ATC 240: Tawnee’s Baaack! We Discuss – Best ‘Bang for Your Buck’ Strength Training, Nutrition for Midday Race Starts, 180 Formula for Teens, and Much More

August 4, 2017


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On this episode of Ask the Coaches:

  • Tawnee’s back from her break, and her and Lucho take some time to catch up and share the latest news, including that she’s pregnant! You can read more of Tawnee’s pregnancy blogs and follow her journey at
  • Study mention – Running Exercise Increases the Intervertebral Disc
    • “Chronic running exercise in men and women is associated with better  intervertebral disc (IVD) composition (hydration and proteoglycan content) and with IVD hypertrophy.”
    • “Despite repetitive loading of the spine during running (considered to be a contributory factor to the development of IVD degeneration), the exercise groups of the current study did not show any detrimental effects at these lower lumbar segments. In contrast, the long-distance runners and joggers showed evidence of better IVD hydration and glycosaminoglycan content in the lower lumbar spine than those that did not perform sport.
    • “loading of the spine under body weight during running in otherwise healthy people may well be beneficial for the lower lumbar IVDs.”
  • Afternoon marathon meal prep: What to eat (or not eat) for a 2 p.m. marathon start, and also how to simulate this if long runs are between 3-4 a.m. due to extreme daytime heat.
    • Eat a meal ~5 hours before then have a UCAN drink pre-run! Avoid high fiber, FODMAPs, and dense foods like meats
  • In a runner with intermediate experience training for a half marathon: Should long runs be at MAF? Also what if current MAF is 12mins/mile and the 1/2 marathon goal is under 8:45 – 9:00 min/mile pace.
    • Using the VDOT calculator (here) to estimate race paces for different distances.
  • What gives you the best bang for the buck when it comes to weightlifting for endurance athletes (type, exercises, sets and reps)? It depends on the goal and needs:
    • Power/Speed – power is the ability to generate high amounts of force over a short period of time. The time component is key. Great for CNS training – more efficiency and muscle recruitment without adding too much mass and can improve LT. Great for EAs.
      • Plyos – 2-3 sets of 10 or so reps, or 10-30m if by distance.
      • Speed-strength weightlifting (quick and explosive not slow and steady lifting), etc. – 3-5 x 3-5 @ 50-75% max. Oly lifts, squats, DL, etc.
      • Circuits – combine all elements: plyos, speed-strength and strength.
    • Strength/Hypertrophy – Strength is how much force your muscles can generate and exert, often heavier slow strength workouts. EAs want to be strong but not bodybuilder buff. The idea is to have enough mass to help motor unit recruitment (maximize your fibers firing) for more force generation.
      • Periodize/progress:
        • Offseason: Low/mod reps, mod weight, 3-5 sets, 10-15 reps @ 65-75% max.
        • Base: 3-5 sets, 8-10 reps @ 75-80% max.
        • Build: 2-4 sets, 2-6 reps @ 85-95% max.
        • If working this into race season be sure to plan and taper! Sometimes I’ll save all the heavy strength for offseason/early season and transition to more endurance/functional as race season ramps up.
    • There’s also also:
      • Muscular endurance – high rep, low weight, e.g. >12 reps @ <65% of max.
      • Functional – teaching the body to move efficiency often with low to no weights; developing coordination between the nervous and muscular systems; three planes of motion.
      • Mobility – balance, flexibility, yoga, etc.
  • Can you use jump roping to maintain aerobic endurance?
  • Is there difference between bouncing on both feet vs single-leg jump roping?
  • Crashing after two years of high intensity interval training: constant muscle soreness, aches and pains, poor sleep, frequent sore throats, and higher than normal heart rates when resting.
    • How to recover and how long to scale back: 8 weeks minimum.
    • Is it possible to use MAF throughout the year AND incorporate higher intensity intervals (Z4, Z5 and Z6)? Yes, but not all at once – patience!
    • How can you balance Maffetone and Friel’s training techniques?
    • Our Kona special with Joe Friel.


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