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mario fraioli | the morning shakeout

the morning shakeout | issue 437

Published 23 days ago • 8 min read

Good morning! I’ve got a lot to share with you this week but before we dive in I’d like to thank my longtime partner Tracksmith for supporting my work this month (and throughout 2024). I’ve been rocking the new Turnover Half Tights for a few weeks now and they’ve quickly become a go-to for easy runs, long runs, and workouts alike. 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. They’re perfect for spring but versatile enough to be useful anytime of year. 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).

OK, let’s get right to it.

Quick Splits

— I could listen to Team New Balance Boston coach Mark Coogan talk running, training, and coaching all day. He was great on this recent episode of the Citius Mag podcast with Kyle Merber and Mac Fleet. One of the best parts is at the end when Coogan is presented a bunch of topics (e.g. double thresholds, lactate monitoring, cross-training, strength training, etc.) and asked if they’re overrated, underrated, or properly rated, and it leads to some pretty candid, interesting, and entertaining back and forth. “You have to learn to run how you feel,” he says about lactate testing. “You can’t prick yourself in a 5K.” Coach Coogan is one of the best in the business for a reason: he cares immensely about his athletes, he’s fostered an incredible team culture, and he doesn’t try to overcomplicate anything. He develops well-rounded athletes who are able to stay healthy, train consistently, and ready to compete when the chips are down. In short: There’s neither bullshit nor magic bullets in his approach. (I’ve been fortunate to get to talk running, training, and coaching with Coach Coogan on multiple occasions, two of which you can listen to on these previous episodes of the morning shakeout podcast.)

— My good friend Andy Blow, founder and CEO of Precision Fuel & Hydration, stopped by my office a few weeks ago to talk to me about what the final few weeks of marathon training should look like as someone is winding down into race day. We carried on for nearly an hour and went step-by-step from three weeks out all the way to the start line: training, key sessions, fueling and hydration, recovery, goal setting, mindset, race weekend logistics, race morning strategies, and anything else that might be important. You can watch or listen to our conversation here. If you found value in our chat, it would mean the world to me if you shared it with any of your friends, teammates, or training partners who might have a spring marathon on the horizon. (And if you’re interested in trying PF&H products for yourself—they’re a longtime partner of the morning shakeout and the drinks/gels/chews I use to fuel my own training and racing—check out this link and save 15% off your first order.)

— Thank you to reader Huy Nguyen for pointing me toward this refreshingly candid conversation between LeBron James and JJ Reddick. In short, it’s a must-watch. While they’re mostly talking about basketball, they could be talking about running, music, writing, or any other form of craft. The entire 35-ish minute exchange is full of gold but my favorite part was when LeBron was asked about the qualities that make a great basketball player and he responds, “Knowing the history of the game. Knowing the ones that came before you, knowing the ones that paved the way, knowing the reasons why you’re having the ability to live out your dream. That doesn’t happen without the people that came before you.” I didn’t expect this answer but I loved it. LeBron is saying that it’s important to become a student of the sport, to understand its history, and recognize the people that have provided him/you/me/us the opportunity to do what we do on whatever level we do it. I think about this a lot when I look at the running landscape today as the sport—and interest in it—continues to gain popularity: I worry that newer runners will fail to appreciate the history of the sport, the athletes that paved the way for them, or the coaches whose work contributed to our current understanding of training theory. My hope is that all of this doesn’t get lost in a world of influencer culture, hype reels, training hacks, and other forms of superfluous noise. As LeBron says: “Respect the game.”

— Along these lines, music and culture critic Ted Gioia’s recent post on “The State of the Culture, 2024” is one of the most poignant things I’ve read in a long time. He writes alarmingly about the ongoing degradation of the arts and entertainment by way of our society’s addiction to distraction. He dives into Dopamine Culture and makes a case for how and why this will be the issue of our time. “The fastest growing sector of the culture economy is distraction. Or call it scrolling or swiping or wasting time or whatever you want. But it’s not art or entertainment, just ceaseless activity,” he writes. “The key is that each stimulus only lasts a few seconds, and must be repeated. It’s a huge business, and will soon be larger than arts and entertainment combined. Everything is getting turned into TikTok—an aptly named platform for a business based on stimuli that must be repeated after only a few ticks of the clock.” None of this is new news, but I do think Gioia is on the money here. There’s reason to be worried, and it’s in our hands to shift the culture, both on an individual level and as a collective. Carve out time to get away from the screens and get out in the real world to do real things with real people. And don’t rush shit. Make space in the day for long conversations over quick text chats, the movie or album over an endless stream of reels, to actually visit places instead of sitting in your living room with ugly ass goggles strapped to your face, or just listen to the podcast at a normal speed instead of 1.5 or 2x for crissakes. It feels silly to even write all that but just take a look around if you’re wondering why the reminder is necessary.

— Keeping with this theme of distraction, fan favorite of the morning shakeout, Sabrina Little, recently wrote this column pondering how running creates space for us to think, wonder, and more generally stay on task. “Running provides the space to wonder in a world that is exceedingly loud,” she writes. “Wisdom begins in wonder. That is a good reason to run.” I caught myself nodding throughout this one. Running fills a bunch of different roles in my life: it’s a competitive outlet, an exercise for both my body and mind, and a vehicle for self-discovery as well as social connection. It’s a time for me to get outside, it’s time to think, and a time to let my mind wander without distraction. When I’m running, I’m unreachable. It’s not often that I run with my phone, and when I do it’s only because I know I’m going to take photos, so I put the device in Airplane Mode to avoid the myriad of things on it that I know will distract me. I never listen to music or podcasts, though it’s not uncommon for a song to be playing on repeat in my head the entire time, especially during a workout. I work hard to protect my running time: often it’s the only hour or two of the day that I’m not working on something else, distracted by this or that, getting back to someone, or otherwise getting swallowed by a world that’s always got one more thing for me to do. (Be sure to check out Sabrina’s new book, The Examined Run, which was recently published. It’s her deepest and most comprehensive dive yet into how athletics and virtue are deeply interconnected.)

— Alex Kurt of Outside Run recently asked me to expound upon about my training principles for this article, which pairs well with this piece I shared last month. I thought he captured my outlook on how to get better at running rather well. “When it comes to running, there isn’t any secret. There aren’t any shortcuts. And whatever you do, don’t try and get fancy in your training,” he writes. “That’s how I’d summarize coach Mario Fraioli’s outlook, anyway.”

— One of the first CDs I ever owned was Cracked Rear View from Hootie and the Blowfish. I can still recite nearly every lyric from the album to this day. Anyway, here’s Darius Rucker performing an acoustic version of “Let Her Cry” from the CMT Campfire Sessions a month or so ago. It’s fantastic. The pacing is perfect but the violins and accordion put this version over the top for me. Instant goosebumps.

— From the archives (Issue 385, one year ago this week): I felt seen on multiple levels while reading this post from the writer Oliver Burkeman. As a recovering perfectionist and people-pleaser, I have a tendency to get caught up in a cycle of craziness when I tell myself that things will calm down afterI get through the pile of whatever it is that I let stack up over time. It never works and Burkeman’s reminder hit me at the right time. “It was my growing disillusionment with this outlook that led me, eventually, to what now feels like a baseline principle for living a calm, meaningfully productive and enjoyable life,” he writes, “which is that in the end, striving toward sanity never works. You have to operate from sanity instead.”

— Most of my working time is spent coaching and Final Surge has been the glue that’s kept that side of my business together since 2017. Whether you work with individuals or teams, coach in-person or remotely, Final Surge has the tools for you to provide effective and efficient instruction and feedback to all your athletes. Moving my entire coaching operation under the Final Surge roof streamlined my workflow and made the day-to-day business of analyzing workouts, planning training, and communicating with my athletes a much better experience for everyone involved. Check out the full list of features available to coaches right here. You can also tighten up the sign-up process and manage onboarding, getting waivers signed, and/or monthly billing all in one place. It’s pretty awesome. (Coaches: Head over to finalsurge.com and take advantage of a free 14-day coaching trial today. Use the code MORNINGSHAKEOUT when you check out to take 10% off your first purchase. Any questions? Just reply to this email and send ’em my way!)

Workout of the Week: The Inverted Ladder

​​I love ladder sessions. It’s a great feeling mentally when you start coming back down the ladder and know the longest intervals are behind you. This workout is not that and that’s exactly the point. Here are the details.



The bottom line.

“The great athletes learn to tolerate. They don’t necessarily feel pain differently than the rest of us, but they frame it differently. It’s information. And as a result, they can stay in that pain for longer.”

—Alex Hutchinson, author of Endure, in conversation with Malcolm Gladwell a few years ago


That's it for Issue 437. If you enjoyed it, please spread the love and forward this email to a few friends and/or share the web version with your little corner of the internet. Seeing this newsletter for the first time? You can sign up to receive it for yourself at this link.

Thanks for reading,

Mario

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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