherapist that is also a runner so that way he or she will understand your injury and assist you in the right way to get you back out training. In my city I have been told that with my knee injury, I should stop running completely and that running is bad for your knees. I know this is untrue. Is it better to take someone’s advice who doesn’t understand your sport and your needs or should you try and find the answer on a website, running blog or YouTube? Are there other options for us runners that aren’t in the most convenient place in the world.

Thanks for all you guys have done for me over the years. Your podcasts have been a life saver. Sincerely Clayton B. A kiwi runner in China.

Also Mentioned in This Episode

We are totally stoked about our new resource that is now available at a special introductory price. This has been a project 1 year in the making and we believe it is the most in-depth resource for preventing and self-training running injuries anywhere on the internet. Click the logo to see what’s inside:

Resilient Runner logo

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 Kathrine Switzer -Running Fearless!

Kathrine Switzer poses with a replica of her first Boston Marathon bib number 261. Credit: Hagen Hopkins.

Kathrine Switzer revolutionized women’s running when she broke the gender barrier and became to the first woman to run the Boston Marathon with a bib number. That was 1967.

Kathrine just completed the 2017 Boston Marathon at the age of 70 -a record 50 year anniversary celebration of the run that changed her life and the lives of millions of women around the world.

You’re going to love this podcast interview!

Boston Marathon 1967

A woman, listed only as K. Switzer of Syracuse, found herself about to be thrown out of the normally all-male Boston Marathon when a husky companion, Thomas Miller of Syracuse, threw a block that tossed a race official out of the running instead, April 19, 1967 in Hopkinton, Mass.(AP PHOTO)

Just after the incident in 1967, Credit: Brearley.com

Switzer after Boston 67: notice the bloody feet; credit: Brearley.com

Boston Marathon 2017

Kathrine completed this year’s Boston Marathon with a time of 4:44:31! This year Kathrine was given bib #261, the same she had back in 1967. The field is made up of approximately 50% women.

Links Mentioned in This Episode:

Kathrine Switzer | Marathon Woman -See Kathrine’s schedule and learn more about her book.

261 Fearless -a global supportive community which empowers women to connect and take control of their lives through the freedom gained by running.

Sporthooks Medal Displays founded by Marcy Futris -an accomplished female runner and entrepreneur that credits Kathrine Switzer as a role model and mentor.

PlateJoy -designs custom meal plans to fit your unique health goals and taste preferences. Offer code MARATHON for 10 days free and $10 off your membership.

From the Community . . .

Boston was such an incredible experience! I got to meet so many great runners and running celebrities, see the premiere of the Boston Documentary, visit some wonderful friends, and of course, run the Boston Marathon! When I turned right on Hereford the crowds were cheering so loudly and I crossed the finish line with a smile on my face, a bad sunburn and a tear in my eyes. I am so grateful for this experience and could never have done it without Coach Angie and the support of the MTA community. You all are such a wonderful, supportive group and I love being a part of such an awesome community! Thank you for everything! -Debbie from Texas

About Angie Spencer

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

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Train Smart, Run Forever: Interview with Bill Pierce and Scott Murr

In this podcast episode we talk with Bill Pierce and Scott Murr from the Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training.

Their new book is called Train Smart, Run Forever: How to Become a Fit and Healthy Lifelong Runner by Following The Innovative 7-Hour Workout Week, published by Runner’s World.

Bill Pierce, director of the Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training is an experienced marathoner and professor of health sciences at Furman University.

Scott Murr, is a marathoner, 12 time Ironman triathlon finisher and assistant professor of health sciences, and director of the Human Performance Lab at Furman University.

Also Mentioned in This Episode

Health IQ -a life insurance company that celebrates marathon runners and other health conscious people. Visit healthiq.com/mta to learn more & get a free quote, or check out their life insurance FAQ page to get your questions answered. In addition, take the MTA quiz and see how you score!

Sun Basket -makes it easy to cook delicious seasonal, nutritious meals in your own kitchen—in just 30 minutes or less. Get organic, non-GMO ingredients from the best farms and fishermen, sent directly to your door! You can choose from Paleo, Gluten-Free, and Vegetarian options, created by an award-winning chef and approved by nutritionists. Use our link and the first three meals are free.

From the Community . . .

I wanted to say thank you to MTA members, Angie and Trevor for being the supportive running group I’ve needed to shoot for my goals. I went through a dark time when I finished college soccer and was left with no team and no support network other than my family that lived 2 hours away. No goals and no direction. I found running as a way to cope and then it later became my new athletic identity and main sport. I became a marathoner with the help of MTA! Because of this, I recently tried out for a semi pro soccer team that FC Wichita is starting this year. And all be darn if I didn’t make the call back and will be going to training camp to compete for a roster spot! I would not have had the confidence or fitness base to do this had I not of found running or had the backing of the MTA to keep me goal oriented and motivated. Thank you! I am grateful for you all! -Traci

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 Recovery Episode! Seven Things to Do Post-Run

Taking time to recover is absolutely essential if you want to get stronger and improve your fitness. During your speed work or long run (or even weight training session) you’re adding stress to your body systems which results in depleting energy levels, broken down muscle tissue, and stressed bones, tendons, and ligaments.

In the period post-workout (the recovery period), the body starts repairing itself so that you can come back stronger during your next run or workout if you do these seven things . . .

After you workout, your body starts to repair or replace damaged muscle fibers through a cellular process. Muscle growth occurs when the rate of muscle protein creation is greater than the rate of muscle protein breakdown. And this happens during the resting period, not during the actual workout.

So if you’re doing the same workouts day after day without rest your body isn’t going to be able to keep up with the recovery process. You may start to notice overall fatigue, that your legs feel flat, that you aren’t making gains in speed, strength or endurance. If this goes on long enough it’s considered overtraining syndrome which comes with a host of problems that you don’t want to have.

When it comes to your need of recovery there is not a one-size fits all formula. Each runner’s need for recovery will be influenced by genetics, age, gender, overall health, additional life stressors, nutrition, sleep, etc. So you shouldn’t compare yourself to someone like Dean Karnazes or Mike Wardian and follow the same training or racing formula that they do. It’s not a weakness to admit that you need more recovery.

I’ve said it multiple times on the podcast through the years, that I consider myself to be an injury prone runner. Maybe it would be more accurate to state that I have a greater need for recovery than many people. Yes, I’ve pushed my limits over the years and have sometimes not gotten the best results. For me, and many other runners, increased quantity does not equal higher quality runs and races. And now with 44 marathons and 4 ultras under my belt I’ve noticed that my body needs more recovery time. In fact, like we talked about earlier I made the decision for the first time to withdraw from a marathon. I don’t know when my next marathon will be but I’m trying to prioritize my health first.

The key thing is not to see the need for recovery as some kind of weakness. It’s an essential part of being a strong and healthy runner for life and reaching your fitness goals. The more you can listen to your body and tune into its needs the better you’ll be able to guard against overtraining and injury.

Let’s get into some principles of recovery and start with the post-run period.

1.Cool Down:

After a run it’s important that you take time to properly cool down. That’s why I recommend that during the last 5 minutes of your run it’s wise to drop to an easy pace and after finishing your run to walk for at least 5 minutes. The purpose of the cool-down is to help return your body to pre-exercise conditions. This includes reducing your heart rate, breathing rate, and core body temperature.

2. Stretch:

Gently stretching your muscles while they are warm is another way many runners stay injury free and flexible. There is also a growing body of research into the benefits of yoga, which is good both for recovery and injury prevention. There’s no need for a runner to have the flexibility of a gymnast, but many runners have tight hips and quads which can lead to problems down the road. Doing a post-run stretching session of 5-10 minutes that targets your tight or problem areas can be very beneficial.

3. Body Temperature:

After you stop moving your core temperature is going to start dropping and wet clothes will cause further chilling. One of the first things you should do to protect your core temperature is get out of any wet clothes, especially if you won’t be taking a shower right away. Many of you have probably had the uncomfortable experience of having uncontrollable shivering after a race due to dropping body temperature. Two instances stand out in my mind- the Boston Marathon 2015 where it was wet and rainy and I had to wait a long time in the finisher’s area to be reunited with Trevor. Then there was the New Jersey Marathon 2016 where I underdressed for the conditions of wind and rain and had barely functioning hands by the end of the race. So get out of those sweaty clothes and into dry gear if you can’t shower right away.

4. Refuel:

Another way you can speed recovery is through refueling within approximately 30 minutes. The glycogen repletion window is actually open to convert carbs to glycogen at a higher rate for two to four hours immediately following vigorous exercise. In the past when I would walk in the door from my long run I was often immediately bombarded with demands that have built in my absence (kids tend to save all their issues and problems for mom). It’s very hard to find the time to eat something right away. So, my perfect solution is using a recovery drink.

There are a large variety on the market but I like the one from Generation UCAN which provides protein and carbs without simple sugars or a lot of calories. The UCAN bars are also very handy when you can’t get a proper meal right away. Then I can attend to the needs of my kids and do other aspects of recovery.

Even if you use a recovery drink right away it’s still important to eat a balanced meal or snack within 1-2 hours post-workout. If you don’t eat enough in this 2-4 hour window post- intense workout you may notice yourself feeling ravenously hungry during the next 1-2 days. Now obviously if you’re doing a light workout or shorter run that doesn’t get close to depleting your glycogen stores, shoving extra carbs and calories in post-workout may only lead to fat gain so be sure to refuel wisely.

5. Hydrate:

Since fluid makes up approximately 60% of your body weight it’s important to be mindful of staying properly hydrated. Many runners focus on staying hydrated during a run but neglect to drink water the rest of the day. Now I don’t believe in forcing large amounts of fluids down. In general you should drink to thirst and let your body be the guide. Signs of inadequate hydration include headaches, darker colored urine, not having to urinate for longer periods or only passing a small amount, and nausea. After a long run I often like to add an electrolyte solution like UCAN hydrate or Hammer Fizz to my water to help replace any electrolytes that may have been lost while running. I also like to take a reusable water bottle with me so that I’m getting plenty of fluids during the day.

6. Compression:

Compression gear can provide more oxygen, improve blood circulation, muscle and joint stabilization, an improve metabolization of lactic acid, and speed recovery. The true benefits of compression garments occur if they’re worn post-race or long run when they stimulate circulation to give a faster lactate recovery rate. Wear them during a long run or race if you like the way they feel, but the ideal time to put them on is during the recovery period. Be sure to read our recent blog post all about the benefits of compression.

7. Cold Therapy:

Submersing your lower body in cold water below 59 F for 10-15 minutes can noticeably reduce muscle soreness in the next few days and reduce performance related decreases from inflammation. Taking an ice bath (or sitting in a cool lake or stream) within the first 2 hours post-run can be of great benefit. If you can’t handle the thought of submersing that much of your body and you have a sore area (knee, ankle) be sure to get an ice pack on the area right away. Ice the area for 15 minutes every 2 hours for the first 24 hours to decrease swelling.

Also Mentioned in This Episode

Academy Membership -Get the full training of How to Recover LIKE A BOSS

Generation Ucan – our preferred source of fuel for entrance runs and recovery. Use the code MTARECOVER to save $15.

Whoop -A scientifically grounded system designed to help athletes get the best out of their bodies and optimize performance. Athletes overtrain, under train, misinterpret fitness peaks and often don’t really understand the importance of sleep and recovery. Visit www.whoop.com to learn more and use code MTA for $50 off of your purchase.

The Resurrected Runner -author of Ice Bath Baby Song

Go! St. Louis Marathon

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The Sleep Episode! Perplexing Questions Answered

This episode is dedicated to helping you get better sleep! We bring on a Harvard-trained sleep expert to explain how to improve the quality of your sleep as a runner, share research and answer perplexing questions from the MTA community.

Emily Breslow manages all aspects of Data Science and Physiology Research at WHOOP. Prior to joining WHOOP as the first employee, she worked at the Analytical and Modeling Unit of the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s hospital studying jetlag. Emily is also a gymnast and runner.

Questions Covered in This Episode

  1. If you have trouble sleeping would running in the morning be better for better quality sleep than running after work? -Nick
  2. My issue with sleep is falling asleep. My work schedule and life is so wonky…some days I get home at 4pm, some days at 11pm and everything in between. My life isn’t consistent so I find I can’t get up and go to bed at the same time every day. It’s nearly impossible for me to establish a “regular” schedule. Any tips for getting good sleep when your life/schedule is complete inconsistent and unpredictable? -Persephone
  3. I sometimes use Melatonin when I have trouble falling asleep. I’ve often wondered about taking it the night before a race? Any possible side effects or evidence it could hinder performance? -Tracy
  4. I know it’s recommended to get 8 hours of sleep for a myriad of reasons. But aren’t some of us wired differently? I’m at a point where I get 6.5-7 hours each night, perhaps another hour on Sunday morning. Are there long-term issues with compounded sleep deficiency? -Henry
  5. I’ve read different opinions on whether you should sleep in on weekends to catch up or if you should wake up at the same time every day. What’s better and why? -Emily
  6. What’s the perfect nap amount? I had heard either short 20 mins or full 90
Mins so full sleep cycle. -Allison
  7. If you sleep badly, should you still get up and run/train, both for training’s sake and to hopefully sleep better? Or would you be better served to skip your run? Oh also! What’s a good way to get out of a bad sleeping rut, as in a couple days where you just can’t fall asleep? If you can’t tell… I’m a bad sleeper. -Whitney
  8. I work only night shifts as a nurse and have some sleep difficulties on my free days. I might wake up in the middle of the night and be awake up to four hours. How can I get back to sleep easier? -Hanna-Leena

Also Mentioned In This Episode

Whoop -A scientifically grounded system designed to help athletes get the best out of their bodies and optimize performance. Athletes overtrain, under train, misinterpret fitness peaks and often don’t really understand the importance of sleep and recovery. Visit www.whoop.com to learn more and use code MTA for $50 off of your purchase.

Sun Basket -makes it easy to cook delicious seasonal, nutritious meals in your own kitchen—in just 30 minutes or less. Get organic, non-GMO ingredients from the best farms and fishermen, sent directly to your door! You can choose from Paleo, Gluten-Free, and Vegetarian options, created by an award-winning chef and approved by nutritionists. Use our link and the first three meals are free.

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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7 Marathons on 7 Continents in 7 Days! -Interview with Michael Wardian

Michael Wardian set the record for fastest marathon time on seven continents in seven days. In this podcast interview we get a blow-by-blow of this epic whirlwind challenge plus some of his other recent exploits.

Michael Wardian is possibly the most prolific racers in the world. In 2016 he ran 47 events and had multiple wins and records including setting the fastest ever time for all the Abbott World Marathon Majors consisting of the Tokyo Marathon, Boston Marathon, London Marathon, Berlin Marathon, Chicago Marathon, New York Marathon in an average time of 2:31:09.

The last time we had him on the podcast he had just set the record for fastest 50k time on an indoor 200 meter track. He also holds the record for fastest 50k on a treadmill.

I don’t know of anyone else who is so good at running back-to-back marathons. For example, he ran 2:21 at the US Olympic Trials in Houston and 2:31 at the Houston Marathon the next morning. He ran the legendary Badwater 135 called the toughest footrace on planet earth (he finished 3rd) and 4 days later he ran an indoor marathon and won it. Two week later he won the San Francisco Marathon despite having food poisoning the night before.

This year he set a record for fastest marathon time on seven continents in seven days -a feat that earned a lot of media attention.

The photos that follow are from Mike’s Instagram page. Follow him @mikewardian.

Day 1 Antartica

Day 2 Punta Arneas, Chile

Day 3 Miami, USA

Day 4 Madrid, Spain

Day 5 Marrakech, Morocco

Day 6 Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Day 7 Sydney, Australia

Mike won every event and set a New World Record for fastest time on seven continents in seven days. He averaged 2:45:57.

For more context about the World Marathon Challenge, the race organizers, and the other participants there’s a good story in Competitor.

If you are interested in running the World Marathon Challenge it looks like it will only cost you EUR €36,000.

Also Mentioned in This Episode

Whoop -A scientifically grounded system designed to help athletes get the best out of their bodies and optimize performance. Athletes overtrain, under train, misinterpret fitness peaks and often don’t really understand the importance of sleep and recovery. Visit www.whoop.com to learn more and use code MTA for $50 off of your purchase.

Mike Wardian links!

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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Hate the Treadmill Less! [Part 2 of the Treadmill Episode]

We’ve heard from many people who enjoyed our Q&A episode about the treadmill.

In this episode we bring you part two of our amazing treadmill series and share tips and on how to maximize its effectiveness, run stronger, and learn to hate the treadmill less!

2018 marks the 200th anniversary of the treadmill (but I don’t think anyone we be celebrating). An article from Mental Floss gives the inglorious history of the treadmill.

In 1818, an English civil engineer named Sir William Cubitt devised a machine called the “tread-wheel” to reform stubborn and idle convicts. Prisoners would step on the 24 spokes of a large paddle wheel, climbing it like a modern StairMaster. As the spokes turned, the gears were used to pump water or crush grain. (Hence the eventual name treadmill.)

In grueling eight-hour shifts, prisoners would climb the equivalent of 7,200 feet. The exertion, combined with poor diets, often led to injury and illness (as well as rock-hard glutes), but that didn’t stop penitentiaries all over Britain and the United States from buying the machines. In 1824, prison guard James Hardie credited the device with taming New York’s more defiant inmates. He wrote that it was the treadmill’s “monotonous steadiness, and not its severity, which constitutes its terror.” 

Over the years, American wardens gradually stopped using the treadmill in favor of other backbreaking tasks, such as picking cotton, breaking rocks, or laying bricks. In England, the treadmill persisted until the late 19th century, when it was abandoned for being too cruel. The machine was all but lost to history. But when Dr. Kenneth Cooper demonstrated the health benefits of aerobic exercise in the 1960s, the treadmill made a triumphant return. Today, well-paid personal trainers have happily taken the place of prison wardens.”

Oh the Lengths We Will Go To Avoid the Dreadmill!

photo creditQuinn Schneider @TheQSchneider

I’m sure that running on the treadmill has felt like punishment to many runners at some point or the other. I have to admit that it’s not my favorite mode of getting my miles in.
So, maybe you go out of your way to avoid running on the treadmill, like a high school runner who recently shoveled an entire track lane after a major snowstorm to avoid doing his miles on the TM.

It Makes Mice Healthy, So Why Not Give it a Try!

But, there is evidence that running (even on a treadmill) is good for you. Ottawa researchers found that a molecule triggered by running helps repair some brain damage in mice. The molecule, called VGF nerve growth factor, had previously been discovered to promote an anti-depressant response. It also assists with the healing of the protective coating that insulates nerve fibres promoting better motor coordination and balance. This might be especially applicable to people with conditions like multiple sclerosis and Parkinsons which show nerve degeneration.

The mice who ran on a tiny mousy treadmill lived longer than their sedentary siblings. The research also showed that when mice stopped exercising they began to notice debilitating symptoms again.

So, remember that getting those miles in, even on the treadmill, is good for you and hopefully after listening to this episode you’ll have a more positive attitude about treadmill training.

Don’t Try This At Home

How to Choose a Treadmill:

There are a dizzying array of treadmills to choose from.  I’d encourage you to do a few things before you decide to buy.

  1. Figure out what you can realistically spend.
  2. Go to a sporting goods store that has several treadmills in stock or try out different treadmill options at local gyms.  Wear your running shoes and try a variety of models to see which features you like and those you don’t really need.  For example, make sure that the length and width of the platform and belt are comfortable for your running stride.  Some models run a little short and small and you feel like you’re going to be ejected any minute.  Make sure that the controls are easy to understand and use.  Sometimes a treadmill with a plethora of programing options is something you probably won’t use.  Try the treadmill at a variety of speeds from walking to your fastest run and try the incline.  Make sure the machine doesn’t shake, clunk, or sounds like it can’t handle your speed or weight.

  3. Write down the model you like best and what you liked about it.  Start doing some research online and read reviews for that particular treadmill.  Often a wealth of information can be gleaned from others who have purchased a similar model.  Usually the cheapest and most expensive TM’s are ones you should avoid.
  4. Once you have a good idea of what you want, start checking for specials in local stores, online, ebay, and Craig’s List.  People often buy nice TM’s, use them a couple times, and then they become a clothes hanger.  You can often get a great deal just by knowing what you want, checking around, and waiting for a good deal.  I’m sure that by the time winter rolls around again you’ll have found something that will suit you well. A coaching client of mine said that if you choose to buy from Costco they will deliver it and help set it up.
  5. Some brands that come highly recommended include Woodway, Landice, Precor, Proform Official Boston Marathon Training Treadmill, and Matrix Fitness Treadmills from Johnson Tech.

Treadmill Tips from Academy Members . . .

I cover up the screen and try not to pay attention to how far I have or haven’t gone. That let’s me not only not see the distance or minutes but I put the speed based on where my effort feels right and not where “I think I should be running”. Then I play with that up and down. I also play with the incline to entertain myself and mix it up. Every .10 I’ll bump it a level and go up half a mile and back down the other half for a hill mile. Happy treadmill running my friend! You CAN do this! -Traci

Treadmill is a huge mind game since it is boring and you only see the room you are in. Movies help. -Lou

I have no problem running on a treadmill and have done a number of 20+ mile runs over the years with my longest being 25 miles. The secret is to learn to run on the treadmill, don’t wait until you are forced inside and then expect an easy transition. The treadmill can be a great training tool! Here are my hints.
-Try every treadmill in the gym. They will all feel a little different. Find your favorites. This helps you establish consistent treadmill running paces.

-Don’t expect an 8 min mile on the treadmill to feel like an 8 min mile outside. Establish your own conversion table.

-Find what will keep your mind occupied. I listen to audio books but TV or podcasts might work as well.

-Never do a 16 mile run, do 4×4 miles or 15 min x 10, for me breaking it down makes it more manegable.

-I drink and fuel on the treadmill exactly like I will for my next race. Gives me a little practice and again it breaks up the run by looking ahead to my next water or fuel break.

-Have a change of clothes for a long run, after 10 miles I’m pretty sweaty so fresh shorts and shirt really help.

-Have intervals of varying pace and incline during your run. Only slight changes are necessary to give some variety.

-Sometimes we are our own worst enemy on treadmill runs. We’re supposed to hate treadmill running right? Attitude is important. -Marty

I like watching sports documentaries or sometimes sports movies while on the mill. It motivates me. The Barkley Marathons, From Fat to Finish Line, Touch the Wall, Prefontaine, Finding Traction – they are all on Netflix and I always have some saved in my list for bad weather. For shorter workouts, a friend suggested the Sufferfest videos – mostly cycling but there are three running ones too. Intervals you don’t have to think about make the time fly by. -Katie

Also Mentioned in This Episode

Health IQ -The only place where runners can get lower rates on life insurance from A+ carriers.

The Drury Hotel Company. They have 140 hotels in 21 states (we have stayed at dozens of their locations). Exceptional service, great treadmills, free wifi, huge breakfast and free evening food and drinks! Get 15% off your stay and a free gift from us.

Matrix Fitness Treadmills -Right now, you can save up to $400 on treadmills, bikes or ellipticals from Matrix Fitness plus we’ll ship it for free. We stand behind our products with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Head over to www.johnsonfit.com/matrix to see the lineup and change the way you think about home fitness.

The Runner’s Toolbox -Free downloadable pdf reveals eight essential items to help fight injury. In order to get a copy of The Runner’s Toolbox all we need is your name and email and we’ll send it right over. We’ll also keep you informed about the best injury prevent strategies and practices. –>Yes! Send it.

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The Treadmill Episode! -Listener Q and A

In this episode we are joined by special guest Chris Galaty to talk about the joys of treadmill training and answer listener questions about training on the treadmill (#dreadmill). You will learn about pace conversion, stride length, the 1% rule, mental training and more! See how you and the treadmill can become BFFs!

Since Angie and I don’t own a treadmill and do 99% of our running outside we decided to bring Coach Chris Galaty on the podcast to help us answer these listener questions about treadmill training.

Chris Galaty -a RRCA certified running coach, a sub 3 hour marathoner and accomplished triathlete. When he lived in Bangladesh he trained for 4 marathons and half Ironman triathlon exclusively on the treadmill. He works one-on-one with runners through our MTA Coaching Services.

  1. You don’t need to run at 1% incline to simulate outdoor running. According to this runner’s world article, there is no science to back up this rule. The originally notion was that a 1% incline would simulate the wind displacement of running outside (as your body cuts through the outside air). But, if you are running less than an 8 minute mile there is not enough air displacement to matter in a measurable way.
  2. Treadmill speed might not match the speed on your GPS watch. So, if your online MPH to pace conversion doesn’t seem quite right it’s because treadmills are not perfect in their calibration. Coach Chris uses the speed on the treadmill as a basic guide but ultimately goes by his perceived effort.
  3. Researchers have found that there is little bio-mechanical difference between running on a treadmill and running outside.
    There does appear to be higher stride frequency and reduced impact on the body -which are positives for a runner.
  4. If you keep bumping into the front of the treadmill then you probably need to speed it up.
    Since the calibration could be off, you might be used to running faster than the speed on the dashboard indicates.
  5. Training on a treadmill is better than an indoor track
    because on an indoor track you are making many turns (probably in a single direction) which over time can be hard on the body.
  6. A slick way to do interval training is to use two treadmills side by side! Chris would workout at a gym where he could use two treadmills -one he could set fast and the other slow. Then he’d bounce from treadmill to treadmill for his tempo and recovery runs. This was more efficient than adjusting the settings every time.
  7. You should welcome the monotony of treadmill running. We know the treadmill can be boring but remember, a key part of marathon training is developing mental discipline.

Thanks again to our wonderful MTA Members for sending in the great questions used in this episode!

Also Mentioned In This Episode . . .

OMbra -the first running bra that combines heart rate and breathing to get a deeper, more accurate, and personalized view of your body. Let your body be your coach with OMbra. Visit omsignal.com and use the code MTA20 to get 20% off.

Matrix Fitness Treadmills -Right now, you can save up to $400 on treadmills, bikes or ellipticals from Matrix Fitness plus we’ll ship it for free. We stand behind our products with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Head over to www.johnsonfit.com/matrix to see the lineup and change the way you think about home fitness.

Thanks again to our special guest Chris Galaty for helping us with this episode. Read Chris’ story here.

About Trevor Spencer

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

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Interview with Gretchen Rubin -How to Make Time for Running through Knowing Yourself Better

The month of February is often a time when many New Year’s resolutions end up abandoned by the wayside. And this can be a major happiness stumbling block if you had high hopes for accomplishing certain goals this year. This episode can help you gain new insight and motivation to continue pursuing your running and fitness goals. And to help us dive deeper into this subject we were excited to welcome back Gretchen Rubin.

Gretchen is the author of multiple New York Times bestselling books like The Happiness Project, and Better Than Before. Her books have been so helpful and I consider her my personal happiness guru. I know you will enjoy this interview as we talk about some key productivity tips for busy people who want to pursue marathon training!

Questions you will hear discussed . . .

  1. Why is it so hard to make time for certain habits (like running) when we know they’ll end up making us happy?
  2. We all know people who are very gung ho about training if they’re signed up for a marathon and then the rest of the year they slide back into not running at all. How can people look beyond the finish line to focus on making exercise a habit for life?
  3. You written about the Strategy of Convenience. Can you explain this strategy and how it would help with something like making time for regular exercise?
  4. Another concept that I thought was very helpful to removing barriers to exercise was un-pairing. Talk about what this means and how un-pairing can be used to remove excuses.
  5. Is the idea of “finding balance” overrated?
  6. You’re working on a new book that dives deeper into the Four Tendencies which you talked about in Better Than Before (upholder, obligor, questioner, and rebel). For those who aren’t familiar with the Four Tendencies, what are they?
  7. How can people maximize their productivity and get things done with their natural tendency in mind?

Also Mentioned in This Episode

The Happier With Gretchen Rubin Podcast.

The Four Tendencies Quiz -find out if you are an upholder, obliger, questioner, or rebel.

The Role of the Elliptical Machine in Marathon Training. Read my post here.

Health IQ -The only place where runners can get lower rates on life insurance from A+ carriers.

Sun Basket -makes it easy to cook delicious seasonal, nutritious meals in your own kitchen—in just 30 minutes or less. Get organic, non-GMO ingredients from the best farms and fishermen, sent directly to your door! You can choose from Paleo, Gluten-Free, and Vegetarian options, created by an award-winning chef and approved by nutritionists. Use our link and the first three meals are free.

About Angie Spencer

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

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