mario fraioli | the morning shakeout

the morning shakeout | issue 424

Published 5 months ago • 5 min read

Good morning! Time tends to slow down for many of us these last couple weeks of the year and I hope that wherever you are, you’re savoring those moments with family and friends. “And if this is not your lot,” to quote Leonard Cohen, “may the blessings find you in your solitude.” These next couple issues will be brief but packed with enough goodness to tide you over through the holidays. Let’s get right to it.

Quick Splits

— Last Monday I released a new podcast with Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, aka “the Running Bishop,” as a follow-up to Episode 226 from back in August. In this latest conversation, we discuss how Jennifer spent her sabbatical over the summer and what she experienced visiting various run crews around the country (and even a couple internationally). She told me about what she hoped to get out of the trip, the feelings of culture, connection, and belonging she experienced along the way, how it all impacted her, what surprised her, and a lot more. I’ve long been fascinated with running crew culture and it was really interesting to get Jennifer’s perspective on how these groups differ from traditional running clubs, how immersing herself in these different environments made her feel, and what she took away from the experience that she hopes to bring back to both her running community and ministry where she lives in Indianapolis. Look for this one on your favorite podcast app (make sure you’re subscribed to “the morning shakeout”) or check out this handy link.

— I link to Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness’ work pretty often around here and with good reason: it’s solid, sound advice that’s rooted in research, experience, and age-old wisdom. Their latest post, “In Defense of Performance: A Manifesto” is a real banger that’s chock full of tried-and-true principles and practices of actual performance without any of the hacks, shortcuts, and other bullshit that permeates much of the internet. Carve out half an hour sometime in the next couple weeks to read it, absorb it, and map out how you can apply some of the key takeaways to your own life. “A coach knows that the player who shows up with newest shoes and an arm sleeve, or the most expensive energy drinks, or a wearable on each wrist, is perhaps not the most likely to put in the actual work,” they write. “But it’s the monotonous, boring stuff that makes the difference. The world’s best performers don’t mess with bullshit. We know this because we have the privilege of working with them. What they do is stack good, consistent, and solid work for months and years.”

— One of the most surprising yet satisfying things about writing this newsletter is that every week at least one person replies, either thanking me for whatever music I’ve recommended that week or suggesting I check something out. Thank you to Molly Peters, head cross-country coach and head nordic ski coach at St. Michael's College in Vermont, for sending this incredible rendition of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” my way. It’s performed by over 100 student musicians from the St Andrew’s College (rock band, school orchestra, senior choir, and jazz band) in Christchurch, New Zealand and it’s really, really cool.

— Last call: There are few spots remaining in the 100 Days to Boston Training Program. This unique coaching offering from yours truly includes a 100-day (~14-week) Boston-specific training program delivered through Final Surge that will be scaled to match your experience level and current training load. I’ll also be sending out weekly emails featuring the training focus for the week, Boston-specific tips, and other useful bits of information and inspiration. There will be weekly group office hours with me, two guest speakers, and a private online community where you’re connected to other team members and can ask and answer questions, access content, take advantage of partner discounts, and more. Each team member will get two pairs of running shoes from new balance (one trainer, one racer), a morning shakeout branded singlet, and $100 toward Precision Fuel and Hydration products. We’ll also have a meet-up and shakeout run in Boston on race weekend. The program will be open until all 25 spots are filled or December 31, whichever comes first. Learn more and join the team here.

— From the archives (Issue 215, 4 years ago this week): The Bus Ticket Theory of Genius: This essay has nothing to do with running or coaching—directly, anyway—but it’s a thought-provoking read by programmer, writer, and investor Paul Graham on the importance of having what he calls “a disinterested obsession with something that matters” in order to do great work—whatever that means for you. “An obsessive interest will even bring you luck, to the extent anything can,” Graham writes. “Chance, as Pasteur said, favors the prepared mind, and if there's one thing an obsessed mind is, it's prepared.”

— A big thank you to Tracksmith for supporting my work this past month (and throughout 2023). I’ve been breaking out the Brighton Base Layer more days than not this fall and I don’t see that stopping as we head into the winter months. It’s made from a merino wool blend, it wicks moisture and regulates temperature well, but best of all: it doesn’t smell when I sweat in it! It’s snug but not tight and I’ll wear it on its own or under a jacket when it’s really cold and/or precipitating. If you buy the Brighton Base Layer, or anything on for that matter, and you’re doing so for the first time, use the code MarioNEW to save $15 on your order of $75 or more. If you’re already a Tracksmith customer, use the code MarioGIVE and you can get free shipping on your next order (and 5% of your purchase will go to support the Friendly House in Worcester, Massachusetts, an organization that is near and dear to me).

Training Tip: Become a student of the sport!

We’re lucky to live in a day and age where information has never been more readily available and accessible to us, but between various media outlets, social media influencers, and myriad brands on the internet, there’s a lot of noise out there and it can sometimes be confusing to know who to listen to, what works, what’s right, and what has stood the test of time. This is where taking matters into your own hands and becoming a student of the sport can give you a competitive advantage as an athlete and/or coach. Start by studying the great athletes and coaches, reading their biographies and old interviews, and watching classic races on YouTube. Explore the history of training theory, look for patterns, and understand how it’s all evolved over the last 100 or so years. Finally, never stop learning from, paying attention to, and asking questions of the best in the business. Make an effort to understand what they’ve observed, learned, and changed their minds on over the years. Chances are if they’ve been doing it at a high level for a long time, there’s probably a thing or ten you can borrow from their approach. (Far more than you’ll get from the latest running influencer’s algorithmically tuned IG reels, I promise you.)

Workout of the Week: Fultzy 400s

This one was introduced to me by Amby Burfoot, who got the workout from his fellow Boston Marathon champion, Jack Fultz. A little cousin of Yasso 800s, “Fultzy 400s” are simply a set of 400s—Fultz recommends 20 reps with a 200m walk/jog recovery—that corresponds with your goal half-marathon marathon time, i.e., if you’re aiming to run 1:45 in the half marathon, you’d aim to run your “Fultzy 400s” in 1 minute, 45 seconds. Here are the details.

The bottom line.

“Patience is also a form of action.”

— Auguste Rodin, French sculptor

That's it for Issue 424. End the year on a high note by forwarding this email to a few friends, blasting the web link out far and wide, and encouraging everyone you know to subscribe.

Thanks for reading,


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mario fraioli | the morning shakeout

Discover what’s possible through the lens of running with training tips, workouts, and other bits of goodness from coach Mario Fraioli. Every Tuesday morning, Mario shares his unapologetically subjective take on things that interest, inform, inspire, or entertain him in some way.

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