ATC 260: How to Coach a Coach, Break the 3-hour Marathon, Return from a Sacral Fracture, Increasing Distance and Speed, and more!

May 11, 2018


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In this episode of Ask the Coaches, guest host Brock Armstrong joins Lucho to answer these questions.

Craig asks:

Hey gentlemen, after listening to ATC #259 I started to think about myself and how I coach myself. I’ve been coaching for 15+ years and have read almost every book on training philosophy by every coach possible. Because my athletes seem to do so well, I trained myself too.

In the past I seemed to do pretty well too, but recently it appears that I am not performing as well as I like or should. After really looking deep into it, I think I am now “quitting” on myself far too frequently during workouts than in the past. So my question is when should a coach get a coach?

There are good and bad sides to being self-coached and I am curious as to your takes. On one side I know my body better than anyone so if I know my body isn’t feeling great I shouldn’t do that day’s hard work out and move it. However, that same knowledge can be a detriment as maybe I am not giving my body a chance that day after an extra warm up.

Also, Lucho I’ve heard you discuss you “reverse taper” in the past and would like to try it for my next marathon. Say mine is the 1st weekend in November, how would it look?

Thanks again for all you do for us regular athletes.

The coaches say:
– Can you actually find a coach that you trust enough?
– Being too easy or too hard on yourself is a sign you need assistance.
– You still need to make a plan and write it out. Don’t just wing it from day to day.
– Overreaching is uncomfortable and supercompensation requires that you don’t always feel fresh and ready.
– Reverse Tape: after rest block performance can be poor. Do your taper start 4-5 weeks out, take 5-7 day rest block (reduce 80% of load), 2-4 weeks out bring training load up to 80% and then start to reduce.

Kris asks:

Dear Brock and Lucho: First please pass along my best wishes to Tawnee. I’m a long time listener and my heart goes out to her and John.

My goal is to break 3 hours in the marathon. I come from a rugby and hockey background (living in Canada) and so even though I’ve been participating in endurance sports for 8 years I still carry a lot of muscle. I’m 5’5″ and weigh 152 lbs with about 8% body fat. I’ve done pretty well in my endurance racing, here are some relevant results:

2011 Boston marathon 3:01
2012 Mont Tremblant Ironman 11:07
2015 Mont Tremblant 70.3 4:53
2016 Boston marathon 3:02
I’ve run a 1:26 open half marathon and a 18:26 5k.

I followed the Hanson Advanced Marathon program to run 3:02 in 2016 and loosely followed the Jack Daniels Blue plan for the 3:01 in Boston in 2011. I’m currently 44 years old. I have a busy life running a law firm, working about 50-60 hours a week and have two young kids. I have about 8-10 hours a week to train maximum.

My MAF pace is 7:12 per mile. I have a low max heart rate. I have had a few field tests and never got above 165 max heart rate. I find running at my MAF pace to be moderately difficult. My run all day pace is at 8 min/mile with a heart rate of 125 bpm.

With this background what would you recommend to get ready for my attempt to break 3 hours at the Scotiabank Toronto Marathon on October 21st? I’m doing a 70.3 in Muskoka on July 8th but don’t have any other races planned before the marathon in October. Should I follow Hanson’s model, Jack Daniels or another plan?

Thanks for your time and keep up the great work. Love the show. Shout out to Brock from Canada. Keep well eh.

The coaches say:
– That race is flat and cool (often rainy with some breeze from the lake) which bodes well. Lot’s or Canadian records get set there.
– Muskoka 70.3 is a gorgeous race but the last part of the bike is a beast. Be ready for that.
– The muscle doesn’t seem to be holding you back but the key to getting those last couple minutes of your race time might be easier if you dropped some small muscle weight.

Craig asks:

Hey everyone. After 4 months off due to sacral fracture, I have been base building with slow, easy miles all on dirt and grass for 1.5 months.

I want to get my Mona Lisa-esque stride back (Its a stride that’s a work of art but the beauty is in the eye of the runner, not for everyone).

Should I use grass strides or short dirt hills strides (both roughly 200m) once a week to start getting my stride back? Is there a benefit to one over the other like less impact going up a hill but requires greater push off?

And how long post-recovery should I test my MAF to see where it’s at so I can get back into training? 2 months of recovery running before MAF test? 3 months?

Thanks for every piece of information and more importantly, the comic relief you provide and the…

The coaches say:
– If they haven’t checked bone density already, get that checked. Scarum is the first place we often see osteopenia show up.
– Strides on grass is a great exercise to get your stride back.
– Hill running is your go to.
– Maybe some water jog as well. You could look into Physiclo pants…???
– No need to wait to test MAF. Get a baseline ASAP.

Megan asks:

HI there! I’m struggling with a training dilemma.  I simultaneously want to increase my speed while doubling my distance.

Specifically, I want to train for & race a marathon. The longest distance I’ve gone is the half-marathon. My time was 2:21. I’d like to complete a sub-4 marathon. Is this crazy talk? Most info I’ve come across says to focus on one or the other in order to avoid injury.

Thanks for your guidance!

The coaches say:
– Being ambitious is good but you still have to allow your body to progress as fast as it is able to.
– Focussing on both in a training season is ok but periodize when you concentrate on each one.
– Use the half marathon training and racing as a base.
– Listening to your body is key.

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