What I’m Digging This Week:

By Mario Fraioli

Tracksmith’s No Days Off campaign. This is year three (or maybe four, I can’t remember) of NDO and I love everything it stands for: A commitment to consistency, patience, and purposeful, process-driven training. This message had a huge influence on me in 2017 and helped me log one of my most consistent years of running in a long time. It also served as inspiration for my #allin2018 initiative I wrote about a couple weeks ago. Now, I personally don’t take No Days Off literally but I do take the spirit of the campaign seriously, meaning that every day—even a rest day—has purpose behind it, forces me learn something about myself, and brings me one step closer toward my goals.

Ted Talks Daily. I recently discovered—and am really digging—these short-form episodes from TED. These archived excerpts cover a wide range of topics and are refreshingly poignant. A few recent favorites include writer Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Your Elusive, Creative Genius,” Robert Waldinger’s “What Makes A Good Life?” and Luvvie Ajayi’s “Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable.

+ Overcast.fm. A few months ago I just couldn’t take the Apple Podcasts app anymore so I took to Twitter and solicited suggestions for a new podcast player. The overwhelming winner was Overcast and I couldn’t be happier with the move. Overcast is free (there are small, unobtrusive ads at the bottom of your screen), it syncs across all your devices, allows you to create better playlists, has some cool features like Smart Speed and Voice Boost, and is just generally easier to use in every way. It was made by Marco Arment, who created (and eventually sold) Instapaper, which is my go-to offline reading app.

+ The @firstrun Instagram feed. To be fair, I’ve been digging it for quite a while now but Knox Robinson and crew’s recent excursion to the high-altitude environs of Mexico caught my attention recently and is worth trying to better understand. Great storytelling around an interesting adventure that falls under the ambiguous umbrella known as running culture. “At its apex in the first millennium AD Teotihuacan was the largest city in the hemisphere and the sixth largest city in the world,” Robinson writes, “as you’re recovering from the run and the brain slowly by slowly comes back to itself, it’s impossible not to consider that if indeed we were made to be runners—as running was an essential part of the human toolkit that precipitated our exodus from southern Africa however long ago—then every run is part of a continuum reaching way back to our origins as a species: a conversation on who we were then, who we imagine ourselves to be today and where we might head, together, tomorrow.” (Bonus: Read my “Going Long” interview with Robinson from last January if you haven’t already.)

+ Buffer. I just started using this service to schedule Tweets and I think it’s going to save me a lot of time—and attention—moving forward. Best part? It does everything I need it to do for free.

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Reclaim Your Focus

By Mario Fraioli

Two books that have had a huge influence on how I approach my work are Rework and Remote from Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, founders of Basecamp (formerly 37 Signals), a successful software company based in Chicago. These books are worth the read if you’re someone who’s working remotely, thinking about working remotely, starting a business, or considering going to work for yourself. I like these guys’ pragmatic approach to doing business and getting sh*t done effectively and efficiently. Along those lines, this interview with Fried recently popped up in my Twitter feed and I liked one of his simple tips for staying focused while working. (more…)

Take It From Tony Krupicka

By Mario Fraioli

“One of the things that really attracted me to [ultrarunning] in the first place was the individual responsibility,” writes Anton Krupicka. “If I was going to suck, it was going to be on me, not contingent on the apathy of teammates. So, from the beginning, I was determined to at least not fail due to laziness.” Photo: Juan Ramón Rodríguez Sosa

Two years ago I went to the Italian Dolomites and ran a gnarly mountain race. I was one of only a handful of Americans who took part in the event and throughout my time in Val di Zoldo it seemed like all the locals had the same question for me: Did I know Anton Krupicka? (more…)

Elevate Those Around You

By Mario Fraioli

As a follow-up to my recent commentary on the significance of Shalane Flanagan’s New York City Marathon victory, The New York Times’ Lindsay Crouse highlights the impact Flanagan has had on her training partners over the years, a phenomenon she’s dubbed “The Shalane Effect.” And while most of us can’t mentor and inspire 11 of our running buddies to the Olympic Games like Flanagan has over the years, we can all do a little more to elevate the people around us and help make them better athletes, co-workers, spouses, friends and people, while simultaneously setting ourselves up for success in the process. (more…)

What Will You Find Out?

By Mario Fraioli

Photo: Camron Shahmirzadi

Racing hard is…well, it’s hard. There is nothing comfortable about pushing yourself to the edge and seeing how long you can stay there.

But there is also no better preparation for learning how to deal with discomfort and figuring out how to overcome the myriad other difficulties you’ll encounter in life.

There’s a lesson or two to be uncovered every time you step to the starting line. And even though I don’t race nearly as much (or quite as fast) as I used to, more than anything else, that’s why I still do it: to force myself into an uncomfortable situation to see what I can find out.

Do Sweat The Big Stuff

By Mario Fraioli

Chapeau to Sweat Science columnist Alex Hutchinson, who revealed last week that this column would be his last such one for Runner’s World. The lessons he’s learned over the past five years of debunking fitness myths, digging into training truths, and uncovering other surprising discoveries from the science of running are valuable and worth revisiting time and time again. If you haven’t followed Hutchinson’s work at RW over the years, lucky for you he’s compiled a CliffsNotes version of the seven things that matter most when it comes to running wisdom. Do yourself a favor and check it out. It’s full of golden nuggets like this one:

“But ultimately, you’ll be doing yourself a favor if you attribute incipient pains to training errors—and respond appropriately by backing off—rather than assuming you can keep training if you do a few extra warm-up exercises or stretch more,” Hutchinson writes. “That, I believe, is why a recent study found that even very obvious advice, delivered by a machine, can reduce running injures. We know the culprit here; sometimes we just need a reminder.” (more…)

Can ‘Proving It’ Hurt Your Training?

By Mario Fraioli

Can Strava, and other socially driven fitness apps for the matter, influence your training? Of course they can. But it’s up to you to decide what you see, how you’re influenced by it, how you react to it, and ultimately whether or not the social network is actually enhancing your experience as an athlete. Like any other social network, Strava is what you make of it—used properly, it can make training fun and motivating, but it can also send you flying off the rails if you’re not careful. Elite athlete are not exempt—in fact, it’s a conversation Tim Tollefson and I had in the weeks leading up to UTMB.

(more…)

Eliud Kipchoge on Pressure

By Mario Fraioli

Photo: Michiel Jelijs

I’m looking forward to watching Eliud Kipchoge do battle against the rest of the best in the world on September 24 in Berlin. The reigning Olympic gold medalist will trade blows with the likes of Kenenisa Bekele and former marathon world-record holder Wilson Kipsang, amongst a handful of other sub-2:05 men. With so many top-ranked heavyweights in the fight, the current marathon world-record of 2:02:57 is in danger of being obliterated.

This short read on how Kipchoge handles the pressure of expectations was interesting, insightful and humanizing. (more…)

Patagonia Going Public

By Mario Fraioli

If you’ve been reading this newsletter long enough, you know I love running on trails and have an appreciation for public lands. And if you know me well enough, you know I have a bit of a man-crush on Yvon Chouinard and his Patagonia brand, so you can imagine my excitement when the Ventura, California-based company released this TV ad spot—its first—to help fight the continued and very real threat against America’s public lands. Sadly, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke didn’t get the message and recently recommended to President Trump that he “shrink ‘a handful’ of different national monuments across the country.” This upsets me greatly and represents the latest threat to the open spaces that should remain protected for public use—not exploited for private gain. (more…)

The Straight Dope on Netflix’ Icarus

By Mario Fraioli

At the recommendation of a few readers, I finally watched Icarus, the Netflix documentary about the Russian doping scandal that wasn’t supposed to be a documentary about the Russian doping scandal. (more…)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mario Fraioli
Mario Fraioli is a writer and running coach based in the San Francisco Bay Area.