Real Life Runners with Angie and Kevin Brown

341: Non-Race Goals

January 11, 2024 Angie Brown
Real Life Runners with Angie and Kevin Brown
341: Non-Race Goals
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever find yourself caught in the cycle of constant competition, feeling like races are the only benchmark for success in running? This episode turns the tables on that mindset, guiding runners through the art of setting impactful non-race goals. We carve out a roadmap for maintaining motivation and growth even when the race bibs are tucked away. As we peel back the layers of our running routines, we underscore the importance of acknowledging the natural progression and the sometimes necessary maintenance phases in a runner's journey. 

Sometimes maintenance is necessary, especially when facing a health issue that limits your running.  These times can be very difficult mentally, and we discuss a recent health issue Kevin is having that is limiting his training.

Lastly, get ready to flex those muscles as we highlight the significance of a 90-day strength-building cycle in your annual training plan. Not only can it pave the way for enhanced performance and longevity in the sport, but it's also your secret weapon against hitting those dreaded performance plateaus. We'll walk you through the strategy of balancing strength training with running, ensuring your regimen leads to powerful breakthroughs. Plus, we touch on the 80/20 training principle and how it can revolutionize your approach to mileage building, setting the stage for peak performance down the road. Remember, your journey doesn't end here; keep the conversation alive by sharing your stories and supporting the podcast community.


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Speaker 1:

This is the Real Life Runners podcast, episode number 341. If you're looking for ways to bring more joy into your running and you want to be a physically and mentally stronger runner, you're in the right place.

Speaker 2:

This is the Real Life Runners podcast, and we're your hosts, kevin and Angie Brown. Thanks for spending some time with us today. Now let's get running.

Speaker 1:

What's up runners, welcome to the show. Today we are talking all about non-race goals, and this is a really important topic, because I think there's probably a lot of you out there that listen to the podcast that do not race all the time. Maybe you are someone that likes racing Okay, maybe you are someone that doesn't really like racing and but you still want to improve as a runner in some way. You still want to be following a plan and making progress and working towards something that might not be a race, and so today we want to talk about what are some goals that you can have outside of racing, because most of us, I would say, don't race year round. Most of us have seasons where we race more than others, and maybe you have a couple of races during that quote unquote racing season, or maybe you have a couple races planned throughout the year, but there are probably phases where you're not as focused on races, and so that's what we wanted to talk more about today.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean, I think outside of traveling a lot, most of us have seasons of races based off of seasons of weather, like race season here tends to be like winter and early spring because it's the most accommodating temperatures. But if you go into like July, if you try and have a race, everybody will just collapse on the sidewalk. So we don't have a lot of races here over the summer.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, there is actually one 5k down here in July that is called Run Sweat and Beer and it's at 7pm at night, because that's the only time that you could possibly really think. I mean, you could maybe do one in the morning, but you'd have to do it really really early, before the sun even came up.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean we have. We have a couple of like 4th of July 5ks, but there's not a lot that's longer than a 5k. Like we don't have a good half marathon season down here. We have like some 5ks and then we have ultras that take place in July that are just ridiculous.

Speaker 1:

Right, because ultra runners just want to purely suffer, yes, and see how ridiculous of a condition they can put themselves into and survive, and so. But you know other areas of the country, summer is racing season, right? So where you are right now, it might be filled with snow and there's absolutely no races. Down here in South Florida, this is when races are actually starting to pick up and actually starting to be more of a thing. So it's definitely seasonal depending on where you are in the world, but we definitely want to think about and talk about what are some other goals that you can have other than just racing, because maybe you just don't feel like signing up for a race yet, and that's okay. But you're wondering, what else should I focus on right now?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and or maybe you have a race in mind, but that race is months and months in the future and you're like well, I know that there's like some 12 week training plans, but my race is nine months in the future. So what am I supposed to be doing right now? Like there's a lot of reasons why we will be on a plan that is not very, very race specific. All sorts of reasons. Timing is a big one, weather is one, personal motivation is one, but as we kind of go through here, we'll talk about all sorts of reasons why different plans are good and why you might end up on one plan versus another.

Speaker 1:

Right, and so, before we jump into the episode, if you are catching this, on the day it's released, which is January 11th of 2024, 111, which is always a fun date the Academy is open right now for enrollment. Today is the last day of our open enrollment period for the Academy membership. So if you are interested in getting some coaching and training plans and a community and lots of content to help you become a better runner and also just live a better life and become a healthier person in the process, head over to realliferunnerscom, forward, slash academy and check that out today before doors close. Okay, okay, so let's first jump into one phase that I think is the most neglected phase, and that's why I really wanted to talk about it first today, because I don't think that this phase is given enough credit, or this goal is given enough credit, and I think that even when we talk about this goal, people might say, really, that's that can actually be a goal, like, isn't that going in the wrong direction? And that phase is maintenance, right? I think that as runners, we are very driven to improve and we always want to be trying to improve in one way or another, and we're going to talk about that in parts two and three here today, where we talk about other ways that you can improve without training for a race. But I wanted to start off with maintenance phase, because maintenance is a goal, and it is a good goal for us to have sometimes, because, if we are always trying to improve, a lot of times that can lead to some disappointment or some fatigue, because there always comes a point where our progress plateaus, and it's a matter of how long does that plateau last, how we feel during that time, if we're always, always, always striving to improve, which I'm not saying is a bad thing, okay, so please don't hear me wrong there, because I always want to be improving in my life as a whole too. But I think that it's important to understand that there's a zoom in and a zoom out here, and this is one of the things that Kevin and I were talking about last night as we were thinking about this podcast. And it's like when you zoom out, if you like, I sometimes like to think about life and training, kind of like the stock market, where it's like that, um, that line that we hope is trending upward and in the right direction, right.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you keep zooming out and you're looking at like 1900 through now and you're like. Well, that's a nice increase.

Speaker 1:

Exactly, and when I zoom out on my life, I want to notice an upward trend. I want to be improving, whether that's in my running, my parenting, my just personal development as a human. I want to be trending upward and I want to stock investments in my yes my stock investments as well. Right, my bank account always moving upward in that direction. But if we zoom in there are definitely going to be periods of flat, you know kind of a flat. I don't want to say flat line, but like essentially a flat line or even a little bit of a decline, but when we can only really see those when we zoom further in right.

Speaker 2:

And so this maintenance phase sometimes, as you just pointed out, is like a flat line, but sometimes it actually is going the other direction. And, in a world where we always are, are striving for constant improvement, we often look at far too short of a time window where it's like, well, I need to improve from one week to the next. No, no, no, even more, I need to improve from one day to the next, like every day has to be a step forward. And to devote an entire season, to devote several weeks towards maintenance, where you might actually, during this maintenance time, pull backwards depending on what your training was at. Sometimes maintenance is such a mental recovery that your physical training is sort of below your, your baseline. You'd like to keep it at baseline, kind of be trending essentially flat, but sometimes you're slowly decreasing and it's allowing you all of this sort of mental reserve that you have the ability to then start taking up again when maintenance season is done. It gives you this massive recovery and sometimes, in order to allow yourself to both mentally and physically recover fully, especially if you've gone through weeks and months of like a big build towards a goal marathon, that's a lot. That's a lot physically, that's a lot mentally. You need that recovery and during that recovery time sometimes we feel it after like a day where, like I've lost all of my fitness. But it's okay to lose a little bit. If you've built yourself up so much over a few months of a build phase, it's okay to kind of pull back, to take a couple of steps backwards so that you can take 10, 20, 30 more steps forward.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and I think that it's important for us to remember that there are seasons, for a reason, like seasons in our normal yearly calendar, right, actual seasons, like we like to think about, seasons of training. And that's why, if you're familiar with us, you know that we teach 90 day goals and working in chunks, working in quarters, essentially throughout the year, and having a different goal for different phases in our training to help build us up and continuously help us improve. Because if we're constantly focused only on getting faster and you're just like I just want to get faster or I just want to build mileage and that's your only focus there's definitely going to be those times of plateau and they're probably going to come at a time that that's not your goal, right? Your goal is not maintenance. My goal is to be building right now, and I'm not actually building, I'm not noticing any improvement, and that's because you didn't give yourself kind of this maintenance phase or this down cycle, so that, like what Kevin said, when you recover, you allow yourself the energy reserves to then build back up stronger than you were before, and so it's important for us to understand that. You know, look at the way that our calendar is like the way that nature is designed by a being much smarter than ourselves as humans, right. Like there is a phase of growth, which is spring, where everything is kind of like reborn and regrows, especially in areas other than South Florida. We have kind of a maintenance phase, which is summer. Right, I think of summer as kind of a maintenance, like everything is pretty much just like has already grown back and it's just kind of flourishing in the summertime and then we move on to fall, where everything starts to kind of start to die and then it takes us into winter, which is then death, and then after winter comes spring again we get that rebirth and reset. So we think that it's helpful for us that go through similar cycles in our own training. Not that we need to go through a death cycle necessarily, right, but you kind of get. The point here is that we should have different goals for different cycles and different phases in our life.

Speaker 2:

And I mean, we teach 90 day cycles here, but your cycles can be different. Lengths is one of the other things, and I think, because you don't have to have every cycle being the same time, some people try and rush the maintenance cycle or the recovery cycle. They're like all right, well, I had a 12 week build for my race, now I've put another race on the calendar, so I guess I'll take these three weeks as a maintenance cycle, this month max for a minute and cycle, or you know, this day and a half for a maintenance quote unquote cycle. But it's okay to have a full season, a full 90 days, actually devoted to maintenance and recovery or more yes, right, like.

Speaker 1:

I think that that's important too, and one of the ways that you can determine if a maintenance phase is a good idea for you right now is to ask yourself the question what's happening in your life outside of running? Right, maybe running doesn't need to be your priority right now. You could have other life events going on. Say, you're trying to climb in your career, or you just took on a new job, or your job just shifted. There's all sorts of things happening now with jobs and careers and what's going on with with work and all of that stuff, especially after the global pandemic. But maybe you are finding yourself in a job that's requiring a lot of travel, or maybe you've just added a new member to your family, maybe you have a newborn baby. Like. There are things that sometimes need to take priority over our running, because it's hard to make multiple things a priority at the same time. If everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority, so sometimes there's other life events that kind of put that onto us.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean that's the metaphor of like juggling the all the balls and one of them is made of glass. They can't all be made of glass, because you have to focus on that one that you're never allowed to drop. If you have a newborn baby, that's the one made of glass. You can't, figuratively or literally, drop that one. It's not allowed, it's frowned upon. But that means that running is going to take take a backseat. The running becomes the ball made out of rubber and it's okay if that one falls because it's going to bounce back. Maybe running can't be your priority right now. There are other life events that you can sort of put the priority on, but maybe something has come up like a health event, an injury, where you literally cannot have running be your priority. This is the world that I currently find myself in. This was one of the things that spurred this to be. The topic is I have a current medical issue. That current. I have a multi-year medical issue that has now come to a point where I have to actually deal with it. I think it's a better way of putting it, so I've had a hernia for at least four years I'm not really sure the timeline and every time I've met with a doctor they look at me and they'll just say I'm going to rate four because I'm not really quite sure when it started, but it turns out.

Speaker 1:

This is the difference between men and women, or one of the differences.

Speaker 2:

One of several. It turns out that you can't run what you can. It's not ideal. It would not be part of our training philosophy to suggest to run a hundred miles with a hernia, because it makes the situation worse.

Speaker 1:

That's an understatement.

Speaker 2:

Right, I think of, I think I'm just trying to lay this out here and it turns out that, uh, I can't really run and train to the level that I would prefer right now because it is remarkably uncomfortable to do so. So the running that I like to do, I like to go out on eight mile, eight, nine mile runs on a regular basis during the week. I like to go on double digit runs on the weekend and I'm in a world right now where I can do 30 to 40 minutes at an easy pace Most days, but sometimes that's like an every other day and it kind of depends on how I'm feeling that day. And that's the world that I'm currently in. Right now I would love to pull out the ultra racing calendar and come up with some events and put some things on the calendar. I can't quite wrap my head around it right now because surgery is still weeks away and then there's going to be recovery from surgery and that's the season that I'm in right now. But it's funny that we put this whole like 90 day thing on there, because surgery and recovery is going to put me towards the end of March and that's going to be my, my first quarter of the year.

Speaker 1:

Oh well, there you go. So the first quarter, your first quarter, is kind of maintenance, but it's really like decline.

Speaker 2:

It is, it is.

Speaker 1:

If we're being honest with with ourselves right now, which I mean you just put it out there to the world that you know you have this hernia and so we're we're putting it all out with with honesty here, which is, which is a good thing, right? This is real life. Runners Like Kevin knew full well that he had this hernia and decided to run a hundred miles on it. Would this be anything that we would suggest? Absolutely not. Like I told him, as his coach, that I don't think this is a great idea, and he decided he wanted to do it anyways, and that's a decision that he was allowed to make. And as we were lying in bed last night and he was frustrated, he was expressing some frustration over the fact that he couldn't run right now. He can't do what he wants to do right now because his body is limiting what is comfortable, and how frustrating that has that has been for him over the last few weeks. I asked him was it worth it, you know? Would you do it again? Was it? Was it worth like achieving your goal and then not being able to run the way you want for a short period of time now?

Speaker 2:

Yes, a hundred percent yes.

Speaker 1:

And that, and there you go Right. And that's, I think, what we have to understand, that those are the things we have to ask ourselves like is it worth it? Like Kevin knew he had this issue, he knew he didn't probably didn't want to believe it, but he knew that running a hundred miles definitely wasn't going to make it better. It was not going to magically fix it and most likely would make it worse.

Speaker 2:

Somewhere around mile 60, I knew that I was going to be toasted for months.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and that's the choice that you chose to make, because the goal was important enough for you at that time. Yeah, and, and so that's fine and you can't be. I mean, you can be, but it's kind of pointless there. There's no benefit to being mad at yourself because you consciously made that choice right. You consciously made the choice to continue training, to continue doing this race, even though you knew that was going to be a thing. And now you have to have the surgery, and then there's going to be the recovery period. You don't know how long that's going to take. We hope it's going to be short and it, at this point it is just kind of is what it is.

Speaker 2:

Right. And so there's still frustration. And this is the thing is, during this phase, especially if running can't be your priority because of health issues, you can have some feelings of frustration, like that's a loud you, like you don't have to pretend that it's not frustrating, like you're allowed to to want to go run further. That doesn't mean that you should, that doesn't mean that you should overcome. Be like, eh, you know what, I'll just pop a couple Advil and pretend that that's not a problem, like you can be, you know, kind of sad really is the answer. That's like that's the feeling that I'm getting some days, but it's still. It's still the phase that I'm in and I still kind of chose to put myself in this phase. I knew what I was doing, I knew what was very, very likely to happen afterwards and this is, this is now where I am and it's going to be okay. And some days I can, I can be in a very positive mood because I'm like look, I accepted that this is the current situation I am, and it doesn't mean that I'm there every day. Sometimes I have low days, sometimes I'm fine, and I'm like look, I chose to do this and I would do it again. And other days I'm like this sucks and that's okay for recovery phase, that's okay when sometimes you're put into this particular phase. It might not be your favorite, but it's. It's probably something that you at least had some influence on. If you're like man, I've really got this this stuff at work. I'd love to be able to train for a marathon right now, but is work your actual priority? Are you, did you choose to make work your number one priority? Then you kind of put yourself in that position and that's okay that you're frustrated that you can't also be training for a marathon. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

And I think that you know there's lots of examples of this Um, and one one that comes to mind is like one of our clients was having some health issues and was having these like killer migraines last year. Right, and this would be an example. Like you knew what you were doing to yourself kind of and like chose to do it. Anyway, sometimes we don't always know, right, sometimes, like, our body is just doing things and maybe we're not quite sure what's going on, and I, you know this client was having such severe and debilitating migraines that it was affecting him at work. He was definitely affecting his ability to go out and run. And so he he decided he needed to take a step back and, like, stop running for a little while until he figured out, health wise, what was happening. And so he did, and he figured it out and, you know, he took extended time period off, I think about six months or so. And then things, they started figuring things out and he started feeling better and now he's back into running and he's back into training and things like that. Right, like, sometimes I usually tell him to stop running. You know there is no adequate format for yar11. He said, I can, our bodies don't do what we want them to do, right, and we like to talk about training in a very holistic way and trying to minimize some of that. But there are sometimes that things pop up that we don't really have control over and we have to kind of just take a back seat and say, ok, well, right now this health thing needs to be the priority, and running will always be there for me, right? I will always be able to go back to running. It just can't be my priority right now, and that's OK.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean that's great with putting it that kind of spins back to my 2017, 2018, where I was dealing with seizures that came on. We weren't sure exactly what the cause was, but you talk to neurologists and they're like well, ultimately there's too many stresses. And it's not that running is the cause. It's not that you're teaching in high school is the cause. It's not that lack of sleep is the cause. It's that all of them together are too much, and so we had to figure out. I mean, that's literally where a training part of where our training came from is. Where our training philosophy came from, that's where the philosophy really centered on is how do you train to optimize your performance without having negative repercussions on your overall health? And I mean that's what it is. And sometimes that means prioritizing health over performance, and I think that's what maintenance is is you have to periodically take these moments where you're like OK, right now, health needs to be way more than performance, because there are times that performance over small windows might not put you in the healthiest of places.

Speaker 1:

Like exactly what you did with your 100 mile race.

Speaker 2:

I think that most people trying to optimize a marathon. I'm not sure that running 26 miles as fast as you possibly can is necessarily the healthiest long term thing. Which is why you have to go in and out of marathons. I don't think stacking marathon PRs is necessarily the best choice. You got to space those things out so you have time to recover from one before you go chase another thing.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I would definitely agree with that. So maintenance is a very good option. Maintenance can be a goal, especially if you've got other things not just health issues but other life stuff going on. Maintenance can be a great goal for a period of time and maybe that period of time is a month, Maybe it's three months, Maybe it's six months, Maybe it's a full year, who knows? I've been in maintenance phase essentially for a while now and I'm totally OK with it Because running I've got a lot of goals and aspirations in other areas of my life and running hasn't been one of them. This year I'm starting to feel more of a pull to start to set a more performance related running goal and I'm good with that. But my cycles last year and 2023 were mostly build strength and maintenance, which is going to give us our segue into non-race goal number two, which is building strength. Last year I don't know why I just did not have any desire to race, Did not have. I mean I did. Actually, at the beginning of the year I did have a small desire to try to find a trail race and there's just not a lot of good trail options down here in South Florida. So that goal is going to carry over for sure into 2024. I definitely want to do an official trail race this year, so I better start looking into that, because it's racing season down here right now.

Speaker 2:

Otherwise, July is going to hit.

Speaker 1:

But a great non-race related goal is to build strength, because a lot of times we constantly want to be working on speed, trying to get faster or increasing mileage to train for that race, and oftentimes that can lead to a lot of burnout, that can lead to plateaus in our performance level. And what we want you to understand and if you've listened to this podcast for a while, you probably know that I'm going to say this that strength is the foundation for speed and distance. Your strength is the foundation for speed and distance. It is really, really important for you to build a strong foundation, to build a stable and powerful runner's body so that you can safely increase your speed and safely increase your distances, depending on whatever goals you have over the course of the year.

Speaker 2:

It's also a really good choice for longer term health and longevity to periodically well, not period to quite regularly have a build strength cycle. Putting a build strength cycle in on an annual basis to devote a 90 day cycle to getting stronger, instead of like it's good to have it all the time, but to have this come in on an annual basis and say, for these three months, for these 90 days, I'm going to really focus on building strength, I think is going to help your longevity as a runner. I think it's going to help reduce injuries as a runner. I think it there's not really a pullback to this. Outside of during that window, You're not really going to optimize race times, so you have to be able to like figure out how that's going to fit into your overall year. But in terms of running performance year upon year upon year, having a build strength cycle put in is going to be beneficial.

Speaker 1:

I 100% agree with you and I'm so glad that you said all of that, because we highly recommend to plan at least one 90 day strength building cycle in per year. Right, so we there's four 90 day cycles and every year, make one of them a build strength cycle. That, like Kevin said, not only is going to help improve the longevity of your running, it's going to help improve in my opinion and according to the research your longevity as a human okay, and your ability and mobility in your later years of life Okay. You want to build and maintain muscle mass as you get older. It is extremely important. It can prevent so many future problems in your later decades of life If you have a decent amount, a good amount, of lean muscle mass and you gain lean muscle mass by having a targeted strength building cycle where you're not worried about your running performance at all. Your goal is to build muscle Okay. In order to do this, we would recommend to maintain your mileage or to cut back slightly. I would. I would default to even cutting to cutting back slightly. Some people out there do not feel comfortable with that idea. I want to maintain, Okay, fine, but it's what level are you maintaining? You're definitely not maintaining at, like, the high peak weeks of your marathon training cycle, right, that's not. That's not maintenance level, right? So you have to find a mileage that your body is is comfortable with and and maintain there or cut back slightly. I would say, you know, if you're someone that runs four or five days a week, you might want to cut it back to three or four days a week because you want to make time and make sure that you're getting in three to four strength training workouts every week. Minimum of three, possibly even four, okay, if strength building is your goal here. So how?

Speaker 2:

do you space this? If you're doing three or four, are you allowed? If you're like working different muscles within the body, are we strength training on back to back days? As long as we're not hitting the same muscles on back to back days, yes, okay.

Speaker 1:

You can. You can definitely strength train back to back days, as long as you're working different muscle groups. So that's how you would get up to four.

Speaker 2:

Like I know how to get up to four days of running a week, but you're going to have back to back days because there's seven days in a week, right, like that's just how the math works, yeah.

Speaker 1:

And that's why intelligent strength programming is so important, like you can't be doing just random workouts that you find on YouTube. You have to have like a comprehensive strength plan so that you know that you're progressively overloading the muscles, but not overloading them so much that you're going to get injured or not see gains and benefits.

Speaker 2:

That's why I married you.

Speaker 1:

Exactly so, um so, yeah, so definitely you know, and people often ask me what? What if I want to run and strength train on the same day? Totally fine, you just want to make sure that whatever your priority is for that cycle, that goes first. Okay, so, for example, if your priority is strength training is to build strength in that cycle, you need to lift first and then run later, ideally with a break in between um of about six hours, but definitely prioritizing strength over your running. And if you need to miss something, if life gets in the way, you got to let go of a run in order to get that strength training in.

Speaker 2:

I've heard and this came from another, very research based podcast that if you have an eight hour block in the middle of them, that one doesn't drastically affect the other. Correct, okay, so then in that case you really could flip the order of them.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, if you have a good eight eight hour window.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

The research is showing like a six to nine hour, you know, depending on which study you're looking at. That's probably why they said eight to the middle. Exactly, so six to nine hours between workouts is is ideal.

Speaker 2:

So, and and then you, you could conceivably flip it Like if you're trying to deal with lighting outside and you're like, okay, my, my running window and daylight is here, so lifting has to go on this, this spot of it. But if they're getting closer to each other, then strength really needs to go first, because strength is going to be the priority during strength training, in which case you should probably do strength followed by an easy run, rather than trying to do strength followed by speed, because if you're really emphasizing the strength, you're pushing yourself in there, you're going to be pretty tired. You're not going to be cranking any sorts of speed. The next that that that immediately following Right.

Speaker 1:

So the way that I want you guys to think about this is that it takes time to build a strong foundation for a building, like if you have you guys ever had the experience where there's a construction site and you feel like every time you drive by it, there's like there's just huge plot of dirt and you're like, are they even doing anything here?

Speaker 2:

There's 20 people working, but there's just a plot of dirt, that's all you see right, and you're like I mean, it goes like on like this for months.

Speaker 1:

Right, there's just dirt. And you're like what in the world? And then, all of a sudden, a building, just like, springs out of nowhere. That's the condo is just south of us.

Speaker 2:

It was like a massive field of dirt where there was always, always construction equipment and like 40 people standing around who are working, but it was just dirt and then, from one and from one week to the next, there were 20 condos Exactly, but that's what like that's it.

Speaker 1:

If you, if you run a different route, right, like I know exactly where you're talking about, and I hadn't run that way for like a couple of weeks and then all of a sudden, I ran that way and I was like whoa, what in the world just happened? Right, it just kind of like springs out of nowhere, and that's because the foundation of those building, right, the electrical, the piping, the plumbing, all of that stuff had to be built up underground before they could even, you know, before the building could be erected, all of that had to be, you know, dug out and make sure that the ground was in the foundation, everything was, was stable, and the water and the all the cable and electrical, like, there's so many of those huge round tubes. You know that you see along the side of the road. You know all of that takes a lot of time, but it's not. You don't see the benefits of that, especially when you're just driving by on the road.

Speaker 2:

Yes, I'm running by in the morning and it may or may not be dark outside, so it's still. It just looks like dirt to me for week after week after week, and suddenly there were buildings everywhere. And where did they come from Exactly?

Speaker 1:

But that's the same thing with strength training. Right, Like you don't necessarily see the gains right away and it takes time to build that strong, wider foundation so that you can then erect that taller building that is faster and or run longer. Right, Because you took the time to make sure that the electrical and the plumbing and the cable and all the things were were dug out properly and built that strong foundation for yourself.

Speaker 2:

Or, in this case, you took the time to actually make your muscle coordination, to actually build a little bit of muscle, to actually increase some, some strength across it and some coordination across it, before you then try to throw in extra speed on top of it. Taking a huge base of strength and putting speed on top of it is going to be very successful, like that is usually. A very successful path is build a bunch of strength and then throw speed on top of it, as opposed to just cross your fingers and throw a speed on top of something.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, exactly the other way, Exactly, and non-race goal. Number three that we wanted to talk about today is building mileage, and this is what a lot of us think of when we think about base building. I would argue that maintenance phase and strength building are also base building, but a lot of times when we think about base building, we think about mileage building, and so a lot of times, what we will see is that runners will jump into a race training plan without having that base built and just use the race training plan as a way to build up mileage to the race distance that they're going for. And that's fine, especially the first time you ever run that distance, the first time you ever run a half marathon. You're probably not going to build up to a half marathon distance before starting the training plan. But what if you did? What if you decided maybe this is your second, your third, your fifth half marathon, right, and you have maintained your mileage, or you've built up your mileage, so now you're starting at a higher weekly mileage. Imagine what you would be able to do in the next race, right? Because when you build up the mileage, it allows your body to adapt better, especially when you build that mileage up slowly. So, instead of thinking of okay, my half marathon plan is a three month plan, what if you then made it a six month plan? Okay, I'm going to build up for six months and I'm going to build my mileage more slowly so that my body can adapt better, and I'm allowing my body more time to recover as I build up.

Speaker 2:

Well, yeah, I mean, one of the biggest things that people get exhausted from on half marathon and marathon training is the long run. I think that's why so many people focus on it, because they feel most exhausted by the long run, because that tends to be what stresses them the most. If you are starting at a place where you can run 10 miles and the marathon plan says, well, next week you're doing 12 and the week after that you're doing 14, that's going to be the most exhausting thing during the week. If you're doing a half marathon plan and it's like six, seven, eight, nine, ten and you just keep adding a mile, that's probably going to be the thing that tires you out the most. What if you started a half marathon plan and for the three months before it you had regularly been running 10 to 12 miles as your long run on the weekend? Now, when you have a long run on the weekend, that's 12, that's not a new exhausting stimulus. You can kind of focus on some of the speed stuff during the week. You can make sure that your strength is still stable. You're not so exhausted from a long run over the weekend that when you hit Monday and you're supposed to have strength day, you're like, well, I can't do it. Like you're still able to actually check all the boxes in a training plan and not be just so spent from trying to kill yourself on a long run.

Speaker 1:

Right, and this is essentially what we're trying to do here. A lot of times we, as runners, think about figuring out how to raise the ceiling. We think about okay, I just need to increase my mileage so that I can be able to run a higher mileage, like a longer distance, a faster speed. We think a lot about raising our ceiling, and what we're talking about here with base building and with mileage building, is raising your floor. Okay, where you're starting from what your minimum is. It's establishing a new normal before training for a race. It's establishing a new baseline, right? Maybe right now, you're someone that runs three times a week, you go out and you run a five K each time, so you run about 10 miles every week. What if you raised it so that your normal was 20 miles every week and then you started a half marathon plan? Right, like you can see how running 20 miles a week and having that be comfortable, right? Not that 20 miles is a stretch, not that 20 miles leaves you feeling wiped out and exhausted. 20 miles just is normal, right? You go out four days a week, you run five miles each time, or maybe you have a little bit of a longer run on the weekend. But you're in that range. Now you're starting from a whole new baseline. So imagine how much better your performance could be in your next half marathon because you're starting from this new baseline. So you get to focus more on speed instead of focusing just on building distance, because, like we've told you guys many times on this podcast, you don't want to be focusing on both at the same time. That's usually a recipe for injury or disaster.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean on the real life runners kind of outlook on training. One of the core principles is the 80 20 principle. That in order to optimize your performance you kind of take 80% of your training and it stays nice and easy, and 20% involves where you're pushing yourself to harder effort levels. But when you're building mileage and this goes from recreational athletes up to elite professional athletes they'll swing that thing and make it look sometimes more like 90, 10, 95, 5 because they're really focused on building mileage. But if you're doing a 90 10 and you're really focused on building mileage, you are not optimizing performance. So if you're training and trying to run your and by performance you mean speed and by performance I mean, like race time. Yeah, if, if you're super focused on making sure that you can run far enough, you cannot also be focused on making sure that you can run far enough as fast as possible, like you cannot do both of those things simultaneously.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and this is why we see elite runners also training in cycles. Yes, right, like all elite runners trained in cycles, they are not constantly building mileage, they are not constantly just trying to get faster. They always utilize cycles in their training.

Speaker 2:

Right, I mean the concept of 80 20, like I read a lot of the research that went into the 80 20,. The book all about 80 20 training and it highlights that this is your best way to train for performance. This is how people train in the few months leading up to a peak race, but not necessarily how people train all year round. If you're in build mileage, more of your running is going to need to be easy, because you need to make sure that you're recovered from the increase in mileage week after week after week. Okay, you talk about this is raising your floor. I immediately went to a food. Metaphor of this, of also raising is. This is like when you make dough to bake bread, you have to let it sit and rise for a little bit. It's literally raising the bread. Okay, before you throw it in the oven. If you put all the ingredients into bread and you pop it into the oven, it's going to make bread. It's just not going to be as great if you actually much more dense yeah. It's still going to be bread. It's going to be a brick of bread, but it's going to be a whole lot better if you allow it to actually grow in size before you throw it into the oven. It's going to be more delicious. It's going to be more optimum bread. You have optimized the bread performance. I think is what I'm going with there, and then throw some butter on that, because food is always important.

Speaker 1:

Food is always better with butter.

Speaker 2:

Is that the lesson?

Speaker 1:

Yes, I mean it's a lesson at our household.

Speaker 2:

It's not a bad lesson.

Speaker 1:

But yeah, so those are three non race goals that you can just cycle through, right Like especially if you're someone that doesn't really like racing maintenance, building strength, building mileage. And then, even if you are someone that doesn't like racing, throwing in a race in every now and then is can be helpful, just to kind of as a check in with yourself. And I understand that this is like me saying this even though I have not raced actually did race last month. It was the first time I put a bib on my chest for a very long time, not really on my chest, more on my stomach when I put my baby.

Speaker 2:

That's to stay underneath the real life runners logo on your shirt.

Speaker 1:

It's funny though, because we always say bib on your chest, but nobody actually wears it on your chest. You wear it like on your stomach, it's really under your chest.

Speaker 2:

I mean I only I wear it as high as I possibly can that it doesn't cover whatever is written on my shirt.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so in high school wear it on their shorts.

Speaker 2:

It is not advised, when you're running over the timing mats, to keep it on your shirt, on your shorts. Why the timing mats don't pick it up correctly? Because most of the time when it goes on the shorts you turn it 90 degrees and your number is sideways Because it fits better sideways. And then there's a polarity, electricity thing.

Speaker 1:

Really Yep. Well, there you go.

Speaker 2:

I know I read the fine print at the last ultra.

Speaker 1:

You'll learn all sorts of stuff here on the real life runners podcast. Did you have a thought you wanted to wrap up with?

Speaker 2:

No, I was just going to say I like to wear my bib as high on my chest as possible. We should make singlets that say real life runners on, like the stomach of them, so I can actually wear my race bib on my chest.

Speaker 1:

That would be an awkward thing to wear, just like out running, though.

Speaker 2:

Yes, without the race bib.

Speaker 1:

Without the race bib it would have to be a race only bib.

Speaker 2:

Sure, sign me up.

Speaker 1:

That's the benefit of having the logo on the back of the shirt too. Also trim Right, so the front could just be blank, so you could put the bib wherever you want to.

Speaker 2:

Wherever you want the bib, okay, as long as I can wear a bib, excellent. Once I even cleared by my doctor.

Speaker 1:

Yes, there you go. All right, you guys, if you found this episode helpful, please head over to Apple Podcasts and leave us a review. Leave us a five star rating. Write us a review so that other runners can find this podcast and benefit from it as well. If you listen on Spotify, you can also leave us a five star review over on Spotify. Also, hit that share button and share it with another runner so that we can help more runners to feel better and continuously improve, no matter what decade of life they find themselves in. And, as always, thanks for joining us. This has been the Real Life Runners Podcast, episode number 341. Now get out there and run your life.

Non-Race Goals for Runners
Prioritizing Running and Health Issues
Building Strength for Runners
Raise Your Running Baseline
Reviews and Sharing for Running Podcast