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.

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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…)

Prove It (With Even More Data)

By Mario Fraioli

If you’re a Strava junkie like me, then you’ll love messing around with StravistiX, a free Google Chrome plug-in my friend James Walsh introduced me to earlier this week. It’s pretty slick. StravistiX allows you to dig deeper into your numbers, providing you additional metrics such as percentage of time climbing vs. flat vs. descending during a run, a comparison of yearly training progressions (for example, the plug-in allowed me to quickly compare my # of runs, total mileage, elevation and total time running up until yesterday with data the same time period for each of the four years prior), extended cadence data, and the average elevation for a given run, along with novel features such a Google maps and street view of your running route, best splits, leaderboard filters, the ability to hide challenges, created routes and activities under a certain distance, and more (especially if you’re a cyclist). Check it out!

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Step One: Begin To Believe

By Mario Fraioli

Reconnecting with Hodgie-San at Boston in 2015.

Bob Hodge, my soft-spoken friend and first post-collegiate mentor, recently relaunched his running-themed website. It’s still a work in progress and rather plain-looking but chock full of timeless running knowledge, information and inspiration—all of which I’ve been reading, revisiting and absorbing for the better part of the last 15 years. There’s training logs from legends like Bill Rodgers, former marathon world-record holder Steve Jones, Kenyan Rogers Rop, Hodgie himself, and others (if you like geeking out over those sorts of things), not to mention an awesome series of remembrances from various contributors, and plenty more to dig through over the course of an inspired afternoon.

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Work Harder or Work Smarter?

By Mario Fraioli

“Work harder,” we’ve been told. “No no, you need to work smarter,” someone else will insist. So which should you do, work harder or work smarter?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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