REAL LIFE RUNNERS PODCAST: EPISODE #265 – Are You Focusing on the Right Things (Transcript)
ANGIE: Hey, everybody! Thank you so much for joining us today on Episode #265 of the Real Life Runners Podcast.
Today, we're going to show you how to optimize your training by focusing on the things that are going to give you more significant gains. The mistake that so many runners make is that they focus on the wrong things. They tend to waste time and effort focusing on the small things that are just going to move you like that needle. Move that needle just a fraction of a percent before they focus on those larger things that will lead to more like a 20% or even a 50% improvement. This can lead to a lot of frustration and slower progress. So, today we want to help you get clear on the larger items you need to address to help you achieve your goals faster.
KEVIN: As I'm really excited about this episode. Like there were a few things that kind of brought me to hey, how should we kind of structure this one? Trying to figure out new racing plans for certain people. We got cross country season going along like just trying to figure out.
ANGIE: Oh, yeah.
KEVIN: What is it in a limited time frame if you had to really break down a training plan, what would you have to include for certain people and because there are certain things no matter who it is, no matter what the race is. There are certain things that are still key and kind of taking some time to be like wait, what? What are these? We should share these with other people. I think it's super important.
ANGIE: Yeah, absolutely, because like this is something that we see so commonly and like you know we talk, we see people, especially on social media, like with the way that our culture is right now. We have access to so much information and on social media, you're probably seeing things about like the best pre-race nutrition like use this goose or these gels or this fuel or these shoes that fit them to help you get faster, right? If you want a PR your next half marathon, you just have to use this magic gel or you have to be in these magic shoes. And while it's true that a lot of these things can lead to training improvements, what we see happen a lot is that runners often focus too much on those smaller things and I like to call them smaller things because they are, like they are things that will move the needle. A lot of those things can be very helpful, but the amount of improvement that you're gonna get from a shoe or from the right kind of fueling right before your run or the right kind of fueling right during your run, those are smaller improvements. And a lot of times runners are putting so much time and energy and focus like trying to do these things before they're addressing these really big rocks. These big boulders in the room and we like to, you know, use the analogy of the glass jar.
KEVIN: Yes, which is a classic story that I've told so many times inside of my classroom, of the professor that starts class and the way that the story goes that I've read for years is, the professor comes in and everybody there and talking and whatnot, and he just comes in, clears his throat and takes up this big glass jar and place it on the desk. And goes is the glass full and everyone looking at like it's a big empty jar. No, no it's it's not. It's not full. It reached on the desk and pulls out a box full of big rocks and slowly starts putting all the big rocks in until the rocks are all the way up to the top and he goes now is it full? They're like, yeah, yeah, now it looks full and he reaches under and he pulls out a bag of like smaller pebbles and he gently pours the pebbles in and they obviously fill in all the big empty spaces between the big rocks, he goes is it full and like a couple people still say yes, and some people like he's got something else sitting under there and he reaches. Pulls out a bag of sand and slowly pulls the sand, kind of jostles the jar in the sand slips in between all the little things and it's the idea that you can just keep adding smaller and smaller things because there is still empty space in there, but the lesson, there's a lot of different ways that you can take this thing as metaphor, but one of the big takeaways is if he started by filling that entire jar up with bags and bags of sand, there's no place to put a rock. And the lesson that that I like to put out there, at the sort of the life lesson there is when you think about your overall life, make sure that you have room in your life in your own personal jar for the big important rocks. If you spend all your time focusing on the sand, you don't have any room for rocks and then you live in that whole, oh, I don't have time for this. Yeah, sure you do, you just poured too much sand in to begin with?Start with the big rocks, and then when you still have, once you've got those taken care of, yeah, you have room for sand if you still want to put some sand in.
ANGIE: Yeah, absolutely. And I love all of that, so I think we'll just stop the recording right there. It'll be our shortest episode ever, you guys can take that now. Just kidding, it's a brilliant metaphor. It really is though like you can apply this to so many things and you know inside our Real Life Runners Training Team. This month we're actually focusing, I did our monthly workshop the other day, and the topic of this month workshop and our challenge, we had like monthly accountability challenges inside the team as well. The topic is how to declutter your training in your life, because I think that so often this is what happens and I think that this is something that is so rampant in society right now as well. Like the, there's just so much to take up our time, our energy, our focus and the information is in the palm of our hands at all time, right? We all have cell phones that we're carrying around. The likelihood of you listening to us right now from your cell phone is extremely high, right? Most of you I would say are doing that from your phone, not from like a computer or some other device. So we are constantly bombarded. We are constantly busy. There's so many things that we have going on in our life and busy is almost used as a status symbol.
KEVIN: Nowadays, well, you're also in all likelihood, and this is nothing against anybody listening right now. We love all of you, but in all likelihood you're listening to us while you're doing something else, yeah? Like, maybe you're on a run, maybe you're you know, cross training on a treadmill somewhere. That's great. Maybe you're driving? That's really unlikely that you're just like sitting still and calmly taking in this information.
ANGIE: Yeah, I always listen to podcasts doing something else like driving, running, cooking, dinner. I’m always doing something else.
KEVIN: We could just, driving is not productive, so to be fully productive I need to make sure I get my podcast going.
ANGIE: I'm always doing something else. Right? I mean, yes, I mean there's a productivity aspect to it, but it's also just like I love learning, and so if I have time and space to like fill in with some more learning than I do that.
KEVIN: I think podcasts while driving is a great option. I got on a bad habit in my opinion of two consistently that every single one of my runs I was plugging into a podcast, which to me causes an issue. No, don’t get me wrong. You should listen to our podcast every week. But you'd probably run more than once a week, so that's the thing, is, I started expanding the different podcast I was listening to, and so I was listening to one basically every single day. And I think I was tuning out of my own body on some of the rats, which is definitely what can happen if you always have something in your ears on every single run.
ANGIE: Yeah, so when we think about this idea of like decluttering we need to get back to basics and that's really what I'm kind of coaching everybody through this month inside our team. And that's really what we want to focus on in today's podcast, we really want to focus on the big rocks that go into our jar first. Because, like Kevin said, if you start with this and you cannot fit those big rocks into the jar like you can try to muscle him down, right? Like you could try to like get that rock in there and try to push them down, but in all likelihood you're probably going to fit less rocks in the jar than you would if that jar wmpty to begin with, right?
KEVIN: I mean, let's grind on this metaphor.
ANGIE: So how can we?
KEVIN: You're going to crack the jar, and that is that literally is a physical injury or a mental breakdown 'cause you're trying to shove the rocks into your life, and that there's literally not space because you filled it up with sand.
ANGIE: You might crack the jar too, yeah? Yeah, that's true.
KEVIN: And by sand, I mean scrolling on instagram.
ANGIE: Yeah, I mean true like so true right? So, what if we took that jar? And just completely emptied it out, right? And then we started with that empty clean jar. So, if you guys are like me, you're probably envisioning like a quart size mason jar that is like what I used to make my homemade granola. That's what I used to like put use for like flower gifts for teachers. I love Mason jars. I think they're the cutest things ever.
KEVIN: Not what I had in my head, but I'm with you now.
ANGIE: No, what do you? What did you have?
KEVIN: Uh, mine was much more substantial.
ANGIE: Oh, it's just a bigger jar.
KEVIN: It's a big jar.
ANGIE: OK, is there a bigger that? Is there a gallon mason jar? I'm sure! Oh, there are like at Michaels and stuff at the craft stores. You can get like really big Mason jars.
KEVIN: Michael yeah. I was picturing, like a really giant cylindrical face myself.
KEVIN: It wasn't actually didn't have. A lid for a jar.
ANGIE: Okay, so anyhow, picture whatever jar you'd like. Okay, but I think that it's best if it's clear, probably. So let's think about what are the big rocks in our training like, what are those big rocks that we really need to fill our jar with first so that we can make those really big gains in our training? Like literally the things that will take you from where you are right now to improving 20%, 30%, 40%, 50%, you can get much greater gains in trains. When you focus on these big rocks first, then once all of those are in, once you are doing all of those things consistently, then you can start to focus on the pebbles in the sand and the water and the other things that you want to add to your jar. Okay, so rock number one and this is where we always start with all of our clients. It's the module one phase one of our Real Life Runners Training Academy, which, by the way is going to be opening later this month. So, if you are interested in getting some coaching from us and learning our real life runners method, stay tuned for that we're going to be opening up doors to the Real Life Runner Training Academy later this month and we're actually going to be running our Free 5-Day Running Challenge again starting on August 15th. So, actually by the time thank you.
KEVIN: That was smooth.
ANGIE: By the time I love how you like, always point out like my little like advertising. So, by the time this episode drops, registration for the 5-Day Challenge is live, so if you go over to realliferunners.com/challenge or just go to 5dayrunningchallenge.com, you can sign up for our latest and greatest 5-Day Running Challenge.
KEVIN: I still think it's phenomenal that we own 5dayrunningchallenge.com
ANGIE: I own both of them too. I own the number 5 and also, the letter 5. So back to those big rocks. Okay, when people join the Academy phase, one of our program is always talking about intention. So, that is what phase one is intention, who are you as a runner? What is the reason that you're a runner? Like are you clear on your why do you know who you are as a runner? Like you have to get clear on that personal identity and why you're doing these things and the goals that you have for yourself and what you believe is capable or what you believe is possible for you before you can start to set goals and like do take all these steps, because if you don't believe in yourself. You're not going to do the things that are necessary for you to achieve your goals. You're not going to add any other rocks to the jar if you truly don't believe. You might start to kind of add rocks, but like you kind of do so in like a haphazard.
ANGIE: Haphazard. Yeah, I'm trying to keep it PG like half donkey way
KEVIN: It's a half donkey way. Excellent.
ANGIE: Exactly right, but if we always have to start with that sense of personal identity that I am a runner like you need to believe that you are a runner and that this is something that's important to you.
KEVIN: It sounds woo and glittery and that that should be sand and it is not like that is a huge rock that needs to go in as a foundational piece, because honestly, you're not going to consistently put any other rocks in. You're like, oh, I put in, I put in a rock you're like yeah, you kind of sort of yes it's a problem like you put it.
ANGIE: Yeah, but then you can take it out right like in and then you take it out.
KEVIN: It's in a jar. It's just a tube that you put a rock in it. It fell right through to the end like it. That's it. You're not collecting rocks. That's the whole idea behind this is like ultimately what you're doing here is you're putting your big rocks in. It's a matter of consistency. It's continuously focusing on fundamentals, which does not, it's not necessarily the most fun and exciting thing like it's.
ANGIE: Yes, it is. It's super fun and super exciting.
KEVIN: It's Instagram like I went for another solid 45-minute run today. Yeah, like at a moderate easy pace like.
ANGIE: I love it. Like I will follow you come follow me on Instagram at Real Life Runners and tell me like I'm going to post my like Super Easy Run, perfect,I'm going to follow you back. Send me a DM I will follow you back because that's what we need to start supporting more of.
KEVIN: We really do because so many people post their like workout of the day and it's like man look at this I did 12 by a mile, You did what like this? Just ludicrous, but that's what people are putting out there because it seems cooler and you're like, oh, that's awesome. But what about those pictures from the next three weeks where you couldn't run?
ANGIE: Because you were injured, yeah? I mean, that's really what you, the dark side of social media, right? Like you see certain things, but then people don't tell you all the rest. And when you start with this personal identity in this sense of I am a runner, therefore I do the things that runners do, which are the next, you know, rocks that we're going to talk about here then you're going to be more consistent. You're going to be more committed and more dedicated. You're not going to need motivation anymore, because you're going to attack that from the core. Your identity is the core of everything that you do, so you have to start from that place and I know the like so many people that have come through our program have gotten massive transformations not only in their running, but also in their life just from this one piece, right? Just from this one piece of getting really, really clear on their identity, their thoughts, their beliefs, how that drives all of the actions in their life and all the results that they currently have and how to start to shift all of those results by starting to shift the way that you're thinking and believing and acting.
ANGIE: So, what's rock number teo?
KEVIN: Okay, I'm going to tee up rock number two and you kind of explain some details into this guy, rock #2 mileage in general, more miles will lead to greater improvements now there's an upper limit to this where your life your life can't handle more miles like their body can't handle more miles or your stress on the body is stress and adding more miles to it is likely just going to add more stress to the body. So, part of this is related to a future big rock that you need to take into account, but to an extent adding more miles will in fact, in general improve you quicker than other small details like the exact pace that you're doing them. The very specific workout that you have to fit in if you're doing like two runs a week for 30 minutes, you're going to drastically improve yourself by adding a third 30-minute run, even if it's at the same relaxed pace right.
ANGIE: or a 4 30-minute run, right? And I think that this is where people start to get it a little bit wrong because they think, well, all I have to do is keep adding mileage, which is not true, so please do not hear us say that because that is not what we're saying at all like it is not true that if you just continuously add mileage that you're just going to continue to get better. Okay, that is not what we're saying at all, but if you tend to be a lower mileage runner, or if you tend to be running only a couple of days pgr week by increasing your mileage and by increasing the number of days you run, that will likely lead to Greater improvements, right? So, like what Kevin said, if you're going from two days a week to three days a week or three days a week to four days a week, that's probably going to add a lot more benefit if it then if you focus on exactly what kind of gel you're consuming during your long run.
KEVIN: Excellent point, right?
ANGIE: So, when you get into the point where you're running, you know five days a week, six days a week. Adding the 7th might not help you right and might actually do damage. Might actually send you in the wrong direction, because then you're not prioritizing one of our other rocks, which is recovery which we're gonna get into it a little bit here. Right, so there isn't after upper limit and that upper limit is different for every person based on your experience based on your body based on your goals based on so many different factors based on their race or training from based on how much time you have to devote to all these other rocks that we give you, right?
ANGIE: So yes, adding mileage can make you a better runner to a point, but you can't neglect all these other rocks that we have in the jar as well.
KEVIN: Yes, excellent. You're also you're not gonna replace adding in an extra right going from two to three days or three to four days. You're not getting the same benefit by your shoe losing half an ounce, it's just it's not pulling it off. Yeah for sure alright another big rock. Yep, another big rock varied effort levels with your mileage.
ANGIE: Training at different effort levels. Training it or what you might think of as paces. Right, having an easy pace, a medium pace and a hard place or easy, medium and hard effort level. That's really how we like to train our run is teaching them how to actually tap in and listen to their body instead of being glued and locked to a number on the GPS watch? That may or may not be accurate.
KEVIN: Right. Because your body makes different adaptations at different effort levels so we'll talk about a little bit more detail on this, as as we continue on here, but on on this big rock is making sure that every time you go out and run it's not the same effort level. Some days feel a little bit harder than others. Some day feels easy. Sometimes you hit this middle ground, but if you can say during the week you've hit three different effort levels and that doesn't mean on like a hard run. It's just gofrom like from the, you know the the banging the gun and you take off your just sprinting for the the link to your workout. That means that during the week you incorporate some harder, like moderately hard effort, you don't really even need as a distance runner to incorporate high level sprinting. That's a different system entirely, but some harder effort, some medium effort, and mostly easy effort. That's going to be more important than exactly what the number on the watch says. That medium effort is or that hard effort is.
ANGIE: Exactly because then you're training your body to use different fueling systems. You're training your body to get used to different chemicals being produced in the body, you're getting your body used to using oxygen efficiently and moving the blood around more efficiently like there's so many different adaptations and you get different training adaptations at different effort levels. Okay, so when you're running nice and easy and you can breathe easily and you can have a conversation with somebody, you're getting different adaptations than when you're sprinting all out at you know like a level 10 or even pushing hard at like a Level 8 running a 5K, say like when you're racing a 5K you don't want to talk anybody right like? And you are getting physical benefits from that, but there are different benefits than what you're getting when you can just go out on a casual run with a friend and have a nice conversation the whole time. Okay, and so what we want you to do is become a more well-rounded runner. So, by incorporating those three main effort levels, now we teach a whole scale of 1 to 10. But the big ones that you want to focus on our level 2, that easy level. Level 5, like a medium effort like a tempo type of run, and then level 8, which is that harder effort where that you can only sustain for a short amount of time
KEVIN: Yes, that's the big rock. The Big rock is there should be 3 effort levels, certainly the number.
ANGIE: So maybe there are three different rocks and your easy rock should be a little bit bigger than the rest of them.
KEVIN: Sure, that's a good way o looking at it. I'm saying that, like the Big rock is, you train at different effort levels and then the smaller pebbles are the fact that technically we work on a scale of one through 10 but all of those other numbers, those are pebbles like no.
ANGIE: Yeah, 2, 5 and 8 are the big rocks?
KEVIN: Yes, that that's your big rock. Your 2,5, 8 big rock.
ANGIE: Yeah, that's big rock.
ANGIE: all right what else you got, let's move on to the next one. So, nutrition, okay nutrition is one of the big rocks and people like to think about nutrition with running as like specific post run like pre run fueling, mid run fueling and post run fueling and while those three things can help, those are really more of the pebbles, we want to focus on your overall nutrition. Are you getting enough protein? Are you getting enough carbohydrates and are you getting enough fats in your diet everyday and high, you know high quality protein, carbs and fats, not just a bunch of ultra processed foods. Like some of those ultra processed foods like the goose and the gels like those can be beneficial for runners, right? But obviously you shouldn't just eat Jelly beans throughout the day for the rest of your diet like that should not be your carb source, right? Like you need to have whole grains, you need to have vegetables and fruits and you need to have lean protein and there's so many other components to nutrition including hydration, I like to put hydration in this as well. I mean, you could probably separate those into two separate rocks if you wanted to, but like yeah, but hydration and nutrition really go together.
KEVIN: We certainly don't have too many big rocks that point making.
ANGIE: Like are you fueling your body? Well, we'll just call it fueling How about that rock is fueling fueling right? Are you putting good food into your body? Are you putting enough food into your body and are you hydrating well enough and getting the right amount of liquid and electrolyte balance in there as well because if you're not eating enough on a daily basis, your runs are going to feel like crap. Period like that's it. You know it's not going to feel good no matter how you fuel right around that run if you're just filling up your diet with a bunch of junk, it's not going to translate well into getting helping you to reach those training goals.
KEVIN: Right, so quality and sufficient food throughout the entire day, not just focused on just before, during, and after the run, but throughout the entire day and that includes before, during and after your run. This is quality and quantity like sufficient amount of energy going into your body like calories need to be going in. It needs to be quality food all day long. That's the big rock. And then there's some details. We'll talk about those briefly in the future.
ANGIE: Exactly, the next big rock we want you to focus on is sleep OK and with this kind of goes recovery as well, but really sleep like are you getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night so that your body can actually recover from all of the training stress that you're putting on it. And I would say the answer for most of us is probably no like unless you're actually focused on making sure that you sleep at night. So many of us get so distracted by our phones right by social media we're scrolling and all of a sudden we look up and it's like 11:12 o'clock at night. We're like, oh, shoot. I need to get to bed. I have a run in the morning, right? Like how many times or how many nights per week do you sit on the couch watching Netflix or watching whatever TV show you're watching or watching sporting events and not go to bed and then have to wake up and run the next morning or wish that you had enough energy to get up and run the next morning, right? There's a lot of people out there that are like, oh, I really wish I could get out of bed in the morning. I'm just too tired. Okay? What are you doing at night, right? Like how early are you going to bed? Can you honestly like take an honest assessment? Can you go to bed earlier, right? And there's a lot of people are like, well, I've got my kids and I've got this and I've got that, there's too many things to do, like I get to bed as soon as I can okay, but how much time are you actually spending on your phone, right? Because those very often that amount of time we really don't account for it like we're just like we just kind of ignore that we spend, you know, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 1/2 an hour on our phone and maybe it's broken up. You know, like maybe you're like scrolling on your phone as you're like cooking dinner or while the kids are in the shower or getting ready for bed like what else could you be doing? Or in that time so that you could maybe go to bed? Right when the kids go to bed or right after the kids go to bed. You know, like there's different things that you can do and by prioritizing your sleep and your recovery. I mean this alone can lead to massive gains and massive improvements in your training.
KEVIN: I know it's tough to figure out which is the the biggest of the big rocks here they're all so important, that's why they're the big rocks.
ANGIE: They're all big. This is why the these are the pillars of our company like this is these are really the the foundation of the things that we teach all of our runners.
KEVIN: Yes, I mean the the sleep is a massively important one. If you're not getting sleep, it's hard to keep up with the other rocks, like that's the other thing is if you focus just on one of the big rocks people like there's so many things I need to focus on, we're not going into a lot of detail on these things because they're not huge, complicated things, right? Eat quality food, get a good quantity of sleep like it doesn't need to be like Oh well, I've got this sleep tracker and it says that I'm getting this amount of deep sleep in this remnant. Lay in bed and and resy like this is the key.
ANGIE: Right, this is the key, yeah, and I think that like there's definitely nuanced and there's definitely details. ut like those, are the pebbles, right?
KEVIN: But those are pebbles.
ANGIE: And those are the pebbles that we teach inside our real life runners training Academy. So if you want to know all the details, come join us, like we we have all that information. Research backed all set out for you to help you go through and like see what is it. What are all these things that I actually need and how can I actually incorporate them into my real life to make them doable, right? 'cause I think that's we can get very, very overwhelmed by all of these pebbles, right and so, that's why we really want you to focus on these rocks first. OK.
KEVIN: Okay, next big rock.
ANGIE: Next big Rock is one of my favorites. Yep, it's strength training. OK, you have to strength train as a runner, period. That's it. There's no debate like every runner needs to strength train, especially if you're over the age of 30. So, if you are listening to this podcast and you are over the age of 30, you need to be doing strength training. If you want to run for any distance and not get hurt. OK, and if you want to run and improve your running because people sometimes think like they've heard from other people like in the past, and like this was like one of the myths out there, that strength training and running are they work in opposition to one another, right? Well, if you get really strong then that's going to make your running performance worse, right? And while it's true that it does work on different systems of the body they are complementary when done the correct way
KEVIN: Yes, there's a timing thing involved in this guy, but you cannot ignore strength training at a minimum, I think on a big like, a really big rock position on this guy is you have to be able to strength train enough to keep your body functional and healthy. You're trying to decrease chance of injury like you need to be putting in weekly, ideally twice a week, strength training, minimum, minimum, twice a week, strength training so that you have the the least chance of injury as you continue progressing yourself forward. Right?
ANGIE: Exactly, So what does strength training look like for runners, it looks like different things, right? And it depends again, on your experience on your goals on what's going on but basically you need to have an adequate amount of strength so that you can run the miles that you want to run and achieve the goals that you want to achieve without getting hurt that's really what it comes down to. So for runners, one of the biggest areas and I just did an Instagram real on this the other day. So if you don't follow me on Instagram, come follow me and send me a message also and say hi, let me know that you found me from the podcast 'cause I love our podcast listeners. I'm we're on all platforms at real life runners. OK, so Twitter Instagram. I don't really do much on Twitter yet, but I'm going to YouTube. We've started our YouTube channel so you can find us at Real Life Runners everywhere. But I posted a reel the other day about this. What you need to focus on specifically as runners are single leg strengthening exercises. That is one of the most neglected and overlooked areas that runners need to be strength training, in my opinion, because running is essentially just jumping from 1 foot to the other right? So, if you go out and you do like a double leg squat, yeah, that will help to strengthen your legs and your glutes. But that's not functionally how your muscles are using during how you are using your muscles during running I should say right. Yeah, like you're not just like double leg frog hopping down the course right that would look a little odd. Awkward, right?
KEVIN: It's really awkward.
ANGIE: So, you need to do functional strength training so that you can strengthen those muscles in the way that they are used while we're running.
KEVIN: Right, so single leg exercises. You had a great reel on this one actually, but strength training is critical and the way that you incorporated whether you add like resistance to it, whether you add weight to it, whether you're really trying to get substantially stronger, this varies, but but strength training.
ANGIE: Those are pebbles.
KEVIN: Making sure that this is a component, uh, weekly component, that's a big rock.
ANGIE: Right? And it can be as simple as doing like some squats, some lunges, some push-ups, some planking, some side planks like there are some basic exercises that if you just hit those, you're going to be in really good shape. So yeah, go check out my Instagram, there's a video there of like three of my favorite single leg exercises that you can start doing today pretty much, okay, so that's a good place to start right.
KEVIN: Final rock is the mobility rock. Yep, this one, is it's tricky in in my opinion. You, as physical therapists, can explain on this one of why this has to be the big rock to me, it's one of the big rocks that you just kind of have to make sure that it's in there, but it does not necessarily need constant focus the way that some of the other ones do.
ANGIE: Right, it's more if you have a limitation right like so mobility is basically the way that your body moves. That's basically what that term means like a lot of people like to think about flexibility and they like to think about. Oh well, I should be stretching, right? So, there's some of you listening to this podcast right now that are probably like, why didn't they put stretching as one of the big rocks. Stretching is not one of them. OK, I will tell you that right now some runners do need to stretch for some runners, stretching should be a big rock if you are one of those people that is super tight and your muscle tightness is actually limiting your range of motion, that's that becomes a mobility issue. OK, so it's not really the flexibility that is as important, it's the mobility. It's how your body is moving through space, especially during running right? Like when you run and you land on your foot, do you have enough ankle range of motion to properly go through that gate cycle? Because if your ankle mobility is limited, like if you don't have enough flexion and extension of your ankle, then you're going to compensate by somewhere up higher up the chain. OK, so whether that's your knee starts starts to crash then your hip will crash like there's different places that will lead to other problems and pain and injury. OK, so mobility becomes an issue when there is a restriction presence so if you know that you're just kind of one of those people that are naturally tight, then mobility needs to be a bit of a bigger rock in your jar versus someone that is super flexible, like we have a couple girls on our cross country team that can like touch their ike foot to the back of their head and they can like wrap themselves up in pretzels. They're like super flexible hypermobile
KEVIN: I mean, we do leg swings and they like need themselves in the forehead.
00:31:01 ANGIE: Right, because they were dancers growing up, right? And so I think that the combination of them being dancers and then also just the way that their bodies are built, they tend to be hyper mobile like they have excess mobility, which is actually a negative thing too. So, for them I really don't want them working on mobility pretty much at all. Like I would much rather them take all of that time and effort and just focus on strength training, because that's really what they're lacking. They're not lacking the mobility to actually perform the motions that they need.
KEVIN: Right? Because for the most part, running does not involve massive ranges of motion at distance running speeds.Sprinting speeds have greater range of motion because your leg literally has to go through a wider range in order to get that huge.
ANGIE: Specifically the hip, Yep.
KEVIN: Yes, the hip itself. There's not a huge range of motion you need at most distance running paces, and so unless there's a specific issue mobility is important. But it does not necessarily need the the constant attention that some of these other guys actually really do right.
ANGIE: Exactly. And if you are one of those people that tends to be super flexible, super mobile, you really don't need to stretch like and you might not have ever heard that from somebody, so I'm hoping that you have heard that for the first time and stop stretching because you don't need to, unless it feels good really, the best reason to stretches because it feel, it's good like there's really no long term performance benefits from stretching itself unless you have like a mobility restriction that you really need to kind of work into, and the best way to get that figured out is by seeing a physical therapist so that you can actually have a professional assessment to see like, do I actually have a mobility restriction here or do I need to actually focus any of my time and energy on some stretching? Because quite honestly, a lot of people don't, and a lot of people are stretching unnecessarily and it's really not doing anything for them, and they've actually done studies that show that stretching can actually decrease your levels of performance. Specifically, when done before a competition or event so stretching before race is really not what you want. You want your body to feel mobile, to feel loose, to feel like ready to go but you don't need to spend an excessive amount of time stretching. That's why I really like Dynamic Stretching without getting into too much detail because like that would be a topic for another day I guess and or inside the Real Life Runners Training Academy we have lessons on all this stuff, but dynamic stretching is really the best way for you to warm up before a race or a run.
KEVIN: Right, so that wraps it mobility and that covers all of the big rocks that we've got. So, just for a recap, 'cause I did the best I could to try and shrink them down, but there's a few things that are kind of critical to your overall success, and that's why skipping these guys, there's enough of them that if you focus on these you can be remarkably successful.
ANGIE: Absolutely so to go back over those big rocks we have #1 your personal identity. You that your identity as a runner #2 your mileage #3 your effort levels with that mileage. How you know varying effort levels throughout the course of your weekly runs. #4 would be nutrition, #5 would be strength and mobility, and #6would be sleeping in recovery. I mean, I usually like I always like to think of it as like 5 because I I usually put like mileage and effort levels together since that's like the running portion. So it's really what it is. It's like identity, what's what you're actually doing on your runs and and what mileage you're running nutrition, sleep and recovery and strength and mobility.
KEVIN: Excellent. Yeah, so that that kind of covers those guys. You know there's some other ways of kind of looking at these that I think are more like a pebble. And this is where it's tricky to differentiate between the big rocks and the pebbles, because there's some categories that I'd say literaly are the exact same big categories that we just covered, it just depends on how you look at them OK so, one of the key ones here like mileage for instance as a big rock in general a pretty solid rule says if you run a little bit more mileage, you'll probably be getting in better shape, so you'll end up running faster times. There's an upper limit to this, obviously. You can't just run infinitely and get infinitely fast. It doesn't work with good math, but in general that'll work. The Pebble comes in starting to obsess over some of the numbers of which I need to go for a 10 mile long run, well, no, you can go for a 9 mile long run. That'll work just as well, probably if that's what happens to fit your schedule that week. And the same thing happens with your total mileage like people that want to end with a round number, they need 20 miles per week or like 30 kilometers per week. Like for some reason it has to end in a 0 and that that is a bigger significance so you know more mileage kind of works. But getting dialed in so detailed to the precise number is not as big of a deal.
ANGIE: What do you mean? like so you just told us basically that like running more in general, we'll make you a better runner, right? Like adding more mileage up to a point with certain caveats. Obviously right like making sure that you get enough sleep and recovery. And all the other things so that your body can actually handle that mileage, right? But now you're saying that the exact specifics of that mileage doesn't really matter. So how do those two things work together.
KEVIN: So, I think that when I I say the very specifics is the difference between going on like let's say you go for a 45-minute run OK, well maybe an easy 45-minute run. Maybe you don't have that much time today, so you go for a 40-minute run. Your body is not really going to make huge differences between 45 and 40 minutes. So, it's not like you have to then make up that missing 5 minutes and add it to like the next run you have during the week.
ANGIE: But if you're cutting all of your run short by 5 minutes then that makes a big difference.
KEVIN: Now you're using a pebble to chip away at your big rock, essentially like you still the big rock rule of thumb of more mileage is generally going to improve you that that counts like that's still there, but getting so always caught up in in the details of exactly what the mileage is. And yes, you make a point if you end up Shortcutting every single run. It also just kind of builds a mental habit of I don't complete things like which is also a dangerous habit when you get into a race of.
ANGIE: Yeah, when you look at the mental side of things, yeah.
KEVIN: Like if you've got a workout plan that's like 5 miles, 6 miles, 5 miles and you're like, yeah, that's like four and a half and then maybe 5 and then if you're running a 10K that last mile is going to be rough because you shortcut almost every workout. So when you're in the race you're going to think, wait, I should be hitting the finish line now because this is when I shortcut my runs well.
ANGIE: I think the other thing that I see a lot too that might fit into this category are when people get so obsessed with their GPS watch is right like if they do a CEO loop or they do an outback even and they end up a little bit short, right? So say you're doing a five mile run and all of a sudden you end up and it's at 4.9, 2.4 and they feel like they have to then hit that 5.0 mark for it to count, or if it for it to be good enough, right? And that's just not the case. Like your body really doesn't know the difference between 5 miles and 4.92 right that .08 miles on like one run is really not going to make the difference, especially if you're feeling. Just, you know, worn out like if that won't run for whatever reason is like one of those struggle bus runs where you are just you know, really struggling on that run you decide to cut it short. That's probably a good idea right? But if you're cutting all of your run short and you're you know not hitting certain training marks, that's a different story, right? Is that kind of what we're looking at here?
KEVIN: I know 100%. Right, so one of the other pebbles that sometimes we get caught up in varied. Effort we mentioned this a little bit up in the the big rock of there's three basic effort levels of easy, medium and harder and harder doesn't even mean full sprint. So easy, medium and pretty hard. But getting caught up in the variations between them, like the Level 3 and 4 instead of just like the big cut off of 2 is easy, 5 is medium, but then where's three and four? They're in there, and depending on their pebbles, if you kind of, say all right, this is going to be a medium run, and you know that. They're in there. But they're pebbles, right? It's roughly 5, maybe it was a little harder that day and it was closer to 6, maybe it was not as hard as closer to 4. It's still in the world of medium effort runs, so getting caught up in what whether it was a four or five that's a pebble like that's just getting caught up in in too much details. If you have three major effort levels that you tap into during the week, and most of it is easy, yeah, you're doing great.
ANGIE: Yeah, exactly like you want 80% of your runs to feel easy at that level. 2 ish level, right? Like right around that level 2. And so when you're only doing 20% of your runs at the other effort levels anyway, it's not really, especially if you're a newer runner as big of a deal if you're at like a Level 5 versus a level 6, right, like if you are an elite runner, that's really trying to hone in on a very, very special thick paste then it starts to matter a little bit more, right? But if you are a recreational runner that's just trying to get stronger, get faster, go out there, you know, feel good during your half marathon or marathon and improve your time, you're going to probably benefit from being in those general categories.
KEVIN: Yeah, I mean at at that level that effort based training is substantially better you got the elites that have like continuous lactate monitors on them. Now they're trying to like read various blood levels and you're like, no, no, you're going just slightly too hard. Pull it back a little. It's insane. The technology, these people are using.
ANGIE: Well, and it's so I'd I'd be so curious to know how accurate that even is, right? Like hey, how accurate it is and be like how much of a training difference does that actually make like? If they're exactly measuring these things.
KEVIN: I mean, that's that's a huge difference I think between elite pros that have been doing this for so long at such a high level. And most runners like pretty much I'm going to assume everybody listening and talking on this podcast is going to benefit from kind of having three general pace owns and you're pretty good with that, like it's going to be remarkably successful.
ANGIE: Right exactly, so try not to get too lost in the pebble details of like what's the difference between a Level 5 and a level 6? Be more concerned of the big rocks of what's the difference between a level 2 and a Level 5. Yes, OK, alright then another area where we think that people tend to get a little bit too far into the pebbles as well as nutrition, OK, because there it? I mean it's a multi million industry, probably even with a B right like billions of dollars right? In sports supplements and those kinds of things.
KEVIN: Oh yeah.
ANGIE: And while it's true that like mid run nutrition is important, especially for your long runs, if you're training for 1/2 marathon marathon or beyond, it is important for you to start fueling during those long runs any long run over 90 minutes you should be taking in fuel, but if your sole focus is on that pebble of making sure that you're getting the right mid run nutrition and not as much without as much focus on you know the bigger rock of your general nutrition throughout the whole day throughout the whole week, making sure that you're eating a balanced plate for you and your goals and your body type, then what you're taking in on in the middle of that run is really less significant, yeah?
KEVIN: No substantially, I mean, I'd argue to the point that you really should try and get your overall nutrition locked down before you start extending your long run to multiple hours out there where you're fueling it with super sugary substances for the most part, yeah.
ANGIE: And I, I mean I would challenge the word lockdown because I feel like nutrition is always one of those things that's in flux that you're kind of always figuring out, especially if.
KEVIN: OK, sure.
ANGIE: You are training for 1/2 or a full or beyond for the first time, and you're really not sure how your body is responding to that. Like most people that are training for their first full marathon, for example, feel hungry all the time because they really underestimate how much food they actually need or they're taking in a lot of processed foods because they're trying to replenish things very quickly and they were trying to eat a lot of that, but they're not getting enough of the nutrient dense food that's actually keeping them fuller for longer.
KEVIN: Yeah, no, that's excellent. I think you almost kind of move yourself all the way into like the sand level with that one of something that I just want to cover real briefly of people who would.
ANGIE: Oh good, our dog has her squeaky toy. Sorry if you guys are hearing the sqweaks
KEVIN: People who would get so caught up in making sure that Oh well, I saw online that this is the appropriate pre run nutrition like I've got to eat this beforehand and then I've got to eat this afterwards and it's like a 30 to 45 minute prep before and afterwards. And because of that they had to shortcut their mileage and they skip the mobility and they didn't do any strides and oops I ran outta time for my strength training. I just skipped four of my like massive stones because I had to get in the exact this is the magic pre run fuel.
ANGIE: I mean, do you think that people are really doing?
KEVIN: I mean the.
ANGIE: I don't think they're shorting shortcut in all of that stuff, right? We need we need to get that toy away from the dog.
KEVIN: I mean that may be a bit of an extreme example, but this kind of takes to the idea that if you try and bring it down that anything out there, whether it's like the super shoes you know their Nike calls them 4% when they came out there with their originals for a reason, because in general the studies they found were leading to 4% time improvements. But that was over like a large group, they studied. There were people that had zero percent improvements off of this, so don't go and buy the magic shoes. Don't think that you've got the magic like fuel during your runthat's going to give you these huge improvements. Even the the magic shoes were leading to 4% improvements. If you're training two days a week and you could increase that to four days a week if you're putting no strength in and you could increase and add a strength training day in if you know you're sleeping five hours a night like these are massive things you don't need to spend $250 on a pair of shoes thinking, oh that's the secret I mean, yeah, sure my you know pre run nutrition was maybe a bit of an extreme example, butthat's the category I'm talking about is people that are trying to find these little incremental improve mens and skipping massive gains that because they they don't see the bigger picture.
ANGIE: Right? I mean, and that's really this whole the whole point of this episode is right, helping you guys to understand that we want you to focus on those big rocks. And if you're the kind of person that has those big rocks in place in your jar, and you are consistently doing them every single week, then by all means start to focus on the little pebbles. Start to focus on those grains of sand, because those you know 1% two percent, 4% improvements will make a difference as long as you have those rocks in place. OK, that is really the whole key here is like don't start working on the pebbles in the sand before you are consistently having those rocks in your jar.
KEVIN: Yes, that's a good way of putting it.
ANGIE: So, is that it? you just paused? I was expecting you to say more.
KEVIN: I think that's pretty much over. I mean, I think that's I think that's basically what we've got for.
ANGIE: Do you have any more details or little stories that you want to throw in here?
KEVIN: No, I mean the the focus on pacing, focus on the magic good. That's going to do it like any time.
ANGIE: I mean, it's the focus on the small details with without remembering the big picture really.
KEVIN: It's the tiny details. And sure, the details may in fact make marginal improvements, but also if you're fairly early and running, or you're missing some of the big rocks and you throw a lot of the magic incremental things at it. You're really not even sure which ones are working too.
ANGIE: Yeah, totally. And I think that this is one of the things that we really help people to see clearly, because even especially if you've been a runner that has been running for a while, you might just assume that you have these bigger rocks in place, so good the dog is barking now, fantastic. This is like one of those episodes, so we apologize for any background noise noise you guys might hear. Like, we might assume that we have those bigger rocks in place because we've been doing it for so long, right? So we want you guys to take this opportunity after listening to this episode, to just ask yourself like where are my big rocks? Like are my big rocks taken care of? Are they solid? Are they consistent? You know, do I have the room in this space to focus on these smaller pebbles and the smaller sand and making those smaller improvements.
KEVIN: Solid as a rock.
ANGIE: And it's just solid as a rock. Now you just have that was it said that 70s now.
KEVIN: It’s the song that I have in my head as soon as you said it.
ANGIE: And you're welcome, Kevin just put that in everybody head now, at least if you're as old as we are or older, so some of the some of the younger people might not know. Alright, so all of the dogs and the noises and all the things they're telling us. It's time for us to wrap up this episode. So we're just going to do that, so as always guys, thank you for spending this time with us. Don't forget, new free 5-Day Challenge over at 5dayrunningchallenge.com. Go get yourself signed up for that so that we can help you learn how to run faster, run easier, get better results and not have to push as hard over at fivedayrunning challenge.com. Thank you for spending this time with us. We appreciate you. This has been the Real Life Runners Podcast Episode #265.
Now get out there and run your life.