ATC 290: A Pain in the Heel, Books on Strength Training, Raising Your Heart Rate, Vegetarian MAF, and more!

July 5, 2019


  • Fitness, by Brock’s account, is broken into three categories:
    • Movement: general motion plus mobility (think squatting to pick things up and reaching up to grab things from higher places, like what our ancestors did with foraging)
    • Exercise: invented to fill the holes in our movement patterns
    • Training: what we do in order to reach specific fitness goals, such as running a marathon or deadlifting your body weight. This is above and beyond basic health, maybe even taking away from your health in the long term but it brings you joy and is worth it.

Nathan asks:

I have had heel pain since the end of January. At first, I thought it was a Plantar issue which technically I probably have a slight case of but I had someone look at it and he said I for sure have Infacalcaneal Bursitis.

The fellow who examined me said: “If you do have P.F., it’s an atypical type (inflamed only near the attachment at the calcaneus). You definitely have infracalcaneal bursitis. Your short calf and hip external rotator muscles can cause calf pain, though (through a sort of mis/overuse of the intrinsic muscles of the foot).” And then prescribed ice, calf raises, heel drops, and glute stretches.

The only change I can think of is the beginning of January I was charging some hills at night with a headlamp for 3 weeks straight with some trail running friends and I typically stand most of the day at work also.

I remember Brock you saying you have been dealing with plantar and I feel like mine is not getting better. So I was wondering if either of you has suggestions. I have tried to stay off of it as much as possible. The past 2 months I forced myself to take a break. I am getting antsy but want to get healthy.

I have been mashing my calves, doing heel drops and calf raises.

I am mainly a runner. Marathon distance. Greg White and I wanted to do CIM this December but I haven’t really done anything all year because I haven’t wanted to make it worse. I also trail run typically.

I walk in Vivo Barefoot and run in Altra and have been for a while. So I have just been hiking and keeping things mellow for now.

The coaches say:

  • This injury is caused by impact; it’s a form of bruising and inflammation.
  • Brock suggests getting an ultrasound done to see if there’s a bursa there. If it is, you can get it drained and that will drastically speed up the healing process.
  • The diagnosis your practitioner gave you is very contradictory. Get a second opinion.
  • Walking in the minimalist shoes isn’t helping you right now. Get a shoe with arch support and heel drop for extra cushioning white you heal.
    • Lucho used the Superfeet green orthotic when he was healing his plantar fasciitis.
  • Take a look at this video Brock’s friend Brad Kearns made which explains why you need to hold the stretches longer than you think.
  • Also, watch this one from Brock that shows some of the techniques I used to help my heel pain.
  • Lucho notes that dynamic stretching is important before a workout, whereas static stretching should not be done before a workout, but it does help in the long term.

Michael asks:

On the last episode, you had a question from a triathlete on strength training who’d mentioned that neither Pftzinger nor Maffetone offers much advice on strength training.

I’ve been using Daniels for my marathon training for years, and the chapter on supplemental training in the Daniels’ Running Formula book is pretty sparse, as well.

You referred him to Dave Scott, Joe Friel, or Mark Allen as good sources for triathlon training.

This has me wondering – in your opinion, who has the book on strength training for the marathon?

Still loving the show after all these years, thank you so much for what you do.

The coaches say:

  • Strength training is very personal. It’s hard to give a one size fits all.
  • There’s no such thing a strength training protocol that’s “for” the marathon. A squat is just as good for a runner as it is for a football player.
    • You could say that a marathoner doesn’t need to do bench press. But that’s obvious.
    • Anything for hamstring, calf, quad, hips, lower abdominal is helpful for you.
    • Going outside your range of motion for running movement might not be helpful. Consider doing a half squat rather than a full squat. Still, doing full ROM strengthens your whole system and makes you a more resilient athlete.
  • Lucho suggests a lot of plyometrics, hopping drills, and hills, not using barbells.
  • You can never go wrong strengthening your hips. Seven Way Hips is excellent.
  • Hamstring eccentric motions are also important.
  • Don’t forget your feet!
  • Brock’s article on how to take your weaknesses and make them strong.
  • Check out Kelly Starrett’s book Ready to Run.
  • Find a general strength training routine that’s not too severe or advanced, especially if you don’t have a background in lifting. These more technical movements are not necessarily better!

Bill asks:

As a follow up to the MAF question at the end of Ask the Coaches episode 280. I am 58 years old and in great shape. I try to keep my heart rate at around 120 on easy days (MAF) (trail runner so some variance on hills, etc.) After listening to your answers on the show I think maybe I am one of those that need to train with a lower MAF heart rate.

I went back and looked thru my data on quite a few 5K races were sprinting at the end of the 5K my max heart rate ever is 162 with most of the races being mid 150’s. My average heart rate for the 5K would rarely be more than 145. My resting heart rate is 46.

Is 120 too high for a MAF type of scenario? This could possibly explain the lack of improvement at times? I was just chalking it up to being an old guy (LOL). If you don’t want to answer another MAF question on the show just an email answer would be great. (I know those MAF questions can be repetitive)

The coaches say:

  • 25 beats under your 5k HR isn’t bad. Is it right? We don’t know.
  • Heart rate isn’t the only measure of fitness or progression.
  • If you are racing 5k, you also need to work on the top end, not just aerobic base (MAF).
  • You need to practice redlining more to really know how hard you can go.

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