In this episode of the A to Z Running Podcast, Zach and Andi and listener Q & A about training adjustments, plateauing, and marathon recovery.
Stick around after that for the latest from the world of running, including US 10,000m team championships, stars in Eugene, and high school studs in Cali.
MAIN TOPIC: TRAINING ADJUSTMENTS, PLATEAUING, MARATHON RECOVERY
Today’s episode comes from questions you’ve sent into A to Z Running!
From Karl in Michigan
Question and Details
I have a question. Several times you have discussed nutrition while running. I’ve also heard you talk about electrolyte replacement. In the past I seem to have equated the two, but I don’t think that’s fair. My question is, when you talk about fasted running, especially on long runs, are you talking about electrolytes as well as nutrition? Should I be replacing electrolytes, or is there a benefit to training with electrolytes? I guess I’m just wondering if electrolytes get lumped into nutrition or if they’re totally independent of each other. Clear as anything? Thanks for all you do.
- Very precise and helpful question!
- We usually talk about nutrition and fuel in terms of training energy systems, but you are right that hydration is a separate mechanism
- They are obviously inseparable, ultimately, but in terms of what is needed, they are two sides of the same coin and can be addressed individually to a degree
- Electrolyte replacement is a piece of the nutrition puzzle, but hydration also requires electrolytes to serve its purpose fully (ex: water without electrolytes can cause hyponatremia – basically the dilution of sodium levels in your blood)
- So in that sense, at a minimum, hydration requires a combination of water AND sodium
- Think Gatorade: sugar, sodium, little potassium (negligible amount), and water
- The sugar is for energy system
- The sodium is for hydration
- So sugar-free Gatorade might be a great source of hydration without the energy system aspect, for example
- Very important to understand your unique needs, at this point: heavy sweater? Low carb diet? Etc. Those things change the recommendation
- For most, in general in training, electrolyte replacement is often helpful with very little (or zero) reduction in training stimulus.
- Could be valuable to try in general: feeling a drag on longer runs or running in especially hot or humid conditions, bring along a low-sugar or even zero sugar electrolyte drink
- Good idea to avoid fake sweeteners, so give something like pickle juice a try here!
From Adam from Instagram
Question and Details
Hey fellow runners. Do you have an episode of yours that addresses a weird point I’ve gotten to… I’m not getting fast (actually slowing down) and my legs are hurting/aren’t recovering well. I’ve been running 5 days a week for the last two years (typically running 5-10ks and 1 long run on the weekend) but thought I’ve been listening to my body well to rest. Thanks for all you are doing and the resources you provide.
- Assuming age is not the defining factor…
- Three things immediately come to mind:
- 1. Training
- 2. Sleep cycle
- 3. Nutrition
- Assuming you are getting a healthy amount of sleep on a reasonably normal cycle (not crazy sporadic, etc.)…
- First place to look is training:
- this is the typical expression of someone who is going too hard on easy days or hard days or both and
- not spending enough time on musculoskeletal and aerobic development.
- Running too hard on easy days reduces the potential training adaptation of both the easy day and the hard day
- Short term, it often works really well, but long term, it tends to produce an insurmountable plateau effect
- Running too hard on hard days accomplishes valuable anaerobic stimulus, but induces significant need for recovery, reducing the aerobic adaptations of easy days
- Over time, your fitness potential constantly lowers so that eventually you are not only failing to improve but are also potentially even getting slower and feeling terrible all the while (not recovering, etc.)
- Especially true as you age because the body can no longer rebound as quickly
- Possible alternative could be nutrition – things like zinc, iron, or calcium deficiencies over time can produce these kinds of experiences, especially if they are not dire but are still too low
- If you haven’t already, on the path you’re currently traveling, you’re likely to start having injury troubles, too…
- our advice: make a change before it’s too late!
- RELATED: Periodization in Running
From George from Michigan
Question and Details
What tips would you have for my mindset going forward in my current situation? I had a very strong base period from January through May and some build. Despite a few hiccups (intercostal muscle strain and some hip/glute pain), I ran a very strong 10k in May.
I was looking to peak in mid June for some triathlons BUT I will be traveling overseas during most of June now for work. Goal races will now be in late July and August. Should I take a break? What part of a training cycle would you suggest I return to? Thanks for taking listener questions!
- Sounds like you might not have much time for training while traveling…
- But with the close proximity to the goal racing season, you also don’t want to have to totally reset.
- With limited time but strong fitness foundation, the recommendation here is a very precise one:
- Treat the traveling month like peak race season
- Taper and train as though you are goal racing late-June
- This is a lighter training load with a higher percent of intensity so it is more time-efficient
- It will also put you into optimal racing fitness sooner
- However, then you come out of the busy travel time in June/July and implement a continuation approach to the next 4-6 weeks for racing season
- This looks like
- a very high level hard effort 1x/week (ideally a literal race, but simulate it if you can’t)
- with other slightly lower intensity efforts another time and
- a moderate bit of jogging for the rest
- with things like sharpeners and sprint training 1-2x/week as well
From Doni from Michigan
Question and Details
I just ran my first marathon (congrats, Doni!). It went very well, and while I’m a little sore, nothing is terrible. How long should I take a break from running and what should I do to get started again?
- First, amount of time on a break depends on how you are feeling and how fast recovering.
- Do things to help speed recovery, like taking long walks, icing and anti-inflam, and gentle mobility things.
- Things to think about when deciding how long to take off…
- How your body is feeling: you do NOT want to run if you cannot run naturally, but walks and even a jog/walk mix could help speed along
- How you feel about the idea of running: if it sounds terrible to think about going for a run, it very likely can be indicative of the need for more rest
- For most, 1-2 weeks of no running is helpful when you are sure there is no lingering acute injury or pain.
- That might be 1-2 weeks of total rest OR doing some occasional jog/walks or bike rides, etc.
- That tends to be when most runners report feeling like they want to get back out there again
- When thinking about getting started again…
- Jog/walk before graduating right on to running if you’re not sure
- Always start with jogging
- Jog until your body feels strong again
- Running efforts beyond jogs on understimulated musculoskeletal system is nearly always a recipe for disaster
- This is often the reason why so many runners report injury of some kind or another shortly after restarting training seasons
- PRO TIP: before you start doing much running, focus on GSM for a couple weeks, developing precision, coordination, and stability heavily before trying to build running back up
WORLD OF RUNNING
World of Running
Special congrats to our AtoZrunners who raced at Bayshore:
Andrea (full), Andrew (pacer), Craig (full), Dan O (pacer), Haley (full), Hannah (half), Jacob (half – PR), Kelli (full), Kristi (half), Lewis (pacer), Mary (full), Pete (full), Steve (half), Stephanie (half), Zach (half – PR), Coach Zach (full)
#1. Close Battles at USATF 10,000m Championship
- Heated races at Eugene led to sprint to the finish races. Both races came down to the final stretch.
- Joe Klecker beat US record holder Grant Fisher in a final kick battle.
- Joe Klecker held off American record holder Grant Fisher to win his first US title, 28:28.71 to 28:28.81
- Emmanuel Bor went from what looked like a guaranteed spot on the team with 50 meters to run to wiping out meters before the finish line
- Sean McGorty went from 6th to 3rd to make his first US team 10 months after undergoing Achilles surgery – his fifth surgery in the last five years
- Women’s (more at Let’s Run)
- The story of two duels!
- The duel for first was between Karissa Schweizer and Alicia Monson.
- They were side by side in the final stretch, Schweizer just outrunning Monson.
- Schweizer won in 30:49.56 and Monson came in 2nd in 30:51.09.
- The second duel was between Natosha Rogers and Emily Infield for the 3rd place position.
- Remember this is for a spot on Team USA, so there is a lot on the line to reach the podium.
- Rogers was ahead of Infeld around the final turn. Infeld would edge ahead of Rogers down the homestretch, but Rogers responded and pulled back ahead right before the line.
#2. Pre Classic Results
- Men’s Bowerman Mile
- Jakob took the lead by 700m (very uncommon for him)
- Never gave it up
- Oliver Hoare (OAC – Australia) stormed up the outside for 2nd
- 1. Jakob INGEBRIGTSEN (Norway) 3:49.76
- 2. Oliver HOARE (OAC – Australia) 3:50.65
- 3. Timothy CHERUIYOT (Kenya) 3:50.77
- 4. Abel KIPSANG (Kenya) 3:50.87
- Powerful field!
- High schooler in the race, Colin Sahlman (Newbury Park) finishing 13th hitting the 3rd fastest time in HS history with the time of 3:56.24
- 1. 3:53.43 Alan Webb, 2001
- 2. 3:55.3 Jim Ryun, 1965
- 3. 3:56.24 Colin Sahlman, 2022
- Women’s 1500m
- Quickly became a two woman race with Faith Kipyegon (Kenya) and Gudef Tsegay (Ethiopia).
- Tsegay tried to shake Kipyegon in the final lap, but Faith stormed by her on the back straight
- Faith ran 3:52.59 thanks to a 60.4 last lap.
- Tsegay ran 3:54.21 in 2nd
- Canadian record holder Gabriela DeBues-Stafford took third in 3:58.62.
- 4th was Sinclaire Johnson (USA) running a personal best of 3:58.85 to become the 10th American woman under 4:00.
- “Kipyegon broke 4:00 for the first time back in 2013, running 3:56.98 as a 19-year-old. Since then, she’s been a fixture atop the sport and now, at 28, is showing no signs of slowing down. Her 3:52.59 today was her second-fastest time of her career. She told us afterwards she’d like to take a crack at Genzebe Dibaba’s 3:50.07 world record.” -Let’sRun
- Women’s 800m
- 20 year old Keely Hodgkinson (Great Britain) took the W in a speedy, world-leading 1:57.72.
- Ajee’ Wilson (USA) started at the very back of the field and moved her way up on the bell all the way to the finish where she was closing the gap on Hodgkinson. She was second in a time of 1:58.06, her fastest time since July of 2019 according to Let’s Run.
- Raevyn Rogers of the USA was third in 1:58.44
- Men’s 5000m
- Stacked field in the Men’s 5000m run with Samuel Tefera (Ethiopia, 1500m Indoor champ), Selemon Barega (Ethiopia, Olympic champ), Mo Ahmed (Canada, Silver medalist), Paul Chelimo (USA, bronze medalist)
- Ethiopia’s Berihu Aregawi went to the front at 2k and created a gap
- Won in 12:50.05 to win by more than 16 seconds thanks to a 7:39.4 final 3k
- It’s not a total shock that Aregawi won today – he was the Diamond League champion at age 20 last year and set a world record of 12:49 on the roads for 5k.
- Winning by 16 seconds, however, is shocking.
#3. Fast girls in California
- California State Meet had the fastest all-Californian race in state history.
- Freshman Sadie Engelhardt won the event running 4:36.67, the 2nd fastest time ever in State Meet history.
- Dalia Frias did most of the pacing and led much of the race. She took 2nd in 4:37.09. This time is the 3rd fastest in the State Meet history.
- Samantha McDonnell ran 4:36.37 for third. Her time was the 4th fastest in State Meet history.
- Mia Chavez was forth in 4:41.71- a time that Mile Splits says would’ve won 7 of the last 8 state meets.