the morning shakeout | issue 434


Good morning! These next two issues of the newsletter are going to be a little tighter than usual. Writing time has gone by the wayside the past few days and later this week I’ll be supporting my athlete Devon Yanko at the Lululemon Further event, a 6-day ultramarathon that kicks off tomorrow, and there are a lot of i’s to dot and t’s to cross before I leave. Let’s get right to it.

Quick Splits

— The podcast is back! (Quick programming note: New episode releases will be sporadic in 2024. No promises when the next one will drop.) For this one, I sat down with my good friend and frequent podcast guest Simon Freeman, the co-founder, editor, and publisher of my favorite running magazine, Like The Wind, for our first quarterly conversation of 2024, which you can listen to wherever you get the morning shakeout podcast or at this handy link. An excerpt of this exchange can be found in Issue #39 of LtW, which comes out this week. (You can buy a copy or subscribe here.) In this episode we talk about what it means for an amateur athlete to adopt a “professional” mindset when it comes to training and racing: being intentional with your time and workouts, taking the work seriously, not giving into your feelings, eliminating excuses, not overcomplicating things, and a lot more. On the flipside, we also discuss what professionals can take away from us amateur athletes: the benefits of a well-rounded life, having interests, hobbies, and other “productive distractions” outside of the sport, dealing with failure, and maintaining a healthy relationship with running.

— There’s more to say regarding this past weekend’s world indoor championships in Glasgow, Scotland than I have time to write here about but holy hell was it a great weekend for U.S. middle and long distance running: gold for Bryce Hoppel in the men’s 800m; silver for Nikki Hiltz and bronze for Emily Mackey in the women’s 1500m; silver for Cole Hocker and bronze for Hobbs Kessler in the men’s 1500m; silver for Yared Nuguse in the men’s 3000m; and gold (and American and meet record) for Elle St. Pierre in the women’s 3000m. Now, of the global championships indoor is easily the least emphasized—which is sad because for my money it’s the most exciting to watch—but a successful season on the banks can bode well for outdoor breakthroughs, which makes this past weekend’s results extra intriguing when we start thinking about what could happen in Paris five months from now. The highlight of the meet? It has to be St. Pierre’s performance. (n.b. If you’re Scottish and tell me it was Josh Kerr’s win in the men’s 3000m, I’ll give that to you.) She was absolutely brilliant. Two days short of her son Ivan’s first birthday and she’s running for the win in a global final. That in itself is impressive. The pace is hot from the start and lap after lap she hangs in, refusing to get dropped. At the bell, she’s in the mix for a medal, fighting for position, careful not to allow herself to get boxed in. Down the backstretch she moves into second and with 100 meters to go you can just tell that she’s controlling the race. Coming around the final turn and into the home straight she passes Ethiopia's Gudaf Tsegay, the three-time world champion, Olympic bronze medalist, and current 5000m world-record holder, and charges across the line with her arms outstretched to capture her second global medal and first world title, while also becoming the first American woman ever to win gold in this event. Oh, to top it off she broke a championship record, American record, and ran one of the fastest times in history in the process. Factoring it all in, that’s a tough one to argue with. (You can watch all the exciting parts right here.)

— A big thank you to my longtime partner Trackmith for supporting my work this month (and throughout 2024). Last week I got a pair of the new Turnover Half Tights and I fell in love with them right away. Formerly called the Reggie Half Tight, this updated version is everything that was great about the prior model plus three extra pockets to store fuel for long runs and races (or whatever else you might want to stuff in there). The zip pocket is bigger and better positioned than before and can easily fit a phone, keys, or a credit card. The material is the same and fit is identical from what I can tell. I do appreciate the new removable internal drawstring that allows you to adjust the waistband to your desired snugness. I’m not going to be doing any long races anytime soon but these have already proven their mettle for long runs and workouts. Great option as we head into spring here in the coming weeks. If you buy the new Turnover Half Tights, or anything else on Tracksmith.com 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).

— This question gets asked every few years but here we go again: Why would anyone want to host the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials? Sarah Lorge Butler took a stab at answering a related question (“Will there be another one?”) in this Runner’s World article and while I hope the answer to that is yes, I can’t blame anyone for not putting in a bid given how difficult USA Track & Field makes the entire operation on the local organizing committee (who, under the current structure, is guaranteed to lose their shirt on the event). There’s a real fear that unless USATF agrees to lighten the burden on the LOC, future Trials could be in trouble. When asked if he would host the event again, Jon Hughes, the race director at this year’s Trials in Orlando, said, “No. I love my team too much. I don’t think I could do that to them again.” (Note: Kudos to Hughes and his team at Track Shack. They put on a hell of a show for athletes and fans alike.)

This is a great post on the potential pitfalls of a growth mindset from previous podcast guest Hillary Allen (listen to her on episodes 49 and 158 if you haven’t already). She touches on a number of important points in this one but I appreciate what she had to say in particular about the pressure we put on ourselves to always improve, as if we’re all riding a hockey stick trajectory to infinite success. “One of the fundamental tenets of a growth mindset is the belief that improvement is always possible,” she writes. “While this can be incredibly motivating, it can also create a relentless pressure to constantly outperform oneself. As athletes, we may find ourselves caught in a cycle of chasing after ever-elusive goals, never fully satisfied with our accomplishments. We are not only constantly comparing ourselves to others, but constantly comparing ourselves to our past selves. This can then lead down a dangerous road.”

— I’m not big into DJ sets and such but my wife sent me a few mashups from Carneyval over the weekend and they’re a lot of fun (he’s on Instagram, Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube, and other places I’m sure). Two of my favorites are this Red Hot Chili Peppers/Eminem mix and a super cool Lynyrd Skynyrd/Snoop Dogg/Dr. Dre mishmash. These are hard to pull off but somehow he makes them work.

— From the archives (Issue 17, 8 years ago this week): Please, just say “thank you.” “When in doubt, just say thank you. There is no downside. Are you honestly worried about showing too much gratitude to the people in your life?” This quote is from James Clear's excellent post on making your life better by simply saying “thank you” in seven common situations. I’m of the Bruce Lee-like belief that life is a constant process of improvement, and one of the things I’m working on is trying to be more grateful and appreciative on a daily basis. An easy way to do this is to simply say “thank you” when someone does something nice for you, pays you a compliment, gives you advice or even criticizes you. No disrespectful retorts, blame casting or humblebragging. Just, “thank you.”

— My friend and former colleague Matt Fitzgerald, along with his co-instructor Emily Pifer, are co-hosting a unique three-night retreat called Run, Write, Repeat from August 15-18 in Flagstaff, Arizona and there’s only four spots left. Who’s it for? Anyone that wants to nourish both sides of their writer-runner identity in an intimate, supportive environment. You don’t have to be a fast runner or professional writer to attend—all you need is willingness to explore both disciplines with a little more depth than you might on your own. The retreat will include epic runs, informative workshops, guest speakers (including a presentation from yours truly!), as well as the opportunity to learn 1-on-1 from Matt and Emily, while also being inspired by others on the retreat. Check out the website for more info and/or email Matt at matt@dreamruncamp.com to get any and all of your questions answered.

Workout of the Week: Elimination 400s

I came up with this workout for the Wednesday night track crew I coach as a fun way to get in a high volume of quality work while also practicing how to be disciplined, stay focused, and go through a wide range of gears. This session works best in a group environment because it has a competitive element to it—you’re “eliminated” when you run slower than your previous interval; whoever can tally up the most reps “wins” the workout—but it can also be done alone. Here are the details.



The bottom line.

“He’s like the guys on the auto assembly line. You just keep doing the same job, over and over, but that’s what it takes to build the car."

—Keith Hanson, coach of 2008 U.S. Olympian Brian Sell, from an entry in my journal on January 11, 2008 (original source unknown)


That's it for Issue 434. If you’re enjoying my work, please do me a solid and forward this email or pass on the web link to someone else who might also appreciate it. (And if you’re seeing this newsletter for the first time and want to receive it for yourself first thing on Tuesday mornings, you can subscribe right here.)

Thanks for reading,

Mario

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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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