We are back with another Q&A show! Today I’ll be answering some more questions sent in from listeners concerning sprint workouts, the MAF method of training, and finally, I’ll share how you can banish extra body fat – once and for all.
First up is a question from Sheila, who wrote in wanting to learn more about my cure for plantar fasciitis. Sheila is understandably sick of waking up every morning, unable to put any weight on her foot. Ouch! I can relate to how uncomfortable and painful this can be, as I suffered from mild to severe plantar fasciitis (on and off) for 15 years. It can be so debilitating to deal with, so check out my YouTube video if you haven’t yet to watch me demonstrate the stretches that cured my plantar fasciitis. Just a few weeks of doing these stretches made a huge difference for me, and being consistent, and holding the stretches for a long period of time, was key. You don’t want to overdo it, but stay committed and try to hold them as long as you can – right up to the point where it starts to get a little uncomfortable. Don’t push yourself too hard and stay consistent, and you’ll see (and feel) the results.
Next is in inquiry from Paul, who wants to know how to best balance basic marathon training with the MAF method of marathon training. I suggest doing predominantly aerobic training, mixed in with brief, explosive workouts to challenge anaerobic muscle fibers. But really, if you want to perform your best in a grueling, competitive environment like a marathon, then you have to work on honing your aerobic base. Extending the duration of longer runs will also help prepare you, but keep in mind the importance of rest when you are practicing these longer runs.
I then tackle a question from a listener, Jason, who has been going between the keto and paleo diets for some years and is on blood pressure medication, even though he’s only in his 30s. But, Jason has also lost 28 pounds so far! Obviously, his goal is to lose more body fat. And interestingly, he has a twin brother, who has normal blood pressure and is also 20 pounds lighter than him. I understand the frustration of wanting to lose extra body fat as soon as possible (see my past episode, “Fatty Popcorn Boy”), but the best method here is simply slowing down, having patience, and staying consistent with aerobic exercise that allows your fat burning capabilities to continuously improve. You really don’t want to stress your system out too much, and sometimes that requires a lot of restraint and patience! But it is way healthier to lose body fat at a slower, steady pace, than a fast, hurried one. And, it’s much more sustainable. To quote the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” Take your time, stay committed, and you will see results that actually last.
That’s all for today, and if you have a minute, I would greatly appreciate it if you could leave a quick review on iTunes, or share a clip of a show you’ve enjoyed with friends. This is super easy to do if you have the Overcast app, because you can listen to your favorite podcasts, make playlists, and also text audio snippets from specific episodes to your friends.
Please continue to write in with questions – I love reading your feedback and comments!
Sheila asks about Brad’s cure for plantar fasciitis. She continues to do exercises but fears she’ll never get better. [03:14]
Paul in Minnesota asks: In keeping with the MAF method of training, how do I lay out my marathon training schedule? [07:54]
Sprinting workouts are highly recommended. [17:16]
Jason has yoyo dieted, has gained weight, and is on BP meds. He wants to lose the extra body fat and get off the BP meds. He is frustrated about sticking to the MAF method. [18:48]
- My video on plantar fasciitis
- Plantar Fasciitis
- My Running Technique
- Primal Endurance
- Primal Endurance Mastery Course
- Sprinting Podcast
LISTEN:Download Episode MP3
Get Over Yourself Podcast
Welcome to the get over yourself podcast. This is author, and athlete, Brad Kearns, discovering ways to be healthy, fit and happy in hectic, high-stress, modern life. So let’s slow down and take a deep breath. Take a cold plunge and expertly balance that competitive intensity with an appreciation of the journey. That’s the theme of the show. Here we go.
Hey, we got more Q and a. Be careful. Here we go. . Let’s do this. Sheila writes in about that wonderful fun subject of plantar fasciitis and the viral YouTube video. Brad Kearns plantar fasciitis, heal it once and for all shingle. Tried the video, tried the exercises on the video. Admittedly, she does have tight calves, the usual stretching, orthotics, doctors, podiatrists, and everybody else told me to do really irritated things. I had plantar fasciitis so bad. I was on temporary disability for four months from work. Yes, I know people that have had to change their careers due to, uh, the extreme plantar fasciitis cases where they’re rendered unable to walk and stand on her feet. It’s tragic when it’s so easy to heal it. Well, maybe not that simple on the individual cases, but I’ve had great response from my video and now up to, I forget, 300,000 views or something.
So it must be working. And it certainly worked for me as Irene laid on the video, I had a 15 year case on and off of mild to severe plantar fasciitis where I was almost debilitated every morning, waking up and not being able to put weight on my foot. How ridiculous is that until I got into the hot shower or the jacuzzi and did some exercises and finally got that thing working and pretty much cured it once and for all with a few weeks of these focused stretches that I present on the video. So back to Sheila and back to doing things. Now I go to physical therapy, very light stretching, doing some strengthening things like standing on the half ball, uh, other balancing gadgets, balance boards, reclining bikes. It’s coming along slowly. I ice and do all that stuff. Okay. So she started doing these prolonged stretches that I demonstrate on the video.
I did it for four days and my tissues seem to flare up. I had a rough day. I went to physical therapy, did my routine. Iced at night. The next day wasn’t so bad. I was able to walk at work. Uh, I have to be on my feet cause I do activities director at senior living. My question is, is this going to be something that I just have to go through to get to the other side? What she means is that the stretches obviously irritate her tissues, like you said, at the insertion points and so forth on the video. But we’ll reach a point where the calves are lengthened and the discomfort subsides. My legs after three to four days of stretching did feel better. In some ways, the toes felt more stretched out, things like that, and not as much burning, but the tissues are just so tender. when I walk. I’m sorry to bombard you, but I really want this to work and I’m scared. As you can imagine, when you start to feel a bit better, it’s just not quite enough. And things kind of return back.
And I definitely a relate there, Sheila, where you do the stretches, you’re getting some relief, you think you’re getting better, and then something sets you off. I used to run a kid’s fitness program, so I’d spend a long day out there running around with the kids at the elementary schools or coaching soccer and feeling okay, while you’re moving and the blood’s flowing. And then the next morning you wake up like a bomb hit your foot. So the uh, video is extremely important to go watch and understand what I’m talking about. Uh, but you have to stick with it. And of course you want to, uh, stretch to the point of discomfort but not pain and not overdoing it such that you are traumatized next day.
And that’s really important because the body will just recoil and your, your um, muscles will return to tightness and perhaps over-tighten, anyone who’s injured their low back knows that you are doing something where you were, uh, flexing, going through the range of motion and then all of a sudden everything locks up and you’re debilitated for a long period of time after overdoing it. So the idea here is to be consistent, to hold these stretches for a long period of time just at that point where it’s pretty uncomfortable but not going too crazy and getting overly enthusiastic. And of course I was guilty of that when I wanted to heal so badly that I’d push it a little bit too much and be sore for a few days and have to kind of take a few steps back. So consistency is really important there with these prolonged stretches that in many, many cases will cure even the worst cases of plantar fasciitis. Good luck. Thank you so much Sheila.
And next, let’s check in with Paul in Minneapolis. Hey Brad. I’m a huge fan. I really enjoy your personal approach to your podcast. They always connect with me. Thank you. Thank you for writing in Paul. I appreciate it man. Here’s this question in keeping with the MAF method of training, how do I lay out my marathon training schedule? I know how to train for a marathon the conventional way, but how do I make the transition to the MAF method of training for a marathon? I don’t think you’ve touched on this in your previous podcasts. Okay. So look, you’re racing; you’re trying to complete a 26.2 mile event. I would say racing, uh, qualifies if you’re, uh, in the Olympic trials or perhaps trying to break three hours, you know, at the very, very front of the pack where the people are very focused on keeping a certain pace that’s really, really challenging, uh, reacting to their competitors, trying to place on the podium in their age group or overall.
So most of the people who are, uh, preparing for a marathon just want to finish and finish strong, uh, without having to be picked up by Uber at mile 21. Uh, that being the case, we have to realize, acknowledge that a 26.2 mile marathon is 99.9% aerobic in the energy system being used. So you’re going to be burning fat and exercising robotically as opposed to the shorter events such as in track and field where they’re a mix of aerobic and anaerobic. But shockingly, so this is from exercise physiology textbooks. This is not some speculation. Uh, the energy contribution, uh, of even a short distance event is largely aerobic. So you’re thinking about like a 5K where most endurance athletes think that that’s a speed event and they’re going way down to 5K instead of the usual 10K or half marathon, even a fiveK is upwards of 90% aerobic.
And the cutoff point between 50 50, you’re not going to believe this, but 50, 50 in terms of aerobic versus anaerobic energy contribution, uh, is an all out effort of one minute and 15 seconds. So the mile, uh, is going to be where a lot of people think that’s a speed event and you see the guys kicking it in and 49 seconds, uh, fantastic performances in the Olympics, uh, but even the mile, because it’s lasting, you know, double that length, uh, over double the 50-50 point is going to be something like 60-40 aerobic to anaerobic. And then when you get up to a two hour event, the fastest marathon runners, of course you’re talking about 98% aerobics, even for the record setting, uh, runners at the front of the pack. So if that’s so, then you’re going to devote most of your training energy to building your endurance, building your aerobics system and not interfering with that progress with high stress, anaerobic high intensity workouts.
Yes, they do make a contribution to your fitness progress. So a very highly trained aerobic athlete that wants to improve their marathon performance will benefit from, for example, jumping into the occasional 5K or 10K and working those anaerobic heart rates. Uh, building speed, building leg turnover, going to the track on Tuesday night and working with the, the noted coach in the area to do series of 400 meter or 800 meter repeats. Because when you train the oxidative fast twitch muscle fibers, they will make a contribution to your endurance performance because when the slow twitch fibers exhaust themselves, which comes about mile 20 for a lot of people, uh, you will start to recruit oxidative fast twitch fibers to perform aerobically because they have the ability to use oxygen. So they can kind of go both ways. They can be fast twitch and not use oxygen or they can uh, convert into a helping you jog slowly when you’re a slow twitch is fried and you kind of get those sensations when, uh, your hip flexors just get dull and nonfunctional.
Uh, when your calves are cramping up, when your low back is tightening up, these are signs that the slow twitch muscle fibers are exhausted and you have to dip into your reserves and somehow get to the finish line. So that high intensity, those explosive workouts doing the old, uh, CrossFit endurance stuff, Brian MacKenzie where you’re doing box jumps and rope climbs and things that are building upper body strength, these are valuable exercises to help you preserve form and good technique even as you fatigue. If you look at my running technique instruction video on YouTube, Brad Kearns running technique instruction. It’s gone viral baby. It’s like 400,000 views now. I can’t believe it. We just filmed it randomly. We’re driving by some park in Portland and Brian and I stopped and said, Hey, let’s do some, uh, some of that running technique stuff we talked about. And boom, there it is for everyone to help learn how to run at all speeds with good technique.
But what happens when you fatigue? If you’ve just trained at a comfortable pace and never challenged yourself with explosive effort, you’re going to have a really hard time, uh, preserving that form. So that does have an important contribution to your fitness to challenge the anaerobic muscle fibe rs to do brief explosive efforts and mix that in to predominantly aerobic training. Here’s the problem with most endurance athletes. Most people training for the marathon they way, way, way over do it with the uh, high intensity work. They feel some sort of obligation to do a track workout every Tuesday night or to do a tempo effort every Thursday afternoon and try to be consistent and keep throwing these high-stress workouts into the mix and that easily can compromise your aerobic development due to the high recovery requirement of these high intensity efforts. So, uh, the recommendation for training for a marathon is to really, really focus on honing that aerobic base.
That means the vast majority of your training sessions are at 180 minus age, heart rate or below. Very, very comfortable. And the way to push yourself, challenge yourself, prepare for the, uh, the grueling competitive environment is to extend the duration of your long runs. So it’s no funny business to try to go extend from an hour and a half long run up to two hours, up to two and a half hours up to three hours. And so you’re gonna require a lot of, uh, resting, taking it easy in advance of those long runs and also a lot of recovery time after. So that does not leave a lot of room for the day at the gym when you’re throwing weights, jumping up on the box or heading to the track on Tuesday night and running 400 meter intervals. So those efforts should take a back seat beyond the back, back, back, back burner until you are extremely competent aerobically.
And I’m talking about those males who are trying to break three hours. They’re females trying to break 330 that have really been working hard working on their pace, uh, performing in those shorter distance competitions of 5K, 10K half marathon and looking to improve from a seven minute mile down to a six 45. Yeah, those track workouts are going to be magic. You’re going to improve very quickly and significantly from throwing in that high intensity. Unfortunately, what I see when I’m looking at the marathon results these days, such as the Los Angeles marathon where 90% of the finishers are over four hours, that equates to what an eight minute mile or even slower than that. So when we’re talking about jogging and we’re not talking about explosive output, uh, we can see tremendous room for improvement just by improving your aerobic efficiency. I talk about this in great detail in the book, Primal Endurance and the video course look all about it at primalendurance.fit, including some quick videos that will give you the quick overview that you want to have some takeaways from without getting too deep into it.
But essentially as you improve your aerobic capacity, your maximum aerobic function test result will be the greatest tracker of your marathon potential. And a maximum aerobic function test is where you, uh, perform a certain, uh, repeatable test such as going to the running track and running eight laps around the track at a fixed heart rate, equating to your aerobic maximum of 180 minus age. So you’ll head out to the track warmup if you’re 50 years old, 180 minus 50 is 130. So you will try to set your heart at one 30 and keep as close to that as possible while timing yourself over that eight lap distance for example. And over time you should drop your time. Nice. A progressive drop from let’s say a nine minute pace to an eight 45 to an eight 30 to eight 15 and that can translate into taking huge chunks of time off of your marathon performance.
So working that aerobic system extending out the duration of your long runs, always feeling strong and comfortable when you attempt something like a long run rather than a plunging into the chronic patterns that are so common in the marathon training scene, that’s where you’re going to feel great. And then someday, once in awhile you hit it hard, you open up the throttle now and then. And I favor doing the sprint workouts that I talk about so much and have dedicated entire shows to whereby the workout, the, the exercise duration is so short that you’re not really stressing the system that much. So if you’re a marathon runner and you want to once in a while, go out and do my highly recommended a workout template of eight times 70 meters with extensive rest periods in between these 70 meters, that’s going to help you with your form, your technique, uh, your anaerobic capacity, your oxidative fast twitch muscle fibers, and those things will make a nice contribution to your marathon performance without the extreme cost, uh, in recovery and potential breakdown and burnout that you might get from doing a workout like eight quarters, you know, eight times, 400 meters. Whew! Huge difference.
So if you’re going to sprint, you’re going to go hard, go in between 10 and 20 seconds. As I talk about in detail on my breather show about sprinting, because that’s the point of minimal cellular destruction and maximum, uh, training benefit, maximum hormonal benefit. How does that sound, Paul? Go along baby, go slow and go long until further notice.
Here comes Jason with another question. Brad, can you help me understand something? First of all, I’m not an athlete. I’m 38 and I’ve been yo-yoing in and out of primal keto lifestyle for years. Oh, that’s interesting. I don’t hear that too often. Most people that come into the ancestral health scene and ditch grains and sugars and refined vegetable oils from the diet kind of, uh, end up, uh, with an awakening of health and don’t need to go back into the a sugar burning lifestyle ever again. So yo-yoing out is a big concern there because I’m guessing that means that you kind of fall off the, uh, commitment of, uh, eliminating those refined foods that are high in insuliin stimulating. And indeed, Jason says that he’s on blood pressure medication right now at the tender age of 38. That’s no bueno. Uh, so the good news, besides being on medication, that’s unfortunate and we always want to work toward naturally, uh, changing our lifestyle so that we can one day walk into the doctor’s office and, uh, get recommended to, uh, stop taking our meds.
Good news. He’s lost 26 pounds and kept my weight at around 180, 182 for a year. More interesting Jason news is that he has a twin brother who has regular blood pressure and is 20 pounds lighter than he. So let’s say he’s at 160. Therefore with that twin competitiveness and inspiration, of course he’s trying to lose more weight, maybe get down to his brother’s weight, uh, showing the potential for his genetics to be optimized, right? If your twin’s down there at one 60, you certainly have the capability to be there and of course eventually get off blood pressure meds. Jason says, I discovered your primal endurance podcast. I checked out the MAF method of running with the heart rate monitor. His max is 142, 132 around there. That sounds good at the age of 38. Now mind you, I can run three miles every day with no issues and my long runs are about six miles.
Here’s where it gets baffling to me. After the first mile, I have to walk very fast, then jog briefly, then walk fast and jog and walk over and over. Because, uh, my very slowest jogging pace, the heart rate exceeds that MAF, uh, limit gets up to 147 to 161. Ouch. Do I need to bump up my numbers or is that really how slow I have to go? I’m not that out of shape. Am I? Uh, Jason, don’t worry about it man. Here’s the thing. You are giving your cardiovascular system the proper workout at the proper heart rate range to achieve this maximum fat oxidation per minute that we’re so interested in with a minimal amount of anaerobic stimulation. So you want to teach yourself to become a good fat burner around the clock and not kick into that glucose burning heart rate zone, which is going to affect your dietary habits in the aftermath of these workouts that are too stressful, especially if you do it every single day like your report.
So it’s very, very important to keep that maximum aerobic heart rate. 180 minus age and your case one 42, you want to keep to that every time you go out there and exercise almost every time. If you’re an athlete preparing for an event, we got some different considerations. But in your case, do you want to get your blood pressure correct? You want to lose the extra body fat that’s still there after your great success of dropping 26 pounds. And that is going to be accessed by slowing down and being patient and allowing your fat burning capabilities to continue to improve with aerobic exercise. Okay, so that is the prescription. That’s the recommendation. And I wouldn’t be negative about it saying I’m not that out of shape. Am I? But I do hear your frustration. It’s shared by thousands and thousands of athletes when they come to this, uh, new, uh, manner of training, getting away from the high stress training patterns that are so common.
Uh, it is a often disturbing awakening to realize how slow your maximum aerobic pace correlates with, but it doesn’t matter. Remember, because you’re just training the energy systems of your body. So no one’s judging you that you have to walk, jog, walk, jog. That’s a great, great workout. And you are challenging your system at the same level as an elite athlete who’s running down the street at five minutes and 20 seconds per mile, right? Galen Rupp, the great American marathon runner, he just won the Olympic trials again. A man after a series of injuries coming back and peaking at the right time, one of the great American distance runners of all time, maybe the number one if he keeps up and it has another great performance in the Olympics and uh, he can run down the street at five minutes and 30 seconds per mile and, and stay entirely aerobic, just like you jogging, walking, jogging, walking.
So you don’t want to stress your system any more than an elite athlete, right? You don’t want your training program to be more difficult than an elite athlete. So there’s a lot of call for restraint and respecting the importance of that heart rate zone that correlates to your maximum fat burning per minute. So keep with it. And then the wonderful thing that happens as you improve your aerobic efficiency, as you do get a little better, a little better, little better at that same aerobic heart rate over time of six months, 12 months, however long it takes to see that improvement curve happen, which means that right now if you’re having to walk, jog, walk, jog, walk and keep your heart rate down some day, believe it or not, you’re going to be able to turn that into a jog, jog, jog, jog, steady jog, and then the jogging pace gets a little faster, it gets a little faster.
And that is the beauty of adhering to the aerobic training philosophy as conveyed by primal endurance and as conveyed by Phil Maffetone. So good luck. Keep at it. Thanks for writing in Jason.
Thank you everybody for listening to another breathe show Q and A style. Please spread the word and make a review, make a review wherever you listen to podcasts, I would be greatly appreciative. Uh, I listene to those shows on Overcast. It’s a nice app that allows you to sort your shows and make playlists and stuff. And it also has this really cool thing where you can, uh, extract your own audio clip of a couple minutes length and text it over to your friends. Say, Hey, listen to this guy. What do you think? And then we attract new listeners to the show. Okay. That’s my request and my great appreciation. If you have the patience to do that. Uh, similarly, uh, Apple podcasts, the number one, uh, vehicle for dispensing podcasts, most popular, uh, it takes a little bit of effort to go online and launch your iTunes app from a actual computer. And that’s the only way you can leave a review. Uh, but it takes, you know, one minute of navigating and then you find the button where it says, uh, the reviews on the show. And then there’s something that says, write a review and you can join the ranks of people saying, Hey, check out this. Get over yourself stuff. It’s great. It’s fun and I appreciate you. Thanks again.
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