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mario fraioli | the morning shakeout

the morning shakeout | issue 425

Published 5 months ago • 7 min read

Good morning and Happy New Year! I hope that your 2024 is off to a great start. I’ll be getting back into the regular swing of things this week with coaching, writing, running, and the like, but in the meantime I have a few satiating scraps to share with all of you. Let’s get right to it.

Quick Splits

— As I do every year on New Year’s Day, I re-read this now 65-year-old letter that a then 22-year-old Hunter S. Thompson wrote to his friend Hume Logan in response to a request for life advice. If you’re feeling a little lost here at the start of the new year, or, like me, you just need the reminder that “every man is the sum total of his reactions to experience,” and “as your experiences differ and multiply, you become a different man, and hence your perspective changes,” then take 5 minutes out of your day right now and give this one a read.

— Longtime running broadcaster and writer Toni Reavis recently wrote a thought-provoking blog post that turned into a lovely poem entitled, “What is it about running that people who don’t run don’t get?” that anyone reading this newsletter will appreciate. Here’s an excerpt:

We run to remember, run to forget. We run to recover and, at times, with regret. We run to consider, then run to decide. We run for glory, we run to hide.

We run to feel joy, run to inflict pain. We run, swear to God, so as not to go insane.

We run for time, then run at pace. Most often we train, but sometimes we race.

We run to attain, run to reflect, we run as a reminder what not to neglect.

— Here in North America, Ekidens aren’t really a thing. (Though a couple groups have tried to make them a thing in recent years, sadly to no avail.) To those not in the know, Ekidens are multistage long-distance relay races that are wildly popular in Japan. How popular you might be wondering? In a nutshell, the most popular Ekidens generate Super Bowl levels of excitement and interest amongst Japan’s running-crazy population. And none are more popular than the Hakone Ekiden, a two-day affair where men’s university teams do battle on the roads from central Tokyo to the foothills of Mt. Fuji and back, that kicks off its 100th running today. Learn more about this iconic event in this excerpt from Brett Larner’s forthcoming book, May the Circle Be Unbroken: Hakone at 100. ”One of the greatest things about Nippon TV's broadcast is that every single runner gets featured on the broadcast,” he writes. “Every single one of them is mentioned by name. Most of them won't keep running after college. Most of those who do won't ever make an Olympic team. For most of them, Hakone is their Olympics. They live and breathe it every day for years, and if they are one of the lucky ones they get their chance, maybe two, maybe three, maybe even four, to have their day in the sun. A chance to shine in front of tens of millions of adoring fans. It's something they can carry with them the rest of their lives. And that's a beautiful thing.”

— Before we get any deeper into this issue, I’d like to thank my longtime partner New Balance for their continued support of my work in 2024. I’m super proud of this partnership, one which is built around our shared values of quality, consistency, and performance. This Boston-based brand has been making incredible products for well over 100 years and I’ve personally been running in their shoes for over 20 now. We half-joke in our house that the Fresh Foam X 1080v13 is the “unofficial official” shoe of the morning shakeout—it’s the trainer I wear for 75% of my training runs and it’s been the workhorse of my stable for four years now. It’s the most comfortable AND reliable shoe I’ve ever run in and holds up to the miles week in and week out. It’s lightweight but sturdily built, plush enough underfoot to provide plenty of protection as the miles add up but responsive enough that you can wear it at a wide range of speeds. The Fresh Foam X 1080v13 is available at your favorite run specialty retail store or on newbalance.com (men’s sizes here, women’s sizes here).

— In 2023 I undertook a personal photography project in which I committed myself to shooting, editing, and posting a new photo every day. It wrapped up this past Sunday and you can scroll through the entire kit and caboodle right here if you’re interested. This was a lot more challenging than I thought it would be. I remember hitting Day 50 and being overwhelmed by the thought of doing this 300+ more days in a row. I mean, it’s just taking photos with my iPhone, and no one would have cared if I skipped a day or called the project off completely, but it felt like I was in way over my head. So, I reminded myself of the same advice I give to the athletes I coach: Run the mile you’re in. This translated to, “Just take one decent photo today,” which is a phrase I repeated to myself over and over the past 12 months. And on some days it came really easy. I’d walk downstairs in the morning and there’d be a beautiful splash of light on the wall just waiting to be captured. On other days, it was a real chore. There were more than a few nights when I was ready to go to bed and realized I hadn’t taken any photos that day. But a commitment is a commitment and those brief moments of panic forced me to quickly get creative and find something around the house to shoot, edit, and share. This project was a constant reminder of one of life’s great truths: There are some days you just have to let it happen, and there are others when you need to make it happen. I undertook this initiative to get in the habit of shooting, editing, and sharing something every day, overcome some of my own doubts and insecurities when it came to photography, learn to embrace imperfection, and find interestingness in the everyday. Now that it’s over I can say that seeing this thing through to the end helped me to break through those walls I’d put up for myself and better appreciate the world around me. Anyway, this is where the project ends. I won’t be undertaking another 365 in 2024, though I’ll probably shoot and share photos more days than not. You can follow along here if you’re so inclined.

— From the archives (Issue 216, 4 years ago this week): The Gift of Hope: “It can be daunting, wondering what to give people, especially at this time of year,” writes Shane Parrish on the Farnam Street blog. “What gift properly communicates the feelings you have for someone? One idea is to give yourself. Another is to give the gift of hope.” This short post, which highlights an excerpt from Krista Tippett’s book, Becoming Wise, reminds me a lot of the late Gabe Grunewald, who showed courage and resilience in her fight against rare cancer, and left a legacy of hope that will give others the strength to face their own challenges in life. No doubt she’s given this gift to so many people over the past 10 years, and will continue to do so through her foundation, Brave Like Gabe, for generations to come. “There are millions of people at any given moment, young and old, giving themselves over to service, risking hope, and all the while ennobling us all,” Tippett writes. “To take such goodness in and let it matter—to let it define our take on reality as much as headlines of violence—is a choice we can make to live by the light in the darkness, to be brave and free."

— Not sure how I hadn’t seen this acoustic version of the Foo Fighters’ Everlong before but that’s part of what made it such a fun discovery. It’s from a live studio session in 1999 when the band visited the Dutch music show, "2 Meter Sessions." Incredible version of one of the most beautiful songs ever written.

— Quick programming note: In 2023 I wrote and shared a new training tip every week, totaling over 10,000 words of copy. I’m not sure I have 52 more in me for 2024, nor do I necessarily want to share last year’s again, but I will find something useful to fill that space in the newsletter each week. If you have any suggestions or ideas for what you’d like to see, simply reply to this email and send them my way.

Workout of the Week: The Alternating Miles Long Run

The long run, for me, is a fickle beast, with the emphasis changing from week to week depending on what we’re trying to get out of it. It doesn’t always have to be long and slow; sometimes we’ll alternate paces to keep things interesting and get a little more aerobic bang for our buck per mile. The Alternating Miles Long Run, which bounces back and forth between marathon pace and the faster end of your normal training pace, is one of my favorite sessions to assign my athletes, whether they’re in marathon training or not. Here are the details.



The bottom line.

“The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.”

—Dean Acheson, the 51st U.S. Secretary of State


That's it for Issue 425. Please forward this email, share the web link, or reply to me directly at your own risk.

Thanks for reading,

Mario

P.S. I’m at capacity for 1-on-1 coaching in 2024 but my friend Jon Green (coach of Olympic bronze medalist Molly Seidel and others) and his staff at Verde Track Club, are taking on new athletes (both in-person and remote) in the new year if you’re looking for someone to help guide you toward your goals. Jon and his team know their stuff and take a scientific and holistic approach to what they do, whether you’re a dedicated amateur or developing pro, and I can’t recommend them highly enough. You can check out their offerings on the Verde Track Club website or by following VTC’s Instagram account.

Support the morning shakeout directly on Patreon and help keep my work sustainable for years to come.


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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