The RunRunLive 4.0 Podcast Episode 4-449 – Your Spring Nutrition Plan

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Link epi4449.mp3

MarathonBQ – How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 Weeks -


Hello my friends and welcome to episode 4-449 of the RunRunLive Podcast. 

Are you hungry?  Are you feeling a bit porky after this long winter of our discontent? 

Well that’s good! Because today Rachel my nutrition coach and I talk about how to tackle that spring nutrition plan.  The do’s and Don’ts and some simple things that can lead to success. 

In section one I’ll walk you through a long tempo run.  In section two I’ll talk about tall birds stabbing frogs. 

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks since we last spoke.  I was supposed to be wrapping up two weeks of hard training this week with another 3 hour long run today.  But, I seem to have tweaked something in my left knee running hill repeats last night. 

That’s the danger of doing high effort, high impact workouts on tired legs.  Eventually something gives up.  The benefit is, if you get through, you have a big improvement in your fitness and your capacity to race. 

If you get through, that is. 

I was hoping to get through this week and hit all my workouts, but the old body is talking to me.  It’s telling me that I’m not stretching enough, that I’m doing too much too fast and I’m not giving myself enough time to recover. 

It’s been challenging because my job is taking up too much time.  Time in the mornings.  Time in the evenings.  That I would normally have for training.  I don’t complain (much).  I focus on getting the workouts done.

But this leads to two things that raise the risk of injury.  First is the weather.  I can’t control the weather.  And I do believe there is no such thing as bad weather, just soft athletes.  But, this means I’m throwing some extra work at my body having to deal with the snow and ice on the trails and the slippery roads. 

Second, because by the time I get out to do my workout it’s late and I’m emotionally drained.  That’s important, because for these bigger, harder workouts you really need to be able to bring your mental ‘A’ game.  The quality of the work suffers. 

I’ve been skating on thin ice, (pun intended), for a few weeks now and it caught up with me.  I don’t think it’s serious.  There’s nothing swelling or aching.  Just a sharp pain when I put weight on the flexed knee – think lunge mechanics. 

So – instead of my long run today in the freezing rain, I’m talking to you!

Had a great email from an old friend of the show yesterday.  Those of you who have been with me for a while might remember Collin who did all the running parody songs.  He told me that someone with another running podcast had found the old songs we made and interviewed him. 

I remember running in Seattle with him when my wife and I were out there on vacation, maybe 2013?

I told him I had just watched the Mott the Hoople Rockumentary on YouTube and had a new song idea for him.  It’s to the tune of “All the Young Dudes” – but the parody would be about a runner who left some gels in their gear bag in the trunk of their car and the gels exploded all over their running stuff before a race. It’s called “All the old Gu’s”.

It would go like this:

All the old Gu's, 

Stuck in my shoes,

Banana Gu's, 

Stuck in my shoes, 


It’s a guaranteed hit. 

The weather is turning here.  We’ve got a bit of melt.  This means the trails will go from snow, to ice, to mud, alternatively until the end of April. 

I’ll be honest.  I’ve been getting the anxiety as much as everybody else during this house arrest.  There are some days where I just don’t want to show up on Zoom or talk to anyone. 

These long days where basically all I do is roll out of bed, work all day, go for a late run, read for a few minutes, fall asleep and do it all over again feel like a treadmill.  By the time I get back from my run it’s after 8:00 and I’m asleep by 10:00. 

On a positive note the days are getting luxuriously long now – the sun is up at 6:30 and sets after 5:30.  If I didn’t have a standing call at 5:00 I might be able to run in the daylight!  And I’m getting plenty of sleep.  I’m probably averaging more than 8.5 hours.  And I don’t have time to do anything harmful or stupid.  So there’s that.

It’s in situations like this that we endurance athletes have an advantage.  We can look at this life like a marathon or an ultra.  We can appreciate the sucky days, even if we are stringing many together in a row.  We can stand back from it and realize that all we have to do is keep moving through the suck. 

All we have to do is keep going with consistency, even when the joy and enthusiasm leave us.  Consistency and perseverance will overcome any obstacles eventually. 

So, don’t be downtrodden or disheartened in this winter of our discontent.  Just keep showing up.  And if you can show up with a smile in your face, that’s even better.

On with the show.


About Zero

ZERO — The End of Prostate Cancer is the leading national nonprofit with the mission to end prostate cancer. ZERO advances research, improves the lives of men and families, and inspires action.

Link to my ZERO page: (for Donations)

I’ll remind you that the RunRunLive podcast is ad free and listener supported.  What does that mean? It means you don’t have to listen to me trying to sound sincere about or Audible.. (although, fyi, my MarathonBQ book is on audible) We do have a membership option where you can become a member and as a special thank you, you will get access to member’s only audio. There are book reviews, odd philosophical thoughts, zombie stories and I curate old episodes for you to listen to.  I recently added that guy who cut off is foot so he could keep training and my first call with Geoff Galloway.   “Curated” means I add some introductory comments and edit them up a bit.  So anyhow – become a member so I can keep paying my bills.


The RunRunLive podcast is Ad Free and listener supported. 

Become a member

Section one – The Long Tempo -

Voices of reason – the conversation

Rachel Shuck – Next Level Fitness

Here is my contact info and an attached pic :)


Email: rachelshuck @





Section two – Memories and Notebooks -


Ok my friends We’ve eaten a good breakfast and that allowed us to get through to the end of Episode 4-449 of the RunRunLive Podcast.  

I always like talking to Rachel.  She’s actually working with my wife right now and it’s weird for me to be in the other side for a change. 

Next week I’m going to be talking to a runner who is also a writer of young adult fantasy fiction.  Interesting stuff.  He said he liked my new apocalypse podcast (After the Apocalypse) but I think he might just be shining me on!

By the way thank you for all the listens and the reviews on iTunes.  I appreciate it.  The writing and editing has been very satisfying. 

And on the horizon I’m coordinating a call with Tom Grilk – who is one of the leaders of the BAA here in Boston.  A real mover and shaker in the Boston running scene.  If you have not listened to the BAA podcast I would recommend it.  A couple of Tom’s interviews are outstanding. 

Tatyana McFadden is amazing and Des Linden’s Boston win in 2018 told through the lens of a couple of insiders is amazing.  There aren’t that many episodes and it appears to have pod-faded but the ones that are out there are good and Tom does a great job.  Very polished guy.

I’m looking forward to Massachusetts getting it’s act together on the Vaccine so I can get back into an airplane.  Boston has been pushed out to October.  I’m not sure whether I’ll run or not.  At this point I’m stuck in the end of an age group. 

I wrote a post on this, probably 10 year’s ago! Called “Crazy Eights”.  The qualifying standards are linear but your ability loss in non-linear, so when you hit an age that ends with an 8, qualifying is really hard, especially with the new times.  I’d have to run 3:35 marathon to qualify.  Which doesn’t sound that hard in theory, but I think it’s beyond my grasp. 

The thing is, in a scant 12 months I get another 15 minutes which reels it back into the realm of possibility.  You never know.  It’s such a heavy lift right now I’m not sure I have the mental capacity to do it again. 

We opened this podcast today with the concept of consistency.  I think it’s only appropriate that we close it with a discussion of habits and to-do lists.

I had an interested philosophical conversation with myself this week. 

I had it with myself because there’s no one else to talk to in the apocalypse.  Accept maybe the dog.  But his philosophy is much more rudimentary and deals mostly with balls and runs and occasional belly rubs.

Frankly, that’s what I like about dogs.  Theirs is a more honest philosophy then we will ever achieve.

I was thinking about habits and tasks lists. 

What precipitated this was a few recent experiences and some environmental stresses.

My current job has me scrambling to keep up with a seemingly endless flow of tasks.  My current training plan is getting into the dark place where workouts are apocalyptically challenging.  We are deep in the heart of darkness winter-wise in New England. 

That’s a snapshot of life at a point in time. 

A seasonal cycle.

I know this. 

But it still causes pressure. 

A long day on the video calls with clients who have intractable problems that require my attention, my accountability, and my empathy.  Followed by a long, hard workout in the dark and snow.  Left with a scant hour of consciousness to maybe grab a quick dinner, read a chapter in a book and fall into a worried sleep, only to do it all again the next day.

Like I said, I know this.  We all have these times.  These dark places.  That is the seasonal nature of life. 

And we develop tools to deal with these dark places. Tools to survive so we can enjoy the sunny times.

One of these tools is habits. 

Habits allow us to get more done more efficiently.  If you can habitize yourself to get up, do the work, and be rigorous about the tasks in front of you, you can get through to the other side. 

But, this week in the philosophical discussion with myself I questioned the outcome assumptions.

We build these habits so that we can get things done, but why?  What does getting these things done have to do with anything important?  Isn’t this just an attempt to automate rote and joyless activities so that we can get through them faster without giving as much?

It starts to feel like you’re bailing the ocean with a toy bucket.

The justification in optimizing the task list and building habits is to be able to free up time to do the things you want to do. 

In my philosophical discussions with myself I realized that this justification was just another form of a classic lie.  The classic lie is that by making you more efficient we are going to free up time to do ‘more important things’. 

Whether by choice or rule, that’s not what happens. 

What happens is that as soon as we lift one plastic pail of tasks out of the ocean another pail-full of tasks flows in behind to fill the void.  Until you are at capacity again.  You aren’t doing ‘more important things’.  You’re doing more of the same stuff faster with less attention and no joy. 

Now, one saving grace of the habit hamster wheel is that it promotes or creates consistency.  And there are many important goals that require consistency.   For instance, if you are training for an event – consistency trumps everything else.  If you are saving money for a worthy thing, again, consistency trumps everything else. 

There is power in consistency.  Habit promotes consistency.  But there is also a mindless spinning of the endless wheel that you have to put a foot to or you will habit yourself into a joyless grave.

So – as you and I get on with our weeks, let us not be a slave to habit.  Let’s be brave enough not to finish a task list.  Let’s look at these things and ask ‘why?’.  And then say ‘no’. 

Find those things that give you joy, not pleasure, joy.  Use your magnificent to-do lists to schedule a few of these things into you habit hamster wheel. 

Take an hour and a half in the middle of a perfectly good workday and go out for a run in the sun.  No one will ever know.  When they ask you why you didn’t do X or Y you say “I’ve had to prioritize recently and I just haven’t gotten to it.”

Which is the truth.

And then if you’re extra Machiavellian, you can ask a follow up question.  “Is there any way I can get some help with some of this stuff?  I hate to leave it half finished.”

That’s it.  Do your best.  Make sure you remember to stick up for yourself. 

And I’ll see you out there.

MarathonBQ – How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 Weeks -


Rachel ->

Coach Jeff ->


Direct download: epi4449.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 9:33am EDT

The RunRunLive 4.0 – A Mid-Winter Tale

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Link AMWT.mp3

Hello folks this is Chris.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find the time to podcast this week.  I don’t know about you folks but I’ve had a crazy couple of weeks.  Actually it’s been pretty crazy since before the holidays.

I won’t bore you with the details but my job has been super time consuming.  I’ve got calls starting in the morning every day and also in the evenings. And you know the morning time is my writing time. 

But, I’ll give you an update. 

I wrapped up my week of training last week with a stellar 30K long run on the roads.  We got more than a foot of snow and it was too soft to do a multi-hour long run in.  I was worried about switching to the road so abruptly. And I did pick up a little soreness in my plantar, but for the most part it was a great run.

Let me tell you the story.

I set out from my house in the direction of the rail trail in the next town over.  I figured if the snow was going to be packed down and passable anywhere it would be on the rail trail. 

I can get to the midpoint of the trail about 10K from my house, so I headed out nice and slow in that direction.  It was a sunny day, no wind, but pretty cold.  I did my errands in the morning and waited for it to warm up a bit. 

The roads were dry but with the snow there were some places where the shoulders got a bit skinny.  I wanted to avoid too much hill work and stay on back roads. 

I wore my vest with the two 500ML mammary bottles under my outer layer because it was in the high-teens, low twenties.  After the previous week’s bad adventure with the spoiled gel I decided to go full ultra-fuel and keep it simple.  I made a nice organic peanut butter and honey sandwich on Dave’s 21 grain bread.  I cut it into 3X3 chunks – so 9 bite-size pieces and threw them into a plastic bag and stuffed them in a pocket. 

When I got to the trail It was impassable.  I stopped to eat a couple pieces of sandwich, take a drink and figure out what to do next.  As I was standing by the side of the road, basically having a stand up picnic, cars kept stopping and waving me across.  And I was like, “no, I’m not crossing.” I finally had to scootch back into a driveway to stay out of their line of site. 

I figured I was an hour in and felt pretty good, so I’d just keep going east and see where I ended up.  I vaguely knew where I was.  I headed out through the back roads of Westford and east into Carlisle.  Babe Ruth lived in Carlisle when he played for the Red Sox. 

Eventually I came to a main road.  I was trying to figure out where I was. I only needed a few more minutes, so I mentally flipped a coin and turned left. 

I’m glad I did because in a couple hundred feet I came upon Great Brook State Park.   This is a good-sized park in Carlisle that I’m familiar with having mountain biked in there a few time.   I learned that I am about 9 miles away from the park crow-fly if I take the back roads.  Which is cool. 

With the snow, they had opened it up as a snowshoe and cross-country ski venue. The place was packed.  On the east side they were selling tickets to get in and ski.  I asked if I could go into the trails on the west side where people were snowshoeing.  They said it was ok.

The trails were packed down and perfect for running and it was beautiful. The sun was high and families were out.  I just ripped around in the woods for a few minutes.

Then I popped back out on the road and headed back home after eating some more sandwich and taking a drink.

Really beautiful day.

On my way out I had noticed that it was apparently trash day in Carlisle because all the trask cans were out at the end of driveways. I began playing the beer can game that I like to play.  The way this works of course is that you pick up a beer can that some a-hole has tossed out the car window and you drop it in the next trash can. 

I felt pretty good now, still running well.  Not fast.  But well.  No crash.  Good energy. 

And I crossed back into Westford.  As I was coming back through Westford, I got cocky.  I saw a brown paper bag in the snow bank and figured I’d throw it out.  It turned out to be a empty fifth of vodka.  Which is a good-sized bottle.  And a glass bottle too.  Then I see a Bud-light tall boy and grab that too.

So I’m running down the road carrying an empty vodka bottle in a brown paper bag like a football and a big beer can and I realize “Oh Crap!” it’s not trash day in Westford and there’s no place to put these.  I went on for a mile or so like that looking in peoples’ driveways and such, but eventually gave up and put them back into the snowbank.  I chose and obvious place at the corner of a neighborhood figuring someone would pick them up. 

Ce’st la vie.

As I was heading up Powers road towards my house I realized I was going to be short on my planned time so I re-routed through the Nashoba Mountain ski area.  It was packed too.  I guess the virus is afraid of heights.  

I stopped at the kiddee slope to see if I could find my running buddy Bob who is a ski instructor there, but I didn’t.  I kept going, starting to get a bit leg-tired now, out through the back to the tubing hill. 

It was a perfect day for tubing.  Plenty of snow and cold enough to keep the snow fast.  Of course the tubing hill was packed as well. 

As I churned through watching the kids rocket down slope, I thought about how we would do this when I was a kid.  We’d grab something totally dangerous, like a cafeteria tray or a trashcan lid or the hood of a VW and we would break our necks sometimes. 

Even our official sledding implements were super dangerous.  My family had a 6-person toboggan.  There was no controlling or turning these things.  You just went until you crashed into something.  I can remember falling off the toboggan mid run and getting my foot caught in the rope and being dragged down the hill at high velocity on my face. 

We had these things called ‘flying saucers’ that were plastic disks that you sat in.  They had no steering or padding or anything.  You just went until you wrecked. 

But the pros had sleds.  The old Flexible Flyer.  You sanded down and waxed up the steel runners.  Then you hauled ass down the hill face first on the sled.  You could steer them a little bit and at high enough velocity you could sort of Tokyo drift around the corners. 

Anyhow, that was what I was reminiscing about as I wrapped up my 18.6 miles.  I had not planned to run a 30K.  I was just running by time.  It was serendipity.  Felt pretty good.  Didn’t eat the whole sandwich.  Wasn’t sore on Sunday.  Ran an hour with my buddies the next day. 

Good weekend effort. 

Work being so crazy and time consuming reminds me of another story.  This one is a SCUBA story.  Anyone know what SCUBA stands for?  Self-contained underwater breathing apparatus.

In my 20’s I used to go diving for lobsters off Halibut Point in Gloucester.  I had a bunch of hand-me-down SCUBA stuff.  But we never went deep and never more than one 80 tank.  So we really couldn’t get into too much trouble. 

I remember one afternoon; my buddy Keith and I went out.  We had to hike a bit out through the state park to get to the shore.  It’s a good place to lobster dive because the shore is rocky and drops off quickly to 30-40 feet. And by rocky, I mean big chunks of granite. Like refrigerator size. 

To get to the water you had to climb down the rocks and jump in.   Now, if any of you know anything about SCUBA diving you know there’s a bunch of equipment involved.   You have the tank.  A hose comes off the tank and connects to the thing you put in your mouth, called a regulator.  The regulator allows you to breath off of the tank.

Then you have your mask with a snorkel attached. 

The water in the Atlantic off of Gloucester is pretty cold, even in the summer, like 60’s.  So you have a wet suit. You wear fins so you can propel yourself.  All good so far.

But the part that non-SCUBA folks don’t get is that you need buoyancy regulation.  Any of you triathletes know that if you have a wetsuit on you float.  With the whole point of SCUBA being the underwater stuff you need some way to overcome the floating of the wetsuit. 

The way you do this is to strap a bunch of medieval looking lead weights to a belt around your waste.  The lead makes you sink.  Which creates the opposite problem because you don’t’ want to get stuck on the bottom. What you want is to find that perfect buoyancy where you neither float, nor synch. 

This is where you have that last piece of critical equipment, the Buoyancy Compensator.  This is like an inflatable life vest you wear. 

So, the way it works is, you inflate your BC – Buoyancy Compensator, jump in, snorkel out to where you want to dive, because you want to save your air for the dive.  Then you put your regulator in and start deflating you BC until you sink.  Easy peasy.

I remember on this day the weather wasn’t great and the surf was pretty high.  Pounding on those rocks.  Makes it a bit tricky to get into the water.  You have to get in, put your head down, use the fins and power out through the surf.

Which is what I started to do as Keith was on the rocks behind me.   

It didn’t take long for me to realize that I had forgotten to inflate my BC.  So, instead of snorkeling out through the surf, I was snorkeling straight to the bottom with 35 pounds of lead. 

Lucky for me, and I suppose you, I’m a pretty strong swimmer.  Because I panicked.  Nothing like in haling that first big gulp of sea water to put some adrenaline into the system. 

The smart thing to do in these situations is to drop your weight belt.  It’s got a quick release on it.  And then put your regulator in your mouth so you don’t drown. 

I didn’t do that.  I treaded water with 35 pound of lead in the washing machine surf until I could get some air in my BC.  The surf tore my mask off me.  I caught glimpses of Keith looking distraught trying to decide whether he should come in after me. 

And, not to spoil the story, I lived to tell the story.  We retrieved my mask and went back in to see if we could catch some dinner. 

But, that’s how I felt at my job this week.  Like I was treading water in the heavy surf with 35 pounds of lead.

But, I’m older now.  I don’t panic as much.  I’ve traded stoicism for panic. 

Here’s a tip for you.  You can download a translation of Marcus Aurelius’’ diary for free.   It’s basically his morning journal.  He was the last of the good emperors.  He was a stoic. 

And yes his son was Commodus, who, yes, liked to pretend he was a gladiator.  But, Russell Crowe did not kill him.  His wrestling partner Narcissus killed him. 

And finally to take you out, I heard a great piece of advice from the Olympic runner Alexi Pappas.  It’s the ‘rule of thirds’.  It says that if you look at any part of your life, whether it’s your work, your workouts or your relationships – a third of the time they are going to be good, another third of the time they are going to be OK, and the final third of the time they are going to be crappy. 

The key is to realize this when you’re in the crappy spots. 

For those of you who like math that would be a normal distribution. 

So my friends that is my race report for you this week.  What shall we call it?  The Lost Pirate 30K?  The Tired Turkey 30K?  The Old Man 30K?

Your choice.

We’ll see you out there.



Direct download: AMWT.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 8:07pm EDT





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