Sometimes it’s good to look at the inverse and stop doing those things
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As runners and endurance athletes (hey triathletes and cyclists!), we all love knowing what you should do!
But sometimes it’s nice to look at the inverse. Inverse just means the opposite. In the context of running and training, knowing what IS NOT good for you is just as effective as knowing what is.
The point of this episode is not to embarrass anyone, but to get you to think more about what you are doing by again, looking at the opposite of what good is. This is what Mike Trees calls “training smarter”
10 Things Things Runners Should Never Do
- Ignore pain: if it hurts stop
- Skip your warm-up/cool down
- Never stretch
- Expect a Personal best/personal record at every race
- Follow a training plan to the letter….. you must be flexible as we all have good days and bad days
- Start off a race too fast. You should aim for negative splits
- Not rest enough
- Go too hard on easy days
- Put off your recovery meal. Try and eat something within 30 mins of finishing training
- Obsess over numbers and what other people do
- If you haven’t got the extra hour to sleep, then you can’t do the training
- It’s pride that makes people want to run fast when they shouldn’t
- Stop stressing about getting faster in a straight line. It takes a lot of trial, error and time.
- Different shoes use different muscle groups. The variety produces an all around stronger physique.
Should you wear super shoes as much or as little as possible?
- Instagram Post – https://www.instagram.com/reel/CQBI4O0jUKt/
- Running Injuries – When To Run and when to stop – https://www.runnersworld.com/uk/health/injury/a760238/injury-when-to-run-when-to-stop
- Why sleep is important for athletes – https://www.sleepfoundation.org/physical-activity/athletic-performance-and-sleep
- Suggested episode to listen to next: 6 Tips to run your best 5k race
- Podcast Concept, Production and Marketing BY POD PASTE
NRG COACHING (MIKE TREES) – SPONSOR
This episode is brought to you by NRG – Coaching which is Mike Trees’ coaching service. Mike coaches beginners to pros and all levels in between.
No one is too fast and no one too slow. They just want a desire to learn and improve.
They focus on 1,500m to marathon running and triathlon training.
NRG Coaching is constantly overbooked, so Instagram and this new podcast venture, gives Mike and the rest of his NRG coaching team a way to reach out to more people.
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Full Transcript Below (or download pdf here)
Daren: [00:00:04] As runners and endurance athletes, hey triathletes and cyclists, we all love knowing what you should do. But sometimes it’s nice to look at the inverse. Inverse just means opposite. In the context of running and training, knowing what is it good for you is just as effective as knowing what is. Find out the top 10 things a runner should not do on this episode of Trees and DLake.
[Trees and DLake theme]
Daren: [00:00:38] What is up? Welcome to Trees and DLake. A podcast series by Mike Trees, and yours truly, Daren, DLake Creates. In the series, our goal is to educate and entertain smart and committed runners, a bit more on that from Mike Trees.
Mike: [00:00:50] And the aim of this podcast is to give in a light hearted, amusing and entertaining way, hints and tips to help you all run better and enjoy your sporting life more. So, let’s see how we can go with that.
Daren: [00:01:04] Mike’s being pretty modest. He has over 50 years of running and doing triathlons under his belt. And if you’re wondering about me, I’ve been in the endurance sport game for about 25 years now, done a sub-three-hour marathon and completed an Ironman Triathlon in 10 hours.
We appreciate all the help and support that we can get. So, if you can, please share this episode to someone that you know that would like this. Oh, quick language warning. In some rare instances, we might use some bad words. So, apologies in advance for that.
[00:01:33] The point of this episode is not to embarrass anyone. But to get you to think more about what you’re doing, by again, looking at the opposite of what is good, the inverse. This is what Mike Trees calls “training smarter.” What you’ll learn in this episode, the top 10 things runners should not do. We won’t tease this and hide this from you but just listen to the rest of the episode to find out more.
One, runners ignore pain. If it hurts, stop. Two, skip your warm up and cool down. Three, never stretch. Four, expect a PB/PR at every race. Please stop doing that. I actually did that when I first started. Five, follow a training plan to the letter, to the exact. Six, start off a race too fast. Seven, not rest enough. I used to do that. Eight, go too hard on easy days, I used to do that when I first started running. Nine, put off your recovery meal. And 10, runners love to obsess over numbers and data.
[00:02:26] Listen on to the rest of the episode to find out more about each thing. How many of these mistakes do you make? What did we miss? Let us know on the socials. We want to keep this a two-way street. Let’s get into the episode.
Daren: [00:02:47] Hey, Mike, how’s it going? How’s your training going this week?
Mike: [00:02:51] Hey, it’s going good. But as you know, the more I train, the more I sleep. [chuckles] The amount of time I’ve got left to do other things is getting less and less. But it’s all good. It’s all good. And how is it with you?
Daren: [00:03:04] Me? Finally getting back into the groove. After being sick and getting vaccinations, all that stuff, I decided to do an interesting thing, which is maintain my fitness from three weeks ago. I’m doing like 60%-75% volume, keeping the intensity the same but dropping on the volume so that I can slowly recover into what I need to do. It’s going well, so we’ll see how that goes.
Mike: [00:03:30] You’ve just reminded me. Maintaining 16 weeks, three to four times a week, 30 to 4 minutes of aerobic exercise has been shown, you can probably maintain your fitness for up to 16 weeks without much loss. You won’t go forward and you won’t make any gains but if you just need to tread water, there’s a hint. You don’t need to do as much as you think you do.
Daren: [00:03:50] Yeah, that’s a good study. You spoke about that in, I think, the last episode we talked about. It’s good to know. I was trying to maintain my same fitness, which gets a bit trickier because I was quite fit and ready for the 5K. So, I’m doing something I haven’t really done before, but I feel like I’m experienced enough. Speaking of things that runners shouldn’t do, I know you’ve got the 10 top tips on that.
Mike: [00:04:20] Yeah, I like to do things in the positive, what you should do, but I think once in a while it’s important because people just do too much. It was a good attention grabber, I put out an Instagram on it, it was one of my most popular posts. So, I think it’s a good thing to discuss because I think there’s a lot of people out there interested in what they should and shouldn’t do.
Daren: [00:04:42] Speaking of what they shouldn’t do, let’s start with number one. They shouldn’t ignore pain. If it hurts, stop.
Mike: [00:04:48] Yeah. It’s a basic rule of life. People say, “I’ve got this niggle,” “I’ve got an ankle injury,” “I’ve got this.” I don’t like to advise on Instagram on injuries. I don’t like to do that. Even in my training and my coaching, I want to send people to professionals. I’m a professional coach, running triathlon coach, I can advise on that. But I like to push people to people with more experience. So, for example, with the weight training, I push them to my son if I can, because he knows more than I do even though I know a little bit about it. With injuries, yeah, send them to a physio, an osteopathic, a chiropractic, whoever is the specialist that they need to see and I don’t try and get into that area.
[00:05:28] What they do is, they come and say, “I’ve got this little niggling injury. It’s been hurting for two or three weeks now. Can I run through it?” What they want is they want me to basically agree with them that it’s okay to run even though it’s not, and that’s the bottom line. I have to turn around and say, “No, if it hurts, stop.”
Having said that, there are two different kinds of pain. Is that pain when you’re running and you’re pushing towards a PB at the end of a 5K? Everything just aches, it’s that numbing, aching that the body is saying, “Hey, slow down.” That’s different from an actual– you putting your foot on the ground and getting some excruciating pain in your lower back or your knee or your hamstring, for example. Those are different kinds of joint and muscle pains. So, my general rule is yes, if it hurts, stop.
[00:06:13] One thing I’d like to add on to that is, one slight variation., often you get DOMS, which is delayed onset of muscle soreness. These get more as we get older. But if you’re getting DOMS and you wake up in the morning and things ache a little bit, go for a 5-, 10-minute jog, walk. And if all the pains ease up as you’re walking into it, and it’s just a fatigue from the day before, and after 10 minutes, it’s all gone, then, yeah, you’re good to go. That’s one little exception that I like to mention, because sometimes it is just a bit of fatigue left over from the day before. So, just go out, 10 minutes, very easy, gentle, if you’re not sure and if it’s getting better as you’re warming up, then continue with caution.
Daren: [00:06:54] Great point on DOMS. I do get sometimes people asking me, “Oh, your strength plyometric routine, will that help this thing? I literally just got that the other day.” The first thing I say, just like you is, “Look, I don’t know anything about your history, and I’m not a specialist in whatever your injury is. Take my information with a grain of salt. It’s just general information. But make sure you go to a specialist and get that sorted. Don’t google more stuff.” Like you said, they’re probably just waiting for confirmation.
[00:07:30] Onto number two, “do not skip your warm up or cool down.” That’s what a lot of people do, right?
Mike: [00:07:36] Well, we’re all busy. [chuckles] As people who listen to this podcast will find, I famously say, “If you haven’t got an extra hour to sleep at night, don’t do the training.” You can discuss that later, but it’s the same with the warmup. If you haven’t got the time to do the warmup and the cooldown, you haven’t really got time to do the full session. They are part of the session. And yes, in warm, hot climates, you can do a less of a warm-up and less of a cooldown because your muscles already are warm. The colder it is, the more of warm-up you need. But the point is we need to get the heart rate raised, we need to get the muscles warmed up, and we need to get some functional movement in the body so that you can actually go through the range of movements that you’ll need in the training session. So yeah, don’t skip the warmup and cooldown. And don’t use time as an excuse. If time is an excuse, you’ve got to just cut the whole thing down in time or skip the session.
Daren: [00:08:31] It’s kind of like meditation. There’s a saying, people like, “I don’t have time to meditate.” If you don’t have 20 minutes to meditate, then you need two hours to meditate. “I don’t have five minutes to meditate,” it’s just like, “No, you need to then create more time to then do that because your life is so out of control.” I’d say the same as with warmup and cooldown. I like that.
[00:08:52] Number three, “never stretch.” That’s another mistake, correct, never stretching?
Mike: [00:08:58] Yeah. So, never stretching. Now, I get a lot of people saying stretching has been proven not to help performances and it’s a waste of time. It’s probably one of the most contentious things that a lot of people say, “Yeah, I love stretching. I’ve got to stretch.” Other people say, “This is absolute,” and then they say BS, and they get really aggressive saying, “You don’t need to stretch. It’s been proven it’s meaningless.” Well, let’s take it to the nth degree. What happens is stretching, dynamic movements is to create the range of movements you need to do the activity you’re going to do. If you get stiffer over time, and as we get older, muscles get tighter and the training will tighten things up and stiffen them up, and you haven’t got the range of movement you need, things will give, something will give and snap. Yeah, you’re probably going to get injured.
Now, I’m not saying it’s guaranteed you’re going to get injured and there are examples of people who’ve never stretched that run really well. They just happen to have the right body type to get through the movements they need. But most of us need to stretch. I know for a fact that if I don’t stretch and loosen up and get physio and on my back of my muscles and things, I can’t do the activities. If I do, then I’m good to go. I can keep training quite happily.
[00:10:07] Yes, you’ve got to stretch and make time to do a little bit of dynamic movements before you start to get the range of movement that you’ll need afterwards to stop yourself from stiffening up too much, and to keep the range of movement. Before we say dynamic movements, which is large, slow movements, and afterwards, it’s okay to do static movements, where you hold a stretch for, say, 10 to 15 seconds, relax, and hold it a little bit more. The reason that we don’t like to do the static before we do the exercises, it’s been shown that actually slightly weakens the tendons and the ligaments before loosening them. So, if you loosen them, obviously, it’s not going to work as efficiently and you’d be more prone to injury during a session. That’s why we do that after the session when you get a good night’s sleep to recover before you do another training session.
Daren: [00:10:56] That’s a great point about dynamic before static stretching after. I incorporate stretching two to three times, static stretching. I technically stretch four times a day. I do a dynamic before my workouts, which IS usually in the morning. Then, I do a static stretch after, mostly hips. My hips are very tight, they’ve always been tight my whole life, or at least in my adult life, as I’ve gotten into endurance sports. I do a lot of hip stretching. What I call stretching, I actually found out from a physical therapist, physio here, it’s hip mobility that I’m actually doing. The difference between mobility and flexibility, is mobility is when you stretch something to its limit, and it’s the strength that you have when it’s stretched to its point. I got that confused for a while. It’s basically the range of movement that you have at the end of.
[00:11:51] For hips, there’s a lot of different hip stuff you can do. The pigeon pose, and there’s that– one no one can see this, it’s a podcast, that one stretch would do kind of the lunge, and then the arm over. But if you really feel your hips and you feel your upper hamstrings and you feel your– what else? The quads, you feel your glutes and all that, that’s my hip range mobility that I’m working on. It is static stretching, but I think a lot of people think of static stretching as sitting there, stretching your hamstrings, and that’s debatable. We won’t go down that rabbit hole. I personally don’t stretch my hamstrings. I found out that that hurts me and most people that actually, especially runners, you don’t need to stretch your hamstrings. If they’re tight and sore, you probably need to strengthen them. But that’s not what we’re talking about today. We’re talking about the mistakes that runners make, which actually could have been number 11.
[00:12:46] This episode is brought to you by NRG Coaching, which is Mike Trees’ coaching service. Mike and his team of coaches work with beginners to pros and all levels in between. No one is too fast and no one is too slow. They just want a desire to learn and improve. They focus on 1500-meter races to marathon running and triathlon training. NRG Coaching is constantly overbooked. So, Instagram and this new podcast venture, Trees and DLake, gives Mike and the rest of his NRG Coaching team a way to reach out to more people and help them. Contact Mike and his team at nrg-coaching.com, or go to the link in the show notes.
[and back to the show]
[00:13:31] Let’s get back to number four. Number four, “Expect a personal best at every race.”
Mike: [00:13:38] Yeah, I think as Americans say PR? Personal record?
Daren: [00:13:41] PR, yeah. We’ve got a mixed audience. So, PR, PB, it’s interchangeable.
Mike: [00:13:44] Yeah. To my age, I’m knocking on 60 next year, I’m never going to get another PB, let’s be realistic. I’m getting slower. A lot of people move on when they think they can’t get a PB and they burn out. But there’s other ways of getting enjoyment out of running. For me, I look at age graded up time. As I get older, I can actually produce a time relative to other people. But the point, not expect to PB is that you’re not going to get faster in a linear line, it’s not going to go straight up, it’s stepped and even it regresses, so you do a good time, then you train a little harder. What you’ve done by training harder, you’ve made yourself more tired, which ultimately will make you fitter and stronger. But in the short term, it’ll make you fatigue. So, you then go to your next race and your time is slower.
[00:14:35] A lot of people get really depressed, “Oh, I was running so much quicker three or four months ago,” and they just don’t understand the process. So long as you know the process that you won’t get quicker in a straight line, it won’t just go up. So, the 20 minutes, 19:50, 19:40, if we’re doing 5K times, and that’s you goal. It might be that, “Hey, I’ve just done a 19:50,” and you feel really good. The next time you go out, it’s 20:35. Oh. Accept that, that’s just your body just assimilating everything, and it takes time. So yeah, it won’t be a straight line and accept that, understand that, and you won’t be stressed out about it.
Daren: [00:15:13] All right, number six, “Start a race off too fast.”
Mike: [00:15:17] Never start off a race too fast. Now, I get arguments saying, “Yes, but the only way to get a PB in 800 meters is to do the first lap quicker than the second lap.” It’s debatable. And there’s pros and cons with it. There are exceptions to the rule. But in essence, if you go too fast, you’re going above your lactic threshold. You’re building up lactate in the blood, what you’re doing is, your body is going to struggle to get the oxygen to the muscles. What I say is, if you understand the process, it’s much better to start off aerobically and save that burst at the end where the lactic comes into the end, because after once you build it up, it’s not going to go away in a race. So, you go out hard, you build the lactate, you don’t get as much oxygen as normal. And instead of running your 5000 meters in 25 minutes that you normally do, you go out at four minutes the first kilometer, and end up doing 6Ks for the rest. It’s much better actually to go out at your five-minute pace at the start and then the last two, build it up to 4:30, 4:00, and leave all that lactic right till the end, when you don’t have anything else to come after it. It’s a much better strategy.
[00:16:27] And you see in marathon people, negative splitting, it’s quite a common way of running. When you get really good, like a Kipchoge, you just split 5K in the middle and destroy everyone because your thresholds much higher than everyone else. But still, technically, he tends to run faster towards the end, he will maintain a constant pace. The ideal is actually is to run right at the threshold all the way with a slight sprint at the end. But it’s so hard to get it right, right on the line, even for top-class runners. So, I always say just hold it back a little bit at the start and gradually build up.
Daren: [00:17:05] Yeah, that is easier said than done [Mike laughs] for a lot of people, and myself included, because of my anaerobically gifted genes– I’m not saying that to brag or boast, but the other side is, I don’t have– sorry, yeah, I’m anaerobically gifted, where again, 400-800 I can smash out. So, the start of a race, that first minute or two, just the adrenaline I’m racing it, it feels, I’m like, “Oh, I’m going slow.” That lactate will build up and will cause me trauma in the next four to five minutes if I don’t look at my watch. So, that’s where I really perceived effort, and what I’m actually doing are two different things in a race. I’m all jacked up on caffeine. There’s someone around me. It’s just the excitement of the race and all that. So, I think a lot of people have to learn that. I had to learn that. I always go, “Whenever I’m doing, I need to go slower.” And that took me a long time to learn. I’m like, “Whatever I’m doing, I need to go slow.” Every time I look down, I’m like, “Yep, I’m going too fast,” and it still feels slow. But yeah, you’ll pay for that. In a 5K, you’ll pay for that within 10 minutes, and marathons and half marathons and all that.
Mike: [00:18:08] I like to do 400s on the track. If you said to me, “Mike, count to 70,” couldn’t do it. But if you say to me run around that track in 70 seconds, I could do it. So, I could then say to someone, as long as I have 100-meter running check, I can tell you when 70 seconds is, I can tell you when 71 seconds is, I can tell you when 75 seconds is. My body knows the pace, and I like to do that constantly, run around that [unintelligible 00:18:29] 75, I’ll finish, I’ll look at the watch, yeah, 75.5, 74.8 or whatever. And I like to do that, not so much at the moment with what I’m doing in my training. But it’s quite a regular thing, I love to get on the track, just to check that the pacing is there. And it’s a great technique for people to practice, running the 400s at their race pace, and just getting used to it and thinking what it feels like, what it feels like, because I’ve seen it, people going off, they’re aiming for 20 minutes, they go off 3K for the first kilometer. And they just said, “Yep, that’s the race over.” [chuckles] So, yeah, we need to learn pacing, don’t go off too fast.
Daren: [00:19:08] Yeah, the track is a beautiful place, and I wish they had more tracks here. The track here, unfortunately opens up at 3:00 PM, and my training just doesn’t do well in the afternoons. It’s only Monday through Thursday. The other track that’s open in the mornings is only open on the weekends, and the weekends don’t– So, yeah, I love the track, and every time I get to the track, which is once a month when COVID is not happening, I always try to properly get the workouts in and make sure that my internal pace clock is reset. Because, yeah, like you, I knew what a 80 was, I knew what a 70 was, I knew what a 35-second 200 was, and I feel like I’m slowly losing that because I haven’t been on the track that much. But let’s get back to it.
[00:19:47] Number six is, a mistake that people make, because every time I’m reading these, I always keep wanting to read them as a positive, but I have to remember it’s a negative mistake. [crosstalk] The mistake that people make. So, number six, “They follow the training plan exactly how it is.” Tell me more about that.
Mike: [00:20:06] A training plan, actually like this one from the pirates’ code, from the Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s more like guidelines than the actual rule or a plan. So, you have a guideline that you follow. Without the guideline, you can just drift off into no man’s land. But it’s not a rigid plan. We do sleep in, we do work late, we do have family problems, work issues, we get sick, we get stronger. Sometimes, you think, “Yeah, it’s good to add a little bit extra on. Sometimes, it’s good to add a little bit, take a little bit off.” I like to be flexible with my training plans. It’s a guideline to get people going in the right direction, but the bottom line is you have to listen to your body, and you have to be practical.
[00:20:51] And that’s where a coach comes in. I coach a lot of people, but actually it’s my wife, that’s my coach, and that’s when she’ll look at me and she’ll say, “What would you say to Johnny, if he was going to go out training today?” I said, “Well, I probably tell him not to.” She looks at me, and she says, “Okay, I’m taking a rest day.” So yeah, those are the sort of things that you have to be flexible with the plan, and you need someone, it might be a really good friend, it might be a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a relative, an experienced [unintelligible 00:21:21] in the club, someone that you can just discuss and try and come up with a rational answer. Because again, going back to the first point of people, I’ve got this pain, kind of run through it. You don’t want someone who’s just going to agree with you to push you on to more and more. Sometimes, you need someone to look you in the eye and say, “You need to rest, mate.” So, yeah, don’t follow it to the tee, be flexible.
Daren: [00:21:42] What would Mike Trees do? Actually, no. It is, “What would Mike Trees’ clients do?” That’s what–[crosstalk]
Mike: [00:21:47] What would I say. [laughs]
Daren: [00:21:49] You need to have that on a band at all times. All right, we’ve got number seven, this is your favorite. “People don’t get enough rest.”
Mike: [00:22:03] My standard answer is seven hours sleep a night, and one hour extra for each hour of training. I know that you badger me, if I’ve done a long session, you’ll say to me, “Hey, Mike, you need to sleep 12 hours’ sleep tonight.” My reply is, “Yep, it’s 8 o’clock and I’m in bed.”
Daren: [00:22:22] This is a true story. This is a conversation we actually had. [laughs]
Mike: [00:22:27] I’m doing training for Ironman, I’ve done a 5-and-a-half-hour session, so you had 5 hours, on to 7, it’s 12 hours. So, I was in bed at eight. Actually, I didn’t quite get the full 12 hours because I woke up at 7:00, and I was ready to go, and I felt good. And so, I got out of bed at 7:00, but I had 11 hours sleep. So, a lot of people think I’m making this stuff up, but no, I wake up the next day having a really good sleep, and I feel great.
If you haven’t got the time to train to sleep, you don’t do the extra training. So, rest, yep. Seven hours is the base and one hour extra. I know a lot of people are really busy and can’t do this. What I’m saying is, again, going back to the guidelines, if you’ve been getting by on six hours, five hours’ sleep for years and years, yeah, obviously going up to 12 hours is going to knock the body. But you’ve just got to think about it and can you get a little bit extra? It might be unrealistic to get up to 12, like someone like me, but you might be able to squeeze in a bit extra and just think, whenever you’re doing a longer session, you need more rest. That’s the bottom line. I do it always as a shock headline, just to shock people how much rest they actually need. And that’s the main point. Most adults are not getting enough sleep, and that’s what’s holding them back in their training and their racing.
Daren: [00:23:45] To piggyback on that, I’ve done some sleep studies, I’ve done some experiments myself as far as sleep, and I found out that I need a little bit less sleep than most people to function correctly. And the sleep studies have backed this up and just long-term sleep tracking analytics. I’m not saying I can operate on five hours. I can operate on seven hours, and I’m doing well. So, my base is probably around six and a half. After a 45-minute hour, training day, I can operate on 7:00, 7:15. So, I’m perfectly functional. I come back the next day, I’m healthy. My sleep cycles are shorter than other people. But I can’t sleep past eight and a half. If I have a really big training day, I get to eight and a half hours, my body wakes me up. I haven’t done Ironman training in a few years. I haven’t done a five-hour bike ride followed by a one-hour run and going on four years, five years from now. Maybe when I get back to it in a few years, I might be sleeping 12 hours. But I know my body wakes me up at eight and a half hours. I don’t train more than an hour and a half, two hours anyway. So, I’m getting the amount of sleep when I’m tired. Let’s say I need to get 12 hours asleep or 11 hours or whatever, would a nap later in the day count or a nap after training? Do the naps count?
Mike: [00:24:58] Well, again, I’ve just read the same studies that you’ve read in that sense, that essence. Some people will argue that a good nap where it’s sort of 90 minutes where you go into REM sleep, you get to deep sleep, REM, wake up again and come naturally out of it in the cycle, it is very effective. When I was racing as an elite runner back in the 20s at university, this when I first started. And our coach George Gandy, who coached Sebastian– he coached all the top world athletes. He would always recommend that we go back to bed in the afternoon. So, we do a morning session, and we go back to bed for a couple of hours in the afternoon. We’re university students, so nobody knew we were studying. It was doable back then. But most people, it’s not that doable. The Spanish do it, they have the siesta, there are cultures that do sleep. I do think that it does help.
[00:25:53] But having said that, I’m open for debate on this because I don’t nap anymore. I get longer sleeps at night, and I find that I’m good to go throughout the day. So, I like to get up. I like to now, instead of doing my training morning and evening, I just like to get it all done. I get up in the morning, I function best in the morning. If it’s triathlon training, for example, I’ll do a swim, I’ll do a bike, and then it’s all done. I’ll do a run, I’ll do some weights, it’s all done. I do all in one block, and then get on to what I call “the real-world things,” the coaching, making this podcast, all the other stuff that goes with life in the family and living. I don’t need to nap anymore, but yeah, if you’re getting a nap, it cuts down what you need at night as well.
Daren: [00:26:39] That’s a good point, and we’ll move past this one. I’ve started focusing on more sleep, and all I needed was seven and a half hours, 7:45. I was going from 6:45 to 7:45. And that was such a big difference. When I get 7:45, seven hours and 45 minutes of sleep on a moderate to hard training day. I feel phenomenal. I don’t need to nap. And it goes to show exactly what you said is true. When I get 6:45, which is my bare minimum, and I do a hard training day or I do a long run, I need that nap. What is it called? The assembly line. It’s much easier if you’re doing the thing, to get the thing done, you batch it– Sorry, it’s batch production. That’s what it’s called batch production. You might as well get all the sleep you need in the morning when you’re sleeping at night in the morning, than trying to fit in a nap when everything’s going on, you’ve got all this stuff going on. If you’ve got young kids, that might be a bit hard. So yeah, totally with you on that, and you’ve shined a light on that if you think about it.
Mike: [00:27:42] One last thing on that subject though. Studies have shown you can get too much sleep. You do get the other people that just sleep all the time. What I’d like to say is get your sleep in early. For me, I was aiming for 12 hours, but I couldn’t sleep past 7, I woke up and I was wide awake, and I thought, “Oh, I want to get up and do things.” I was ready to go. If you can wake up naturally in the morning without an alarm clock and get up and you’re ready to go without thinking, “Ah, where’s the kettle? I need that caffeine fix.” You get up and you’re ready, good to go, then you had enough sleep. And if that is six, seven or eight, that’s good for you. It’s when people are doing the training, they’re saying I’m surviving on six hours, five hours sleep, and actually it’s the alarm clock that wakes them up, they smash the alarm clock, they get a couple of coffees inside them, a piece of toast, some carbohydrates, you get the sugar rush, then they’re good to go, that’s not really good to go. It’s can you just get up naturally? That’s when you’re good to go, and that’s when you’ve discovered your level of sleep.
Daren: [00:28:41] Number eight, “They go too hard on easy days.”
Mike: [00:28:46] Oh, that’s another big one of mine. [Daren chuckles] A lot of people do far too much hard reading on easy days. I get messages, “Oh, I live in a hilly area. If I have to go that easy, I’ll have to walk.” Yeah, walk. The heart doesn’t know if you’re walking, running, cycling, swimming, and skiing, whatever. It just knows how much it’s working and for how long. So, if the easy day is easy– and actually, I remember I just looked at an old picture of me and my son, we’re out last year in the mountains, and we went to an easy run, and it was a trail run. It was a bit steep and I thought– [chuckles] we were both walking up this hill, and it was meant to be a runner, I was thinking, “There’s no way I could run up this hill and be easy.” It’s pride that makes people want to run when they don’t need to run. It’s pride that makes people run too fast, “Oh, I think I can go a little quicker.” And often if they’re on the street, they see people, they need to look good when they’re jogging past people. But yeah, there’s that.
[00:29:48] Also, there’s that beginner– it sounds rude to say beginner, but the novice runners’ approach, unless they’re getting that [breathing heavily] good workout feeling, they haven’t done anything. Well, an easy run, you don’t need that. You just enjoy the view, try and get nice places to run, enjoy where you’re running and what you’re doing. If you want to just drift and think about the world, do so. If there’s a nice view to look at, do that, but don’t feel you have to get that hard, [breathing heavily] “I really had a good workout feeling.” Save that for the workout days. The easy days, finish feeling better, fitter and stronger than before you start.
Daren: [00:30:23] Speaking of easy days, I just had a 75-minute easy run yesterday, and it was phenomenal. It was just so nice to just run easy, and it was a beautiful, sunny, warm morning. It was just one of those– usually I have to do this and this and this, there’s a structure to it. I want to go sub threshold on this part, I’m going to maximum aerobic here, I’m going to steady efforts on my long runs, like I was trying to mix up and I just said, “I’m going to do whatever I want,” and it was phenomenal. I agree with Mike. I will say it, I’ve been running easy for like 10 years now, and it’s amazing. So, if you’re not running easy, try it.
[00:30:58] Another mistake people made, number nine is, “They put off their recovery meal.”
Mike: [00:31:04] Again, this is another contentious one that people say, “Oh, it doesn’t matter.” I go training, and recently, I’ve got into taking these protein drinks that you can get in convenience stores. They’re very simple. It’s a no-fat, low-sugar, just protein drink, milk-based drink. I do feel really good after that, and the muscles are tired, and they need rebuilding. If I can get something in, initially studies you say two hours, then down to 20 minutes. The point is I still believe that as soon as it’s realistically possible to get some nutrition in after a run, you’re starting to rebuild the body again. I’ll argue this with anyone because if you don’t get any food, basically put it simply, any carbohydrate or any protein after training, your body will have to cannibalize itself to try and recover because it’s got to get the energy from somewhere. It’s not coming in, it can’t recover. There’s no way it can recover and rebuild. So, yeah, I always say that as soon as it’s realistically possible, get something in.
[00:32:12] Ideally, I like wholefoods and real foods rather than packaged stuff. But if I’ve just been on a long bike ride, I’m in the middle of nowhere and there’s a convenience store, and the best thing I can get is a protein drink, well, it’s still better than waiting two or three hours till I get home to actually make myself a perfect salad with chicken, fish, or whatever on top and some potatoes, whatever. So, I definitely recommend getting something.
I’m actually getting off the subject a little bit. We’ve just found, it’s been difficult in Japan to get raw ingredients, natural bars. They’re all really highly processed and highly packaged. But we’ve actually found now some lovely, raw ingredients with dates and natural ingredients in, packaged up. They’re great just for me to have them in my bag, the last– and I just know that if I finished the session, I can just pull one out and start the recovery process straight away.
Daren: [00:33:10] That’s awesome. And you said it best, which is– I saw it in one of your posts. “When you train, you make yourself tired and you break everything down.” And then, you said, “Rest and recovery is when you get better.” I’ve totally hacked that up. [chuckles]
Mike: [00:33:28] Yeah. It’s correct. It’s a good one. We’ll cover this many times in the podcast, because I need people to learn it that training makes you weaker, racing makes you weaker. What you’re doing is the body, it’s lazy naturally. It just wants an easy life. It doesn’t want to do anything. But when you push hard, you break down the muscles, you break down the body, and you build up lactic, you put stress and load on the body. So, that’s actually technically making you weaker. It’s when you sleep, and rest and recover, hydrate and get the nutrition in, that the body then says, “Oh, if this jerk is going to go out every day and smash himself for 10K, you know what? I’m going to build up a few more enzymes, a few more muscles, make the mitochondria a little bit more, build the aerobic pathways a little bit better, make it so he can’t stress it so much.” It gets a bit stronger. And then, you’ve got out and do another 10K, and the body goes, “Oh, geez, he’s doing it again. I’m going to get even bigger and stronger again.”
[00:34:25] What we do is running knocks you down and the recovery makes you fitter. That’s why we have to rest up and ease up before a big race. That’s why you don’t do hard runs all the time. People get it wrong. They need to think the other way around, that the training is actually part of a good process, but without the recovery cycle, they’re not going to go anywhere.
Daren: [00:34:46] Number 10, and last one, “People should stop obsessing over numbers and what other people do.” Explain why they should.
Mike: [00:34:56] Well, my big gripe at the moment– it’s not a gripe actually, on Garmin and smartwatches, it’ll say things like “D-training,” “overtraining,” “12 hours rest needed.” These are algorithms that they’ve put in to try and help but they’re not quite there. People stress totally about, “Oh, my cadence was 171. You’ve told me it should be 180.” Or, “My cadence is 190, this is too fast. My heart rate is 135, and I’m aiming for 133.” I’m all about the bigger picture. Yes, we’ve come up with models and set numbers and things that people are aiming for, but the body doesn’t really know. It’s different on different days. In heat, you’ll get heart rate drift, where it might be 10 beats higher than normal. You might be feeling good, so it might be a little bit lower. It might be that you’re running and you don’t realize the winds behind you for most of the run. Therefore, you’re going quicker than normal, so the heart beat will be lower. It could be the shoes you’ve got on are worn out, they’re not as springy or you have your race shoes on. There’s million and one things that people don’t take all the factors into account.
[00:36:00] What I like is just get out and do the training, have a rough idea. It goes back to the plan. Have a general plan of where you’re going, but really don’t stress. I had one person really worried because they’d had diarrhea and bloating on this run, I said, “How often this happened?” “Oh, just the once.” That’s it, just the ones. If it happens a few times, get to a doctor, get tested, see what’s wrong. But we all have days where something goes wrong, I don’t know what it is, we might never know the reason. But you have a rough day and you just move on. If it happens a lot, then we’ve got to start looking for reasons.
[00:36:33] Same with the running. When you’re out there training, don’t worry if I say, “I want you running 3:20s for a kilometer,” this is elite runner by the way, 3:20 per kilometer. And they’re running 323s, it’s there or thereabouts. There could be lots of factors. It’s when I say, “I’d like you running 3:20s.” And they’re coming in 4:20s. I say, “Hey, we need to take this a bit more seriously. There’s something going wrong here.” Don’t obsess too much. Just make sure you’re enjoying it. The final point on this, I think the stress will do you more harm than anything. You could be banging on the numbers but stressing so much you do badly, you could be off on all the numbers but not stressed and chilled, and the body develops and get stronger and you do better. Stress is the big killer in all of this. So, don’t stress about the numbers.
Daren: [00:37:19] Don’t stress. Don’t mentally stress. That’s where we’re going to wrap it up. The top mistakes that you should never do as a runner is one, ignore pain. Two, skip your warmup or cooldown. Three, never stretch. Four, expect a personal best or personal record in every race. Five, do not follow a training plan exactly. Six, don’t start a race off too fast. Seven, not rest enough. Eight, go too hard on easy days. Nine, put off your recovery meals and recovery in general, but you need to get that food in within 30 minutes, as soon as you can. And 10, obsess over numbers and what other people do. So, stop obsessing and just let things go on autopilot and enjoy it, because that’s the whole point of this. Most of us probably aren’t professionals, especially people listening. It’s more, “Why are you doing this? Are you doing it to make money so you could pay bills? Or are you doing it, so that you can enjoy your life?” Right?
Mike: [00:38:13] Yeah, it’s a hobby, and hobbies are to be enjoyed.
[main set finished]
[let’s move into the cooldown]
Daren: [00:38:16] This is the last section, as we like to do here at Trees and DLake podcast, and it is a question for the audience. So most likely around the time when we publish this podcast, we will also post this on both our Instagrams and see what people think. There’s no right or wrong answer. Sometimes, there’s a right answer, but we like to act like there’s more of a subjective scale and a gray area.
The question for this episode is, [drum roll] “Should you wear your super shoes as much as possible or as little as possible?” A definition of super shoes would be the VaporMax, Vaporflys, Nike, the Saucony Endorphins. I know every brand almost has one. But it’s those rocker shoes with that crazy light that propel you forward that cost a lot of money that all the pros are wearing. Those are super shoes. Mike, what is your answer to that?
Mike: [00:39:24] First of all, never wear a new pair of shoes on race day. I do get people say, “Hey, you’re wearing those shoes in training. You shouldn’t be wearing them. Save them for race day.” Well, you’ve got to wear them in training to get used to them. They do act differently from regular shoes. They will change your running style. So, I say initially yes, you need to run in them to get used to them.
The downside is, yeah, because they’re working a little bit harder than normal shoes, certain muscles might switch off. So, I think that the downside is that you could get injured if you’re running in them too often. We see people running in too often. I’m on the middle. I’m right in the fence here. I wear them at the moment, I’m getting ready for Ironman and being the sort of person I am, I’ve got my ASICS Metaspeed, my New Balance Fuelcell. I’ve got my Vaporflys, my Alphaflys. I’ve got Hawkers. I’m testing them all out.
[00:40:20] I am using them a lot in training at the moment, and that’s to test them out to see what is the most efficient for me over a marathon in an Ironman after I’ve ridden a bike, which is totally different from running a 5K. So, yeah, I think you need to be sensible here, you need to use them a little bit, you need to get used to them. But if you use them every day, they have a limited lifespan. That PEBAX material in there, that’s lovely springy and squashy and responsive. It only lasts about 250 kilometers, and then it’s gone. And then it’s sort of all the cells in it have squashed together, so you’re not getting the performance. If you overuse them, they won’t perform for you on race day. So, you need to be rich, if you’re going to wear lots of shoes.
Daren: [00:41:09] Yeah, or get sponsored or get them free from a lot of the shoe manufacturers. Not to be boring, I’m actually a bit more conservative than you are. I’d say to use them even less, and I only use them on my hard days. It’s only actually on my speed days. So, I’d say that’s usually Tuesdays for me, that’s when I’m doing proper intervals, three, four or five minutes at a quite fast, 5K or a faster pace. I wouldn’t personally use them for uphill sprints, hill sprints. I wouldn’t use them for tempo sessions. I also wouldn’t use them on the track. I’d actually use more like track flats, zero millimeter. I wouldn’t use spikes, I’m not racing. But I’d use more just super natural-feeling light shoes on the track. On the road, I’d get more of the super shoes. But again, I’m using them once a week, and then maybe for some– when you do a workout before race– race prediction. [chuckles] There we go.
[00:42:14] Yeah, so if I’m doing a race prediction, and I’m trying to dial in certain things, I don’t have as many shoes as you so, I only have actually– I’ve got a one and a half pairs of super shoes. But they sit there and it’s like the Ferrari that comes out or the really nice dining set that comes out when the really important guests come over for dinner. I use it like that and that works well for me. I’ve got a couple other shoes that are more– I’ve got my tempo shoes, and like a lot of you, I’ve got my slow run shoes, and all that. But, yeah, I err on more of the side of, I want my feet to understand, “Hey, all this support and all this rocking and stuff is cool, and it helps on race day but you need to go back to how you’re supposed to run which is technically barefoot on grass and dirt.” That’s my theory.
Mike: [00:43:02] I agree with that. I’m talking about getting ready for racing and things. Base season, winter, they’re sitting in the cupboard all winter, they’re not coming out. Like you, I’m on the trails, I’m on as much natural running as I can find. That’s what we’re designed to, to run on natural territory. What these shoes do, is they help you run quickly in an unnatural world, on concrete, which we weren’t designed to run in. So, that’s what they’re designed for, to make us go quicker in an unnatural environment without running in a natural environment.
[00:43:37] One final thing on this. Generally, I do like to vary shoes as much as possible, and that’s contrary to what most people say, “Get a pair of shoes and stick with them.” I like the fact that different shoes act differently. They use different muscle groups, force you to react differently. Therefore, your body becomes generally all-round stronger. If we only have one pair of shoes, we’re constantly pronating in a certain direction or supinating in one direction. Our muscles get strong in certain areas and weaken in others, you have imbalances. I love to go on the beach and run barefoot. I love to run on grass barefoot sometimes. I love to run in a zero-drop minimalist Newton shoes sometimes. Vibram, I walk on the beach. I then wear the big super shoes. I varied as much as possible, and I just think this variety is the best way to produce an all-round stronger physique and more injury resistant as well.
[DLake Creates theme
Daren: [00:45:04] Is the health and fitness internet too much sometimes? Too many conflicting articles and videos that confuse you on how to train and eat right? Or, you don’t have time to just read and watch everything about, I don’t know, the new trends on carb cycling for trail running. Don’t worry, we’ll take care of all that for you. Sign up for our free email newsletter, Three Thing Thursday. We’ll put three perfectly curated and creative things in your inbox for better living and training. Go to dlakecreates.com/ttt. We do the hard, time-consuming work and scour the health and fitness internet’s deepest and darkest corners. This is so that every Thursday, you have a piping hot new email with the latest and coolest tips, tricks, tools, tactics, and skills, all so that you can train and live consistently to do dope shit in your next endurance event. Sign up now, you can receive my quick guide on how to get healthy, stay fit, and use data to create habits that last a lifetime. That’s dlakecreates.com/ttt to be inspired and motivated on the regular.
[00:46:07] Time. Time is a resource no one can make more of. So, we appreciate you taking precious time out of your day to listen this far. Our goal is to show the world how to live better through running, cycling, and triathlon. The episode and many others have a transcription. Go to the show notes’ description to find out more. This was produced in Sydney, Australia, and I’d like to acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, who are the traditional custodians of this land. I pay my respects to the elders, past, present, and future. I recognize the continuing connection to the land, waters, and culture. These lands were stolen and sovereignty was never ceded.
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