AUDIO ONLY - Elisabeth Scott
[00:00:00] Angie: This is the real life runners podcast, episode number 317. Be where your feet are with elizabeth scott.
[00:00:30] Angie: All right, runners. I am super excited. I have Ms. Elisabeth Scott on the podcast today, and all of you, I'm sure probably are familiar with Elisabeth already from her amazing Instagram channel Running Explained, and if you're not following her yet, you definitely need to, we'll give you all that information at the end of the episode if you wanna connect with Elisabeth But right now, I'm just so excited to start this conversation. So welcome Elisabeth to
[00:00:55] Elisabeth: Thank you for having me. I'm excited to be here.
[00:00:57] Angie: Yeah, for
sure. Um, [00:01:00] Elisabeth and I had a COV conversation, I don't know, a few months ago at this point. It's probably like, what is it like last year? Like I feel like time goes so fast, right?
Like on her podcast and I was like, I need to have you on on hours as well. So before we kind of jump into our topic of the day, tell us a little bit about who you are, what you do, and
how you got into running.
[00:01:18] Elisabeth: Yes, my name's Elisabeth Scott. I am the founder of Running Explained. My goal in life is to get you the runner, to feel good about your running, feel confident in your running.
And if we get a little bit faster along the way, that's a bonus. So I'm a running coach. I call myself a running educator more than anything else, I'm obviously a runner myself. Uh, I started running in my late twenties after I quit drinking and like needed to, I will, I say this for, I, I started running cuz I wanted to lose weight.
Like, that's why I started running. I know it's how a lot of other people find running as well, but it quit. Really became something that is completely different in my life. And I fell in love with the sport. And there is one thing, one of the things I love about running is that you can make it as simple or as complicated as you wanna be.[00:02:00]
There is a ton to learn, but there's also a lot of running that's just like, you just gotta go out and run. So, I don't know. I try to find both the complexity and the simplicity in the sport and communicate to runners wherever they might be on their journey about how to become better at what they're doing.
[00:02:16] Angie: Yeah. So how did you kind of go from being a runner, getting into running into ru, becoming a running coach?
[00:02:25] Elisabeth: That's a good question. I say I like, I fell backwards into coaching. Uh, I started, when I started running and I, you know, say like I made every mistake you could make. I increased my volume way too rapidly.
I ran a marathon six months after I started running. I got chin splints, I got I t van syndrome. I was running everything and a moderate or hard intensity. Um, despite all of those things, I actually found, you know, a reasonable amount of success relatively early on. I. Ran some nice, nice times and was like, oh my gosh, this is so cool.
Like, I'm doing these things that I [00:03:00] never even thought possible only three, six months ago. Especially for me, you know, being a recovering alcoholic like a year ago. Like a year ago, I was dying and now I'm running marathons. Um, but. One of the things that really intrigued me about the sport is that when I started kind of scratching the surface, and I've always been a very, very curious person, I like to know the why.
I like to understand the human body and the human psyche started scratching the surface surface and thinking, oh, there's, there's reasons for all of these things and they're all interconnected. There's a reason that this is happening. There's a reason why this is done the way it is, and kind of uncovering, I felt like I discovered like Narnia.
It was like, oh my God, there's this whole. Like world that I never knew existed. Um, and so when I started learning about the sport in that way, for me it was very selfish. I wanted, this is knowledge for me, right? I wanted to become a better runner. And then when I started learning more about the sport from a, you know, from a more technical perspective and I was kinda looking around and seeing what, uh, you know, runners like us, recreational runners were doing.
Mm-hmm. And I was thinking, [00:04:00] gee, a lot of people are making all the same mistakes that I did. And like, it seems like nobody's talking about it, or at least not loudly and simply. The way that I felt that could be communicated. Yeah. So I started the Instagram account just basically with the sole purpose of like getting people to slow down on their easy runs.
Mm-hmm. And then it kind of spiraled from there. Uh, and actually I didn't intend to be, so I'm somebody who coached. I really just wanted to share my knowledge and like, help people help prevent people from making mistakes like I did. Yeah. And, uh, yada, yada yada. Here we are today.
[00:04:33] Angie: Well, I think that, you know, that's a story that you hear very commonly too, is like, I didn't start out with that intention and that's just kind of what happened along the way.
So what did you used to do, like before you kind of got into Instagram and this world of running, what did you used to do for like your job?
[00:04:51] Elisabeth: Yeah. So, uh, professionally I was in boutique property management. So private I, so I used to manage, um, luxury apartment buildings. [00:05:00] Okay. And then before that, I, and then after that, I, um, managed, I worked for a company that helps, uh, people manage their private residences.
Um, and then I had a foray into my, my educational background is actually in psychology, so I actually worked, uh, kind of, I, I've done a lot of things in my career. Mm-hmm. Um, but I also worked for a mental health nonprofit for a while. So I have, and I worked for small businesses for most of my life. So I have, uh, this background of kind of doing, like being a small business person.
Like I know how to do bookkeeping. I know how to do social media marketing. I know how to, like, do I know how to do customer service? Like I know how to do all these things. And also I had this. You know, kind of background and interest in humans, you know, humanity, the human body, like I said, the human mind.
Um, so it, you know, people are like, oh my God, how did you all to do, you know, how'd you figure this out? I'm like, I, I got lucky. Like, I had a lot of work experience that led me to be able to create a business that is, you know, I, I knew how to do all these things ahead of time. Mm-hmm. Um, so when I started my business, it was like, yeah, I know how to [00:06:00] form an L L C.
Like, yeah, I know how to, you know, create social media templates. Yeah. And do email marketing. So yeah, it's a little bit different doing literally everything by yours. But, um, that's kind of where I came from. Okay,
[00:06:10] Angie: that makes a lot of sense. Which is very cool. Um, and I. I love that you have a background in psychology because I feel like that lends so much to our interests, cuz I, I, I hear so much of myself and you too.
I also have an undergrad degree in psychology and I was pre-med and psychology in undergrad and, um,
[00:06:30] Elisabeth: Did you also do
the thing where you're like, I wanna become a psychiatrist. Just kidding. I don't wanna go to med school.
[00:06:35] Angie: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I didn't wanna become
My, my original goal was I wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon, but I just wanted to have a double major in psychology because human behavior fascinated me and I wanted to learn more about how to be a better person and, and why we do what we do.
And I feel like. That has served me so well in my calling as a coach and what I do working with runners, and I'm sure you [00:07:00] found the same thing. And I think that that's one thing, like this natural tendency toward curiosity and toward trying to understand why we do what we do as humans plays such a huge role in our success as runners.
[00:07:14] Elisabeth: Yes. And actually it's interesting, right before I, I kind of veered into the career that I have today as a running, you know, fitness professional. Um, I was kind of on this weird inflection point in my career where um, we'd recently moved, my husband and I had moved and I was like, I don't, okay, I wanna do something different.
I. And I don't know what that is. So I started looking at, I started looking at PhD programs in clinical psychology, and it kind of, you know, it was like the back of my mind. I was like, oh, I should start reaching out for recommendations and I should, you know, take the, you know, GREs and all that. Yeah. And then in, as that was kind of ruminating in the back of my mind, I started this and then also covid hit, right?
So it was kind of like this whole like, ah, um, but I could, you know, easily have seen myself going down the path of being a, you know, clinician, a psychologist. Um, but [00:08:00] you know, but I'm not, I'm not a therapist. I'm not a psychologist. Right. That's not my credential. But it is interesting to look at this through cuz you know, and you see this too, obviously working with runners, there is so much that we do that I think a lot of runners, I.
Say, they say things like, oh, I just didn't have the willpower, or I just wasn't tough enough to push through. Or, you know, I'm so lazy. And it's like, well, let's back that up because although the end result may have been you bailed on the rap, or you skipped your run, or whatever the thing is, I'm like, The complexity of how we make the decisions that we make is far more than just, I suck.
Right. Right. And kind of helping people understand there's so much more to their behavior and the decisions and the choices that we make mm-hmm. Um, than just these black or white. Like, I'm, I'm good or I'm bad, I suck, or I'm awesome kind of things.
[00:08:53] Angie: Oh yeah. And like it's all about the thoughts that we think, right?
The thoughts that we tell ourselves and the beliefs that we have. And I [00:09:00] find that so much of that is subconscious because it's these beliefs and ideas that we've been forming about ourselves since we were young in a lot of ways. And they. Weren't running related right when we were five years old or six years old.
But we've learned these themes that we then take and apply to every area of our life, and we do it without even realizing it. And it was funny because. You know, you talk about clinical psychy psychology, like I loved the field of psychology, but I never wanted to be a psychologist because I could not imagine myself just like in a room, like the classic, you know, on the couch, like just talking to people all day long.
And I loved, which is funny now that I'm a podcast host, right? I mean, like, it's literally, I, I love talking to people now. Um, but like physical therapy was kind of a natural draw for me cuz it's. It was, how can I motivate people to do what I know that they need to do in order for them to get better? So it had that aspect of human psychology in it, but there was also a lot of like the physical and the technical aspect as well.[00:10:00]
So, You have done a lot of interviews and research around running your Instagram page is absolutely fantastic with the amount of information that you give out on a weekly basis for free, you know, um, to anybody that wants to learn, which is awesome. So in like so many, so much of your research and the interviews that you've done with experts across, um, you know, across the running, running world, what would you say?
Are some common themes that you've seen and specifically like, I wanna kind of talk to maybe newer runners first. Like what are two pieces of advice that you would give to someone that's like just starting out on their
[00:10:41] Elisabeth: Yeah. Oh my gosh, that's such a great question. There's so many, there's so many pieces of advice.
I know. I will say, and I did this too, I did this when I was a new runner and. You, you don't have to get fancy before you master the basics. Mm-hmm. And what do I mean by that? There [00:11:00] are a lot of people, we come into the sport, we try something new, and we get hooked and we start looking at, I'm gonna call the graduate level stuff.
Right? So let's say you're a new runner. You've been running casually for maybe, uh, a couple months or even a couple years, right? You never really ventured beyond the 5K distance. You run a couple miles a couple times a week, then now you're starting to get into this whole thing of what we call. Proper training.
Maybe you're training appropriately for your first real race or your first longer distance race, like a 10 k or a half marathon, and you're thinking, oh, there's all this stuff about running and I didn't know, but what? What do you need to focus on? I. The basics. Are you running enough? Are you running at the right frequency, number of times per week?
Are you running in the right, uh, training load distribution? Do you have a long run in your week? Do you have strides in your training? Do you know how to find what your easy effort zone is? And do most of your training there? If we're including workouts, they're probably baby workouts because you're new, right?
But what a lot of runners do is they think, well, I wanna [00:12:00] run. These fast fancy times and these fast fancy distances, they look at training that's more appropriate for somebody who's been running at a higher level for years or decades, and they look at that and they say, well, I saw on Instagram that this Olympic trials qualified marathoner is doing this workout.
I'm like, back all the way up. Right? You are not you ever anywhere close to. There are the general principles of how we train the same, yes, but we are mastering the basics and the foundations that Olympic trials qualifier marathoner is also still including the basics. They're just also now capable of putting in some fancier stuff.
So that's why I see you are looking way too far ahead at the fancy stuff when you haven't even mastered the basics yet. I'd say that's kind of my number one thing. And the other thing I think is that, ah For a lot of runners who are new, I tend to see them set their big goals too short, and their small goals can be too long.
Right? So they say like, well, I wanna run, I wanna, let's [00:13:00] say again, new runner and let's say I'm gonna pull a number outta my hat. I wanna run a sub two hour half marathon. Mm-hmm. But you've already run a a 2 0 1 half marathon on an easy run in training. Oh my gosh. Like you gonna probably smash that goal out of the water.
Right. So that's a. It's very cool to have short term, but long term you can probably think a little bit bigger. Right? But then we have some of these goals that we think are gonna be short term goals that actually end up being much longer term goals than we realized, right? Like I wanna, you know, I'm, I don't, I don't coach aesthetics, I don't coach weight loss, but some people are like, I want to do body recomposition.
I want to get a lot stronger. I wanna do a 200 pound deadlift. Right? Pulling number outta the air. Well, if you're currently deadlifting 60 pounds, That's probably gonna take much longer than you realize. Mm-hmm. So kind of a thing about goal setting and like what to focus on when you're newer.
[00:13:49] Angie: Oh,
I love both of those things so much.
And it's so true. I, it's what you just said too about like setting short-term goals, like are, are too big [00:14:00] and long-term goals too small. That is so absolutely true. And that's such a good insight because I think that. A lot of times when we get into running, when we're brand new to running, we make all this progress, right?
Like, because we're just starting something new. And so, like my husband and I, we coach a, a high school cross country team, and we, we joke like our goal for freshmen is to not break them like that. Is it Because they will naturally get better because they've never run before. You know, most of them, most of them, this is the, the first thing that they're doing.
So as long as we don't overtrain them. They're going to improve naturally, and I think that a lot of us get into this especially. Those of us that get into running twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, you know, like later in life. And we see a lot of this initial progress and then we expect, well, that's just the way that running is.
Like, this is amazing. Well, if I just was able to drop all of this time from race one to race two, then it's gonna be a linear progression from here on on. So I can expect to be a sub four hour [00:15:00] marathoner by the time, you know, in, in a year. Um, and you and I obviously know it just doesn't work that way.
And so what would you say to someone that is having a hard time being patient or having a hard time accepting this idea? Because, you know, we don't like to hear that,
[00:15:20] Elisabeth: right? Like,
[00:15:20] Angie: we don't like to hear that it might
take longer than we're
[00:15:27] Elisabeth: So the answer I think is going to be everybody's a little bit different about like their why behind it.
Some people, um, what you said is so true about, you know, when you're new basically. I remember when I was new and every single time I went for a run, I felt like I was setting my watch was like, oh, you said a new pr. Like, oh, you ran your new fastest 5k. Yeah, I remember between my first and my second half marathon, I ran them about, Four months apart and I ran 10 minutes faster from race one to race two, and I, in my in race two, I made some mistakes and got dehydrated and wasn't fueling at that time, so like I would've run even faster.
Mm-hmm. That was a, I forgot what it was, but like, I will. [00:16:00] Un it's unlikely that I will ever run a 10 minute PR in the half marathon. Mm-hmm. Ever again. Right. Will I run prs? For sure. Will they be 10 minutes? Right? Unlikely. Right. Um, but we get, we kind of accustomed to that and it's a dopamine hit. It's like a Yeah.
Oh my God. It feels so good. And that becomes what we expect. And I actually went through this classic thing. I, I ran my very first marathon. It gets, like I said, six months after I started running around a 4 0 5 and then, A couple months later, my second half marathon, I ran a 1 46, uh, half marathon. So what did I naturally assume that I could do in the fall?
I naturally assumed I could run a Boston qualifying marathon. I naturally assumed that I was seeing such amazing linear progression in all of my times. I could easily drop another 30 minutes off. My mar didn't happen, took me like two years, two and a half years to run a spoiler alert. Um, yeah, but so, you know, there's a couple things here.
So. Um, one, just because you're not seeing progress from day to day or you're not seeing progress [00:17:00] from week to week doesn't mean you're not actually making progress. And I use the illustration here of you don't see your toenails grow, but they do. And you look away down one day and think. Gee, I need to cut my toenails.
Right. You don't actually see that process happening though. It happens so slowly. You literally cannot watch it happen in real time. Mm-hmm. And so there's a lot of things that are happening inside your body when you are improving your fitness that are happening on a, you know, molecular a. Cellular level, and that stuff takes time.
You're literally changing your biology, your physiology, your biochemistry in order to make yourself a better, faster runner. And that does not happen overnight. So although you may want it to happen on a specific time where it feels like you're making measurable, like guaranteed progress mm-hmm. Your body chemistry doesn't work that way.
Um, the other thing too is that. This, I think is one of the most important things you can learn as a runner, period, no matter how old you are or whatever you have or have yet to accomplish, [00:18:00] is that running is a lifelong sport and a lifelong pursuit of the joy of running. Um, Although, and this is, this is a really weird concept, I think, to communicate to somebody new because the goals get us in it, and the goals keep us in it, right?
And the goals keep us coming back for more. But the end game of running is not to always be chasing a pr. At some point, you are going to have to love running for running's sake, and it's the only thing keeping you. In the game is the ultimate pursuit of running X time, you know, or X distance and X pace.
I would explore how running fits into your life and the pursuit of that thing, because the joy of running, although the the goals are nice and achieve the goals is nice. The process itself, the process of training, the fulfillment and the life lessons that we learn about ourselves through the process of actually doing the work.[00:19:00]
That's where the real reward is. And there are people, and here's the thing, there are people who are going to set big goals. Work for years or over a decade to achieve them and not ever quite get there. Are they failures? Oh heck no. They have gained so much. Would they deem their work failure? Absolutely not.
I'm sure they've gained immeasurable knowledge and enjoyment out of the pursuit, so it's really important. I think that we detach the pure chasing of specific goals from one, a timeline or an expectation or two from that. The only purpose of this is to chase a specific. Pace or distance goal.
[00:19:37] Angie: I could not agree more.
And we actually just did a podcast on that as well, which is awesome. Like it was this, it's a, it's a kind of a common theme that we've seen come up with some of our athletes recently as well of this idea of what if I never PR again and I. At some point, we are all going to get to that point, right? Like we are, and, and that point is different for everybody.
The [00:20:00] the age that you are, the experience level that you have, and at some point the prs are gonna stop coming and who knows when that's going to be and if that, if you get to that point, do you continue on? And if you do, continue on why. Right? And so I love what you said there. About really understanding that why and falling in love with the pursuit because of the person that you become in the process of pursuing that goal.
Because I think that that's one of the things that we miss so often. We, because of our social media world that we find ourselves in, where people love posting the picture of them with their medal or the picture of them with that clock, that the, of that time that they finally hit, you know, or the picture of their watch and whatever it might be.
There are all of these things that are very tangible types of goals. And so to not have that and to be pursuing someone something else or have that deeper purpose is sometimes lost on [00:21:00] us because of the culture that we find ourselves in. I think, you know, and so. I try to tell people all the time, and I'm sure you do too.
It's, I mean, I can already tell just based, based on what you just said, it's, it's not the achievement of the goal that matters, it's who you become in the process of trying to achieve that goal that is the real reward. So that brings me to the question, what is one of the biggest things that running has helped you with in your life?
And like how has running benefited you in other
areas of your life? Um,
[00:21:33] Elisabeth: Oh my God. Like, it's, it's there. How long is this episode? Yeah, I know. Yeah. I said, I said this on another podcast, I think it was like last year, uh, that I feel like running has helped me become the person I always hoped that I was inside.
Um, because especially for me coming from a background of, you know, being an alcoholic and I had an eating disorder, like, you know, we all, everybody has their own struggles, but for people who are dealing [00:22:00] with, you know, Real mental health concerns. Um, there's that voice in the back of your head that kind of just sits there and says, you suck.
Right? And then when we're, when we're in these behavior patterns, which are incredibly maladaptive, whether they're d driven by, you know, a eating disorder or by substance abuse or by anxiety or depression or whatever it is, but it's a thing that's kind of like, it's not helping you, but you can't seem to kind of get out of it, is that self-reinforcing, self-fulfilling prophecy where it's like, I suck.
I'm trying to get better. Can't do it. You suck, right? Mm-hmm. And so, you know, I also went through this interesting, I know there's kind of this whole movement of like the, you know, the former gifted kids who all have like depression and anxiety now. Yeah. But I'll be very up upfront in saying, you know, I, I did very well in school and I was very talented.
A lot of things very early on in life and, you know, extracurricular, I, I swam competitively. I played the violin. I was very talented in school. But there were all things that came very naturally to me. So as soon as I had to try at something, right? This is, this is a problem. I'm not, this is not a good [00:23:00] thing, right?
As soon as I had to try at something and I found it ever, it just a little bit challenging. I was like, eh, screw it, whatever. And what running has taught me is all the lessons that I feel like I probably should have learned as a child that I didn't learn until I was in my thirties about, um, Delayed gratification and patience and consistency and self-compassion and self-kindness, but the belief in yourself at the end of the day, that core belief that you are capable and you can do this.
Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but if you keep working at it, you will get there eventually.
[00:23:39] Angie: I think you're
like describing me, like you and I have so many similarities. It's like the craziest thing, like every time I talk to you I'm like, holy moly. Like, it's so funny cuz like when people ask me that question, they're like, what do you love about running?
I'm like, running keeps me humble because I have to work at it and like, I like you. Same thing. Like it was very successful [00:24:00] without much effort growing up. And same thing, like if I had to work at something, I was like, oh, that one's, that thing's not for me clearly. Like that's why I never played soccer because I wasn't immediately good at it, you know, even though I have much more of a soccer build than a basketball player build.
But, you know, I digress. So, um, but it is one of those things that I've had to work at and I was not immediately good at, and I had those same thoughts in my mind of. I'm not a good runner because running was always punishment in all the other sports that I played, and so I had to get it under this time.
It always felt hard and awful and terrible, and I just like automatically just assumed that that meant I wasn't a good runner, and I've had to break that down, that belief system in order to allow myself to train to become a better one, right, and and to show myself what I am actually capable of. If I put the effort in, if I put in that consistency and that, that hard work.
Um, [00:25:00] so I really love that. And also just the resilience because I think that when you say about the voices in the back of your head, it is sometimes when I talk to people, They don't realize that we all have that voice. Like I remember talking like one of our clients and she joined our program. She was in her sixties and inside of our program we have like a whole module on mindset and our thoughts and our beliefs and our, everything like that.
And she was, she went through the one lesson and she made a comment that was like, I thought my negative thoughts were. I thought that was a problem that I had. I didn't realize that other people had negative thoughts about themselves too, and that just felt so good knowing that she now fe understands that that's a normal thing.
You know that she's not some abnormal person that has these negative thoughts about herself. We all have those negative thoughts [00:26:00] and it's what we choose to do with them. Do we choose to? Take our running journey and those workouts that feel terrible or that run that we had to bail on and use that as evidence of I suck or try to turn those things around and say, okay.
One run does not define my journey. One run does not define me as a runner. Even a whole slew of runs this training cycle, right? Like we can have times in our life where there's a lot of other things going on, and stress is, stress is stress, right? Emotional stress, psych, psychological stress, physical stress, it's all stress.
We might have a whole training cycle or a whole year. That's no good that we're not seeing that progress. So I do love that analogy that you used too with the toenails, because that's so true. And as a mom, I see that with my kids, you know, like because I don't see them growing on a daily basis, but then there'll be times that.
They'll do something and I'll watch them and I'm like, it'll [00:27:00] just like hit me. And I'm like, oh my God, how'd they get so big? You know, like, how do we get to this point? Or like, I'm scrolling back through my phone and I saw what they were like five years ago, and I'm like, they were so little, you know, like, how are we here?
Right. But what I'm hearing you say is that with the consistency that we build in our running journey, that's, that's what is available to us, that we can. As we put in the miles, even if we're not seeing the daily progress, the weekly progress, monthly progress, if we kind of turn around and look back five years, we're gonna be different people than we were
at that point.
[00:27:38] Elisabeth: Yes. It's so funny you say that cuz everybody, you know, we recently posted all their, you know, um, first day of school, last day of school, pictures of their kids and everybody's like, you know, six inches taller and like, but you don't realize it, right? No. All these things happen. But I, going back to the, what you said about going through sometimes seasons of running where things don't feel good, um, This ties back to what I said about that.
You know, [00:28:00] it's that that type of kind of meteoric linear progress is not realistic. Although, and as much as I think a lot of runners say, yeah, no, no, I know that I'm not expecting the PR every single time that I race. Some of you are, whether you realize it or not, some of you are literally expecting to beget faster every single cycle, or at least to kind of stay in the same place, and that's also not realistic.
And that might be very weird thing for some people to understand. They're like, what do you mean? I would go through periods of my training where like I'm actually less fit. Yeah, yeah. You might, you absolutely might because of what else is going on in your life, right? You're not a professional athlete.
Probably statistically you're not a professional athlete, right? It's not your job to be in peak condition year round. Um, cuz life is gonna happen to us. We are going to get sick, we are gonna have personal losses, we're gonna have big moves, we're gonna have things that change in our life and your training.
Although it should, you know, hopefully be an important part of your life, it's not the only thing that happens in your life. And I recently went through this, um, Very, like, I feel like I've experienced like hundreds of [00:29:00] years of running experience in like only six years, but I basically been spending the last 18 months or so coming back from reds relative energy deficiency in sport that was caused by chronic low carb, low chronic, uh, carbohydrate restriction because I was totally on that hype train.
If you don't need carbs to run and dug myself, do a very, very nasty hole. It has taken me 18 months working with a dietician, being super consistent with my training, working with my coach. Yes, I have a coach. Coaches have coaches. Coaches need coaches too. To finally be in this place now where I think, oh my God, I'm finally, finally feeling like I am now getting back to where I used to be.
But the past 18 months have been very, how should I say this? A big ego hit and a big thing to carry around psychologically, especially because I am now a professional running coach, right? Yes. To be like, although I have prs and times, right? And say like, I did do this thing, except now I can barely run for the, you know, a couple [00:30:00] miles without, you know, needing to stop for at least.
You know, a couple walk, but nothing wrong with run walk, right? But from the, the times that I was running before mm-hmm. To now be like I can barely run at all. Um, and to work my way back from there, that's been an incredibly humbling process that again, has taken longer than I wanted it to and longer than I think it should have taken.
Um, but shoulds are irrelevant. It took as long as it was gonna take, and I was very consistent in putting in the work to get myself back to where I wanted to go. So I say this to illustrate that. It's if it take, if you dig yourself into a hole or you hit a rough patch for whatever reason, and you think like, oh, I should just be like, bounced back to where I was.
You might not, but there's nothing wrong with that. I think one of the things that's most important, like you said about that, being curious, staying curious, something's not going right or, or something's not going the way you think that it should be going. Why, what's missing? What could you do better?
Maybe you're just missing consistency in patience. Maybe you're actually missing something. Right? So I think it's about, you know, [00:31:00] how it. Running is a true reflection. It forces us inward. It forces us to understand what's actually happening in my, in my body, what's actually happening in my life? How am I actually sleeping?
Am I really eating enough? Am I really staying hydrated? Do I really know what things are supposed to feel like? So all of this to say that, um, Like I said, going back to the simplicity versus the complexity of the sport. Mm-hmm. Although running can be as simple as just go out and run. Right. Have a good time and, and go for a run and get some miles in and en enjoy the sun on your face and the breeze in your hair.
Yeah. Um, a lot of this is actually, can be relatively complex if you're looking for that true longevity and improvement in the sport.
[00:31:40] Angie: I agree so much, but how can we be patient during that process and allow, like obviously when you know, when you're focusing on your why, when you're focusing on the journey, like I think that's definitely a way that, that we can kind of help ourselves through that.
But, I love that you shared that, [00:32:00] and thank you for sharing that with us. You know, because I think that our ego is something that gets in the way a lot, right? And so how do you manage when your mind is telling you, you suck, you're a running coach. What the heck you should, how can you even find yourself in this position?
Like you should know better by now. Right? I'm sure all of these are some of the things that have probably run through your head during this time period. What do you say to yourself?
[00:32:26] Elisabeth: Actually, I had a, I had a handful of runs last year, uh, and I had two absolutely miserable marathons, um, in the past eight or so months.
But I remember very specifically being on a run and thinking, and it, it sucked and it felt like it sucked. And thinking to myself, if this is what it's always gonna be like from now on, I don't know if I wanna do this anymore. Like I was, I, I was on a run and thinking this sucks so much and it has sucked so much for what feels like so long.
If this is how it's always gonna be. I don't [00:33:00] wanna do this anymore. I know it's not, it's not worth it for me. Yeah, right. Um, but it's about, well, what do I enjoy about this? What do I enjoy about this? I like to get outside. I like to move my body. I like to ha be in this place mentally where I can be. It's almost like a meditative state, right?
You just kind of get to ruminate and truly letting go of all of the shoulds. Oh, I should be running this pace, or I should't be taking walk breaks, or I should be running this number of miles per week, or I should be whatever. Whatever it is, the should. The shoulds are what's, um, You know, getting kind of, um, not deflecting, distorting, distorting what you are trying to do, right?
Mm-hmm. If you had absolutely zero expectations from your running, and this isn't to say you should go on every single run with zero expectations, right? Like, obviously there are gonna be times in your training when you're like, yeah, I'm, I'm super, like, you know, regimented and like I'm very just trying to accomplish specific things, right?
But if you're going through a rough [00:34:00] patch, And we all go through rough patches at some point. It really helps let go of all expectations and just focus on, am I enjoying the movement itself? Am I enjoying the time for me? Is this something that I feel like is adding to my life rather than taking away? Um, is this something that maybe you need to take a break from running as much as you have before and maybe come, you know, if, if running, if you're going through a period of life?
Running truly just feels like it just sucks all the time. Mm-hmm. Maybe take a break from it, right? Mm-hmm. Maybe seek help from somebody who can evaluate whether you are experiencing something, something that's actually contributing to why they're running is sucking so much, right? Yeah. Physical issue, a mental issue, uh, you know, a an energy deficiency issue.
Mm-hmm. Um, Letting go of the expectations, right? So I'm gonna go out there for 30 minutes. I have zero expectations of pace. I'll take as many walk breaks as I need. I will wear my sunscreen, I will bring my water, and I will simply enjoy being out there for the sake of being out there. Mm-hmm. Now that is so [00:35:00] contrary to how people.
Um, frame what they expect to happen on a run. Mm-hmm. That, that almost feels like, um, giving up, which is interesting. Right. That feels like, well, how do I know if I've accomplished the purpose of my run? Like, well, the purpose of your run is get out there. And enjoy it, right? I'm like, what? What? How? How far should I go?
I'm like, as far as you get, how fast should I go? Whatever keeps you at an easy effort. So like those types of things, right? Because if you let go of every single expectation for what pace or effort you should be running out, how much distance you should be covering, you say the goal of this run is to get out there and simply enjoy movement, right?
Then you can start to say, what are the things that I really love about this the most? Mm-hmm.
[00:35:44] Angie: That
is. Such good advice. Um, but I also think it's one of those things that's very hard for a lot of people to do, especially the type A personality that is often drawn to running, because running is a very number oriented [00:36:00] sport.
It's very easy to quantify our progress and when it's hard to see our progress, a lot of people often lose faith and a lot of people start to question whether or not. They're really cut out for running or maybe running's not for me, and, and they, they tend to go down that rabbit hole very quickly. I've seen in a lot of people, especially if they're not kind of aware of how much of a role our thinking and our mental, the mental side of it has in the way that we perform.
So, um, That's, it's just, it's a huge mental shift that I see a lot of people needing to take, but I couldn't agree more. I think that it's a big shift that a lot of people need to make at some point, because if running starts to feel like a chore, if running starts to feel like this thing I have to do or I should do, then it's time to just take a step back and ask like, Is this how I [00:37:00] really want it to feel?
And a lot of people don't even realize that they have that choice. And I love what you said about the shoulds too, because I always tell people, stop shoulding all over yourself. Right? Because it's like there's nothing good that comes from it. Like you, we have this idea of like, oh, I should be doing this, I should be doing this.
And it's like, it's really just. The word could layered in shame is really what should is. Like, it's, oh, well there's this thing, and I, I'm, I'm, I know I should be doing it, but I'm not doing it. So there's a layer of like guilt and shame associated with it, and I think that that can very quickly suck a lot of the joy out of our
[00:37:38] Elisabeth: Yeah. And especially if you're in a place where you're coming back or rebuilding fitness or you're not in the place that you want to be. Right. And having gone through this myself, yeah. That should, it's like, well, I, I, or I used to be able to do this. Why can't I now? Or I feel like I should be able to do this.
And it's like, well, it's okay. It's okay. Right. It's kind of like giving, it's, it's a multi kind of step process of like, well, you're not [00:38:00] right. You're not where you are. You know, you are where you are and. This place where you're trying to get to, you're not there yet. What are the steps we can take to get you to this place, you know, and not really put a timeline on it.
Um, and the other thing I will say about, uh, you know, the, the, the self-talk or these kind of thought patterns is that, um, you know, one of the things I like to joke about is that, you know, I help, I help type A runners, recover from being type A. Um, nothing freaks a very, uh, Numbers type A oriented runner more than when I put them on an unstructured pace progression workout.
Mm-hmm. Because they're like, well, what's, what pace should I hit? I'm like, I, you know, and I'll say, well, I want you, we're gonna go in for this long and every number of, you know, I want you to cycle through, you know, kind of change through these gears. And maybe it's a far look, or maybe the continuous progression are like, but what should I aim for?
How far should I go? I'm like, This is self-guided. This is self-led. I want you to explore what these different things feel like and it kind of blows their mind. Mm-hmm. [00:39:00] Because here's the thing that I have found about most runners who are hyper oriented towards specific metrics. You are using those in place of learning how to trust yourself.
You are using numbers in place of learning how to trust what's actually going on inside your body and inside your mind. It's much easier to look at your watch and be like, cool. Seven, I'm right on target. Versus like, what does it feel like? Am I in the right place? Could I hold this for longer? Could I run faster?
Should I slow down? Those are the hard questions. Those are the real skills. A runner should be lo were learning, um, how to do not the can I hit X pace? Anybody can learn how to hit X pace. It's very challenging, and this is where I think most runners should try to aim for, is how does it actually feel and can you learn how to trust yourself in your training without overly relying or being glued to specific numbers, whatever they are.
[00:39:55] Angie: I totally agree. It's, it's so funny because we have so many electronics [00:40:00] nowadays that are supposed to quote unquote, help our running or improve our running, but. It's one of those things that I think that they often lead to more disconnection with our bodies, right? Because we are depending on this external device, to let us know if we're doing it right, to let us know if we're doing a good job.
And you're a hundred percent correct that it. Helps it, it leads us to not trust ourselves and it, it, we are not building, it's not that we don't trust ourselves, it's that we're not building that trust with ourselves. We're building the trust in our device, which there's a lot of error in this little device on our wrists as well.
Right. Like and I know you talk about that a lot in your content also, which is fantastic. So, Kind of knowing that you come from this very curiosity based background and you want to understand the science behind running, which is a lot of what your content is about. How do you kind of balance that, right?
Because there is a, a scientific, um, portion to how [00:41:00] we get better as runners. And then there's obviously this very intangible portion of learning how to trust ourselves and connect with our bodies and understand effort levels and pacing and all of that. How do you kind of marry the two in your coaching?
[00:41:12] Elisabeth: Yeah,
there's a lot of nuance. Yeah. It depends on, it depends on the athlete. I can think. Everybody has their own relationship with numbers, right? Mm-hmm. And measurements and that kind of stuff. I like to say kind of where I start out is that, look, the numbers are our guide, not our God. So, Right. Because one, like you said, we know that even the most accurate wearable measurement device is not gonna be a hundred percent accurate 100% of the time.
It's just not right. Um, we're talking about GPS trying to have a heart rate measurement and yeah, there're gonna be some that are more accurate than others, right? Mm-hmm. A chest strap is gonna be more accurate than the wrist based optical sensor on your watch for measuring heart rate. Mm-hmm. But even your chest strap is not gonna be 100% accurate a hundred percent of the time.
So what I like to say is that, look, the numbers give us a general framework for where we are aiming. Um, for my super type A runners who really struggle to [00:42:00] slow down on their easy runs because they have a lot of feelings about running the paces that are required for them to stay in their easy effort zone.
Mm-hmm. For them, I do like to flip the script and say, well, guess what? You actually do have a new goal. Now your goal is to stay under X heart rate. On your easy runs, we'll take pace, right? If, if pace is causing you such anxiety that you are incapable of slowing down or feeling okay with slowing down on your easy runs, specifically, we're going to remove pace from your watch screen entirely on your easy runs.
Or you're gonna go watch blind and you're just gonna go on heart rates, like we're playing by golf scores, right? The lower, the better stay under your aerobic threshold. There are a lot of runners. We say, we know we're using conversational pace, but it's funny, I'll have a. I'll have runners, you know, do a workout and, and, and say like, let's say we're doing, um, 400 meter repeats and like, you know, let's say we're doing eight by 400 meter repeats and.
Do like the fifth one, and then the fifth one is maybe a little bit slower than the rest of them. And then I'll get a little wall of text in final surge about the fifth rep and how they forgot to start their watch and they [00:43:00] hit a bat. I'm like, I don't care. I only care about how it felt generally speaking.
Were you in the right pace and effort zone? Yeah. You did the right thing. So it's kind of like, I feel like. Helping runners understand that although numbers can guide us, assuming we're measuring them, we're measuring the right things. Yeah. And we're in the right general place. Even the numbers themselves are not as specific as you think that they are.
Right. If I'm, if I'm looking at somebody who ran, again, let's use this 400 meter repeat workout. Let's say they ran, you know, seven oh for their, you know, pay 7 0 6 7 0 2 6 58, 7 0 5. That's, that's e like that's pretty, that's pretty even for me, right? That's, it's not like they ran nine and then six and then eight, and then seven and a half.
Right. So I think, again, going back to what I said, my advice for new runners is don't start to do graduate level work when you're in an entry level class. Right. That it doesn't, you, you are probably giving the minutiae of those numbers way [00:44:00] too much power, way more emphasis than you need to. Uh, that blows people's mind.
[00:44:05] Angie: I agree, and I think that it's funny, and this was like a, a very interesting realization that I have kind of about the power of numbers and our thoughts around them is that when you hit a workout or a race, but let's just go with the workout again, right? Say you have workouts. Cuz I remember, especially when I was a newer runner, my husband, my husband is my coach, and he would give me a workout and he'd be like, these are the paces that you're supposed to hit.
I'm like, are you crazy? Like, you want me to do that? Like, I can't do that. And then I did it, you know? And I'm like, well, he thinks I could do it. So I, you know, I'm gonna go ahead and borrow the belief right, that he's, he has in me. Which is another reason that coaches have coaches, right? Because we are humans too, right?
Like we might. See things and not think that we can be capable of those, but someone else looking in can understand what we're actually likely capable of. Right? And so, When I did hit those workouts, when I did hit those times, I [00:45:00] felt so good about it, which is awesome. Which is like, so one of the things that we love and, and look forward to, but if we let those numbers make us feel really, really good, then that means those numbers also have the power to make us feel really, really bad.
Right? So like trying to detach our emotion from the number also I think could be a really helpful thing for a lot of people to start. To try to kind of work away from too.
[00:45:24] Elisabeth: That's a really common thing. I see. It's that negativity bias, right? Mm-hmm. Now, I think humans, we're really hardwired to focus on the things that are more dang negative.
Sure. You know, evolutionarily, it makes sense, right? You gotta remember the stuff that's bad, so you don't, it doesn't happen again, right? So it keeps you alive. Mm-hmm. But how this manifests in our modern world is that we focus on things that are, you know, not positive. People were like, oh God, I remember the big scary thing, and maybe the big scary thing was that you were 30 seconds off the pace in your last lactate threshold workout.
And so you fixate on it, right? It becomes this huge thing. It's like, well, Maybe you didn't sleep well the night before. Maybe it was really hot out. Maybe you were under fueled or maybe you were [00:46:00] dehydrated, right? Maybe you just didn't have it on the day. That really freaks people out. They're like, what do you mean?
I'm like, some days are just bad. I'm like, for kinda a non-specific reason, it's okay. Not everything needs to have a reason. Right? Um, but this, this, you know, so I love that you're like, yeah. If the same, if one number, if the one workout or you do something and you're like, yeah, then that's amazing. Um, yeah, everything has.
The flip side, everything has, every, every coin is two-sided. Um, it's really interesting. You know, I'm a, I'm a big advocate in a lot of situations for, even though I prescribe. Typically when I, depending on the athletes I work with in a one-on-one, um, context, sometimes I will put pace ranges right in workouts.
Not always, but yeah, if I'm like, yeah, this is, we're doing this workout and you know, this is the pace range we're looking for, but there are a lot of situations say, look, I want you to know that this is the pace range that we're aiming for, but I actually don't want you to watch your watch while you're doing this workout.
I want you to do watch blind, or at least not look at what your pace is because although this is what we're generally aiming for, I want you to learn what this feels like. Um, and so often, Sometimes they end up [00:47:00] running faster or better than they realize because they have to tune out the, am I doing it right?
Am I doing it right? Am I doing it right? Oh my God, my watch says this. My watch says this. My watch says this. And just learn how to shut off their brain and run. Yeah,
[00:47:13] Angie: and I think that that's one of the things that will actually appeal to a lot of people is like when we tell them, I'm not trying to put a limit on you.
It's that what if we don't even know your limit? What if you're faster than you think you are? What if we, you know, you've run this time in this race, which would give us these paces, you know, according to our threshold or whatever numbers we're looking at. But what if you're actually way faster than that?
And if we give you all of your workouts at this, Like with this as our basis, we might not even know, but if you're running by effort and if you get really good at learning how to connect with your body and trust yourself, you could blow through the ceiling that you think is, is there like the, the potential that you think you [00:48:00] have.
You might have 10 times that that potential, and we might not even know it if we are so strict about these pace ranges.
[00:48:07] Elisabeth: It's so funny. I'm working, I, one of my longtime athletes, um, she's, she's in her early forties and she's still like setting 5K prs left, right and center. Mm-hmm. But you know, she ran a, a 5K PR last fall.
Great one. And then like a couple months later, you know, it was, I programed a workout and I was like, 5K pace. And I was like, you know, here's your pace range. And she was like, are you crazy that I was like, whatcha talking about? That is your, that's your 5K pace. That is your five. You literally just ran that, right?
Like, she's like, that's crazy fast. I'm like, you literally just ran that, you know? Yeah. So, you know, don't, we are. So, like I said, going back to that, we're so quick to, to forget the good and remember the bad. Right. You know, focusing on the, um, you know, what we, what we think we should be able to do or what we think we can't do.
Mm-hmm. It's just interesting. Right. And then think to yourself, you know, is, and always comes back to this is the relationship I have with whatever this thing is, is it helping me? Really honestly, is this adding to [00:49:00] my life? Is this adding to my understanding of the sport, my enjoyment of it? Is it adding to my knowledge of how to become a better athlete?
Mm-hmm. Or is it adding to my anxiety? Is it adding to this pressure that I'm putting on myself? Is it making me ruminate or fixate on specific things? Mm-hmm. Uh, because those are, Are on the spectrum, right, of a relationship with numbers and it's totally okay if you use metrics in your training and I absolutely use metrics in training cuz I coach virtually, right?
Mm-hmm. I have to at some point, but it's, it's the relationship you have with those numbers that is really what we're looking at.
[00:49:34] Angie: Yeah, absolutely. Because I think that, you know, A lot of, there's, I say I see two different kinds of athletes a lot of times, and obviously a lot of in between. But there are people that are so fixated on the numbers and they want the exact mileage.
They want the pacing, they want this right. And if you ask them to do those effort based workouts, it totally freaks them out. And there's, there's also athletes over here that. Or like, yeah, [00:50:00] effort based training. I'm on board totally. Like I love easy pace, and then I'm like, okay, let's, let's try a pace based workout.
And they're like, whoa, wait a second. You know? And like you have both camps, which is really funny. And then there's a lot of in between, of course. So I always tell people, what's your goal here? You know, are you trying to grow as a runner? And they're like, yes. Are you trying to be a better runner? Yes.
Growth requires you doing things that feel uncomfortable, right? So if you are someone that loves having paces, And it feels very uncomfortable for you to tap into your body and try to figure out what an effort level feels like. That's growth, right? Like even just attempting to do that, the more you practice it, you're gonna continue to grow with that same thing if you don't like paces, you know, and, and I'm not the kind of coach that thinks paces are necessary at all.
They can be helpful, like you said, you know, like they, they can serve a purpose, but I think that, We know our bodies a lot better than we think we do, than we give ourselves [00:51:00] credit for. And they've done a lot of research on the rating of perceived exertion. And the R P E is a tried and true method that is V valid and reliable, you know, for us to.
So I think that people don't trust themselves and they think that these numbers are better than what they are actually feeling in their body. And I think that if we can get people to a place where they learn how to trust themselves more. They're gonna make a lot more progress and be able to get off some of the plateaus that they often find themselves on.
[00:51:30] Elisabeth: Yeah, and I think that going back to the, the athlete who's really into specific paces or specific mileage is that I, those kind of getting, getting back to the more type A runner about that, you know, they're looking for the guarantee, right? Yeah. All my life, when I have done X, Y, Z, I've gotten this specific outcome, right?
Mm-hmm. All I have to do is put the work in, so you tell me exactly what to do. Yep. I will follow it to the letter and I, and then I'm gonna get my result. I'm like, well, Maybe there are no guarantees. And like you said in [00:52:00] either way, what if you're limiting yourself? What if by being so wedded, so rigid when it comes to trying to run specific paces or specific mileage, you're actually holding yourself back.
Um, that never crosses people's minds. Mm-hmm. And I'm like, well, you know, cuz they're like, but I'm doing all the right things. And I'm like, right. But are you listening to yourself, right? Yeah. Are you actually listening to your body? Um, and that's interesting. I think that's one of the, the most fascinating aspects about coaching is you can take two athletes who technically on paper mm-hmm.
Look the same, and they are completely different in reality. And that's just the coolest thing to see when you finally are working with an athlete and you're, and you have it as a coach. I think every coach has this kind of aha moment after working with an athlete for a little while where you're like, you kind of feel like you unlocked them, you're like, Oh, I just learned something about you that like unlocks everything that I, okay, now I get it.
Now I understand you better. I understand what we're trying to do better. Understand how to communicate with you more effectively and I understand, you know, ways to [00:53:00] kind of massage or finesse what we're trying to do here. That's the coolest part I think about being with the, being a coach is being like, ah, here we go.
Here's my aha moment.
[00:53:08] Angie: Yeah. And, and, and that's such a special place to be. And I think that's really the, the, the science and the art of coaching. You know, like that's one of the things that my husband always like used to say is like, there's a science and there's an art, and you can explain the scientific part, which is why so many people wanna hold onto that.
Whereas the art is like a lot more. Let's you know, let's kind of see like we're gonna try this out. This is best practice. And then we have to adjust based on what actually happens. And that can be tough for some people, but once they finally welcome that and once they finally embrace that, I think that it just opens up a whole new world in their running
[00:53:46] Elisabeth: Yeah. And you mentioned plateaus too, and I think that's, that's something that, um, Not every plateau needs to be busted, right? Mm. Plateaus are kind of a natural, we talked about slumps and, and rough patches and you know, that's a, can be a [00:54:00] natural part of training. Plateaus can also be a natural part of training.
Um, I think, again, people expect this kind of, if I do this, I will always see the results and it is entirely possible to have a plateau that is a natural part of your progression. Again, the toenails, it might look like nothing's happening, but. It's actually happening. You just need to give it a little bit more time.
Yeah. I've seen athletes go through cycles where, you know, they'll do, you know, let's say we do, you know, three marathons in two years, right? So they run the first marathon with me and we drop a bunch of time. Yay. Yeah. Yeah. Awesome. Pr Woohoo. Second marathon. Pretty much like, you know, roughly about the same as the, their previous marathon, right?
So, still faster than they have been, but not like a huge drop in time, but it kind of feels like nothing's happening, right? Mm-hmm. Ran the same a little bit later. Keep doing the work, keep doing the work, keep doing the work. Third marathon or third half marathon, whatever the race is, boom, big time. Drop again.
And big can be subjective, big can be two minutes big can be 20 minutes. Big can be an hour, right? Um, but it's, it's about ju you know, the consistency [00:55:00] itself, like you said about those freshman athletes. You know, simply by being consistent and keeping yourself in the game, keeping yourself consistent with your running over years, that alone will bust through any plateau that you're trying to bust through.
[00:55:15] Angie: I wish that we could talk for another couple of hours here because I just love having these conversations with you. But, um, it's time for us to wrap up. So thank you so much for, for joining us. Where can our listeners find you?
[00:55:29] Elisabeth: Yeah, at Running Explained, uh, I'm on Instagram and Threads now because that's a new place that we all hang out.
I'm apparently, I'm much funnier on threads than I realize. I feel like Instagram are very much like, This is my like serious business Instagram and you know, on threads, I'm like, what gels do you hate? Yeah. Um, yeah, I think that's
[00:55:48] Angie: a cool thing about threads though too, is like, I'm seeing that in a lot of different people like it.
It's much more casual, which is kind of cool.
[00:55:55] Elisabeth: It's nice. It's the humanizing aspect of it too. Mm-hmm. Instagram threads. [00:56:00] Podcast, the Running Explained Podcast. My branding is very consistent. Um, and I also have a website, which is where you can find information about coaching all my training plans, group coaching, training plus masterclasses, all the good stuff if you want more than just the uh, absolute.
Truckload of free content on Instagram and the podcast, I have more available. It's all ins running explained.co.
[00:56:22] Angie: Awesome. And we will put all those links for you guys in the show notes. Thank you so much, Elisabeth for sharing your story, your journey, all of the knowledge and experience that you have, um, obtained in all of these years and just pouring into our audience.
We really appreciate you being here.
[00:56:38] Elisabeth: Thank you for having me.