Thus Spoke Zarathustra through Phedippidations

the spiral of life.
the spiral of life.

My first run out-doors since missing the Cardiff Half. RhinovirusĀ  it was called, a posh name for coughing, spluttering and having a headache for two weeks also known as the common cold (and manflu). Deciding a few days before the race to DNS I wanted, for some reason, to reinforce my disappointment so went into Cardiff, shopping, straight after the race, to watch everyone walking about in their tech shirts with medals around their necks. Grrrrr.

Getting back into running slowly I did my five ten-minute runs on the treadmill in the gym (with a different leg then arm exercise between each one) but still needed inspiration from somewhere.

Inspiration came in the form of a notification on my iPhone that a podcast I subscribe to had downloaded an episode. Past Runwelshman press items have referred to Phedippidations, and how on 5th July 2015 episode 329 of this podcast had come out but nothing since. I had enjoyed Steve Runner’s podcasts so much I had left his podcast app on my phone “just in case”. I was rewarded with episode 330 on 16th October 2015 and it provided the inspiration I needed to get outside for a run but not in the way you would think.

Episode 330 was very personal and showed Steve as a different person after a bit of a life change. It may have been a farewell podcast, it may be another three month wait, we shall see (your podcast app is still open on my phone Mr. Walker). 330 was mainly about a book Steve had read a number times called “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” by Friedrich Nietzsche and how it had shaped his life. The show was punctuated with the usual tasteful music and was excellently presented and produced as usual. I am not going to go too heavily into the content of the podcast but would suggest you download this and past episodes.

Talk of Thus Spoke Zarathustra sparked my interest enough for me to download a copy onto my Kindle and to start reading. Among the first pages, in fact in the introduction, was a reference that hit home “Like Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Henry David Thoreau before him, Nietzsche did his best thinking while walking in the open air, so that place was of the utmost importance to him as a philosopher.” This brought home to me how I was missing my me-time, my running while letting my mind run free, my break from concentration and the reason I have never run with music.

So today it was important to run a slow but hilly 7.35 training run and to contemplate Steve’s podcast, his state of mind and my entry into his suggested book. Love the way this book came to me as Nietzsche himself said “Then the life that is saved in the book is immortal since it survives its author’s death with a strange autonomy: It seeks out readers for itself, ignites new life, delights, terrifies, engenders new works, becomes the soul of plans and actions.”

Another book I have read recently, or half read (more on that later) was called “Runner’s World Running On Air” which was previewed on another podcast I listen to (either Marathon Training Academy or The Conscious Runner Podcast) which interested me so I downloaded it onto my Kindle but only read half, if that. I mention it because part of Steve Runners podcast is recorded while he is running and it stood out to me that he breathes in two strides then out for two strides (again more on that later).

The basis for the book is that your body is at its weakest, while running, when you start to exhale. So, if you breath in for three strides and out for two strides then you will start to exhale on a different foot each time thus balancing your body and avoiding injury. If going faster then you can change this to two in and one out. Guess how many pages of the book it takes to get that message over – not many. Interested to find out what the rest of the book had to offer I was horrified to find I had spent money on a beginners running guide – beginner runners go out too fast, it’s ok to walk when you first start etc. No I wouldn’t recommend this book unless you are a complete beginner somewhere between walking and running.

So on my first run outside I tried out the 3/2 breathing pattern and hated it with a vengeance. It messed with my running, it messed with my breathing, I hated it. The only redeeming feature was that it made me think about my breathing pattern, which is two in and two out (see above) and, at the crest of a hill I could slow down my panting and heart rate by employing a 3/2 rate.

What about this for a thought to mull over. Next Easter on March 26th is the World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff. It is on the Saturday and I am already entered. On the following day Easter Sunday is the Pendine Sands Half Marathon (and ultra run but forget that) held on the beach where Donald Campbell used to race Bluebird on land speed record attempts. What about running Cardiff, jumping in the car, bed and breakfast somewhere down west and then running the Pendine Half as a back to back over two days.

Not only would this be a challenge to work towards but it might even get me into The Half Fanatics running club. What is going through my mind at the moment, and would have to be run out of my mind, is a note from Angie on the MTA podcast that running back to back marathons is mentally harder than a fifty miler (so assume back to back halves harder than running a marathon) because, she said, in a fifty miler you are running with a goal of finishing the run, with back to back marathons you are running with a goal of finishing the first marathon knowing you have to get up and do it all again tomorrow.

I wonder.

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Flu Recovery And Podcast Listening

I didn’t need the flu jab because I never get colds – big mistake. Was it flu? Perhaps man flu? Whatever it was it saw me coughing for four weeks and breathing on, what felt like, half of one lung. Running outside in the cold was out of the question so, in one of the weeks, I managed two sessions of run-walking for two miles just to keep my limbs moving.

On a separate issue to this blog, having managed 4 miles in one week, what was I to do the following week if I was feeling well again? 4.4 miles? Followed by 4.8 miles? Time to move down the page to my previous blog on the myth about only only ever increasing your mileage by 10% a week.

So anyway, what do you do to keep motivated while you wait for your lungs to recover? For me, it was listening to the many podcasts that have accumulated on my iPhone. I subscribe to a number of podcasts that I like and admire and my (free) subscription means that they accumulate until I listen to them. Usually I have between five and ten not listened to episodes of each podcast waiting but, for some (see below) there are none, as I listen to the episode as soon as it arrives. I will go through each of the running and/or lifestyle podcasts that I listen to below and give what can only be my personal thoughts on each. If you think from my description that you might like to subscribe to any of them, then please do and then branch out from there. The way you branch out, in my experience, is by listening to your normal podcasts as, the way podcasting expands, is by podcasters inviting other podcasters onto their podcasts! Something else to be aware of is that once you subscribe you are usually able to download past episodes so that you are not sat there waiting for the next episode.

One quick explanation of where I am coming from in reviewing these podcasts as you may be (probably are) coming from a completely different perspective. Briefly, I am a 61 year old marathon runner, looking to run my first ultra, who has recently gone no sugars no grains (NSNG) and is half way through the book “The Bulletproof Diet” by Dave Asprey, and enjoying it. I live in the UK and nearly all of the podcasts that I listen to emanate from the USA. I have listened to one UK podcast and one that was half UK and half USA and unsubscribed both of them after a few episodes. That is not to say there are no good running / lifestyle podcasts coming out of Europe, just that I haven’t found them yet.

Obviously, for all of us in Europe, there are differences in speech etc. when listening to American podcasts. The biggest one for me, which took me a while to fathom, is their use of a weird temperature scale which, for some reason, goes from something like 32 to 212. It is called Farenheit and may confuse you if you hear on a podcast that someone was cold on a run because the temperature was down to 20 which would be a nice Summer day on a scale of nought to a hundred. Another thing that you will have to get used to in some, but not all, American podcasts is that some people, usually younger females for some reason, raise their voices up at the end of a statement as if they are asking a question. If you can ignore these differences though and they don’t grate on you, the information you can gain is invaluable.

Marathon Training Academy

This is the first podcast that I started listening to and is the one that I mentioned above that I listen to as soon as episodes arrive. Run and hosted by Angie and Trevor, the podcast comes over as a laid back chat with a mom and dad of three kids who are desperate to learn and to pass on what they have learned to you the listener. Angie is the more advanced runner and also coaches for a fee but does not ram the advert that she coaches down your throat as she limits herself to around 35 coaching clients and usually has that many and needs no more. My knowledge has increased at the same rate as Angie’s as I listen to these podcasts. Trevor has only been running for four years and is therefore the student to Angie’s coaching which works well in the podcast. I would highly recommend this podcast as a good starting point as I find it well edited, to the point and usually gives different points of view for each item discussed. It was through this podcast that I started zone 2 running which changed my life.

Vinnie Tortorich – The Angriest Trainer

I think this was probably my second podcast subscription and I believe I first heard Vinnie on the Marathon Training Academy podcast. It is completely different to the above podcast and thrives on the fact that it is unedited, random, has occasional swearing and it is a sort of chat between Vinnie and his co-host Anna Vocino. Vinnie trains people in California, film stars, producers etc and has been advocating NSNG for some time through the podcast and through his book Fitness Confidential. Although he runs Vinnie is more of an ultra cyclist. At first I loved this podcast and have grown with it over time. Unfortunately, my impression is that the adverts (random chat adverts) that can go on for some time, have become more and more of the programme, especially the adverts for Vinnie’s own product The Pure Vitamin Club, which sounds a great product, only availably in the USA, but pushed too hard. We all know that podcasts have to be funded and this is often by product placement, adverts and sponsorship but this podcast seems to me to have more of that than any other podcast that I listen to. You also have to pay a monthly fee to be able to download past episodes, something I have not come across on any other podcast.

The Running Lifestyle Show with Keri Gormley

I discussed above some podcasts where, usually younger females, go up at the end of a sentence as if a statement is a question. This grates on some Europeans but, if you can ignore it, there is good info coming out of this podcast. Keri appears to be quite new to running compared with other podcasters so would be a good one to follow if you are newish to running and runners diets also. There is a lot of diet info also which is NSNG or as sometimes mentioned as LCHF (low carbo high fat) and this is given by a registered dietician who appears on almost every podcast. Unfortunately, like a lot of youngsters throughout the world, this dietician tries to get as many of the words “like” into a sentence as possible, sometimes achieving four or five. You like know like the type like of thing I like mean i’m like sure. Again this may grate but if you can ignore it there is some good info and, although the podcast is mainly geared to young females, and is often a bit flowery (giggling, vision boards etc) this 61 year old bloke is still subscribed.

The Livin’ La Vida Low-carb Show with Jimmy Moore.

Love this podcast, listened recently to the 900th episode so it has been around a while. Good guests and a more technical podcast than the more chatty versions. Some of the more interesting podcasts for me have been direct recordings of speakers at a low carb conference held in Australia. Download the 900th episode which is a highlights show and will give you a flavour. I should say that Jimmy doesn’t always have guests on who agree with his views, he sometimes talks to guests who completely disagree with NSNG to get a balanced view.

The Ask Prof Noakes Podcast with Brad Brown

Professor Tim Noakes has appeared on many podcasts and seems to have been around for decades. He is very knowledgeable about diet and running and has been writing books since the 80s and has seen (and even admits to prescribing) the wrong information that was around at that time. He seems to have been responsible for getting people to drink to thirst on a marathon rather than over drinking as is still often prescribed. These are very short podcasts and you will probably listen to a number at a time. Basically Brad comes on, asks a listeners question, gets the Prof to answer the question and the podcast ends.

To sum up, some people listen to these and other podcasts via iPhone, IPod or similar, as inspiration as they run. Personally, when I run outside, I listen to bird song and the environment around me. I have a job with occasional long driving runs and this is when I listen to these podcasts, gaining information rather than listening to mindless background music.