FM Show – First 50k, “Occupy Ultra,” and More

Welcome to our weekly Footfeathers and Matt show.  Today we discuss, well, a bunch of stuff. Check it out and please subscribe to us in the iTunes store.

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8 thoughts on “FM Show – First 50k, “Occupy Ultra,” and More

  1. Agree that the growth of the runners are more interesting than the growth of the sport. Would love to see features here and there of average runners and how they have reached their goals.

    You mentioned that you didn’t think that affordability was a valid reason for foregoing coaching. Honestly, I never thought of getting a coach because I’m not that competitive and I presumed it would be expensive. I’m just out there for a great run in the mountains and to see what my body is capable of. What do you think of all the coaching advice that is available online, such as on iRunFar (AJW, Torrence etc) or podcasts such as Talk Ultra’s Talk Training? Do you not consider those useful for the average runner that is just looking to bump up from marathons to 50ks or 50ks to 50 mi?

    BTW, I love my Garmin and my arm sleeves… :-)

  2. Most people who ski or play tennis aren’t competitive but they enhance their game and enjoyment of the sport itself by learning key skills and improving through coaching. Running, especially at the ultra venue, has the additional benefit of keeping one from being injured through guidance. I can give several reverences (a few are on my site http://www.footfeathers.com) who will happily say that personal coaching has helped them be better runners and racers and enjoy the sport more. The majority of my atletes aren’t “competitive” runners but they want to reach their potential and stay healthy and challenge themselves through the learning of the sport and be better at something they love. Many of my athletes simply love the personal exchange and having someone to ask, “hey, I had a shitty run today. What should I do tomorrow?” or challenging me, “Why am I doing this ridiculous tempo run?” Some just need a pep talk sometimes before a big race; a reassurance that they’ve put in the work and are ready for the challenge. I get that people have priorities like running gadgets and Starbucks lattes and feel they don’t need coaching. That’s fine. I’m not “selling” my coaching; I’m fully booked and not taking on new athletes at this point. But I do wholeheartedly believe that coaching benefits the experience. I’m obviously not doing this for money (I made 5x in corporate life what I make now), so I must believe in it, right?

    As for online references and articles written regarding training and tips, it’s like telling someone that drinking water is good. It’s a very broad stroke of advice and inevitably becomes valuable at varying levels based on the individual. It’s like the “online marathon plans”. That plan may work for a very narrow band of individuals that is, at best, a mediocre guidance for some people and, at worst, a recipe for injury for other people. You previously mention, in you other comment, two things that stand out to me: 1. “…for those like me who want one [coach] but can’t afford one…” and 2. The importance of downhill training you picked up from me and Talk Ultra. Well, 1. Do you know what a coach costs? and 2. downhill training is not meant to be an ongoing workout for general running and racing; it’s a very specific workout tailored for specific racing. That’s the trouble with learning from, what I call, “billboard tips”. You pick up half of the information and try to individualize it to meet your ability and needs when the information is intended to cover a wide range of people and abilities.

    • Tim, I will start by saying that I do not have a coach. That said, I do agree with you that at some level everyone needs some sort of coaching. I can say that I truly benefited from the hill training clinic my wife and I attended back in October. Having Lucho, Victor, and yourself there was great, not just from the standpoint of the specific skill set, but to see how each of the pros slightly varied on their technique. With my improvement in down hills and powering up hills, I would definitely say that coaching session was worth the money. After the 30K two weeks ago and the half last weekend, both serious hill courses with a quite a bit of technical, I feel great, which is something I wouldn’t have said before the training.

      But I think the other source of coaching that can’t be overlooked, and why perhaps many trail runners don’t have coaches, is how mentoring has been a major part of the trail running culture. For example, the day before the hill training clinic I ran the Rocky Ridge 10K and ended up talking with Catra Corbet for a good portion of the run. We talked also about hill running specifically and got a also some great advice which has helped me fly by folks on the fire roads. I have also have learned a lot from talking with other runners on the trail.

      I do have a friend that has used coaches, specifically one for his 100 miler last year, and you for his 50 miler this year at Leadville, and he swears by it. Looking at the stuff you are having him do is impressive. I can say coaching has worked in his case also.

      I think my hesitation to a training plan, instead of these one off sessions, is both the time commitment and finding the right coach. I did not have the greatest experience in sports /coaches when I was in school, so the idea of being coached doesn’t necessarily put me psychologically in the right place. So if I were to have a coach, it would definitely have to be a good fit. SO I am not opposed to the idea; however, I do have some serious trepidation.

      And I agree with your assessment of what you learn on the internet. I also listened to the Talk Ultra “hill training” segment which basically suggested that the only way to run hills is to do the damage to the legs and that they will adapt. Having too many friends that take a cursory view of training, less understanding what goes into training, this seemed like very bad advice. And forget places like Reddit. The running section, where people ask for most of their advice, is so filled with opinion not based in fact, that you could cause some serious damage.

      Sorry for the rambling.

    • Thanks Tim (and Brian) for your feedback. I enjoy the comments as much as the podcast!

      I certainly see the value of coaching and have no doubts that with the right fit it can make a difference in whether a runner reaches their ultra goals. I guess I’m just sharing the viewpoint that I that didn’t even think of getting a coach due to the assumption that they mainly worked with more competitive athletes and might be costly. Having been corrected on both counts, it’s something I’d certainly consider if I move up significantly in my goals. I’ve had several successful marathons (by success, I mean I had a good day and enjoyed the experience) and had a great 50k, so I hadn’t had issues come to light that challenged my approach to training or caused me to question what I was doing. I’m pretty in tune with my body after running for two decades and I think that has kept me injury free and able to run consistently over the years as I err on the side of conservation.

      As to the downhillin’, yes it was incorporated to prepare me for specific races coming up in the next few months. You had brought up a good point that most people think of the uphills only when they think of hill training and I was one of them, so bringing more focus on preparing my quads for sustained downhills is bringing my training more in balance.

  3. Enjoyed the exchange between you and Matt, particularly how Matt was determined to be casual and relaxed for this first 50k and Tim methodically looked to up it just a notch or two. That sort of soft nudging … love it.

    • Thanks, G. A little awkward talking about my race (which ironically meant talking about it too much!). Glad you enjoyed it.
      Big picture: time for me to step-up so I can get my fat ass to CO for some big trail with ya’ll. Nice to see things are going well on your end with the family and the big hill obsession ;)

  4. Guys this is awesome…love the open commentary and refreshing and honest takes on our sport. After almost 10 years running ultras, I am fascinated by the changes and growth. What’s great is we can all evolve with the sport. For me, I didn’t take ultras seriously for almost 5-6 years- hell I drank whiskey at aid stations on fun runs in Southern Cal as a 20 something- my idea of a party. Only until I started getting coached by Scott Jurek, did I look at our sport as a competitive outlet and yeah, what a difference coaching can make. Now its a passion, a lifestyle and what my family lives and breathes many days. But, at the end of the day, its about being outdoors, running in the mountains and having some great friends to share it with. Keep this great discussion going. We are seeing massive changes happen. And Tim, see you at Zion in a few weeks:)

    • Thanks so much, Jen! Looking forward to seeing you and JB in Zion. Maybe we can incorporate my drinking game in the the “Unbreakable” viewing. :-) Have a great rest of your week.
      Tim

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