Podcast: Episode 68 with Tyler McCandless

By Mario Fraioli |

“I don’t care if somebody wants to criticize my 5K time from July 4—I mean, I got an opportunity to go and race and I went out a little too hard, I made a few mistakes, I learned a bunch from it. It was awesome. That’s the point of it, that’s the point of racing. So I think that’s a really critical component: nowadays people race less because there’s too much pressure on those results instead of focusing on the process.”

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I was in Boulder, Colorado last week and had a chance to sit down with Tyler McCandless, a 2:12 marathoner whose career I’ve been following closely for the past 10 years. McCandless is not only one of the most underrated road racers in the U.S., he’s also one of the nicest guys in running, and you’ll see why in this episode.

We covered all kinds of ground in this conversation—which we recorded just a few days before the birth of McCandless’ son, Levi—from why he trains without a GPS watch to learning how to race aggressively and with confidence, balancing his full-time job as a Machine Learning Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research with being a professional long-distance runner, his relationship with his coach, former marathon world-record holder Steve Jones, and how that’s evolved over the past 6-1/2 years, the importance of having interests outside of running and not losing sight of the purity of the sport, and a lot more. (more…)

Podcast: The Weekly Rundown | A Teaser

By Mario Fraioli |

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I’m excited to share a little something different with you this week: a recent episode of The Weekly Rundown, a Patreon-exclusive podcast I’ve been recording the last few weeks with my friend and collaborator, Billy Yang of Billy Yang Films and the Billy Yang Podcast.

In this teaser episode, which we recorded last week on July 2, Billy and I talk about the Western States Endurance Run, The Prefontaine Classic, and Billy’s recent trip to Austria for the Infinite Trails relay race. It’s not Billy interviewing me or me interviewing Billy—it’s just two friends talking casually and unscripted about what’s been going on in our lives, the sport, and the industry over the previous week.

Right now, this show is only available to our respective supporters on Patreon, so if you’re into it and want more, you can support my work directly at themorningshakeout.com/support. If you like this informal format, or even if you don’t—or if you like it and think it needs to be longer than 30-ish minutes—let me know by dashing me a note on Twitter at @mariofraioli.

Eventually we may make this show available to everyone but for now it’s only available to our respective Patreon supporters. We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled interview-style show next week but in the meantime, please enjoy this sample of The Weekly Rundown. (more…)

Podcast: Episode 67 with Gwen Jorgensen

By Mario Fraioli |
Photo: Talbot Cox

“When I was younger I really struggled with separating myself from sport. I really believed that how I performed is what defined me and I started to perform way better once I was able to separate myself from sport and realize that sport does not define me. And that’s something that’s just been huge for me.”

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Really enjoyed talking to Gwen Jorgensen for this week’s episode of the podcast. The 33-year-old Jorgensen is the reigning Olympic champion in triathlon, who, in late 2017, announced she was retiring from multi-sport racing to turn her attention to running full-time. Her goal: Olympic gold in the marathon. In early 2018, Jorgensen signed with Nike and joined the Bowerman Track Club to train alongside 2017 New York City Marathon champion Shalane Flanagan and reigning Olympic Trials marathon champion Amy Cragg under the watchful eye of coach Jerry Schumacher.

We covered a lot of ground in this conversation, including Jorgensen’s recent surgery to repair a Haglund’s deformity in her right heel and how she’s dealt with it from both a training and psychological standpoint, the importance of separating yourself from sport and having balance in your life, last fall’s Chicago Marathon and why she didn’t feel that it was a fair representation of what she’s capable of in that event, reflections on her first full season of training as a runner, learning from Amy Cragg and Shalane Flanagan, what it’s been like going from being at the top of one sport to an underdog in a different one, how she’s learned to get comfortable sharing her story (and struggles) with a large audience, why the Olympic gold medal in the marathon is still her goal, and a lot more. (more…)

Podcast: Episode 66 with Rachel Schneider

By Mario Fraioli |

“Any time I step on a line it’s this huge moment of gratitude—this is another opportunity to challenge myself, to push myself, to have the privilege to run with these women. So I think when I can frame it that way, and have that sort of perspective, it just adds so much more fun and joy and excitement rather than any anxiety or outcome or stress that is often easy to get caught up in results.”

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Super excited to welcome Rachel Schneider to the podcast this week. On May 16, Schneider ran 15:06.71 for 5000m to win the USATF Distance Classic. It was a nine-second personal best and, at the time, the fastest 5000m run in the world this year. That mark has since been eclipsed but she is one of the top female 5000m runners in the U.S. right now and one of only two American woman to have achieved the 2020 Olympic standard so far in that event.

This was a fun conversation and amazingly, it’s the first time Schneider has ever been on a podcast. We got into her progression as an athlete, from a soccer player-turned-runner in high school to multi-time all-American at Georgetown and now an Under Armour-sponsored professional training in Flagstaff, Arizona. We talked about her current setup in Flagstaff and the incredible community she has around her in the mountains. We talked training and how that’s evolved over the past few years, the importance of gratitude and balance in her life, who she looks up to, how she’s dealt with challenging situations, and a lot more.
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Podcast: Episode 65 with Brady Threlfall

By Mario Fraioli |

“I was hooked by the appeal that you could work hard and you saw those results. I think coming from team sports, where you could work hard and still not be successful because there was so many different aspects that had to click and go right for that team to be successful, whereas I noticed from a really early stage that if I did the work, I was going to be successful. It didn’t take long for my times to drop—I call it the honeymoon period now with some of the athletes that I coach—in those first 6-12 months it’s really good because if you get the training right, and if you’re patient and hit that sweet spot in training, it’s almost like every second weekend you can go out there and PR a race.”

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I really enjoyed sitting down with my first Aussie guest, Brady Threlfall, for this week’s episode of the podcast. Threlfall’s a 2:19 marathoner, a coach with Run 2 PB, and host of the popular Inside Running podcast. In this conversation, which we recorded a few months ago, we got into his introduction to the sport and progression as an athlete, coaching and working with different types of runners, Australia’s rich running history, what running culture looks like in his country, how the Inside Running podcast came to be, what’s exciting him in running right now, and a lot more.

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Podcast: Episode 64 with Frank Gagliano

By Mario Fraioli |
Photo: David Bracetty

“No, I’m not surprised [that I’m still coaching] because there’s two things: My heart and my mind is in it big time. And as long as those two continue to be in it—and my health, thank the good Lord at the age of 82 is very good—I love it, and I’m not ready to pack it in at all. Actually, I have a lot of fire in my belly.”

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It was an honor and a privilege to sit down recently with Frank Gagliano, the 82-year-old coach of the Hoka NJ-NY Track Club, for a conversation about coaching and life that had a profound impact on me—and I know it will do the same for you.

This one got emotional a couple times but Coach Gags opened up to me in a way he hasn’t elsewhere before and his story, and message, is really powerful. The man has coached at every level of the sport over the past 58 years—high school, college, and professionally—and he’s had great success at all of them. He’s coached 15 Olympians, 140 All-Americans, multiple national champions, and a world championships medalist. More importantly than that, however, the lessons he’s taught his athletes extend far beyond the track. He has a love for the sport, his family, his athletes, and his country that is unmatched and it really comes across in this conversation.
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Podcast: Episode 63 with Nicholas Thompson

By Mario Fraioli |

“The great thing about running is: it’s all you. If your team does better in soccer, it might be you, it might be your team. You could actually get worse and your team could get better, but if you are getting faster at running, it’s you, so the improvement feels pretty intensely emotional, and that drew me in.”

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I’m excited to share a special live recording of the podcast that I did with Nicholas Thompson, the editor-in-chief of Wired magazine, in front of a live audience last month in Boston.

In this conversation, we spoke exclusively about aging and the marathon, which is a topic he’s written about for Wired. Last fall, Thompson—who is 43 years old—ran not one, but two 2:38 marathons at Chicago and New York, only 4 weeks apart, both faster than his previous personal best of 2:43. We recorded this episode at Tracksmith’s Trackhouse the day before this year’s Boston Marathon, where he finished in 2:34:27, a new personal best, running a nice negative split (which, if you’ve run Boston, you know is not easy to do).

This episode is only about 35 minutes long but Thompson has agreed to come back on another time so we can dig deeper into the role running plays in his life, talk about his journalism career, learn about his love of music, and much more. (more…)

Podcast: Episode 62 with Scott Fauble

By Mario Fraioli |
Photo: Ryan Sterner

“I went to the lead, even over Heartbreak, with a purpose and with the goal of dropping people and injecting pace—and I think that’s maybe what surprised me the most, is that I was able to be an actual factor and be something that impacted the way the race played out, which is a new feeling for me in the marathon, particularly in World Marathon Majors. In New York, I was as far back as probably 20th pretty early in the race and was kind of doing my own thing, so that was the biggest surprise—being up front—and the way we got to the 2:09:09 here in Boston.”

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Stoked to welcome the morning shakeout’s first-ever guest, Scott Fauble of Hoka Northern Arizona Elite, back to the show to talk about his recent seventh-place finish at the Boston Marathon, where he ran a big personal best of 2:09:09.

We covered a lot of good stuff in this conversation: all things Boston, of course, but also training and recovery, what the next several months are going to look like heading into the 2020 Olympic Trials Marathon, his greatest strengths as a marathoner (and where he has the most room to grow), how he keeps himself centered and grounded, where his extraordinary ability to push himself in races comes from, what’s exciting him in running right now, and a heck of a lot more. (more…)

Podcast: Episode 61 with Katy Sherratt

By Mario Fraioli |

“Homelessness is a label, it is not who they are. It is a point in time, it is something they are struggling through, it is not something that should be used to put a label on them and define them as a human—and that’s what we try to change on those morning runs. When you’re running with one of our members, who may be suffering from homelessness at that point in time, it’s just a human to human conversation.”

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I had a great conversation for this week’s episode of the podcast with Katy Sherratt, the CEO of Back on My Feet, an organization that uses running and community support to help combat homelessness and provide essential employment opportunities and housing resources for people who need it.

We talked about Back on my Feet’s origins, how the organization has grown since it launched in 2007, and where it’s heading in the coming years. We discussed running as a universal language, the evolving role that running has had in Sherratt’s life, how she first got involved with BoMF, and what she’s learned during her tenure. Sherratt also explains how the program works, shares some member success stories, knocks down some of the biggest misconceptions people have about homelessness, and a lot more. (more…)

Podcast: Episode 60 with Terrence Mahon

By Mario Fraioli |

“Watching from an athlete perspective, where all of a sudden he gets it, or she gets it, and you see that just click, and then it’s game time, I think that’s the biggest thing I get from an athlete. All these things you see as a coach, like ‘this athlete should be able to do this, or should be able hit these times, or do this performance,’ but it’s all nothing because it’s just you and me talking here and we know the science of it, and method, but the athlete is the one who has to believe in it and believe in themselves. It doesn’t matter how much you tell them how great they are, or whatever, until they get it. And watching that process happen, and how it happens differently with each athlete, is probably the most exciting part of coaching.”

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Really enjoyed sitting down with Terrence Mahon for this week’s episode of the podcast. Mahon, one of the best middle and long distance running coaches in the world, is currently the director and coach of the Mission Athletics Club in San Diego, which he co-founded last year with his wife, three-time Olympian Jen Rhines. Mahon was previously the coach of the BAA High Performance team in Boston, he was the distance coach for U.K. Athletics before that, and he was also the coach of Team Running USA/the Mammoth Track Club from 2004 to 2013, where he guided Deena Kastor to an American record of 2:19:36 in the marathon, Ryan Hall to his 59:43 AR in the half marathon, and developed eight Olympians during his tenure.

This was one of my favorite conversations. We talked about Mahon’s career as both an athlete and a coach. I learned more about Mission Athletics Club and what his objectives are with his new group. We discussed the trajectory of his coaching career, from his humble beginnings working with age-group runners at a running shop in Pennsylvania to becoming one of the most highly sought after coaches in the world. He also told me about his coaching influences and mentors, including the legendary Joe Vigil, Dan Pfaff, and others.

We got into the weeds of Mahon’s coaching philosophy and there are a ton of great takeaways: like the importance of really getting to know your athletes, being brutally honest with them, and being adaptable when it comes to setting goals. We talked about what he sees as his main responsibilities as a coach, how he keeps sharp and stays excited about the craft, what he learns from the athletes he works with, the idea of “coaching mastery” and what that means to him, and a heck of a lot more. (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.